Studio hack – Underlay

Studio Hack

Underlay may not necessarily be anything new to you (if it is, I’ll explain in a minute) but where to look for it for free may be. I love using underlay for cutting. The ability to cut fine fabrics with a minimal amount of hair pulling and swearing really appeals to me. Laying the fabric on paper really helps stabilize it and keep it from shifting, stretching and generally making cutting miserable. Just be sure to cut through the fabric and paper at the same time.

The problem is what to use. I am very stingy with my drafting paper as I no longer have the perfect contact for a free supply of end of the roll un-printed newsprint. I am also not in a position to buy paper specifically for underlay as was my boss’ case in my old job. So now what? There is old news papers and junk mail but it can leave ink behind though the glossy ads aren’t too bad for that. The tissue paper leftover from gifts is often too thin and unstable, it is best if the underlay is more stable then what you are cutting otherwise it isn’t much help. Sometimes I can use scrap tracing paper but only when the pieces are very small. What I found to be the best source of free underlay is the sheer abundance of packing paper included in many shipments. This week I received a package from Amazon and per usual the box it was shipped in was about 4 times bigger then the then the item in it; the rest was packing paper. I was going to recycle it till it dawned on me that it would make excellent underlay. Now I have many meters of free unlay of good weight and not bad width that won’t leave ink behind.

Underlay courtesy of

Underlay courtesy of