I've been loving getting to know my Cricut Joy, the little powerhouse that makes it easy to personalize your life with custom decals, labels, cards, paper crafts, iron-on projects, and more. Which accessories and materials you need to get started will depend on what you'd like to do with it, but this guide will run down the basics. At least, you don't have to buy a pen and a StandardGrip Mat, since your Joy comes with them.
The set includes a weeding tool, scraper, and spatula, essential tools for any kind of project. The holes on the ends are handy for storing the tools on a pegboard. If you're coming from another Cricut machine and already have these tools, you will not need to buy the "Joy" branded version.
For re-stickable decals
The "Smart" line of materials is what puts the joy in Cricut Joy. Cleverly designed for use without a mat, you just place Smart Vinyl directly into the machine. The removable smart vinyl lets you make decals that you can remove and re-stick elsewhere. You can choose from a huge variety of colors and sizes. Get a single four-foot-long roll or a sample pack with five one-foot-long pieces in different colors.
For permanent decals
Decals are a fun way to personalize your water bottle, coffee mug, iPhone case, MacBook, wood signs, walls, and lots more. If you want to make permanent decals, you'll want the permanent version of Cricut Joy's Smart Vinyl. It comes in various colors, finishes, and sizes up to 20 feet long (nope, that's not a typo: I said 20 feet!)
Secret to a good transfer
Have you wondered how you'd transfer complicated, delicate decals to your blank item? The secret is the transfer tape. Just cut some transfer tape and stick it onto your decal, use the scraper to bond it, then lift the decal with it and press it onto your blank. Using the scraper again, carefully remove the transfer tape, and your decal is perfectly applied.
Make your pantry Pinterest-worthy with customized labels you can print and cut up in minutes on your Cricut Joy. Part of the Cricut Joy appeal is its portability; bring it right into the kitchen with you and label everything. Pick up a roll of this writable vinyl or paper, whichever you prefer, and jump right in. The pen you'll need is included with the Joy.
You only need this if you want to make greeting cards with your Cricut Joy. Trust me, you do! I'm never buying expensive greeting cards at the store again. They are so quick and easy to make on the Cricut Joy, and they look amazing. You'll need this card mat to make insert-style cards, so go ahead and grab one right away.
Technically you don't need this kit to make cards. You can save some money by cutting your own cardstock to fit the card mat, especially if you have some card stock and envelopes already. However, I'd recommend buying at least one of these 10- or 12-count sets to start; once you get the hang of it, you might prefer cutting your own.
You won't need a trimmer for every project, but it will come in handy when you need something cut in a perfectly straight line and at the right angle. For example, if you want to make cards and you don't want to use the Insert Cards kit, this trimmer will give you those precise edges you need. You can also use the trimmer to cut down larger materials that weren't made just for the Joy.
Apparel and more
Let's talk iron-ons! For some people, iron-on projects are the primary reason for getting a Cricut. Though the diminutive size of the Joy limits your options somewhat, don't let that stop you! The Smart Iron-On Vinyl is made just for the Cricut Joy and is perfect for clothing items, accessories, home decor, and anything made of fabric.
Another way to personalize your fabric (and other) items is with Infusible Ink. It's similar to iron-on vinyl; only it's not vinyl. It's ink that infuses into what you're making, so there's no chance it can crack or peel over time. There are tons of colors and patterns from which to choose.
Better than an iron
Yes, you can use an ordinary household iron (without steam!) for your Iron-On and Infusible Ink projects, but the EasyPress 2 with its precise heat measurements, wide surface area, and a timer is the perfect tool for the job. It comes in a variety of sizes. The second-smallest one at 6-by-7-inches will be just right for most Cricut Joy projects, but currently, the 9-by-9-inch size (which also works great for Joy projects) seems to be more easily available.
A little bit of tape to hold your Smart Iron-On Vinyl or Infusible Ink Sheets in place while you work on them is a great idea to ensure your project goes as planned. Cricut's Heat Resistant Tape will help with that, plus it won't leave any residue on your project.
But what do you need immediately?
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If you've purchased a Cricut Joy, you might be wondering what you really need to buy to get started right away and what can wait. The very first thing I'd buy is the Cricut Joy Starter Tool Set. Once you have that, you can just use any old cardstock or paper you have around the house, plus the mat and pen that came with the Cricut Joy, and start creating. It's a great way to practice using the machine without wasting pricier materials.
If you only want to pick up one more item, make it a Cricut Joy Card Mat. This little mat is cleverly designed for making professional-looking cards with your Cricut Joy every time. You can use your own card stock and envelopes. Even if you do buy the Cricut Joy Insert Cards, you're still going to spend less than 70 cents per card.
After that, you need to decide what kinds of projects you'll think you'll be making and get everything you'll need for that. For example, if you want to make decals, you could start with some Cricut Joy Smart Vinyl - Removable. Of course, you'll also need some Transfer Tape unless you keep your decals very simple.
Delving into iron-on projects is very exciting, but it is a bit more of an investment. So I'd recommend starting with some smaller, easier projects that don't require a lot of accessories first, such as cards and decals.
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Karen is a contributor to iMore.com as a writer and co-host of the iMore Show. She’s been writing about Apple since 2010 with a year-long break to work at an Apple Store as a product specialist. She's also a contributor at CNET. Before joining iMore in 2018, Karen wrote for Macworld, AppAdvice, WatchAware. She’s an early adopter who used to wait in long lines on release days before pre-ordering made things much easier. Karen is also a part-time teacher and occasional movie extra. She loves to spend time with her family, travel the world, and is always looking for portable tech and accessories so she can work from anywhere.