The Mats allow your material to stay in place, otherwise the material, like vinyl or paper, will move around and shift during the cutting process.
The newest machines due to release on June 10th, 2021, Cricut Explore Air 3 and Cricut Maker 3 do not need to use the mats when you use the new Smart Vinyl. The reason being is the Smart Vinyl backing is thicker so no need for a mat.
There are four different Mats that you can use with your projects. All of the mats have a different level of stickiness based on the materials that you will be cutting. Let’s look at the difference between the four and what materials you can use with each one.
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The Green Mat is your Standard Grip Mat. Best used for medium weight materials, light texture paper, cardstock, vinyl, and bonded fabric. A green mat will come with the purchase of your machine.
Some common materials that can be used with the Green Mat are:
- HTV (Heat Transfer Vinyl)
- Permanent or removable vinyl
The Pink Mat is the fabric grip mat. This mat was specifically designed to cut fabric.
This can be used with the following materials:
- Bonded fabric (Explore family machine)
- Any type of fabric with the rotary blade and Cricut Maker
The Blue Mat is the Light Grip Mat that can easily be used to cut lightweight materials like printer paper, cardstock, and some vinyl.
Some materials that can be used are:
- Normal paper
- Thin cardstock
- Construction paper
- Regular vinyl
The Purple Mat is the Strong Grip Mat that is used for heavier materials like leather, wood, thick cardstock, and posterboard.
Most common materials that are used are:
- Thick and glitter cardstock
- Balsa and basswood
All of the mats will have a transparent cover over the top. Don’t throw this out as you will want to place that cover over the top to keep the stickiness clean. You will want to keep your mat clean from any dust or debris. The inner part of the mat, where it is sticky, has a grid that measures in cm and inches. This area has I inch squares and is where you will be laying your materials to cut. The squares will be handy when you are trying to measure your cuts and how much material you will need for that project.
There are two different sizes to the Cricut mats. There are the 12×12 and the 12×24 mats. Depending on the size of your project you will find that having the two different mats are handy when needed.
The Cricut Joy has different mats than the other machines. These mats will be longer in length as the Cricut Joy is the smallest of all the other machines.
Blue Light Grip Mat – This mat is used for thin materials like copy paper, adhesive vinyl, and iron-on.
Card Mat – This is used with insert cards. You can also use your paper and cut it the same size as the insert cards.
How to care for your Cricut Mats
The Cricut Mats will not last a lifetime but lets look at how to care for your mats so you get the most use out of them.
Cover Your Mat
Always cover your mat. Remember that transparent plastic cover that came with your mats? Keep that to the side so that you can cover that mat back up when you are finished with your cutting. (Even in between cutting if you need to walk away). This will keep the dust and debris away from the stickiness on your mat and keep it clean for the next use.
Use the correct materials with the mat. These mats are designed for specific materials and if you use the wrong materials with them can be really hard to remove. Make sure you are aware of the materials that can and cannot be used with each mat.
Cleaning Your Mats
Clean your mats as often as you can. Here are some ways that you can clean your mats:
The Cricut Scraper – This tool is best used with the Light Grip (blue), Standard Grip (Green), and the Strong Grip (purple) Mats. Use it to remove left over pieces on your mat after cutting.
After cutting out your project, use the scrapper to scrape off those extra bits that get left behind.
Lint Roller – Another way to help with the bits of paper that get stuck to your mat is a lint roller. Just roll it over the mat to pick up what may be left or clean up that dust if you forgot to cover your mat. This is especially useful on the fabric mat.
Baby Wipes (alcohol free) – I find that baby wipes work good if you do not have time for a more thorough clean your mat. Make sure they alcohol free wipes.
Soapy Water – For a deeper clean you can use soapy water with lukewarm or cold water with a soft bristle brush (such as a nail brush). Hot water can mess up your mats so try to avoid anything to hot. Just soak your mat for a few and gently wipe your mat with a washcloth to clean the stickiness. Don’t press to hard, you don’t want to lose the stickiness. Hang to dry.
For the Pink Fabric Mat, it is recommended to not use the scraper. Many people often use the lint roller or transfer tape. It was also recommended that you not use the soapy water for this mat and try to not touch the sticky part of the mat to keep the oils off. Make sure you cover after every use.
One thing to note, that using a spray adhesive on the mat may damage your product and mat in the long run.
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