Introduction: DIY Silhouette Cutting Mats

I just started using a Silhouette Portrait cutting machine and am enjoying exploring the possibilities. The main thing I need is more cutting mats. They wear out too fast and having several mats allows you to arrange multiple sheets while more are being cut. However, mats aren't cheap ($12.99 on silhouette website). In this project I will show you how to make your own for much less, and compare two different types of adhesives.

Step 1: Materials

  • Plastic place mat- 12" by 17" used to make 2 mats
  • Elmer's Craft Bond multi-purpose spray adhesive
  • Elmer's Craft Bond repositionable glue stick
  • Scissors
  • Masking tape
  • Permanent marker
  • Straight edge
  • Silhouette Portrait cutting mat and machine

Step 2: Prep Mats

  • Use a straight edge and marker to mark the center of the mat and cut in two along the line.
  • Using the original cutting mat as a guide trace the cutting area on each mat. Cutting area is 3/4" from top and bottom and 1/2" from each side.
  • Tape the edges with masking tape along the lines marking the cutting area. Leave the cutting area clear.

The place mat I bought measured 12" by 17" which will make two 8.5" by 12" mats. This is smaller than the silhouette mat, 9" by 13.5". This size will still fit the Silhouette Portrait machine with a slightly shorter cutting length. If desired a full sized mat can be cut out; I made two for comparison of the adhesives.

Step 3: Apply Adhesive

  • Evenly coat one mat with the spray adhesive. Hold the mat by a corner and do not spray near anything that you do not want covered in glue.
  • Evenly coat one mat with the glue stick. Make sure there are no missed spots.
  • Allow to dry for an hour or more.
  • Repeat.
  • Remove tape.

Step 4: Results

Both adhesives worked, but were definitely different.

The spray adhesive had a bubbly texture which smoothed after the paper was removed. The spray adhesive was stickier and edges of the paper stuck to the mat. This can be an issue with new mats from silhouette as well. Blotting a few times with a t-shirt prior to using the first time may help.

The glue stick had a smooth texture and the paper came off easily. There was a slight adhesive residue on the cut paper that may pose a problem with some projects. The mat made with the glue stick does not have as strong a hold and I do not believe will last as long.

To me the spray adhesive was the clear winner. It held firmly and did not leave a residue on the paper. A little prep should prevent the paper from sticking. Hope this project will allow you to make new cutting mats and use the Silhouette Portrait to its full potential.