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Cricut Joy Q&A

Cricut Joy has been all over the internet lately, and everyone either loves it or hates the idea of buying a new machine. So I thought it would be fun to share my unbiased opinions on all the most frequently asked questions. No BS, no personal preference, no sales pitches, just someone who owns a Maker and a Joy, telling you the truth about what you really want to know.

Cricut Joy has a unique app for simple labels, vinyl, Iron-On, and paper crafts without Design Space. To help get you started, here’s My Exact Guide To The New Cricut Joy App.

Cricut Joy first project tutorial

What does Cricut Joy do that other machines don’t? Is the only selling point the fact that it’s small?

Cricut Joy actually does do something the other machines do not. It is the first Cricut machine with the ability to cut Smart Materials without a mat. (More on Smart Materials later, and also in this post) No other machine in the Cricut family can cut without a mat.

And yes, Cricut Joy is much smaller, which is a huge selling point since it’s lighter and easier to store for people who live in small homes. It’s also the perfect beginner cutting machine because it really rocks at making simple and fast projets.

Can I use Smart Materials with my Cricut Maker or Explore?

You can, but there’s really no point in that. Smart Materials only work matless when you’re using a Cricut Joy, so in the event of use with a Maker or Explore, you’ll have to use a mat. The other machines don’t have the technology to cut without a mat.

Can I use regular Cricut vinyl with the Joy? I don’t want to go out and buy all new materials.

Yes! Any Cricut vinyl/iron-on/Infusible Ink will work with Cricut Joy, but you will have to use a mat. But no worries, a mat is included with your purchase of the Joy machine so you’ll have one on hand.

Can I use the Adhesive Backed Deluxe Paper with my Cricut Maker or Explore?

Yes! The adhesive backed paper under the Cricut Joy brand has to be used with a light grip mat, even with the Joy, so you can use it with any machine you’d like.

Can I use my existing Cricut Pens and Markers with Cricut Joy?

No, the old Cricut pens and markers will not work with Cricut Joy, and new Cricut Joy pens will not work with Cricut Makers and Explores. They are different sizes and will not fit in the slot correctly.

What do I get when I buy the Cricut Joy machine?

Inside you’ll receive one Cricut Joy machine, one power cord, one standard grip mat, one black pen (for Cricut Joy use only), setup instructions, and materials for your first trial project. This post shows you exactly what’s inside, and I included a video, too.

Do Cricut Insert Card Kits work with Maker & Explore?

Yes, the card kits can be used with any machine, however, in order to use the card designs in Cricut Design Space, you’ll need a Cricut Joy machine. There are ways to alter the design so it will work with other machines, but they take advanced techniques for users who are very comfortable with how Design Space works. I’m not currently teaching these methods because they require a lot more finagling than I believe is worth the effort.

Cricut Joy card tutorial

Can I use my own cards on the Cricut Joy Card Mat?

Yes! There are two sizes listed on the card mat (4.25″ x 5.5″ and 4.5″ x 6.25″) so as long as your blank cards are one of those sizes, you can use them with no problems at all. Just make sure they’re a medium thickness of cardstock. Very thin paper cards may not work. You can even make your own by cutting down cardstock you have into the size of the card, then scoring the middle for the fold.

Does Cricut Joy have other blades like the Maker does?

No, Cricut Joy is a machine for simple and fast projects, and does not have any other blades except the regular cutting blade.

regular vinyl with Cricut Joy

Can I use Cricut Joy with my smartphone or iPad?

Yes! You do not have to have a computer to use Cricut Joy. I typically use my Joy with my cell phone when I make quick birthday cards. I just swipe the design I like from Design Space, set the card up on the mat, and let it ride while I make my morning coffee.

Do I have to subscribe to Cricut Access to use Cricut Joy?

Nope! There are a lot of ready-made projects available in the Cricut Access subscription, so if you bought the Joy to save time for yourself, the Access plan is very worth it. But you don’t have to have it to use the machine. When you purchase your Cricut Joy you’ll get a free trial of Cricut Access, so I recommend using that trial and seeing if it’s something valuable to you.

For me personally, it is worth the money just because I have access to more fonts. (Here’s my fave fonts, and most are only available with Cricut Access.)

Where is the best place to buy Cricut Joy? Are they the same price everywhere?

You can buy Cricut Joy in all stores where other Cricut machines are sold, as well as on Amazon (this is the official link, watch out for third party sellers) and

My best advice is to grab a Bundle through Cricut’s official website. Bundles are discounted for current Cricut Access Subscribers, so you can get a whole starter kit of all the new materials, plus card kits and a card mat, for way cheaper than buying a la carte.


Cricut Joy setup guide

More Info On Cricut Joy & New Smart Materials

My Full Review Of Cricut Joy And Everything You Need To Know About It

A Breakdown Of What Smart Materials Are And How They Work

How To Set Up Your New Cricut Joy (And What’s In The Box)

Why Buy A Cricut Joy When I Already Have A Cricut Maker?

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Cricut Joy questions answered


  1. Susan Rogers

    My double sided paper keeps tearing when it cuts…. I’ve tried both light grip and medium grip mats. I have been choosing deluxe paper as the material on the joy…. any thoughts?

    • Lela Burris

      Hi Susan, there are a number of different problems that could be causing this. I suggest cleaning your Joy blade with a ball of aluminum foil to make sure it’s not sticky, then choose Washi Tape as the material setting since Adhesive Backed isn’t an option. The machine will associate Washi tape as a sticker and be a little more careful with the kiss-cut. Let me know if that works. If not, try contacting Cricut’s customer service.

  2. How do I write my own words on the vinyl

    • If you are using writable vinyl, you can use a Cricut Joy pen to have the machine write for you or you can hand write yourself. Visit Cricut’s YouTube channel to see a video on setting up written words in Design Space. One more tip, don’t use Gel Pens. They smear. Stick with the Joy Market Pens.

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