For the impatient:
All vinyls by HappyFabric can be cut without a cutting mat if they are big enough to fit under both white rollers because they have carrier that "replaces" the mat. The carrier gives the vinyl stability and prevents small pieces from falling into the cutter.
Especially when you are using leftover vinyl from other projects it is important to use a cutting mat. You can use the squares to position your vinyl exactly where it is shown in the software. The cutting mat will ensure that the vinyl is safely loaded and will not move.
When you try to figure out if you should use the cutting mat or not, it can be helpful to understand what the mat ist for.
How a Cutting Mat Works
- The cutting mat protects the cutter from the blade tip: If a material does not have a carrier (e.g. paper, cardboard, fabric), the blade cuts through the entire material. It is possible for the blade to cut or scratch the cutting strip (especially if the blade setting is too high)
- The cutting mat prevents small pieces form falling into the cutter. Imagine the cutter cuts small circles from a cardboard. As soon as those circles are no longer connected to the rest of cardboard, they would fall down into the plotter and you might not be able to get them out.
- The cutting mat stabilises the material: When you cut designs from small rests, the cutting mat will help load the material safely into the cutter, making sure it does not move out of place or get stuck. The lines on the mat also help finding the right position for the material.
Textile Vinyls are Special
All our flex and flock vinyls have a carrier. The carrier is not cut (at least it shouldn't be if everything is done correctly). Thus it fulfills the same functions as a cutting mat. Because of that our vinyls sheets and rolls can be cut without a cutting mat. But you should use a cutting mat for rests because of the reasons listed above.
With or Without a Cutting Mat?
To conclude: If you need a cutting mat or not depends on the type and size of the material you want to cut. If it's got its own carrier and fits underneath both rollers, it can be cut without a cutting mat.
How to load the cutting mat/material
Silhouette Portrait: Center the cutting mat between the two white rollers, then push the button "Load Cutting Mat". It's the button at the top that has a grid pattern. If you want to cut the vinyl without a cutting mat, center it between the rollers, then choose the "Load Media" button.
Silhouette Cameo: Align the cutting mat or the material with the blue line on the left side. Make sure to adjust the white roller on the right side to fit your mat's or material's size. You will need to turn the lever on the right side towards you (clockwise). Then hold the bar with one hand and twist the roller with the other until the pinchers are not in the notches. Slide the roller to the desired position and twist it so the pinchers are in the notches. Don't forget to turn the lever back.Once your material or the mat is in position, choose "Load Cutting Mat" or "Load Media" on the touchscreen.
Tip: Make sure to select the correct cutting mat format in the Silhouette Studio software.