Cricut Joy is the perfect companion for your Maker or Explore Air. It’s also a perfect starting point for those overwhelmed by the Cricut universe! In this post, I’ll show you just how quick and easy it is to make a personalized card with Joy.
It’s amazing how much can change in a month.
One month ago, Handan and I found ourselves sitting in a large room on the second floor of a huge event space in Salt Lake City.
Beyond the wall-to-wall windows, the snow-covered peaks of the Wasatch mountains thrust up into a cloudless cerulean sky.
I could have gazed out those windows all day. Little Cottonwood Canyon was right there – practically a stone’s throw away. Home to the ski resorts Alta and Snowbird, Little Cottonwood Canyon was the place I dreamed of when I was small and learning to ski on the icy slopes of New England.
High school brought the opportunity to visit and ski those fabled mountains. I felt like a child walking through the halls of gods.
And now here I was again, back at this hallowed place.
The mountains seemed smaller, and they no longer called with the promise of adventure.
Those days are over.
Now they simply offered a breathtaking backdrop to what was happening inside the room in which Handan and I sat.
With us in this room were a couple dozen other bloggers.
We had all agreed to meet in this place under a veil of great secrecy.
We couldn’t tell anyone the purpose of our visit. Actually, that would have been impossible, as we didn’t even know why we were there!
I sat with one hand clutching a paper cup of coffee and the other popping pieces of pumpkin bread into my mouth.
Anticipation hung thick in the crisp morning air.
We were here at Cricut’s invitation.
But none of us knew why.
We all had our guesses, of course.
The most popular theory was that Cricut was going to introduce a bigger cutting machine.
I secretly prayed for a Cricut Ice Cream Machine. Ohhhh man, I’d be the Cricut King with an ice cream machine, for sure!
In the end, we were all wrong.
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When Cricut Joy was presented, every blogger gasped and squealed1, and then the room erupted in shouts and applause.
Now here’s the thing about Cricut Joy. Well, honestly there are a whole bunch of “things,” and I’ll get to them all in good time, but here’s the thing that amazes me right now.
Cricut Joy is a smart cutting machine that can be used anywhere.
And I mean anywhere!
This idea of being able to craft in any corner of your house (or outside of it, as long as you have power) is one of the central messages that the fine and noble folks at Cricut explained to us as we sat, enthralled, in that second floor room in Salt Lake City that overlooked the Wasatch mountains.
It’s also one of the messages they wanted all of us to share with all of you.
Okay, okay, in case you haven’t figured it out already, this is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. But, as always, the opinions and text are all mine. I don’t let anyone write for me, but believe me, that doesn’t stop them from trying! Every day I’m swamped with emails from people asking to post on our site.
Please. Nobody touches The Navage Patch but me and my babes!
Anyway, I sat there thinking, “Aww, man, but I have a totally bitchin’ craft room that I just built with Handan! Now I gotta go do some projects somewhere else in the house?”
What can I say? I’m a creature of habit. Crafting is done in the craft room.
But not everyone is like me.
And not everyone has a craft room.
And soon enough, neither would I.
I’m just going to leave that there for a minute while I go powder my nose.
Okay, I’m back.
I told you a lot can change in a month, didn’t I?
Well, I already told you a few weeks ago that Handan took a new position within her company.
And I told you that she’d be spending a fair amount of time away from home for a few months.
That was all true.
What I didn’t tell you is that she’s not coming back.
Don’t worry! All is good!
She’s not coming back, because we’re going to her!
I’ll have a lot more to say on this subject in the coming weeks and months.
Suffice it to say for now that we’ve packed up about 90% of our house and loaded our life into a few PODs. Soon, I’ll be putting our house up for sale.
Meanwhile, I’ve moved Handan to a short-term apartment in XXXXXXX (I’m not telling you where yet, heheheh) where she will live until I get the house sold and Barish’s school year finishes.
And that is where we are right now. I’m writing this post from a mattress on the floor of a small studio apartment next a local joint that serves some kick-ass Mexican food.
I’m only here for a week to help my babes get settled into her new job and new temporary accommodations.
And that’s when it hit me.
This was the perfect place for Cricut Joy.
This is exactly what Cricut was talking about.
There’s no craft room in this studio apartment. There’s just one room with a kitchen along one wall.
And that is precisely where I intended to set up my Cricut Joy so I could make a couple of cards for Handan.
But first, I want to tell you about Cricut Joy, because you haven’t seen anything like this before!
Cricut Joy Doesn’t Want to be Alone (But it Can Be)
Okay, first and foremost, Cricut Joy isn’t here to replace your Maker or your Explore Air.
In typical internet fashion, a few people went bonkers during the product announcement because they has just bought a Maker and thought that Cricut was trying to pull a fast one on them by making the Maker obsolete already.
Not the case!
Cricut Joy has no interest in being the Napoleon of the neighborhood, kicking and spitting on all the bigger kids while demanding all attention and glory be showered upon it.
Cricut Joy wants to play nice and make friends. It’s not a replacement for any of your machines. Rather, it is a complementary tool.
And it can do things that Maker and Explore Air can’t, but it can’t do everything that Maker and Explore Air can do either.
That said, if you don’t have a Cricut smart cutting machine, Cricut Joy is the perfect stepping stone into the Cricutverse. It’ll let you dip your toes in Cricut’s waters and see if they’re to you liking without having to drop a substantial sum to do so.
There are some fundamental differences between Cricut Joy and the rest of Cricut’s smart cutting machines. For some, these differences are enough for them to stand up and start lobbing wads of cash in the general direction of Salt Lake City.
“Shut up and take my money!”
We heard that phrase a few times during the unveiling ceremony for Cricut Joy. When you want something, you want it, and you don’t need to listen to someone blathering on and on about how great it is.
Except me. You have to listen to me. 😀
Mats? Cricut Joy Don’t Need no Stinking Mats!
Yep, you heard me. The Wizards and Eggheads of Cricut’s R&D department have engineered this little beauty to work with a new material they invented called Cricut Joy Smart Vinyl. Think of it as vinyl and mat all in one!
Now, there are mats available for the Cricut Joy, and there are times when you may want or need to use them, but you could live a full and Joyous life with just the Smart Vinyl.
Oh, Yours is 12 Inches? How Nice. Mine is 20 FEET!
Everyone knows that bigger is better, amirite, ladies? Hmmmm?
Is this thing on?
Anyway, with Cricut Joy and Smart Vinyl, you can cut a pattern up to 4 feet long and a repeating pattern up to 20 feet long!
Jeezum Crow, that’s a lot of feet! Just think of the epic banners you can make!
And yes, they have rolls of Smart Vinyl in those specific lengths, but the 20-footers are available only in certain colors.
Keep it Simple Stupid
One of the best features of Cricut Joy is its simplicity.
It has been designed only to work via Bluetooth, so there are no messy cables to fight with.
There is also only one blade – no perforation blades or debossing tips or wavy cut blades or any of the specialty blades that are offered on the bigger machines.
Cricut Joy likes it simple.
And it can also write with special pens that fit into the same housing as the blade.
Some projects may call for the pen and the blade, and it’s just a simple matter of swapping one for the other and carrying on with the Make.
Cricut Joy Goes Where You Go
This is where things get really interesting with Cricut Joy.
If Cricut had indeed come out with a bigger machine like so many predicted, I would not have been able to write this post.
Our lives have turned upside-down since we left Salt Lake City, but because Cricut Joy is so easy to transport and small enough to use anywhere there’s an electrical outlet, I was able to toss it in the car and bring it with me on this journey to establish Handan in a new city and state.
Here’s my Cricut Joy in Handan’s little kitchen.
(I know you’re dying to find out where we’re moving, but I’m not telling! I will have a clue for you later, though.)
And that brings me to the last incredible feature of Cricut Joy, and the project I’m about to show you.
Cards Are Now a Joy to Make!
Do you like to make custom cards for special occasions?
I saw what was involved in custom card-making and took a hard pass.
But with Cricut Joy, I’ve been putting Hallmark to shame.
And it’s all because of a new type of mat the WE Team (Wizards & Eggheads) at Cricut invented.
Behold the Glory of Cricut Joy Card Mat!
Holy crap, it’s so easy now! This is revolutionary, and it will reshape the papercrafting landscape as legions of new crafters will be drawn to making cards for their friends and loved ones.
When I first saw this feature, I immediately thought of my mom. She’s a card giver. Always has been. Always will be. I kept thinking how much she would love making cards with Cricut Joy. It really is so easy that even a total crafting noob like my mom could whip up a stack of Christmas cards for everyone on her list in under an hour!
So what better way to show you how quick and easy it is than to make a couple of cards for Handan in her micro kitchen while she’s at work?
Since I would soon be leaving my babes alone – a stranger in a strange (but friendly and welcoming) land – I wanted to make her a couple of cards to mark this milestone in our lives.
Now, since Joy works over Bluetooth, I could make her cards either with the Design Space desktop app or using the Design Space mobile app.
I chose the mobile app. I like that I can keep things super portable by not having to lug around a laptop to start making.
The first step was to connect with Joy in the Design Space app.
Once I signed in, I was able to select Cricut Joy from the list of machines.
Next, I opened Settings and then Bluetooth on my phone.
And I paired my Cricut Joy with my iPhone.
I selected Cards from the categories and scrolled until I found one I liked.
Best Day Ever.
It was perfect.
It describes the day Handan got her new job, and we hope once we get the house sold and we’re all together again, it will describe each and every new day from there on out.
At this point, I readied my card.
Here’s how it works. Card packs come with cards, inserts and envelopes. There are all different colors and textures to choose from.
The card goes into the Card Mat and gets cut and/or written upon. The insert gets tucked inside the card, and it shows through whatever areas the Cricut Joy cut out.
I put the card into the Cardmat.
By the way, I did this project without my trusty and beloved babes at my side, so I only had one hand to work with while the other hand took pictures with my DSLR camera!
Once the card was in the Card Mat, I pressed Make It on the app.
I was then instructed to insert the Card Mat into my Cricut Joy.
Here’s another really cool thing about Cricut Joy – you no longer have to worry about feeding the mat or material in straight. It will automatically grab it, feed it and straighten it out for you!
I pressed Go, and my Cricut Joy took over.
This tiny wonder did its work on a small piece of countertop next to the kitchen sink.
When my Cricut Joy finished cutting, I peeled the top of the card from the Card Mat. It was almost perfectly weeded just peeling it from the mat.
What was left on the Card Mat was easily removed with Cricut Joy’s scraper.
I weeded the remaining scraps from the card.
Next, I placed the insert into the card, one corner at a time.
I love this holographic insert and the way it plays with light.
The next card I made called for drawing and cutting.
I gave them to Handan just before I left so she would have something to look at and remember me by as we while away the weeks until we can see each other again.
Yay for my babes and her new job and for the opportunity for The Navage Patch to sprout anew in a new and better place!
I’ll have so much more to tell you in the coming weeks!
Get your Joy March 1
Update: Cricut Joy is now $129, but it is often on sale for even less!
Oh, and here’s your hint!
1 It should be noted for the record that I most certainly did not squeal, for at the moment of unveiling, I was slurping some coffee to wash down the last bit of pumpkin bread. Squealing at that moment would have led to coughing and spraying bits of coffee-soaked pumpkin bread all over my tablemates.
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