Don’t have a cricut mat but need to do some urgent crafting? If you want to work with cricut without using a mat and are confused whether you can or can not, then read along.
You can work with a Cricut mat but only on Cricut Joy. It is possible on other Cricut’s Cricut but it comes with some restrictions.
Cry About Cut Joy
Cricut Joy is the smallest of the Cricut cutting machines, but it offers a big advantage over the others: matless cutting for lengthy cuts! When we say lengthy, we mean it! Cricut Joy Smart Vinyl is available in 20-foot rolls. Yes, that’s twenty feet!
Matless or mat-free cutting entails cutting material without the use of a Cricut mat.
It is technically feasible to use your Cricut Explore or Cricut Maker to cut regular vinyl without a mat. People seldom do this since they may discover that vinyl does not “age” a mat and that weeding vinyl, while it is still on the mat, is simpler. Even if you’re cutting without a mat, Design Space limits you to a big mat size of 12′′ x 24′′.
Cricut Joy, on the other hand, allows you to cut without a mat. You aren’t bound by the dimensions of a Cricut mat. Design Space is a little different for Cricut Joy than it is for the other machines. As you’ll see in the following section, you may make designs that are much longer than 24 inches.
As previously stated, the Explore and Maker cuts are restricted to 12′′ x 24′′. You have various limits with matless vinyl and Cricut Joy.
The most obvious restriction is that your cuts must be no more than 4.5 inches broad. Yes, this appears to be a significant constraint, but when we look at many of the projects over the last several years, we find that a significant percentage of them fit within the 4.5′′ space—far more than we would have expected.
While the breadth is restricted, the length is where the fun begins. Cricut Joy can cut vinyl rolls up to 20 feet long!
Vinyl is also available in shorter rolls, but the 20′ offers up a lot more options. Let’s take a closer look at these lengthy cuts.
You can cut all of the smaller pictures in one pass, utilizing the full length of vinyl if you’re working with tiny images. Consider how easy it would be to cut all 140 of my vinyl pantry labels in a single cut. Yes, Cricut Joy is smaller, but doing the same thing with Cricut Explore or Cricut Maker would require a half-dozen big mats.
Single-piece cuts, on the other hand, are limited to 4′ in length. We have two theories as to why this is the case. The first is that keeping the vinyl cutting straight for that length is easy. If you wish to cut a whole 20′ piece from a not-quite-straight cut, that tiny part off becomes a BIG chunk off after the cut.
Another reason is the simplicity with which you can mount the project to your wall or another surface—difficult to apply transfer tape to such a huge sheet of vinyl, peel it all off, and stick it up properly (for the same reason above). Single cuts are limited to 4′ for these and possibly additional technological reasons.
- Cricut Joy
- Cricut Joy Permanent Smart Vinyl
- Transfer Tape
- Weeding Tool
- Wood Frame
- SVG File
- Before you begin, make sure the Cricut Design Space dropdown option is set to Cricut Joy.
- Then, on the left-hand Design Panel, use the Upload tool to upload the file to Cricut Design Space.
- Select the picture and click “Ungroup” at the top of the Layers Panel on the left once it has been uploaded. Your picture will be split into two lines as a result of this.
- Change the height measurement to exactly 4.5′′ if you get an error claiming the files are too big to cut.
- Then, on the upper left, click Make It! Because the project is longer than any mat, Design Space will pick “Without Mat” as your material load type on the prepared screen. It will also tell you that the cut will require 51.5′′ of material.
If you have a particular amount of vinyl and want to check whether you have enough, this is a useful tool.
- Continue by pressing the enter key. Select your materials in the Make screen. It’s worth noting that you’ll only be able to choose from “Smart” materials that can be cut without a mat.
- Then, with the end of your vinyl inserted into Cricut Joy, it will immediately grasp it. It will then pull your vinyl from start to finish, ensuring that,
- You have enough vinyl for your job.
- The vinyl is in good condition.
- When you’re ready, click “Go” in Design Space, and your design will be cut!
- After you’ve finished cutting your vinyl, you’ll need to weed it.
- You’ll want to apply transfer tape once you’ve weeded your project. Any transfer tape will work, however, Cricut now has a longer length of transfer tape designed specifically for Smart Vinyl applications.
- Remove the transfer tape’s backing paper and lay it sticky-side down on your weeded picture.
- Burnish the transfer tape to the picture using a scraper.
- Place the decal on the frame’s backing board before peeling aside the backing paper.
- Use the other lines in the poem to help you decide where to put it.
- Then pull one end of the backing paper away from the vinyl; the decal should cling to the transfer tape. Stick that end to the frame first, then work your way down, peeling back transfer tape and adhering your decal to the frame as you go.
The vinyl should attach to the frame when you peel back one end of the transfer tape. If you’re having trouble getting it to stick, burnish it a little more. Carry out the same procedure on the other side.
Follow the above instructions carefully and use Cricut Joy to work without using a mat. Although uncommon, you can use the Cricut Maker and Cricut Explore without a mat but the crafting you can do is very limited.
Beatrix Ainsley (Bea to her friends) is an abstract artist who was heavily inspired in her twenties by the abstract expressionist movement of the 1940s. Since then Bea has acquired three degrees in Science, Education and most importantly Fine Art. Her art works showcase exploring emotion and introspection of self. To achieve this – the use of bold, sweeping, intricate layers of color, and spontaneity of form is enhanced by reflecting on decades of life experiences. Bea has amassed a vast knowledge of art in all its forms, and hopes to pass it on with her contributions here.