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If you use one of the AH-mazing Cricut cutting machines, you probably have a love/hate relationship with the cutting mats. Without these mats, we couldn’t do the amazing things we do with our Cricuts. But always knowing which of your mats to use for a project isn’t as simple as it may seem. At this point, there are four different cutting mats — the blue LightGrip mat, the green StandardGrip mat (my favorite), the purple StrongGrip mat, and the pink FabricGrip mat. But which of the Cricut cutting mats are the right amount of sticky for your project? Let’s talk about this AND how to keep (or restore) stickiness.

Cricut Cutting Mats -- which one is best and sticky enough for my project?

Having just the right sticky cutting mat is SO important for your Cricut project success. In fact, this is my #1 tip when it comes to Cricut projects. Use a sticky mat! A machine mat that isn’t sticky will cause your material to slide around causing miscuts of various sorts. Also, a cutting mat that is sticky enough will make removing paper-based materials so much easier, because all of the little bits stay on the mat and your project doesn’t need weeding or fiddling about with.

If your project just isn’t cutting right, the first question you should ask yourself is this: Is your mat is sticky enough?

Note: Cricut updated their mats in autumn 2017—they used to have a floral pattern on them, but now they are solid colors (like all of my photographs in this post). Also, the adhesive seems different than before. They are working fine for me, but some other crafters preferred the older ones. Also, this post contains some affiliate links for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission but it won’t cost you a penny more)! Read my full disclosure policy.

So let’s begin by going over each of the Cricut cutting mats and the types of materials for which they are intended:

The Blue LightGrip Cricut Cutting Mat for lightweight materialsThe Blue LightGrip Mat

The Cricut LightGrip Mat is the go-to mat for many people. Cricut recommends you cut the lightest materials on it—for example, copy paper (printer paper), thin cardstock, vellum, construction paper, and vinyl on the blue LightGrip mat. I personally find that these materials cut well on this mat only when the mat is pretty new, however. But, when you need to cut vellum, a sticky blue LightGrip mat is definitely the way to go.

The Green StandardGrip Cricut Cutting Mat for medium-weight materialsThe Green StandardGrip Mat

The Cricut StandardGrip Mat is my personal go-to mat for most of my projects. I have three times as many green StandardGrip mats as any other color in my craft room! I like it best because it remains the stickiest (without being too sticky) for the longest duration. Cricut recommends you cut medium-weight materials on it, such as cardstock, pattern paper, washi paper, and vinyl (self-adhesive, iron-on/HTV, and window cling). I also use it for bonded fabric (in my Cricut Explore Air). I sometimes use an older StandardGrip mat when I cut felt or fleece on my Cricut Maker simply because those materials leave a lot of residue and the green StandardGrip mats are less expensive to replace than the pink FabricGrip mats. In most cases, I would tell you to use this green StandardGrip mat.

The purple StrongGrip Cricut Cutting Mat for heavyweight materialsThe Purple StrongGrip Mat

I believe the Cricut StrongGrip Mat is the least used mat of the four. When they say strong, they mean STRONG. This adhesive’s grip is crazy. And if you use it for material that isn’t equally strong it will tear or otherwise destroy it. Cricut recommends you use the StrongGrip mat for heavyweight materials such as thick cardstock, glitter cardstock, magnet sheets, chipboard, posterboard, aluminum foil, craft foam, balsa wood, and fabric with stiffener. I cut all my cardstock on the green StandardGrip mat, not this StrongGrip mat. What I use the purple StrongGrip mat for is really thick materials, like cardboard, Kraft board, and leather.

The pink FabricGrip Cricut Cutting Mat for fabricThe Pink FabricGrip Mat

The pink Cricut FabricGrip mat is the newest member of the mat family having come out when the Cricut Maker debuted. Use the pink mat for fabric and crepe paper. The FabricGrip mat is a bit thicker and stronger than the other mats, but isn’t as sticky—it’s intended to just keep the fabric in place as the rotary blade or bonded fabric blade travels over it. The rotary blade doesn’t drag on the material the same way the standard fine point blade does. It’s preferable that the FabricGrip mat be less sticky so when you remove your fabric, you don’t leave too many fibers and threads behind. You can also use this mat with bonded fabric and the bonded fabric blade, too. This mat is the trickiest to keep clean, however!

Ok, so how do you keep the Cricut Cutting Mats Clean?

Ah, the big question! My first suggestion is to keep your mats as clean as you can by always putting that protective clear cover back over them when they are not in use. Your mats will still get dirty with bits of leftover material, though, so here’s what you can do:

Cleaning Blue, Green, and Purple Cutting Mats

  • Use a scraper to remove all of the leftover materials after you finish cutting.
  • Run a sticky lint roller over your mat to get the smaller bits that are hard to scrape off.
  • Wipe your mats down with a non-alcohol based cleaning wipe, such as Purell wipes or baby wipes.
  • Wash the mat with water and gentle dishwashing detergent, then allow to dry.

Note: Some people like to re-apply adhesive to their mats. If you do this, please note that this can void your warranty on your machine because it can gunk up your rollers. But if your warranty has expired and you don’t mind experimenting, you can tape the edges of your mat and use something like 3M Spray Adhesive (the repositionable type).

Cleaning Pink FabricGrip Mats

  • Avoid touching the adhesive surface at all as the oils from your fingers can damage the adhesive.
  • Do not use a scraper to get fabric bits off the pink mat, as you can accidentally remove the adhesive.
  • Use tweezers, the Cricut spatula, or Cricut’s StrongGrip transfer tape to clean Fabric Grip mats.
  • Do not use soap and water or any other cleaning agent on a FabricGrip mat.
  • For extra fuzzy materials, like felt and fleece, consider putting transfer tape behind your fabric before sticking it to the mat—this will keep your mat free of fuzz.

Note: The Pink FabricGrip mats will continue to work even with leftover fabric and fiber remnants on the mat—the rotary blade will cut right through them.

Get my Free Cricut Cutting Mat Cheat Sheet So You Never Forget Which Mat to Use!

(The Cricut Cutting Mats Cheat Sheet is #89 in my Free Resource Library.)

Please let me know if you have any questions!

Want to remember this? Save the Cricut Cutting Mat post to your favorite Pinterest board!

Cricut Cutting Mats: Get Sticky For Success! | Which Mat to Use for Which Project | Cleaning Your Mats | #Cricut #CricutMaker

Knowing which Cricut cutting mats to use for specific projects is key. I have broken it down for you so you can craft easier! #cricut #cricutmade #cricutmaker #cricutexplore #papercrafts #papercrafting

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  1. From one Jennifer to another, I’m excited for your 30 day organizing challenge!! I did get a 4 day head start on my own, but I know it can be better! My sleeves are rolled up and I’m ready to go!! Thanks for the encouragement and guidance!
    Thanks, Jennifer

  2. Loving all the new information I am finding on your site and through your emails to me, and the free files you are offering. Just wanted to say thank you so much x

  3. You are my FAVORITE “go-to” cricut maker person. I’m so grateful for all your posts and websites!

  4. Hi.Just started using my Maker.Doing the 6 day tutorial. I love watching your tutorials they are so easy to follow.

  5. Hi Jennifer,
    Such an awesome 1st email to receive. You are such a kind, fun, and generous person. I’ve spent the better part of today watching your videos, and reading some of this info. There is so much, and I am very excited about my trip to Jo-Ann’s tomorrow (after the bead show; I’m an avid beadweaver, and have just started crafting in the last year). Can’t wait to work on my 1st project. Thanks ever so much for sharing your talent, info., and passion. I’m psyched BIG TIME!

  6. I would like your opinion. I just read a tip suggesting to stick a 12×12 sheet of Oracal 651 on your cutting mat, with the vinyl adhesive and backing face up. Then the vinyl is pressed onto the mat using a scraper, and the vinyl backing is removed. In this suggestion, they were layering vinyl on the cutting mat so as to cut felt and not make a fuzzy mess of the adhesive on the cutting mat. Essentially you are layering the cutting mat with vinyl. This puts a new sticky surface on your mat. Do you think that would hold up very long, or would you find vinyl stuck to the back of your projects? The adhesive on my mats tends to get scratched off and dirty pretty quick, and eventually, I’m using tape to keep paper in place. Would the adhesive on the vinyl be too sticky? When the vinyl gets cut up, I suppose you can stick down another layer, or scrape the first one off. The suggestion wasn’t intended to renew the mat’s adhesive, but I’m wondering if this wouldn’t work to add life to a cutting mat. I don’t think this should be done with the permanent vinyl. The tip suggested clear vinyl, but I would guess there are different thicknesses of vinyl, and that some colors might work better than others. I just finished cutting some gold Cricut vinyl that needed a deeply cutting blade to cut, and I couldn’t cut it at all without the mat.

    1. I have never tried this, Pam but I can already invasion either bits of adhesive vinyl lifting with your other materials or it not cutting all the way through like it needs to. If working with felt, I would use the pink fabric grip mat.

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