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Cricut Joy Guide – Everything You Need To Know

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Hello Daydreamers!

In today’s article, we are going to be covering everything you need to know about the Cricut Joy before you hit that buy button.

But, before we get started, what is the Cricut Joy?

The Cricut Joy is a small home cutter machine that allows you to cut and draw on various materials, including vinyl, cardstock, deluxe paper, etc. Due to its small size and ease of use, you can bring it to any area of your home and craft with ease.

Cards, labels, and decals are some of the projects you can make with this tiny device.

Don’t be fooled by its size!

The Cricut Joy has a lot of features the other Cricut Machines don’t have at the moment, like being to make cards in less than five minutes with the CardMat and cut without a Cricut Mat.

If you want a quick answer, of whether this machine is worth it or not, I think the Cricut Joy is worth it, especially if you already own a Maker or Explore machine.

Daydreamintoreality.com Author holding the Cricut Joy.

Are you ready to see all about the Cricut Joy and the line of products and accessories that go along with it?

But before we get going, I want to let you know that I purchased all the products and materials you see in this article. This article is NOT sponsored.

If you’ve read any of my other articles, you know I like to hold my products in my hands, and I don’t want to ramble about something I haven’t tried myself.

Cricut Joy Unboxing

Cricut’s packaging is always top-notch, and with the Cricut Joy, they did a great job.

Depending on where you bought the machine, it’ll come on a regular brown box, once you open it, you’ll find the fancy packaging.

Cricut Joy original packaging.

Inside the box, you’ll find:

  • Cricut Joy Machine with the fine point blade and housing.
  • Electric Cord
  • Welcome Envelope
  • Black Pen. 0.4 mm.

Inside the Cricut Joy, you’ll find the blade and housing is already installed. And inside the welcome envelope, you’ll find some smart adhesive vinyl and a small piece of paper to do a practice project.

Although not inside the box, the Cricut Joy comes with over 50+ Free Projects, where you only need to press a button to make right away.

Call me nerd, but I actually went and count the number of FREE PROJECTS, and there were over 100 of them, I don’t know if the number will stay the same, so make sure to check it out.

Cricut Joy Specifications

The Cricut Joy, although little it offers terrific things that even some of the bigger machines can’t even do.

Are you ready to find out about all of the features this little tool has?

  • Weight: 3.9 lbs
  • Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 4.2 inches (In the box).
  • Cuts over 50 materials.
  • Built-in Bluetooth (You need a device with a Bluetooth connection to operate it)
  • Cuts “Smart” materials without a Cricut Mat
  • Draw on different types of materials, including “Smart writing vinyl.”
  • Cuts a single image up to 4.5 in x 4 ft long or repeated cuts up to 20 ft long.
  • Use offline from a desktop computer or an iOS device.
  • Portable and ready to go. You can take it to a friend’s home and craft with ease.
  • Make cards in as little as five minutes.
  • Free Design Space app with the opportunity to upload your images.
Purple Gel Pen installed on Cricut Joy.

Cricut Joy Set up & First Project

One of the things I love the most about Cricut as a company is that they include a first practice project with your machine.

This practice project is a little bit different than the other ones I’ve seen. They included two different materials, a piece of smart vinyl and some cardstock.

However, in the instructions, there was just one option to cut the smart vinyl.

To do the practice project first, you need to connect your machine to your desktop computer or your phone via Bluetooth and install Cricut Design Space.

Tip: I have a youtube video for the setup process if need a little help with it!

I was so impressed with how the Cricut Joy cut without the mat! The cutting process was very smooth.

I placed the little bear on this small container, and I think it’s adorable.

With the paper, I decided to cut and write a small snowflake!

Isn’t it adorable?

Cricut Joy First Impression Video

If you want to see all of the first impressions of the Cricut Joy, make sure to check out my youtube video!

Don’t forget to hit that subscribe button!

What can I cut with the Cricut Joy?

The Cricut Joy can cut over 50+ materials. Most of these are different types of paper and vinyl.

Still, 50 is a significant number considering the size of this machine.

Front side of the Cricut Joy

Here’s a list with some of the materials the Cricut Joy can cut.

  • Corrugated Cardboard
  • Flat Cardboard
  • Foil Posterboard
  • Glitter Cardstock
  • Medium Cardstock
  • Insert Card (Cricut Joy product)
  • Everyday Iron-On
  • Glitter Mesh Iron-On
  • Holographic Iron-On
  • Smart Iron-On
  • Cricut Infusible Ink
  • Smar Iron-On Glitter
  • SportFlex Iron-On
  • Faux Leather (Paper-thin)
  • Adhesive Deluxe Paper
  • Foiled Embossed Paper
  • Pearl Paper
  • Smart Label Writable Paper
  • Sparkle Paper
  • Shimmer Paper
  • Adhesive Vinyl
  • Dry Erase Vinyl
  • Chalkboard Vinyl
  • Premium Vinyl (frosted, holographic, etc.)
  • Party Foil
  • Window Cling

What can I make with the Cricut Joy?

There are multiple projects you can make with this tiny machine, here’s a list with a few things you can make.

  • Labels for organizing your kitchen and other areas of your home
  • Cutting vinyl for large horizontal decals
  • Decals for your phone and other small areas
  • Cards for any occasion in less than 5 minutes.
  • Personalize cubbies, school supplies, backpacks, etc.
  • T-shirts with Iron-On and Infusible Ink

Cricut Joy Accessories

The Cricut Joy has some cool accessories that go great together. Most of these accessories are vital, and you need them at all times.

Cricut Joy Blade

The Cricut Joy has one single blade called “Fine Point Blade.”

This blade and housing are different from all of the other blades that Cricut has for other machines, and it’s quite tiny.

If you are new to the Cricut world, you need to know that the entire blade is made out of two parts.

One is the blade, and the other one is the housing.

The bade housing is what keeps the blade in place, and what you install on your machine. The blade is at the bottom of the housing.

If your blade isn’t performing as well as it was when you first purchased your machine, you only need to buy a replacement blade. There’s no need to buy a new blade housing.

Installing Fine Point Blade on Cricut Joy
Installing Blade on Cricut Joy

The housing is available to purchase separately as well, but you don’t need it unless it breaks or you lose it.

To change the blade, you need to press the little plunge on the housing and remove it. Then carefully pick up the replacement blade and insert it.

Learn more about all of the Cricut Blades in this guide I wrote.

Cricut Joy Mats

Cricut Mats are sticky surfaces were you place your materials to keep them stable and secure while your machine cuts them.

With the Cricut Joy, materials labeled with the word “Smart” don’t need a Cricut mat. However, other materials like cardstock and regular vinyl need a mat to be cut.

The Cricut Joy has three different types of mats.

  • LightGrip Mat – Blue: Use for thin materials like copy paper, adhesive vinyl, and iron-on.
  • StrandardGrip Mat – Green: Use for medium weight materials like glitter cardstock, Infusible Ink, glitter iron-on, corrugated cardboard
  • Card Mat: Use with insert cards. You can also use your paper and cut it the same size as the insert cards.

The LightGrip and the StandardGrip mat come in two sizes 4.5 x 6.5 in and 4.5 x 12 in.

Note: When you’re cutting with a mat (blue or green), your design can’t be larger 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.

Learn more about Cricut Mats in this guide I wrote.

Cricut Joy Pens

Cricut Joy Pens are specifically designed to fit the machine; therefore, they can’t be used with any other of their devices.

They have a wide variety of colors and styles, including:

  • Gel Pens
  • Glitter Pens
  • Metallic Markers
  • Infusible Ink Pens & Markers

All of these pens (except infusible ink) can be used on “Smart Writable Vinyl” to make labels for organizing your pantry, spice drawer, kids’ toys, etc.

I have a guide about Cricut Pens (when using the bigger machines) where you can learn the overall use in Cricut Desing Space.

Also, if you are new to Cricut, you may want to read my Infusible Ink guide.

Cricut Joy Starter Tool Set

If this your first machine, I highly recommend you get a starter tool set to help you weed and lift up your projects from your mat.

This set has three different tools:

  • Weeder: Essential for weeding (removing negative parts) vinyl projects.
  • Spatula: Perfect for removing delicate cuts from the mat, especially when using the Card Mat.
  • Scraper: very versatile tool that can help you smooth out materials on the Cricut mat and clean it. The scraper is handy when trying to adhere to vinyl cuts to transfer tape.
Cricut Joy Starter tool set. Weeder, Spatula and Scrapes.

There are other sets with more advanced tools for weeding. You should check them out if you are planning on working a lot with viny.

Cricut Joy Storage Bag

If you plan to take your Cricut on the go, so you can craft with friends and family, you may want to invest in their storage bag.

It’s not necessary at all if you plan on keeping your machine at home.

Cricut Joy Materials

I define a Cricut Material as the “raw material” you feed to your machine to create a new project with some of the Cricut Accessories I mentioned right above.

Cricut Joy Insert Cards

Insert Cards are one of my favorite products Cricut has!

The insert cards, along with the Card Mat, take cardmaking to a whole new experience.

I’ve already made some of them (tutorial coming soon), and I feel like a champion.

They have many insert card packs with tons of variety, and they are quite affordable, considering that a single card from the store can be 3-6 dollars.

Feeding Cricut joy card mat

The idea behind this product is to write and cut pieces out from the front of the card and then place the “card insert” to make your card pop!

Isn’t that so creative?

Best Wishes Card Made with Cricut Joy
Card Made with Cricut Joy

Cricut Joy Smart Materials

Cricut, along with the “Cricut Joy,” released “Smart materials.” These products are attached to a thick carrier sheet that keeps them in place during the cutting process.

Any time you see the word “Smart,” it means that you can cut your project without a mat, and that, my friend, it’s lovely!

Smart Vinyl and Iron-On

In case you don’t know, vinyl is a type of material that sticks to a wide variety of surfaces like glass, metal, wood, ceramic, etc.

There are two significant types of vinyl, “Adhesive” and “Heat Transfer Vinyl” (HTV); however, each type has all kinds of options.

Adhesive vinyl has a sticky surface to it, and, because of that, you can transfer it on different surfaces such as mugs, paper, metal, plastic, windows, etc.

Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV) or also know as Iron-On, requires heat for you to be able to transfer it. Most people use HTV on fabric, but you can also use it on wood, and paper!

To learn more about vinyl (adhesive and HTV) make sure you check this amazing guide I wrote.

Feeding Iron-On without a mat with the Cricut Joy.
Cricut Joy and Iron-On without a Mat

Smart Iron-On (Heat Transfer Vinyl): Smart vinyl has a little preview of the product, but you can’t see it. On some specialty vinyl, there’s a small sample on the lower right corner.

Smart Vinyl (Adhesive): Comes in lengths of up to 20 ft! The box is transparent, and you can see the product.

To transfer Adhesive Vinyl you need transfer tape. Although you can use regular-sized transfer tape, Cricut also came up with a transfer tape that fits “Smart Vinyl” perfectly.

Cricut Joy Compatible transfer tape. Strong Grip and regular grip.

Important: If using glitter or frosted vinyl, get the Strong Grip transfer tape.

Smart Writable Vinyl

Smart Writable Vinyl is quite an ingenious product!

People ask me all the time about how to write on vinyl. Well, regular vinyl is not designed to be written on because pens work on porous surfaces like paper, cardstock, etc.

Writable vinyl, on the other hand, is shiny, and the texture is very smooth. This vinyl will be permanent to the surface where you stick it on.

However, I don’t know yet how “waterproof” the ink is. Once I test it, I’ll tell you.

Adhesive-Backed Deluxe Paper

Think of deluxe paper, as a sticker sheet that has a pattern on top. This paper is excellent for adding embellishments to your projects without having to use glue.

You can also use it for scrapbooking and labels for parties, gift tags because you can write on it as well!

Holding Cricut Joy Deluxe Paper
Cricut Joy Deluxe Paper

Cut it with your machine, peel it off and stick it to the surface you want!

I am getting the Cricut Joy – How Do I Get Started

You may be overwhelmed by all of the products and materials I just mentioned in this article!

If you’re just getting started, you only need a couple of essentials. Just put this in your shopping cart, and you’ll be good to go.

When you get your machine, you’re going to feel excited and overwhelmed.

Be prepared to take on the challenge; you can do this; commit yourself to see this through!

I receive comments from people that are 80+ years old that are learning how to work with the Cricut. If they can, you can too!

Here are some resources that can help you master this machine:

cricut joy next to insert cards packages

Pros and Cons of the Cricut Joy

If you’ve read this article, you may already know some pros and cons of this machine.

Let’s start with the Pros

  • Cut pretty cards in less than five minutes with the card mat
  • Cut and draw on smart vinyl to make labels
  • Cut up to 20 ft of vinyl (4ft continuos cutting)
  • Take it to any area of your home with ease
  • Simplify crafting
  • Easy to learn when comparing the older machines.

Now let’s move to the cons

  • It doesn’t have a USB port (in case you don’t have Bluetooth device).
  • The width of the project is minimal only 4.5 in material and 4.25 on the actual cut.
  • Expensive when you compare its capabilities and price of the Explore Air 2 (Check table on the FAQ section in this article).
  • Easy to outgrow if you want to cut larger or thicker products.

So, Is the Cricut Joy Worth it?

I love the Cricut Joy machine, I think it is an adorable companion and being able to take it with me anywhere is a big pro. That’s why I bought it in the first place.

Would this be my first machine?

Probably not.

You see, although you can cut long decals, the width of the things you can cut can make you outgrow your machine in a heartbeat.

For instance, most Iron-On projects are at least 6 x 6 inches.

Also, some of the introductory prices are high when you compare the accessories for the former machines.

For instance, “mats” when you compare the price of a single 4.5 x 12 in. mat with a two-pack 12 x 12 in. mat, you are paying almost double for less. I don’t know if this is going to change, though.

If this is your first machine, I think it is an excellent entry-level, easy to learn device, but you can also outgrow it pretty soon.

There are sales on Cricut where you can find an Explore Air 2 for a 50-100 dollar difference.

There’s a big pro of using the Cricut Joy than the other machines, and it’s the fact that you may use it more!

You see, not everyone wants to do large projects, and if you are more of a minimalistic type of person, the Cricut Joy will help you make quick, beautiful projects in an instant!

Cards Made with Cricut Joy

If you already have a Cricut Maker or Explorer, you don’t need to run and get a Cricut Joy. But I have to tell you that it’s just a perfect companion and I am sure you’ll love all the things you can do with it!

Cricut Joy FAQ

If this article hasn’t already answered your questions, I decided to put a list of some things I didn’t cover in this article.

After this, you’ll know for sure whether the Cricut Joy is the right fit for you or not.

Cricut Joy vs. Cricut Maker & Explore Air 2

The Cricut Joy has excellent functionalities. However, it has its limitations when you compare it with either the Cricut Maker or Explore machine.

You can read my Cricut Maker vs. Explore Air 2 article. But here’s a quick table on the essential features you’ll have with each machine

FeatureJoyExplore
Air 2
Maker
Weight 3.9 lbs16 lbs24lbs
Max Material
Width
4.5 in12 in12 in
Max Material
Length
20 ft24 in24 in
# Materials
can cut
50+100+300+
CardMatYesNoNo
BluetoothYesYesYes
Free Design
Software
YesYesYes
CutYesYesYes
DrawYesYesYes
Scoring StylusNoYesYes
Rotary BladeNoNoYes
Wavy BladeNoNoYes
Scoring WheelNoNoYes
EngravesNoNoYes
PerforatesNoNoYes
DebossesNoNoYes
USB PortNoYesYes
Print then
Cut
NoYes
Light
Paper
Yes
Colored
Paper
PriceJoyExploreMaker

Should I get the Cricut Joy or any other Cricut machine?

I love the Cricut Joy, it’s so small, and I see myself using a lot. However, if I had one choice because of budget, I would rather have either the Maker or the Explore Air 2.

Nonetheless, if you like simple and think that what you saw in here it’s just what you need, then go for it!

Can I Print then Cut with the Cricut Joy?

No, you can’t.

If you want to print and cut your designs, you are better off with a Cricut Maker or Explore Air 2.

Can I use Cricut Joy materials with the other Cricut Machines?

The thickness of the products the Cricut Joy can cut is compatible with the depth the Maker and the Explore can cut as well.

In other words, yes, your bigger machine can cut (with a mat) all of the new products Cricut launched with the Cricut Joy.

There’s a caveat, though!

Last time I checked, these new products weren’t listed under the materials that either the Maker or the Explore can cut.

No, that that can stop you, though!

If you want to draw and cut writable vinyl, for instance, just select a material, that, in your experience, compares in thickness.

Let’s hope, Cricut releases regular-size writable vinyl for the bigger machines.

Note: You can’t use Cricut Joy Blade, Pens, and Mats with any of the other machines.

Cricut Joy cutting smart vinyl.
Cricut Joy cutting smart vinyl

Do I need a computer to use the Cricut Joy?

No, you don’t.

You can use the App with an Android or iOS device. Keep in mind that the App is not as powerful as the desktop version.

Do I need an internet connection to use the Cricut Joy?

No, you don’t.

You can use Cricut Design Space without internet from a desktop computer or iOS device (iPad, iPhone).

Keep in mind that you need an initial connection to download the software to your Computer or App.

Can the Cricut Joy Cut Fabric?

As of this moment, fabric materials are not listed within the materials the Cricut Joy can cut.

Does the Cricut Joy need a pen adapter

No, it doesn’t. The Cricut Joy pens fit in the machine like a glove.

How do I know If I can cut materials without a mat?

Any materials that are labeled with the word “Smart” can be cut without any mat.

I am going to test cutting other things without a mat to see how it goes, and I’ll let you know. You can also try this, but make sure that you use something you’re willing to damage.

Share it!

It’s the Cricut Joy the right fit for you, or not?

I hope this article covered all of your questions, and you are ready to make a decision!

By the way…

Do you know that it takes me over 25 hours of work to complete a single Cricut article? I know, it’s crazy! But I like to make sure that you understand EVERYTHING!

I would appreciate your support on Instagram / Pinterest / YouTube / as I am trying to grow my audience to keep producing great content!

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