The standard Cricut Maker package includes 3 mats, a green standard grip, a blue LightGrip, and a pink FabricGrip for 12” x 12” materials. There is also a StrongGrip mat in purple for materials that need more holding power.
|Pink||FabricGrip||6”x12” (limited availability), 12”x12”, 12”x24”||Best for medium and lightweight fabrics. Consider StandardGrip for denim, corduroy, canvas, etc.|
|Green||StandardGrip||6”x12” (limited availability), 12”x12”, 12”x24”||Suitable for most materials like card stock, vinyl, poster board, and heavy paper.|
|Purple||StrongGrip||6”x12” (limited availability), 12”x12”, 12”x24”||Best for stiff and rigid materials like wood, chipboard, foam core, or leather.|
|Blue||LightGrip||6”x12” (limited availability), 12”x12”, 12”x24”||Best for tissue, washi paper, sheer, and delicate materials.|
These mats are sticky and have protective cover sheets. They aren’t delicate, but they are sensitive to mishandling and I’ve seen mats shatter under normal use.
Nothing in the kit provides recommendations or information on the handling and use of these mats. I’ve learned a few things to that help extend the life of these mats and make using them more successful.
- Think of the mats as a consumable item. At some point, you need to replace them. Take care of your mats to extend their life for as long as possible. When you aren’t using the mat, keep the protective acetate sheet on the mat. It’s not just that the adhesive doesn’t hold up, you are repeatedly cutting the mat with every new project.
- When you do replace a mat, consider purchasing replacements from Cricut Access, buying in bulk, and waiting for a sale. A single 12”x12” mat can cost around $15.49 to $19.99, depending on which color you buy. A single 12”x12” green StandardGrip mat retails for $15.49. A bulk box of 30 StandardGrip mats currently costs $129.99. That converts to $4.33 per mat. The price goes down further if you take advantage of sales, discounts, and free shipping.
- Don’t touch the sticky surface. You won’t die, your mat will survive, but every bit of dust, dirt, and oil that gets on the mat shortens the life of the mat. Work with clean hands and on a clean work surface.
- Peel the mat from the material, not the other way around. This little tip will help you keep from tearing and distorting your materials and make removing cut pieces from the mat so much easier.
Don’t believe me? Try this experiment: Take two sheets of inexpensive paper or reuse old printer paper. Place one sheet of paper on the sticky mat and smooth it securely to the surface of the mat with a scraper, a credit card, or your clean hand. Next, grab the corner of the paper peel it off the mat. That paper is now curled and doesn’t want to lay flat. There is a good chance you tore the paper too unless you were slow and careful. Place the second piece of paper on the mat, just like the first one. This time, flip over the mat with the attached paper so the back of the mat is on top and the paper is face down. Pick up the edge of the mat with one hand, and hold the paper down on the work surface with the other. Gently bend the mat and peel the mat off the inexpensive paper. The mat is stiff but will flex. Once you’ve pulled off the mat, compare the two pieces of paper. Boom! So simple, and so effective.
- Don’t use your fingers to pick off small cuts or cut shapes. Use a weeding tool or something with a small pointed tip such as a needle or seam ripper. I don’t even bother removing the fragments. Those bits don’t hurt anything and you damage the mat more than you improve the adhesive quality. Whatever you do, do not use the scraper to remove materials. The scraper is too rough on the surface and will remove the adhesive.
- If you use the FabricGrip mat with fabric, don’t remove small threads after you cut. Seriously, just don’t do it. Just keep using the mat as is.
- If your mat isn’t sticky enough to keep your material from shifting, try using some painter’s tape, especially on the edge of the material that goes into the feeder first. As the adhesive loses its effectiveness and the blade becomes dull, the pressure of the cutting blade while the carriage moves over the material can cause the material to shift, producing a bad cut.