Cricut machines are fantastic for creating projects with precision and high accuracy. However, to ensure that each project turns out the way you want it to, it is important to use the appropriate Cricut mats.
There are several different types of Cricut mats available on the market, and they all share a common goal: providing a stable surface for your machine and materials.
In this post, we will discuss the differences between various types of Cricut mats and help you decide which Cricut mats to use for your specific project. First, let’s talk about why you need to use Cricut mats (or not).
Our article “Cricut Mats: Difference In Color, Size and How To Use” will answer your questions
What are Cricut Mats and When Should You Use Them?
A Cricut mat is a reusable, flexible cutting mat that is paired with your Cricut machine to cut a wide range of projects. These mats feature an adhesive surface that securely holds your materials in place during the cutting process. Once the cutting is complete, you can effortlessly remove the cut material from the mat and set it aside for future projects. Cricut cutting mats are available in various sizes and stickiness levels, ensuring a perfect fit for different materials and design requirements.
Different Types of Cricut Mats – Why the Variations?
Cricut offers mats in different colors and sizes to cater to the specific needs of various materials. Understanding the differences between these mats is crucial in selecting the right one for your machine and materials. Let’s delve into the details.
4 Mat Colors
Cricut cutting mats come in four different stickiness levels, each designated by its own color. Each mat among the four mats has a different amount of “stickiness” designed to work perfectly with different types of materials.
Green Mat: StandardGrip
The green StandardGrip mat is the most commonly used variant, providing a medium level of adhesive strength. It is suitable for a wide array of materials, including cardstock, vinyl, and patterned paper.
Blue Mat: LightGrip
The blue LightGrip mat offers a lighter adhesive strength, making it ideal for delicate materials such as lightweight paper, vellum, and thin cardstock.
Purple Mat: StrongGrip
Designed for heavyweight materials, the purple StrongGrip mat features the strongest adhesive. It is perfect for thick cardstock, chipboard, fabric with backing, and specialty materials requiring a secure hold during cutting.
Pink Mat: FabricGrip
The pink FabricGrip mat is specifically crafted for fabric and other fibrous materials. It ensures a gentle yet secure grip, allowing for precise cutting without damaging or distorting the fabric.
Cricut’s diverse range of mat options empowers users to achieve optimal results for their specific projects and materials. By choosing the appropriate mat, you can ensure successful and precise cuts every time.
Special Mat – Card Mat
For owners of the Cricut Joy machine, there is an additional unique mat available: the Cricut Joy Card Mat. This mat is perfect for cutting the front of folded greeting cards and can be used with either the special Joy Insert Cards or your own folded cardstock.
Cricut Mat Sizes – Which One Fits Your Machine?
Cricut mats come in various sizes to accommodate different models of Cricut machines. Here are the compatible mat sizes for each machine:
- Cricut Maker and Cricut Explore Machines:
- 12″ x 12″ mat with a maximum cutting area of 11.5″ x 11.5″
- 12″ x 24″ mat with a maximum cutting area of 11.5″ x 23.5″
- Cricut Joy Machine:
- 4.5″ x 6.5″ mat with a maximum cutting area of 4″ x 6″
- 4.5″ x 12″ mat with a maximum cutting area of 4″ x 11.5″
Selecting the appropriate mat size allows you to cater to your project’s requirements and maximize the capabilities of your Cricut machine.
What if Your Mat is Too Sticky?
If you encounter a brand new Cricut mat that is excessively sticky, there is a simple solution. “Conditioning” the mat can reduce its stickiness and make it easier to remove delicate materials. Gently pat the surface of the mat with a clean T-shirt, and the fibers from the fabric will stick to the adhesive, reducing the mat’s stickiness.
Placing Materials on the Mat
To ensure accurate cuts, it is crucial to place your materials correctly on the mat. Follow these tips:
- Check the orientation in the Design Space on your cutting mat screen, especially for paper projects. Align your paper vertically or horizontally according to Cricut’s indications to avoid ruining your cuts.
- Placement process:
- Align the corner of your material with the top-left corner of the mat.
- Smooth the material from left to right and from top to bottom.
- If available, use a Brayer tool to ensure firm adhesion of all parts to the mat. Alternatively, use your hand to ensure proper sticking if a Brayer tool is unavailable.
Removing Materials from the Mat
After your project is cut, it’s important to remove the material from the mat correctly to prevent tearing or curling. Follow these steps for safe removal:
For materials like paper and vinyl:
- Flip the mat upside down.
- Gently peel the mat away from your material, while keeping the material flat on the table with one hand.
- Apply gentle pressure to release the material smoothly. Avoid excessive bending or peeling, as it may damage the mat.
By following these guidelines, you can maximize the effectiveness of your Cricut mats, ensuring precise and successful projects every time.
Cutting without a Mat – Yes, it’s Possible!
Did you know that the latest Cricut machines allow cutting without a mat? The Cricut Maker 3, Explore 3, and Joy are all compatible with Cricut’s Smart Materials, eliminating the need for a mat. However, if you prefer to use mats or have the flexibility to choose, you can still opt for Smart Materials or traditional mats.
Proper storage of Cricut mats
The best way to extend the lifespan of your cutting mat is to store them correctly.
Remember that all mats come with a plastic cover? Always keep the cover in place on the mat after each use. Store the mats with the cover to protect them from dust or fabric fibers that may cling around your crafting area.
This will keep your mats clean and sticky for longer.
How long does a Cricut mat last?
While Cricut mats are not everlasting, proper maintenance can prolong their lifespan. Generally, a Cricut cutting mat lasts for approximately 40-50 uses before it begins to wear out and lose its adhesive properties. Cleaning the mat when it becomes dirty and taking steps to protect it after each use will help extend its longevity.
Cleaning Cricut Mats – Easy Maintenance Tips
If you notice that your materials are no longer sticking as well as before, it’s time to clean your cutting mat. Here are some easy ways to clean your Cricut mat:
- Lint roller: Use a new and gentle lint roller to remove residual materials from the mat’s surface after each project.
- Scraper tool: Utilize a Cricut scraper tool or an old plastic gift card to scrape off lint and debris from your cutting mat. Simply run the edge of the card across the mat’s surface to dislodge any remaining bits.
- Non-alcohol baby wipe: Gently wipe the mat’s surface with one or two non-alcohol baby wipes until it’s clean. Allow the mat to air dry completely before using it again.
- Warm water and mild soap: Rinse the mat with warm water and a drop of mild soap, then air dry it thoroughly before reuse.
When should you get a new mat?
If your mat becomes damaged, torn, or loses its adhesive entirely, it’s time to replace it. Some multipack cutting mat options are surprisingly affordable, making them a cost-effective solution compared to wasting your favorite vinyl on a non-functional mat.