Cricut Machine Mats

Which Cricut machine mat should you use?

August 21, 2017 | Contributor: Cricut Blog Team
updated December 7, 2020

Decisions, decisions, decisions! Are you wondering, “Which mat should I use for my Cricut projects?” Or perhaps pondering, “Which Cricut machine mat will work with this material?” We understand it can be a little bit overwhelming at first, so here’s a little guidance for selecting the best mat for your Cricut Maker or Cricut Explore machine projects. If you have an older machine, see which mats are compatible with your machine.

There are 4 different Cricut machine mats:

Each of these mats is used to cut different types of materials (from popular lightweight materials like copy paper and washi tape sheets to heavyweight materials like faux leather and corrugated cardboard). The material you are cutting with your machine can help determine which mat to use.

LightGrip Machine Mat

The blue LightGrip Machine Mat has just the right level of grip to hold your material firmly in place during cutting, yet it allows for easy removal of the lighter weight material when you are finished cutting. The LightGrip Machine Mat is perfect for lightweight materials, including:

  • Printer paper
  • Vellum
  • Light cardstock paper
  • Thin scrapbook paper
  • Washi sheets
  • Wrapping paper
  • Construction paper
Cricut Maker machine cutting a snowflake with washi paper

Party poppers are just one example of projects that the LightGrip Machine Mat can make using thin scrapbook paper. Try making this project for party poppers.

Or, use washi sheets to create a monogram piece of wall art. If you’re up for more of a challenge, try this paper flower boutonniere.

StandardGrip Machine Mat

The green StandardGrip Machine Mat may be the most widely used mat. It is perfect for a wide range of medium-weight materials, including:

Try making a “Love You More” sign or blanket throw with iron-on using the StandardGrip Machine Mat.

Or, here’s an easy “Happy Birthday” box that uses cardstock.

Cricut projects, happy birthday gift box

StrongGrip Machine Mat

The purple StrongGrip Machine Mat offers a strong hold surface suitable and engineered for heavyweight materials. This mat is perfect for heavyweight materials, including:

Use the StrongGrip Machine Mat to create easy photo magnets with printable magnet sheets.

Cricut projects, custom photo magnets

If you are an avid maker that likes to experiment with a multitude of materials, the StrongGrip mat complements the knife blade for Cricut Maker. It’s a must-have combination for cutting through thick materials such as wood, mat board, chipboard, and craft foam. Create your own mat board picture frame with the StrongGrip mat and knife blade combo, then add textured accents using the debossing tip.

Cricut projects, debossed mat board picture frame

FabricGrip Machine Mat

The FabricGrip Machine Mat has a light adhesive machine mat is made for a variety of fabrics. If you are a sewer, this is a must-have addition for your Cricut collection. It is specifically designed to secure fabrics for cutting, with easy release, and works as a complement to Rotary Blade or Bonded-Fabric Blade projects. The mat has is engineered with a stronger, denser material that withstands added pressure of those blades. And, don’t forget, the Rotary Blade is included with your Cricut Maker machine!

This mat is perfect for all fabrics, including:

  • Bonded fabrics for Cricut Explore machines
  • Unbacked fabrics for Cricut Maker
FabricGrip Mat and Sewing Tools

Cricut Machine Mat Tips:

  • Don’t neglect the clear film cover that comes with your mat! Return the clear film cover onto the mat when storing to keep it free from lint and dust.
  • Utilize tools for removing your cuts from the mat: the spatula allows you to carefully remove your cut from the mat, whereas the scraper tool will help remove all the excess pieces quickly.
  • Consider purchasing mats in various sizes. Cricut machine mats for Cricut Maker and Cricut Explore machines typically come in two different sizes: 12″ x 12″ and 12″ x 24″.
  • Only use recommended materials with each corresponding mat for longer life and better performance.
    • LightGrip or blue mat for lightweight materials
    • StandardGrip or green mat for medium-weight materials
    • StrongGrip or purple mat for heavyweight materials
    • FabricGrip or pink mat for fabrics
  • Use a combination of the different mats to help you create mixed-media projects such as this chipboard cactus of coasters.

What machine mat do you use most often? Do you have a favorite? Have more questions about machine mats? Tell us about it in the comments!

26 thoughts on “Which Cricut machine mat should you use?

  1. Thanks for the information. Even though I tried to keep my mats clean, they get dirty.
    what does Cricut say to do to clean the mats?

  2. This is great. I am going to save this to have as a reference. But can you help me with the cardstock? What is considered light, regular, and thick?

    • Hi Carol! When you purchase card stock it tells you which it is, light, medium or thick. Just check on the package for the one you need. 🙂

  3. Thank you for the information
    What can I use to make my mats sticky again so I don’t have to keep buying mats Any suggestions would be appreciated
    Thank You

  4. What size laptop is good to use with the cricut machines? I also wonder since my explore air 2 is just 4 months old would it be a waste to buy the maker? I’m looking for information to help me. Thank you !

    • Laptop size (if you mean screen) is more of a personal preference. Smaller ones may be a little harder to see but are more portable. As far as getting the Maker…you can do fabric on the Explore Air 2 if you use a stabilizer. You could try selling your Air 2 to fund a Maker if you don’t want to use stabilizer. Another neat idea that I saw someone mention in another comment was that she was holding local craft nights with a little fee where people could come use her machine for crafting to save up money.

  5. I have a lot of 1/8 inch oil tanned leather and 4oz (per sq ft) soft copper sheet. Are these materials too tough to use? or will they dull the knives or damage the machine? I am considering a machine but am having a hard time understanding the limits of it, or how much can be done when the internet is not available.

    • Hi. These are machine cutting mats. The self-healing mats are for cutting fabric and other materials with a rotary cutter or similar tool.

  6. Hello,

    I was wondering if a 6″ x 12″ matt can be used on a cricut explore air?

    • Hi MaryAnn,

      Unfortunately, Cricut Explore Air 2 machines are not compatible with a 6″ x 12″ mat.

    • Hello Annemieke,

      The blog speaks to a StrongGrip mat and Knife Blade combo. The deep-point blade (that has a black housing) works in different application than the knife blade, but may also be a great in combination with the strong grip mat depending on what materials you will be cutting with the machine. Here is a bit more about the different blades.

  7. I am using HVT sheets in my cricut maker. I don’t have the green grip mat but have the other 3 which one should I use?

    • Hi Bonnie,

      We definitely recommend using the StandardGrip mat for HTV, but if you do not have that mat on hand, perhaps try the LightGrip mat. It will not cling to the material as well (it’s meant more for lighter weight materials such as copy paper), but perhaps that may be the best alternative as the StrongGrip mat may provide too strong a hold. Let us know how it goes!

  8. Hmm is аnyone else еncоuntering proЬlems with the images on this blog loading?
    I’m trying to determіne if its a problem on my end or if it’s tһe blog.
    Any suggestions woulɗ be greatly appreciated.

    • Hi Penelope,

      Hmm… We haven’t heard of other issues with blog images loading. Might we suggest trying to load using a different method of connection and trying to reset your connection?

    • Hi Maria,

      It’s possible to cut sugar sheets (depending on thickness) with Cricut Maker. However, please keep in mind that it is not recommended as the machine is not rated food safe.

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