The Cricut Maker has a rotary blade that offers a whole new cutting experience for fabric materials. As soon as I unboxed my machine I started cutting felt to make a floral wreath. This blade cuts like buttah! And the cuts! I've been amazed so far.
However, you'll notice that felt remnants start fuzzing up the mat almost immediately. This didn't bother me at first. I'm not terribly picky about how clean my mats are as long as the adhesive is still doing its work. And that's when the fuzz started worrying me. It decreased the adhesion enough that firmer felt started to pull away from the mat during cuts. And since I've been hearing from product experts that the fabric mat shouldn't be cleaned, I wondered how long it would be before the mat was unusable. Thankfully, I have yet to reach that point.
I have yet to receive or find Cricut instructions for cleaning up the lint. But in the meantime, here are a few tips to help minimize the Fuzz Problem.
Why I use the FabricGrip mat for felt
I asked a few of my fellow Cricuters about this problem and got a few different suggestions. Why use the FabricGrip mat if felt makes it linty? Some feedback was if you don't like a linty fabric mat, don't use the fabric mat (you know, the whole “if it hurts when you do that, don't do that” thing). A couple suggested using different mat because felt isn't fabric. I don't happen to agree—I've always thought of felt as a type of fabric. Plus, felt is usually soft and pliable like fabric, and that pliability is exactly what the pink fabric mat is supposed to work best on.
But more importantly in my mind? When you begin your cut in Design Space, the default setting for felt calls for the rotary blade. So, Design Space tells you to use the rotary blade, and since according to the Cricut web site you should only use the rotary blade on the fabric mat, the logical conclusion is that felt should be cut on a fabric mat.
Tips for using felt on your FabricGrip Mat
- Try not to touch the adhesive area with your hands. The oils on our skin reduce the effectiveness of the adhesive. Cricut recommends using the broad-tipped tweezers to pull up fabric. So far I've found that if I'm careful when I apply the fabric, I can just use my fingernail to pluck up enough fabric to peel off the cut.
- Use a dedicated mat for felt, and a separate mat for other fabrics. This will keep a mat more pristine for other fabrics.
- Consider using a higher quality felt. The cheaper felt I bought at Hobby Lobby glopped up my mat MUCH more than the felt I used from the Cricut shop. I also found that the felt I purchased at Joann didn't deposit as much lint.
- If there's a fuzzier side to the felt, make sure it's fuzzy side up on the mat. I noticed that some of the felt I had on hand has a slightly stiffer, almost waxy, side. When I put that side down on the mat, it transferred less fuzz.
- My last tip is one I haven't tried personally yet, but in one of the Facebook groups I'm a member of, a person identifying themselves as a Cricut product manager also suggested that you put transfer tape on the mat. So you'd put the transfer tape in the 12×12 cutting space and remove the backing so you could use the transfer tape as your sticky surface. Then it's the tape getting gunky with lint, not your mat. Just remove the tape when it's lost its stick.
Some other FabricGrip mat tips
- It's designed for use with the rotary blade, but can also be used with the bonded fabric blade. Note that the rotary blade should be used only on the pink FabricGrip mat. It's made of a thicker plastic that's designed to stand up to the pressure of the rotary cuts.
- Is your fabric bigger than the adhesive area? Just use a rotary cutter to trim it! After all, this mat is designed to be cut on!
- Make sure your fabric is smoothed down on the mat with not lumps or bubbles. The Cricut help page suggests using a brayer, rolling pin, or cardboard tube to help smooth the fabric onto the adhesive. If I'm working on a relatively clean surface, I flip the mat over and press it down so I can rub the material without getting my hands on the adhesive.
- If using the fabric pen, put your fabric pattern side down to make it easier to see fabric pen markings.
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