New to cutting or are you left feeling a bit confused about the different Cricut mats? I totally know how you feel!
When I first started years ago I had so many questions about the Cricut mats, the differences between the colored mats, what mat should I use with that material, and finally how to care for the mats to get a longer life out of them. So now I will be going into details about those questions to help you along in your process.
Brand new to all this? Check out my Ultimate Beginners Guide to Cricut Design Space.
What is a Cricut Mat?
The Cricut mat is the mat you will use for every single cut project because it is the mat that the material goes on to be cut by your Cricut machine! There are four different mats as of right now. This excludes the Cricut Joy. The joy has its own set of items, mats, and materials.
The four different Mats are:
- The Light Grip Mat which is Blue
- The Standard Grip Mat which is Green
- The Strong Grip Mat which is Purple
- The Fabric Grip Mat which is Pink
The mat you use depends on the materials that you will be cutting. You always want to make sure you use the right mat for the right material so you don’t have problems such as removing the material from the mat or ripping the material because the mat grip was too strong.
Cricut Mats and Grip Strength
All mats come with a film cover that is see-through that protects the mat from dust and other particles that are in the air. DO NOT THROW THIS COVER AWAY! This cover should be placed back on your mat once you are done using it.
The Cricut Mats are sticky, but each mat has a different stickiness to it which determines the grip of the mat. For example, The thicker the material, like chipboard, the stronger you want the grip of the mat (Strong Grip mat).
Differences between the colored Mats
All Cricut mats are designed with a purpose in mind! Depending on which materials you cut determines the mat you use for the cut. Design Space does not tell you which mat to use for what but does tell you which blade to use and if you have a good idea of what that blade cuts, you should have a pretty good idea of what mat you should use.
Need more information on Cricut Blades? Here is my Cricut Beginners Guide to Blades.
The light grip mat is blue and is designed for cutting lightweight materials such as copy paper. It’s not super sticky but will hold the lighter materials in place while the machine cuts and is pretty easy to remove.
Materials you can cut with the Light Grip Mat
- Construction Paper
- Light Paper
- Printer Paper
- Scrapbook Paper
- Thin Cardstock
- Washi Sheets
This is not a full list, but it will give you an idea of what light materials it can cut.
The standard grip mat is green and is designed for medium-weight materials such as textured paper. This mat has a stronger grip than the lightweight mat and is the most used mat depending on the kind of materials you are working with.
Materials you can cut with the Standard Grip Mat
- Glitter Cardstock
- Iron-on or HTV
- Permanent Vinyl
- Removable Vinyl
- Textured Paper
Again these are not the whole lists, but there to give you an idea of what midweight materials it can cut.
The strong grip mat is purple and is designed for thick heavier material such as chipboard. This mat has a super strong grip, but sometimes it needs a bit of help to hold down that thicker material so I always have a roll of painter’s tape nearby to tape the edges down on the mat to make sure it stays in place while our machine is hard at work!
Materials you can cut with the Strong Grip Mat
- Balsa Wood
- Bass Wood
- Corrugated Cardboard
- Faux Leather
- Glitter Cardstock (thick)
- Magnet Sheets
- Poster Board
The fabric grip mat is pink and is the newest mat that came out with the Cricut Maker to cut through the thinnest fabric without the need for a stabilizer. (Maker Only) If you have a Cricut Maker you can use this mat with the rotary blade and if you have an Explore Air it needs to be a bonded fabric, which is backing or stabilizer to it.
If you need more details on this please visit my Beginners Guide to Cricut Blades and scroll down to the Fabric Blade.
Materials you can cut with the Fabric Grip Mat
- Bonded Fabric
The Cricut mats come in two sizes which are a 12 x 12 and a 12 x 24. These mats, I know, are compatible with the Cricut explore family and the Cricut maker. View all the different Cricut mats here.
The mat you use should reflect the project you are working on. If you are making a greeting card a 12 x 12 mat will be the one you use. If the project is a big project, bigger than a 12 x 12, then you will obviously use the bigger mat.
A common question I always get asked-
Can I use a 12 x 24 mat with a small project?
Yes, Of course, you can! You can always use the big mat for small projects if that is what you want to do!
Take a peek at the mats here
- Light Grip Mat
- Standard Grip Mat
- Strong Grip Mat
- Fabric Mat
- BUNDLE 1-Essential Material Bundles
- BUNDLE 2- Everything Materials Bundles
Caring for your mats
It’s always IMPORTANT to take good care of your Cricut items! You want solid projects with clean sharp cuts. The better you care for your blades and mats the longer you can expect them to last.
Cover your mats
All mats come with a protective covering on them and for good reason.
The protective covering is a clear film that covers the sticky part of your mat. You always want to make sure you are covering your mats back up when you are done using them so that it doesn’t collect dust and other particles floating around!
Right Mat with Right Material
You always want to make sure you are using the correct mat with the right material. Like I stated earlier, each mat is designed for certain materials.
For instance, if you put copy paper on a strong grip mat, you are going to have one hell of a time getting it off! Trust me I have done that once! It almost ruined the mat, but taught me a lesson that I won’t ever forget!
Clean your Mats
I always try to clean my mats after I am done cutting multiple projects. I tend to line 3 or 4 projects to cut one after another, then once my Cricut gets done cutting all the projects I will scrape it clean, and spray it, let it sit for a minute or so, then scrape off all the remaining pieces and particles. Let it dry completely before putting the cover over it.
LIGHT GRIP, STANDARD GRIP, and STRONG GRIP MATS
There are numerous ways to clean your mats-
- Let’s say you only cut one project and there’s nothing really on your mat just scrape the small pieces off, then cover it
- You can use a lint roller, yep that’s right, grab a lint roller and roll it up and down your mat to pick up those stragglers, then cover it
- Soap and water– some people use soap and water to clean their mats. I think I tried this once and it does work well
- Natural wipes– Some like taking natural wipes to their mat and clean them that way
- LA’s Totally Awesome All Purpose Cleaner– This all purpose cleaner is awesome at cleaning your mats! (no pun intended LOL) This cleaner is only a dollar at the dollar store! SAY WHAT?
But you always want to scrape to get all those scraps off the mat, then spray or wipe down, and finally cover with that protective covering!
Fabric Grip Mat
This mat is a bit different and has different cleaning instructions because the adhesive on this mat is different from the other 3 mats.
This mat comes with just the right about of sticky on it so you DON’T want to use the scraper! I know I just told you to for the other mats but NOT THIS ONE!!! The scraper doesn’t exist with this mat!
Keep your fingers off the Mat because the oils on your fingers transfer to the mat which breaks down the adhesive which makes it less sticky and we want those mats to last a decent amount of time! This is where the tools we discussed in What Supplies and Accessories do I really need vs Later Investments comes in.
The Brayer will help you lay your fabric down and the tweezers will help you lift it up off the mat.
If those little strings, from the fabric, left on your mat bug you like they bug me you can try two things, but use these with caution! And if you are going to try these be gentle!
First thing is to take transfer tape and get those small pieces pulled up. (I am super gentle with this) or the second thing is you can try to use a lint roller super lightly where those threads are.
Can I re-sticky any of my Cricut Mats?
The short answer is yes you could, with the exception of the Fabric mat, but I personally do not recommend it because if for some reason you have an issue with your machine and you re-sticky your mat it voids the warranty with it. Therefore, I do not re-sticky my mats but there are many many crafters that do.
There are many tutorials on re-sticking your cricut mat if that is the route you want to go, just make sure you have a good understanding of what it could do to your mat materials and the machine itself.
And there you have it! I believe I have covered almost everything there is to know about Cricut Cutting Mats! If there’s anything you can think of that I didn’t cover leave me a comment and I will address it!
I do hope my articles help you on your cricut journey! If they do please share the article so it can help someone else! I spend hours, if not days on some of these articles and would love your support! I appreciate you all being here with me!
Also, come on over and chat with me over at my facebook group! I would love to connect and get to know you!