Cutting Mat Board?

Is it possible to laser cut mat board from Dollar Tree for making mat board for picture framing?

I am sure you can cut it, but the edges will always burn some with any laser and I think you will end up with soot getting everywhere. For some things you can get it damp and the steam reduces the burn a bit, but not paper or cardboard that I have ever seen and colored paper will bleed when it gets wet.

Only maybe if everything is black or dark brown including the core of the mat board and you pretty much never touch the edges after they are cut…

Just my opinion, but I would not think it is likely to have a good outcome…

Thanks Corey, pretty much what I thought, but had to check…

I cut press board for a scrap board on the 3018’s, which stinks to high heaven… Don’t believe it to be toxic, but it requires major ventilation.

I don’t know what the ‘mat’ board is, so It’s difficult to guess… Make it a habit to check toxicity before you cut…

Let us know… with some pictures… :rofl:

Good luck


True by definition, but it may not be as bad as you think.

Some layered-paper “coasters” done as a test while tinkering the code to generate the shapes:

Even up close, the edges look OK (to me, anyhow):

I made a bunch of chipboard (a.k.a. “beer mat”, roughly equivalent to picture mat) coasters with good-enough edges. This one reminded me to pay attention to the thickness:

These coasters came from one-side-white chipboard colored with rattlecan paint before cutting:

The trick is to cut the sheet with its “good side” down, air assist, and, perhaps, perch it up on spikes to avoid fume fires underneath:

That’s MDF up there, but chipboard is similarly flat and rigid.

Those look fantastic. Much better than I would have thought. :ok_hand:

It sounds like YMMV for the specific board you pick. I was thinking of picture border mat that is about 1-2mm thick and sometimes has a solid color outer layer with a white inner core. That are made of compressed paper board. At least the ones I was thinking of. I have not had a lot of luck with something that thick not leaving burn marks. Thinner paper like illustrated above comes out much cleaner for me.

Really neat and innovative look you have accomplished. :grinning:

Thanks for sharing.

The chipboard is about 1.5 mm and I sometimes give the edge a quick wipe to remove any char, with some attention to not smearing too much on the front surface. Of course, beer mat doesn’t have a white core which would surely be the worse for wear.

A friend asked “Don’t you have enough coasters already?”, but I use 'em as test cases to verify cuts and code. The scrap pile doesn’t look nearly as good … :grin:

How do these hold up to moisture? Is the only moisture protection from the paint?

Poorly. :grin:

They’re not exactly single-use, but ordinary condensation is enough to warp them pretty badly after a while. The paint helps, but any water / tea / milk slopped on the surface seeps into the joints and has its way with the chipboard.

I tried sticking the cut layers to cork bases, but that’s definitely in the nature of carefully putting lipstick on a pig. :lipstick:

For waterproof, you gotta go hardcore:

Or encase smashed glass in epoxy and acrylic:

So. Many. Coasters. :person_shrugging:


@ednisley those are some pretty incredible coasters! One thing to keep in mind is that the lower quality mat boards won’t hold up to laser cutting as well as higher quality ones (as is the case with a lot of materials). I’ll include a link to a resource for the different types of mat board but here are some additional things I’d recommend before cutting.

  1. Buy a few extra mats for trial/test cuts so that you can dial in power and cutting speed
  2. Try air assist (if your cutter has it)
  3. Believe it was mentioned but you can also try a backing material which may help
    Hope these help and happy cutting!