Hey so you just brought your first Cricut and you open the box to find that there are two different colored mats. Uh? What are these? you’re thinking…… Two mats? I’ve got this project in mind but which Cricut mat do I need? For this blog post I’m give you the complete guide to Cricut cutting mats. I’ll go over: What is a Cricut mat is? Which color mat cuts what? And answer those questions wondering about your head like “Which mat to use with which materials?” or “How do I clean my Cricut mat?” “What about Cricut Joy mats?” (yup there’s those too.) Once you have read this post you’ll be ready to get started on any project with complete confidence in what mat to use for which project.
What is a Cricut mat?
A “Cricut Mat” is the surface where you cut all of your projects. They are placed under your materials, and grip to them to stop them moving whilst they are being cut. The extent of ‘grippiness’ differs depending on the colour of the mat. They are also useful in that they help you measure your materials! (More on this later.)
Right now, there are four different types of mats available, Light Grip (blue), Standard Grip (green), Strong Grip (purple), and Fabric (pink).
Using the right mat is SO important for your Cricut project success. A cutting mat that isn’t sticky will cause your material to slide around causing mis-cuts of various sorts. Also, a cutting mat that IS sticky enough will make removing paper-based materials so much easier, because all of the little bits stay on the mat and your project doesn’t need weeding or fiddling about with.
*Cricut design space will not specify which mat you need for each project, so it’s important to get the hang of all this below 😊
Which color mat cuts what?
Green – this is the most common cutting mat and the cheapest to buy or replace. Think of this mat as the “regular” or generic cutting mat.
Use this mat to cut:
- Iron-on or also HTV (Heat transfer vinyl)
- Embossed Cardstock
Light Blue – this mat is used for your more delicate materials. It has a lighter grip and isn’t so sticky.
Use this mat to cut:
- Lightweight cardstock
- Common office paper
Purple – This mat has a really STRONG grip and is used for your more heavy duty cuts such as:
- Thick cardstock
- Glitter cardstock
- Magnetic material
- Fabric with stiffener
Pink – This speciality mat is used for fabric. Cricut even reminds you of this by adding a little paper sticker on the plastic protective cover. The adhesive on this one is different than the others and you don’t want to use paper on it. You will eventually ruin the mat if you do that.
- Crepe Paper
Cricut Joy Mats
The Cricut Joy uses 3 different types of mats. The first two look pretty similar to the ones we’ve discussed. The card mat is a bit different.
Lightgrip mat – blue – Use for thin materials like copy paper, adhesive vinyl, and iron-on.
Standard grip mat – green – Use for medium weight materials like glitter cardstock, Infusible Ink, glitter iron-on, corrugated cardboard
Card mat – you use this with insert cards. You can also use your paper and cut it the same size as the insert cards.
Cricut sell a brand of materials called ‘smart’ materials e.g smart vinyl or smart label, specifically for use with the Cricut Joy. When you purchase these you do not need to use a Cricut joy mat as they can be cut with out them. This is an awesome feature as now your Cricut joy projects wont be limited by the size or length of your mat!
If you’re in to cutting fabric (or card!), I’d recommend getting yourself a double-sided self- healing mat. You can use it for crafting on so you don’t wreck or damage your table. They come in one size – 18” x 24” and in two colours (mint and rose). One side comes with a pattern and the other had a grid with 30, 45 and 60 degree markings. This won’t go in your machine but it will save you wearing down your surfaces. Check out this one on Amazon
Protective cover – When you buy a mat, it will come with a protective plastic cover. Don’t throw this away! Keep it to one side when you are using your mat and re- cover it before storing it away to stop it collective dust and dirt.
The outer mat – (the surrounding, un-sticky area) Here, you’ll find the name of the mat you are working on, and the measurements in both cm and inches.
Inner mat – the sticky part. This is where you lay your projects before you cut them. It’s divided in to 1x1inch squares. This is great, because when you are going to cut something, you know exactly where your material is located. *Particularly handy if you have some little scrap pieces you want to use up.
Different Mat Sizes
All of the regular Cricut mats come in two different sizes. 12×12 inches (square) and 12×24 inches (rectangular). If you want to do a bigger project i.e. big pieces of fabric for a pillow case cover… choose a bigger mat!
For the Cricut Joy – The LightGrip and the StandardGrip mat come in two sizes 4.5 x 6.5 in and 4.5 x 12 in. When you’re cutting with a mat (blue or green), your design can’t be larger than 4.25 x 6.25/11.75 in. And when using the Card Mat, your design can’t be larger than 4.25 x 6 in 😊
How Do I Care For My Mat?
As with everything, love your mat and it’ll love you back. Follow a few simple steps to extend its life and save yourself money in the long run:
- Cover it after every use – use the protective cover to stop the dust and grime making it less sticky.
- Use mats with the right materials! – i.e. if you stick paper on a purple mat…it’ll be stuck. If this happens, be gentle and remove with care using your scraper tool.
- Clean your mats – before you get a new mat, try to clean it first. How? Here’s how…
How Do I Clean My Cricut Mat?
- Use the scraper – (to remove bits of paper)
- Lint roller – get one from the dollar tree. It’ll pick up all the little bits on the mat.
- Non-alcohol baby wipes – for a quick clean
- Soapy water – Use luke warm/cold water. Hot water can ruin your mats grip!
Let it air dry (completely) – voila!
Fabric mats require different care than other mats. With this –
1. DON’T use the scraper. The scraper will peel off the grip
2. DON’T use soap or water on this mat
3. DON’T touch the mat with your fingers
4. DO use the lint roller to pick up fabric – or transfer tape!
5. DO cover it after each use
Where Can I Buy A Cricut Mat? $$
Most of your local craft stores will supply Cricut mats. If you are looking to buy one online then I recommend Amazon.com or the official Cricut store. The price will depend on the type and size of your Cricut mat. This can range anywhere from $6 (for a Cricut joy card mat) to $22 for a large fabric mat. Items are also sold in packs, and are frequently on sale…so head to this Amazon link to see what’s available.
And that just about covers it! Thanks for reading and don’t forget to head to our free Svg library and grab a design for your next project! Jojo & Bella x
Check out more from my Blogs page for more must have information about cutting machine crafting ❤️