While Smart Materials were designed to fit the diminutive Cricut Joy crafting machine perfectly, you're not limited to these conveniently-sized mat-free materials. You can cut down a variety of other materials to fit the machine and use the mat that came with your Cricut Joy as well. This opens up a whole new world of creativity. Here are some of the best alternative materials for Cricut Joy.
Who would have thought you can make jewelry with your Cricut Joy? That's right, you can create trendy faux leather drop earrings, and this kit has everything you need to make hundreds of pairs. You're not limited to earrings, however. You're only limited by your imagination.
Custom dry erase board
As a teacher, I'm always on the lookout for creative and well-priced school supplies. This 17.3-by-78-inch sticker can be cut up to make individual dry erase boards for each student, just stick it right on any hard surface. You can use the Cricut Joy to make custom shapes more interesting than rectangles. It comes in Clear or White.
Create a stencil with this vinyl on your Cricut Joy, then use the stencil to paint items of your choice. It works great for painting wood and making signs. You can also use it for glass-etching projects. You can make a lot of stencils with this 12-inch-by-12-foot roll.
You can cut any paper or cardstock up to 80-pound cardstock with the Cricut Joy. This cardstock kit has 72 65-pound sheets of cardstock in 18 different colors. Each sheet in this set is 12-by-12-inches and can be cut down to fit the Cricut Joy.
Shiny poster board
This metallic poster board with a mirror-like finish is a popular item for bulletin boards, science projects, greeting cards, and more. Use your Cricut Joy to cut out letters, shapes, and other designs perfectly.
Yes, even cardboard
I don't know what kinds of projects you'd do with corrugated cardboard, but it's on the list of materials that the Cricut Joy can cut! I think it would be great for kids and school projects, or just for crafting.
For removable decals
Decals are often one of the main reasons that people buy a Cricut machine. If you want to be able to remove your decal easily and move it around, you need to purchase removable vinyl. This set comes with 40 12-inch-by-12-inch sheets in assorted colors, plus 20 transfer sheets.
For permanent decals
I spend a lot of time online in crafter's groups to learn more about the Cricut Joy, and Oracal 651 vinyl is a huge favorite amongst the professional crafters. This pack contains 24 12-inch-by-12-inch sheets of permanent vinyl in Oracal's most popular colors. Make decals for your water bottle, coffee mug, or just about anything made of wood, glass, metal, plastic, and more.
Stickers and labels
Pinterest-ify your kitchen, pantry, kid's room, playroom, classroom, or craft room with adhesive paper and your Cricut Joy. It's perfect for making labels. The Joy will both write and cut your labels, so organizing and labeling everything is a snap. This package contains 25 8.5-by-11-inch sheets in five bright neon shades.
Another major reason people buy the Cricut machine is to make iron-on apparel and other items. Heat transfer vinyl, also known as HTV, is a popular way to personalize anything made of fabric. This bundle contains 25 12-by-10-inch sheets of HTV in assorted colors.
To transfer decals
After you cut your vinyl designs, if they are at all intricate, you'll need transfer tape. This allows you to move your design from the vinyl's backing to your blank without messing it up. You can save money using Con-Tact paper instead of transfer tape. If it's too sticky, just press it against your clothing a few times before using it.
A good pair of scissors could be all you need to cut your materials that weren't made just for the Joy down to size. But a good-quality trimmer like this one lets you cut them to the exact measurements you need, perfectly straight. This eliminates guesswork, minimizes waste, and ensures a great fit on your mat and in your machine.
Where should I start?
Before you explore the alternative materials, I'd recommend checking out the materials that are made specifically for the Cricut Joy. These customized materials fit the machine perfectly, and many of them are Smart Materials, meaning you don't need to use a mat. But if you want more, you're in luck, because there are plenty more options. This is by no means an exhaustive list of every material you can cut with the Cricut Joy; in fact, the machine is capable of cutting dozens of different kinds of materials. Keep in mind, most Cricut materials made for their other machines will work with the Joy, you'll just need to cut them down to size.
But there is a whole world of non-Cricut branded materials that your Cricut Joy can cut. I'd start with the SGHUO Faux Leather Earring Making Kit, so you can craft faux leather jewelry and lots more. For permanent vinyl decals of all kinds, you can't go wrong with the massively popular Oracal 651 Glossy Vinyl.
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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.