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Gaming Mats: Durability, Storage, Care and Repairs

X-Wing on Something Geeky space gaming mat

How durable are our Something Geeky gaming mats?

After we started making these space gaming mats, we wanted to perform an experiment to see how durable they are, and so we deliberately stored two of our 3×3 feet Asteroid Belt gaming mats “badly” to see how they fared.

Instead of storing the gaming mats with the image facing outwards like we recommend, (so that when you unroll them, the natural curve is towards the table which helps it to grip the table), we rolled them up with the image on the inside (so that they would naturally curl away from the table when unrolled), and instead of allowing it the space to “breathe”, we rolled the gaming mats up as tightly as we could, put a couple of tight elastic bands around the middle of them.

We then stacked a couple of boxes on top of the gaming mats as if they had been thrown into a wardrobe and forgotten, and left them there for around two months.

When we eventually retrieved them, as predicted the gaming mats were naturally trying to roll themselves back up, due to the curve now being away from the table rather than towards it.

In addition, the tight elastic bands and the addition of the stacked boxes on top had introduced grooves and slight scrunches into the shape of the material.

 

 

How to get rid of wrinkles from PVC gaming mats

We then tightly rolled the gaming mats back up the correct way round, with the images on the outside, and squeezed them roughly up and down their length for a few minutes in an attempt to tease out the crinkles and get the mats curving back towards the table instead of away from it.

X-Wing on Something Geeky space gaming mat

After only a few minutes, the gaming mats were flat enough to be usable for a game, although it was still possible to see the wrinkles from where the boxes had been stacked on top of them and the scrunches around the middle where the elastic bands had been.

X-Wing on Something Geeky space gaming mat

 

We wondered whether it would be possible to get rid of the wrinkles from the gaming mat completely by ironing them out, and so we decided to give it a try.

We didn’t have an iron in the factory unfortunately, so we decided to use one of our t-shirt presses that we use to cure the ink on our freshly-printed t-shirts.  These presses are essentially a rectangular ironing board and iron in a single device, where both the iron and the ironing board are the same size and shape, with a lever that allows you to press the “iron” half down onto the “ironing board” half.

We laid a blank t-shirt down on the base of the press, then the gaming mat on top, and then another t-shirt on top of that, (because we were scared it might melt – these presses are HOT) and activated the press for about 10 seconds.

When we retrieved the gaming mat, to our amazement the wrinkles had gone completely, and we were left with a pristine-looking mat.

So, if you’ve stored your gaming mat badly and have found that it has unwanted wrinkles, this is the solution.  Iron it.

Be careful not to put too much heat into it, and we would recommend that you put old unwanted t-shirts or blankets under and on top of the gaming mat while you iron it so that if it did actually melt, it wouldn’t ruin the iron too.

We probably wouldn’t recommend that you use towels for this protection, as the texture of the towel might transfer to the gaming mat when you iron it, but blankets or t-shirts should be fine.

OK, now for the results in photos:

Here’s the part we didn’t put in the press…

SPACE-GAMING-MAT-UNIRONED

 

 

…and here’s the part we did put in the press…

SPACE-GAMING-MAT-IRONED

 

 

As you can see, the part that we pressed is now completely wrinkle-free and good as new!

So in conclusion, don’t worry if your gaming mat gets wrinkled, as you’ll be able to iron it back into shape as long as you’re careful.

 

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