You dreamed of all the labels, cards, tags, and decals you can make with Cricut Joy for weeks, but how many accessories you actually need to start creating is less obvious, maybe even overwhelming. This buyer’s guide is for Cricut fans of all experience levels, even total beginners, so you can know the best place to buy, the most essential supplies, and the most useful projects to start with.
For the newest beginner-friendly way to get started with labels, Iron-On, vinyl, and paper crafts, read My Exact Guide To the New Cricut Joy App.
Where To Buy Cricut Joy
Cricut has done a great job at getting the new Joy machine into all major craft retailers like Michaels, JoAnns, and Hobby Lobby, as well as other stores that sell Cricut products like Walmart, Target, and Costco. Even QVC, HSN, and Overstock have it in stock!
While Cricut Joy can be purchased at any of those locations (and more!) I recommend buying directly from Cricut.com. The reason is because Cricut’s website has BUNDLES! If you’re a total newbie to Cricut products, you probably don’t have anything you’ll need. By taking advantage of bundled packages, you will start out on the right foot and avoid the overwhelm of accessory and supply shopping.
Bundles sell out quickly, but get restocked often, so if the one you want is sold out at the moment, you can click “notify me” to get an email when it’s back in. Or you can buy everything individually if you don’t want to wait. I’ll go over everything you should buy to get started later in this post.
What’s In The Box?
When you buy Cricut Joy, the box comes with the actual Joy machine, cutting blade, a Standard Grip Mat, a black fine point pen, power cord, setup instructions, and a piece of vinyl and cardstock to do your first test project.
Accessories You Should Buy Now
Cricut Joy has an entirely new suite of products, which can make choosing what to start with a bit overwhelming. Here’s my opinion on what you actually need to buy first.
1. Light Grip Mat. Your Cricut Joy will come with a Standard Grip Mat, which is great for vinyl and Infusible Ink, but it’s not so great for paper. I suggest ordering a Light Grip Mat at the same time you order your Cricut Joy because you’ll use it a LOT.
2. More Pens. Your Cricut Joy will come with one black pen, but in my opinion, that’s not enough to get started. Pen sets are available in various color schemes and thicknesses from fine point pens to thicker markers. You should definitely buy at least one pen set. **Regular Cricut Pens do NOT work with Joy.
3. Smart Vinyl, Iron-On Vinyl, and Smart Labels. This will be based on what you actually want to do with your Cricut Joy, but you should at least buy a few rolls of the materials you plan to use since it doesn’t come with any. If you already have some Cricut products at home, I still suggest buying some Smart Materials because you’ll LOVE not having to use a mat. More info on Smart Materials in this post.
4. Tool Set (if you’re a total beginner). If you don’t have ANY Cricut tools at all, you NEED the tool set. It’s pretty much a non-negotiable. It’s exactly the same as Cricut’s other tool sets though, so if you already have basic Cricut tools at home, skip this set. The only difference is the color.
5. Card Inserts & Card Mat. Even if you don’t think you’ll make cards, I guarantee you will want to make a thousand of them after you try it just once. The Card Insert Kits are so addictive, and there are a ton of designs to choose from. You can make a card in just 5 minutes or less, which means you’ll never pay for cheesy overpriced cards again.
6. Transfer Tape. If you’re a beginner, Transfer Tape is essential for transferring vinyl to surfaces. But if you’re already an owner of Cricut’s regular Transfer Tape, don’t buy the Joy branded tape. It’s the same as what you already have.
Accessories To Skip And Buy Later
1. Travel Tote. Unless you plan on traveling with your Cricut Joy often, I suggest skipping on the Travel Tote for now. You can always buy it later if you decide you want to take it along with you.
2. Infusible Ink. If you’re a total beginner, Infusible Ink can be a little scary. It requires a bit more skill, has more application steps, and also requires the use of an iron. I suggest you start with simple vinyl and paper projects until you’re ready to graduate to bigger and more complex projects.
3. Extra Blade. Cricut does have extra blades available, and while it seems like a good idea to have a backup, it’s not really necessary. The blades last a long time, and if you notice your cuts aren’t as smooth as they used to be, then you can order a blade or just run to Walmart and grab one while you’re picking up another gallon of milk.
What To Make First
There are tons of projects in Design Space that you can click and create in minutes with no customization at all, and those are wonderful to get started with. Or you can hop in Design Space and play around with the options to make something unique.
Here are a few things I suggest for Cricut Newbies to try first with Cricut Joy:
**Links will open Cricut Design Space**
- Pantry Labels by The Homes I Have Made (with Smart Label)
- Water Bottle Decal (with Smart Vinyl)
- “Just Because” Card (with Card Insert Kit)
- Storage Tote Labels (with Smart Label)
- Luggage Tag (with Smart Iron On Vinyl)
- Backpack Contact Name & Number (with Smart Iron On Vinyl)
- Message Board Magnets (with Smart Vinyl)
- Monthly Planner Tabs (with Adhesive Backed Deluxe Paper)
Learn More About Cricut Joy
Want to learn more about Cricut Joy? Here’s my full review to find out everything about the machine and why it’s awesome. Once you’ve purchased it, here’s my guide to set it up. And when you’re shopping for products, this guide explains what Smart Materials are and what they do.
And for more detailed info, this Q&A post answers all the biggest Cricut Joy questions. And finally, if you already have a Cricut Maker and you’re not sure if a Joy is worth the investment, this post walks you through the Maker vs Joy comparison.
Want More Craft Room Setup And Organization Tips?
My workshop-style e-course, The Organized-ish Craft Room, is reopening soon! I’ll teach you how to plan, organize, and maintain the craft space of your dreams, even if all you have is a corner in your kitchen. Enrollment for the spring semester is limited, so join the waitlist now to secure your spot and be the first to know when the doors open.
Now Get Creative
This post may be a clearer road map for navigating the Cricut universe, but it’s up to you to start. Be sure to drop a comment below and tell us how you’re using your new machine, because we go crazy for projects around here. (Really. We will break out the pom-poms if we feel like it).