Product Review: rotating cutting mat

posted in: Traditional, Product reviews, Tools | 4

pinwheels-23Last year, I took advantage of a terrific sale and finally got an 12″ by 12″ Olfa Rotating Self-Healing Rotary Mat. I hesitated, wondering if I would like it, but I am pleased with how much I really do like it.

I hesitated buying it because years ago I had an earlier version of a rotating cutting mat. It was mounted on a turn table with ball bearings. I never really liked that one. First, it was noisy. Yes, it rotated effortlessly, but always with the sound of a myriad of little metal ball bearings rattling on the metal track. Second, the square cutting mat was mounted on a round base, making the corners unsupported so they always flexed downward when I pressed down with my rotary cutter. Not nice.

The new design is genius. The top and bottom parts are the same square size, so the corners are supported. The bottom piece has a hole in the middle, and the top has a corresponding circle glued to the underside. That circle fits neatly into the hole allowing you to easily (and quietly) turn the entire top, along with anything you have positioned on top. The two surfaces that touch are both polished to reduce drag. (Be sure the shiny side of the base is facing up. The other side of the base is foam, and it grabs the table so the whole thing doesn’t slip.)

This rotating cutting mat is the perfect tool to use when you need to square up a stack of blocks. I like to cut the right side and top edge. Then I rotate the mat and cut the other two sides.

The only thing that would have been better during this round of squaring up my blocks is if I actually had a rotary ruler that was the same size as my block. Yes, I know I don’t make traditional quilts often, so why would I have a square ruler? Nevertheless, I have a 3-1/2″, 4″, 4-1/2″, 5″, 6″, 6-1/2″, and so on. Notice something missing? Yes! The 5-1/2″ square ruler that would have made the entire process a breeze! Ah, well. This will probably be the only time I ever need a 5-1/2″ ruler, so I decided the 6″ square would work just fine. I just had to shift the ruler and realign everything a second time on each square.

4 Responses

  1. ellen

    I have this on my pull out board under my sewing machine and always hope that it will work for trimming, especially with paper piecing. But, it disappoints me. It doesn’t really turn easily and I end up having to hold the underside while trying to turn the top. Something flawed in the design, I’d say.

    • Maria

      Ellen, I haven’t had a problem with the underside turning. Is it slipping on the table? I wonder if you could put a piece of non-slip shelf liner under it ( The other thing to double check is to make sure the shiny side of the base is up. On mine, the bottom side is some kind of foam and I think it grips the table. Because the two pieces are not permanently attached, it would be easy for the base to get flipped.

  2. BJ

    Thanks for the review. I had wondered how useful/good that mat was. Getting reviews from those who actually have/use it really helps.

  3. susan o schaller

    Ellen, if u place the rotating mat on top of a larger Olfa mat it should stabilize it for you. They are a handy size to hold on your lap too. I put a cushioned June Tailor cutting mat underneath and work away while watching TV.