Ken Oliver Crafts “Best Ever Craft Mat” Review

Ken Olover Crafts Video #715: Looking at this product from a Polymer Clay perspective… some great features… but there is one issue you need to be aware of.

In this video I will do a review of the Ken Oliver Crafts “Best Ever Craft Mat” Extra Large Table Cover (24″ x 36″) for use with polymer clay and other mixed media art supplies.

This extra large Best Ever Craft Mat is quite unique in the marketplace. Most craft mats are much smaller, in the range of 13″ x 16″ at the largest.

This mat is used to protect your work surface from heat tools, paints, inks, waxes, polymer clay, glues, sprays, solvents etc.

Features include:  24″ x 36″ extra large size (smaller 16.5″ x 15″ also available); light gray surface; non-stick; non-skid; non-porous;  heat resistance up to 480F; heavy duty; wrinkle resistant.

After using this mat for a few days I found some interesting results. The non-skid surface definitely has some Pros and Cons.

The Pros are that nothing slides around on it. The surface alwys lies flat and doesn’t move around or wrinkle when working on it. It is completely impervous to any mixed media supplies you might use with polymer clay.

The Cons are that because nothing slides on it… dirt, lint, hairs, and dust stick to it like a magnet! And then when you roll a raw piece of polymer clay across the mat surface, your clay will pick up every little bit of dirt and lint. So… although you can set polymer clay on it without worry of it leaching or damaging the surface underneath the mat, it is not an ideal surface to work with your polymer clay, unless of course you really love dirty clay.

It is however an amazing product for working with any mixed media art supplies. I show in this video several examples of supplies that I use with polymer clay all the time. You can place, spread, spill and even heat set all kinds of stuff on this mat… and then simply wipe away any messes that are left behind… with just a wet wipe.

The supplies I tested included, Hot Glue, Weldbond Glue, acrylic paint, Distress Crackle Paint, Gelato Pigment, Vintaj Patina Ink (Not Pinata Ink like I said though that would work too.), Heidi Swapp Color Shine Spray, Sharpie Marker, Stazon Permanent Ink, all heat set with a Martha Stewart Embossing Heat Gun.

Also, you can’t cut your polymer clay on this mat because you will end up slicing through it with your blades.

Overall, I think that the perfect work surface combination of products would include both the “Best Ever Craft Mat” to protect your table top or bench top… along with a We-R-Memory Glass Cutting Mat on top, for doing your actual polymer clay work. The We-R glass mat won’t act like a magnet for lint-dust-pet-hair… and you can measure and cut your clay on it. Then, the “Best Ever Craft Mat” will protect the surface underneath.

Blitsy Craft Supplies

Do you have any suggestions for videos on tips, techniques or products you would like to learn more about? Let me know in the comments section below!

My goal is to help you to learn quicker and easier ways to bring up the professionalism in your polymer clay art.

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Looking forward to hearing from you!

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor
  1. Chrissie F, 11 January, 2016

    Thanks, Cindy for another thorough review. This mat looks to be ideal for those who either work on surfaces that need protection or on surfaces like plastic that are not compatible with PC. Maybe not so good for those with cats around! It would make a terrific lint remover for clothing LOL.

    The size is impressive. It leaves lots of space for tools, paints, inks etc without fear of spills on the polished dining table :-) It will be interesting to see in a few months how it has held up to regular use.

  2. Cindy Lietz, 11 January, 2016

    Judging by the quality of the mat, I am guessing it will fair well over time Chrissie, but of course only time will truly tell. Thanks for your comment!

  3. Dixie Ann, 15 January, 2016

    I love the size of this mat and after doing some research I find it a little hard to justify paying almost $50 for something I can buy identical to it for $12.99 on Amazon. Both mats claim to do the same identical things but the price difference is enough to stop me cold. But, thank you Cindy for bringing this to our attention and if not for the price I would have seriously thought about ordering one.

  4. Cindy Lietz, 17 January, 2016

    Hi Dixie Ann, I got my mat on sale at Blitsy (see link above). I think it was only around $30 or so for the large one, which seemed reasonable. I just checked and I see they only have the smaller 15 x 16.5 one for $13 and the larger one is sold out.

    With the one that you say is identical, is it really impervious and the same size, or is it something more like the Ranger one? There would be a wide range of qualities between the different types of mats…. which I am beginning to realize.

    I can totally see how this mat would not be for everyone, nor in everyone’s budgets, but if I end up buying something (or someone sends me something) that is related to my studio life, I think it is a good idea to share that with everyone. In this case, even if it only helps you to choose not to buy something, than it is helpful information.

    Thanks for your feedback!

  5. Dixie Ann, 17 January, 2016

    Hi Cindy, I wholeheartedly agree with you on that. You bring our attention to so many products we wouldn’t know were out there that are so beneficial to a lot of us. I checked on Blitsys site and the price they listed was $49.99 and out of stock. I really would like to have one since I have one of those molded plastic tables and everything seems to stain them. The $12.99 mat was on Amazon and was the same size and same properties and also claimed to do the same as the mat you demonstrated. Rangers mat was also listed on the same page for $54.00. It’s not unusual to find similar products with a huge difference in price. Someone is always going to offer a similar product at a lower price and who doesn’t want a bargain!

  6. Cindy Lietz, 18 January, 2016

    I am totally with you on that Dixie Ann!

  7. Dixie Ann, 18 January, 2016

    So on further investigation into the $12.99 mat, it definitely is not the same quality as Ken Olivers or Rangers 24×36″ mat even though it is the same size it does not qualify on the heat degree range for baking. Without this feature I would hesitate to invest even that cheaper amount. So always do your research regardless and buyer always beware. If Blitzy ever gets this back in stock I am on their list for one.

  8. Cindy Lietz, 19 January, 2016

    Thanks for letting us know Dixie Ann!

  9. Pamela Northcott, 16 January, 2016

    Oh dear, another great looking item that I can’t seem get in Australia!!

  10. Dawn B, 16 January, 2016

    Whoa. That would have been perfect for the long weekend when I had a friend’s three young girls staying with us. We had polymer clay all over the kitchen table (you can still see the marks in the wood). My regular work table is just 30″ x 30″ so I may check out the smaller sizes.

    Thanks for the demo Cindy!

  11. Cindy Lietz, 17 January, 2016

    Sounds like something like this would work perfectly for you. Thanks for commenting!

  12. Terry D, 18 January, 2016

    Are you able to use your tissue blades to cut PC on this mat? Is there any scarring, etc? I wonder if there isn’t a way to remove the static quality of this mat so it doesn’t attract dust, etc.

  13. Dixie Ann, 19 January, 2016

    Terry D. I personally like the idea of it collecting the dust. That way it stays off my clay and I only use the ceramic or glass cutting board when cutting things. Using a sharp blade on any mat will eventually make marks or tiny cuts and then these will collect more dust, hairs, etc: It doesn’t make sense to me to spend so much money for a good mat and then subject it to a sharp blade.

  14. Cindy Lietz, 20 January, 2016

    Yeah you don’t want to cut on these mats Terry. Though unlike Dixie Ann, I too wish that the top side of these mats were more slippery. My ideal mat would be the same size and quality, with a non-skid back and a slippery back. Then with the glass mat on top, it is perfect!

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