Discover the ultimate guide to craft mats, including glass, magnetic, and more. Perfect for cutting, crafting, and creating a clutter-free workspace 😎
The Complete Guide to Glass Craft Mats
Glass craft mats have become an essential tool for papercrafters, mixed media artists, quilters, and more. But with so many options on the market, how do you know which one is right for you? This complete guide to glass craft mats will walk you through the pros and cons of different styles, brands, sizes, and features. Read on to find your perfect glass mat!
What is a Glass Craft Mat Used For?
A glass craft mat provides an ultra-smooth, nonporous surface for arts and crafts. Here’s what they’re great for:
- Wet mediums like ink, paint, glue, and gel mediums don’t soak in or stain the glass. It’s easy to clean up with just water or glass cleaner.
- The slick surface also makes glass mats ideal for rolling out polymer clay or fondant without sticking.
- For papercrafting, a glass mat allows you to move and turn paper while you cut shapes precisely with a craft knife.
- The transparency of glass is perfect for light boxes and projects where you need to see through the surface.
What Do You Call a Glass Crafting Surface?
Glass craft mats go by several names:
- Glass media mat
- Glass craft mat
- Glass cutting mat
- Tempered glass craft mat
- Glass work surface
The main thing is that the surface is made of glass, usually soda-lime float glass tempered for added strength. It’s completely smooth and nonporous.
Brands like Tim Holtz, We R Memory Keepers, and Stampendous make popular glass craft mats for paper arts. For quilting, Olfa and Fiskars offer glass cutting mats.
How Do You Clean a Glass Craft Mat?
Keep your glass mat sparkling clean with these tips:
- For wet mediums like paint and ink, clean up messes immediately with a spray of water and a soft microfiber cloth or paper towels. Avoid letting paint dry on the mat.
- For stuck-on debris, use glass cleaner or a tiny amount of rubbing alcohol.
- To remove greasy residue, try a dab of dish soap and warm water.
- Avoid abrasive scrubbing pads or paper towels, which could scratch the surface over time.
- Rinse mats thoroughly after cleaning and dry with a lint-free cloth.
- Occasionally disinfect glass mats by cleaning them with a 70% isopropyl alcohol solution.
What is a Self Healing Craft Mat?
Self healing cutting mats provide another popular surface option. Instead of solid glass, these mats are made from a material layered into small segments that separate when cut then rebound. This “heals” the mat, keeping its surface smooth after countless cuts. Self healing mats come in a range of sizes and colors. Popular brands include Fiskars, Olfa, We R Memory Keepers, and Cricut.
Are You Using the Right Surface for the Right Technique?
With so many choices, it can be tough to decide on the right craft mat for your projects. Here are some top options:
- Glass media mats like Tim Holtz Tonic: Perfect for wet mediums, inking, painting, rolling polymer clay
- Self healing cutting mats like Fiskars: Ideal for fabric cutting with rotary cutters and craft knife work
- Magnetic mats like Glassboard Studio: Useful for papercrafts where magnets hold pieces in place
- Silicone mats like Tim Holtz Media Surface: Resist stains and can be used with hot tools up to 450°F
- Travel mats like We R Memory Keepers: Portable glass mats to take your crafts on the go
Take into account the size of projects you want to work on, whether you need to transport the mat, and any special features that would be useful. With so many excellent brands, it’s easy to find the right glass or craft mat to suit your creative style.
How Do You Clean a Self Healing Cutting Mat?
It’s important to care for self healing cutting mats properly so they continue healing your slices and cuts over time. Here are some tips:
- For dust and debris, wipe down the mat with a clean, dry microfiber cloth or brush.
- To disinfect, use a 70% isopropyl alcohol solution or antibacterial wipe. Avoid excessive moisture.
- Don’t use harsh cleaners, bleach, or scrubbing pads that could damage the mat’s surface.
- Roll up the mat or store flat to prevent permanent creases or warping.
- Replace the mat once it stops recovering from cuts or gets deeply scored.
Popular Glass Craft Mat Options
Now that you know the basics, let’s explore some of the top glass craft mats for artists and crafters.
Tim Holtz Tonic Craft Mats
Tim Holtz partnered with Tonic Studios to create a line of high quality glass mats. The 14 x 23 inch Tim Holtz Glass Media Mat features a right-side palette mixing area plus gridlines. It comes in original black or an opaque white version.
The removable mat surface peels up for easy cleaning. There’s also a smaller Tim Holtz Travel Glass Media Mat measuring 10.25 x 15.75 inches with a gray palette space. Both come in right and left-handed orientations.
We R Memory Keepers Glass Cutting Mats
This clear glass cutting mat from We R Memory Keepers is designed with papercrafters in mind. It measures 12 x 12 inches to fit 12 x 12 inch scrapbook paper. Grid lines mark 1 inch squares.
The tempered glass is 5mm thick and won’t warp. Rubber feet prevent slipping. It’s an affordable option for card making and paper cutting.
Stampendous Heat Resistant Glass Media Mat
Stampendous makes a heavy duty 1⁄4 inch thick borosilicate glass mat that withstands up to 580°F. It’s perfect for heat embossing, soldering, or even setting hot pans down. Grid lines assist with measuring.
At 14.5 x 20 inches, it provides ample space for embellishing cards, jewelry making, ribbon work, and other papercrafts.
Glassboard Studio Magnetic Glass Mats
For the ultimate in versatility, choose a magnetic glass craft mat. Glassboard Studio is the leading brand, offering their mats in sizes from 6 x 6 inches up to 16 x 20 inches.
The tempered glass surface sticks to the patented magnetic base. Strong circular magnets hold paper or dies in place while you cut or embellish. For papercrafters, the magnetic feature is a game changer.
Should I Get a Magnetic or Non-Magnetic Glass Mat?
Magnetic glass craft mats are ideal for papercrafters doing intricate die cuts, stenciling, and designs where magnets hold the materials firmly in place. But the magnets can limit working area on smaller mats. Popular brands like Glassboard Studio offer magnetic and non-magnetic glass mats.
Non-magnetic mats provide a larger uninterrupted workspace. These are great for mixed media work with paint, inks, glues, clay, and any materials where magnets aren’t needed. Tim Holtz and We R Memory Keepers make quality non-magnetic glass mats.
Consider your main crafting mediums and workspace needs. Both magnetic and non-magnetic glass mats can make excellent surfaces for arts, papercrafts, sewing, and diverse creative projects.
Glass Craft Mats: Frequently Asked Questions
What size glass craft mat should I get?
Standard sizes range from 6 x 6 inches for portability up to 24 x 36 inches for quilting and larger projects. The 12 x 12 size is great for card making. For a versatile home studio mat, the Tim Holtz Tonic mats around 15 x 23 inches are ideal.
Are glass cutting mats better than self healing mats?
It depends on your crafting needs. Glass mats excel for wet mediums and are stain resistant. Self healing mats are better suited for fabric cutting with rotary cutters. Many artists use both for different purposes.
How thick should a glass craft mat be?
Look for tempered glass around 3-5mm thick. Thinner glass could crack. Borosilicate glass mats for soldering and heat tools are usually 1⁄4 inch thick.
Can you cut fabric on a glass mat?
It’s better to use a self healing rotary mat to cut fabric since glass can quickly dull rotary cutter blades. But you can place fabric on glass mats for tasks like tracing and making embellishments. Use a self healing mat for the actual fabric cutting.
How are the magnets attached on magnetic glass mats?
These mats have a sheet of metal bonded to the underside of the glass. The included powerful neodymium magnets stick through the glass to the metal below. This allows you to hold paper, dies, stencils, and embellishments in place while crafting on the glass surface.
Discover the Perfect Glass Craft Mat for You
Glass crafting mats allow artists and crafters to work with wet or messy mediums while protecting workspace surfaces. From the iconic Tim Holtz designs to innovative magnetic mats, today’s options suit virtually any creative need.
Use this complete guide to help find the ideal glass craft mat for your projects in terms of size, features, and style. Your new mat will become a studio staple that makes crafting easier, cleaner, and more efficient for years to come.