A rotary cutter is a wonderful tool to use for cutting fabric strips. It may be used for cutting other shapes and patterns as well. Rotary cutters save cutting time and are easier on the person cutting. If cutting with shears hurts your hands, a rotary cutter can help. Some cutters have curved handles to make the cutting process less stressful on the hand and wrist.
Rotary cutters must be used on a specially designed cutting mat with a self-healing surface. This special surface allows the cutter to cut on it without leaving ridges that will interfere when the next cutting is done. Cutting on other surfaces will damage the cutter and the surface.
Cutting mats can be as small as 6" square or as large as a whole table. Small mats are perfect for use when attending a class where a cutting mat is necessary. Larger mats are best stored on a flat surface to prevent warping. Some of the very large mats are made to roll and will lie flat even after being rolled up for long periods of time. Never iron on your cutting mat; heat will warp it.
Some mats have printed horizontal and vertical measuring lines to help make quick measuring decisions. These grid lines also help align fabric perpendicular to the cutting tool.
Be very careful when using a rotary cutter so you don't cut your fingers. This type of cut can be very serious as the blade on the cutter is as sharp as a razor blade. Always cut away from your body and keep the holding hand firmly on the cutting guide, but away from the blade. Close the blade when finished with the cutter, even if only for a few minutes. Rotary cutters are dangerous when not used correctly or when placed in the wrong hands. Store your cutter where small children cannot reach it.