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How to Use the New Cricut Joy (2021): A Step by Step Guide

The most compact cutting machine in the market is here: the Cricut Joy. It’s so small you can hold it on the palm of your hand. Apart from its size, what sets this mini cutting machine from the other Cricuts is its Smart Materials feature that lets crafters work on long, continuous Smart Vinyl without a cutting mat. But how exactly do you use this cutting machine? Here’s a step by step guide on how to use the new Cricut Joy so you can make the most of this portable yet powerful Cricut machine.

1. Cricut Joy Specifications

ModelCricut Joy
 cricut joy
PriceCheck Price

at Cricut.com

Dimensions8.4″ x 5.5″ x 4.26″
Weight3.9 lbs
Max Cutting Area4.25″ x 6.5″
Cutting VersatilityCuts 50+ materials
Tools2 (for cutting and writing)
Smart MaterialsYes
Tool HolderSingle
SoftwareDesign Space
Upload Own DesignYes

2. Unbox and plug your Cricut Joy

cricut joy
The Cricut Joy comes with a Fine Point Pen and Fine Point Blade

The new Cricut automatically powers on when you plug it in as it doesn’t have any physical buttons available, unlike the previous models. All the controls take place in Design Space.

Your purchase of the Cricut Joy machine comes with the following:

  • a welcome booklet
  • Black Cricut Joy Fine Point Pen
  • 4.5″ x 6.5″ StandardGrip Mat
  • card stock
  • Smart Vinyl (for cutting without a mat)
  • power adapter
  • 50 ready-to-make projects
  • free 30-day trial for Cricut Access
  • warranty

3. Setting up your Cricut Joy

how to use cricut joy

3.1 Setting up on your desktop computer

  • Pair the Cricut Joy using BlueTooth.
  • Open your browser and go to design.cricut.com/setup to access the launcher.
  • Follow the instructions on the screen to create your Cricut ID.
  • When prompted, download and install the plugin for Design Space.
  • Once the set up is complete, you will be asked to create your first project using Cricut Joy.
  • Follow the on-screen instructions for your first practice cut.
  • The machine set-up automatically registers your new Cricut Joy. If the set up was not completed, you can register by going to Account menu of Design Space and choosing New Machine Set Up.

3.2 Setting up on your mobile device

cricut joy
The new Cricut Joy saves crafters so much space
  • Pair the Cricut Joy machine to your mobile device using BlueTooth.
  • Find the Design Space app and download it.
  • Once done, open the app on your iOS/Android device.
  • Create your Cricut ID or simply sign in if you already have an existing account.
  • On the menu, go to Machine Setup & App Overview.
  • Choose New Machine Setup and follow the instructions when prompted.
  • Once the set up is complete, you will be asked to create your first project using your new cutting machine.
  • Follow the on-screen instructions for your practice cut.
  • The machine set-up automatically registers your new Cricut Joy. If the set up was not completed, you can register by going to Account menu of Design Space and choosing New Machine Set Up.

4. Making a Card Using Your Cricut Joy

Card-making has never been more quick and easy, thanks to Cricut Joy
  • Materials: Cricut Insert Cards, Cricut Joy card mat, Fine Point Pen, Fine Point Blade
  • Peel the liner from the card mat and set aside.
  • Slip the Cricut Card in the mat sleeve so the bottom paper is protected.
  • Line the card over the edge and fold, making sure the paper is securely placed in the card mat.
  • In Design Space, select the design that you want for your card. You can go to Images, then choose from Quick Corner Card Cuts.
  • Once ready, Cricut will automatically sort your project into mats by color.
  • Review your work.
  • On Design Space, set the material you’re using for your card. For this project, select Insert Card – Cardstock.
  • Load the Fine Point Pen in the tool holder and make sure the clamp is closed.
  • Load the card mat into the machine.
  • Once it says the tool and material are loaded, click Go.
  • The machine will start working.
  • Once done, it’ll prompt you to insert the Fine Point Blade into the tool holder. Do so and click Go.
  • When your Cricut is finished cutting, unload the card mat.
  • Flip the mat upside down and carefully peel away the card from the mat.
  • Open the card and place your chosen insert.
  • Enjoy your new card.

5. Making Labels Using the Cricut Joy

Print and cut labels without a cutting mat through the Cricut Joy‘s Smart Materials

As mentioned earlier, what sets the latest cutting machine by Cricut apart from the Cricut Maker and Explore Air series is its ability to cut long materials even without a cutting mat.

You can cut shapes of up to 4.5 inches wide and 4 ft long. For smaller, repeated cut designs, you can cut for up to 20 ft long in one go. This is possible through the Cricut Joy‘s Smart Material feature which is compatible with its series of, well, Smart materials. This includes an array of Smart Iron-Ons, Smart Vinyls, and Smart Labels.

Without much ado, here’s how you can make labels using the Cricut Joy:

  • Materials: Cricut Joy Smart Label, Fine Point Pen, Fine Point Blade
  • Design your labels on Design Space. Once done, click Make It.
  • Set the material to whatever Smart Vinyl you’re using.
  • Open the machine and attach the Cricut Pen afterward.
  • Load the Smart Label into the machine. The Cricut Joy will detect how long the material is to ensure it is enough for your project.
  • Click Go.
  • Once the Cricut Joy is done writing, you’ll be prompted to insert the Fine Point Blade. Do so and click Go.
  • When it’s done cutting, unload your Smart Label and gently peel your new label away.

Summary of Special Features

The Cricut Joy is portable and highly convenient for making longer or repeated designs

For crafters without a dedicated craft room, this compact Cricut Joy is perfect. Since it’s also portable, you can carry it around easily when traveling or meeting with fellow crafters. A stylish tote is also available for purchase separately.

Its Smart Materials feature further makes cutting decor and signages a lot easier. Since you can easily cut a rolled material directly without a cutting mat, you don’t have to patch your work together as much as you need to when working on bigger designs with the other Cricuts. This alone makes this new mini cutting machine worth adding to anyone’s craft room.


๐Ÿ“Œ What does the new Cricut Joy do?

One of the highlights of the new Cricut Joy is it lets you cut Smart Vinyl, Smart Iron-on, and Smart labels directly even without a cutting mat. Its Insert Cards also makes designing and creating customized cards a breeze.

๐Ÿ“Œ What do I need for the Cricut Joy?

To make the most of Cricut Joy‘s key features, we recommend getting your choice of Smart Vinyl and Insert Cards. Transfer tape, weeding tool, and scraper will come in handy, too. If you’re getting a Smart Writable Vinyl, make sure to get a Cricut Joy Pen to go with that, too.

๐Ÿ“Œ How do I make labels on the Cricut Joy?

It’s easy to print and cut labels on the Cricut Joy. One of the sections above talks about the step by step guide on how to make labels on the Cricut Joy.

๐Ÿ“Œ Can you use regular vinyl on the Cricut Joy?

Yes, you can use regular vinyl on the Cricut Joy. However, unlike using the Smart Materials, you’ll have to use a cutting mat, just like when you’re cutting materials on the Cricut Makeror Cricut Explore Air 2.

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Rhodaline Escala-Phelps

Managing Editor and Team Leader at Compare Before Buying. Writer and researcher passionate about people, product comparisons, culture, and current events.