How do you solder your strips? I am fairly new to soldering, and have struggled a bit with soldering wires to the ends of APA102 strips as well as splicing and re-soldering (needed to remove bad leds) portions of strips back together. I dislike using helping hands or soldering stations with clips. I have tried laying two spliced strips together to solder them to each other on various surfaces. Some dissipate heat too quickly and other surfaces just melt.
What is a good surface to place strips on when soldering them to each other or to wiring? Are soldering mats good for this?