Cricut Joy - A Compact, Portable DIY Smart Machine for Customised Crafts
I must admit that we had not heard of Cricut when they reached out to us to review the Cricut Joy. We did some quick research on the machine at it looked really cool, so we gladly accepted Cricut's offer to send us a Cricut Joy machine to review.
While many people who buy the Cricut joy or other similar cutting machines do so to make crafts, we found that the Cricut Joy is an incredible machine to have for a new home, and works really well as a custom label maker. It works so well that it's at the top of our list for housewarming gift ideas.
First Impressions of the Cricut Joy
What exactly is the Cricut Joy? The Cricut Joy is, to put it in the simplest terms, a cutting machine. It is a compact and portable machine that can be used to create customised labels, cards and other crafts on iron-ons, vinyl, paper and various other materials.
Cricut generously sent us some tools and materials together with the machine for us to work with, and we were impressed with the quality of everything that they sent us.
Out of the box, the package itself comes with the Cricut Joy machine it is compact and feels solidly built, with a glossy finish. Also included in the standard package is the StandardGrip Mat, a pen, a piece of vinyl sample, a piece of insert card sample, and the power adaptor and startup guide.
Setting Up the Cricut Joy
Setting up the Cricut Joy was a generally smooth and seemless process. The setup guide brings you to the Cricut website where you download the application to your computer and follow the instructions on-screen to create your account and connect the machine to your device via bluetooth, and you are ready to go!
Setting up the Cricut Joy
You are then given the option to join a 30 day free trial to Cricut Access which gives you instant access to thousands of ready-made templates, images and fonts on their application for your creations. Alternatively, with the basic free account, you can still access a hundreds of free templates or pay a small fee for individual premium templates that you would like to use.
We tried setting up our free trial, but it appeared to us that the application only accepted US billing addresses, so we skipped that part. (We were subsequently able to set up our free trial successfully, and when we reached out to the Cricut team have our initial review, we were assured that international addresses are also accepted.)
The application then proceeds to direct you to do a test cut. We selected one of the 6 test images and loaded the Smart Vinyl into the machine off we went!
Test cutting with the Cricut Joy
The cutting process was quick, taking less than a minute from start to finish, and it turned out looking pretty good. However, the instructions sort of ended after the cut, and we were left scratching our heads on what we were supposed to do next. While we managed to find some tips and instructions online, we wished that the tutorial continued on the guiding new users on how to transfer the cut vinyl onto a new surface using the transfer sheet as it wasn't immediately apparent to us.
In order to transfer the cut vinyl to a new surface, you first peel off whatever material you don't want, leaving behind just the image you with the retain. Then you cut a piece of the clear transfer tape and paste it over the vinyl, making sure it sticks securely and pushing out any bubbles using the scraper (part of the start tool set) or alternatively an old credit card if you don't have a scraper. Next, you peel off the transfer sheet gently, which would lift to cut vinyl up along with it. Finally, you place the sheet onto the surface you want before peeling off the transfer sheet carefully. We found the weeder tool to be particularly helpful in the transfer process, especially for the more delicate parts of the cut vinyl.
Transferring Cricut vinyl to new surface
It cuts and it draws too!
With the tutorial done, we decided to see what else the Cricut Joy can do. We found a cool design on the application that combines drawing and cutting of rather thin lines, so we decided to give that a try to see how the Cricut performs with more delicate cuts.
To perform a project that includes both cuts and drawings, you first load the pen onto the machine before later switching it out for the knife as instructed by the application. The process was easy to understand and really fun to watch! While the machine performed the cuts precisely, removing the tiny cutouts from the card stock proved to be a little challenging, and required a bit of patience and steady hands. However, the result was stunning, and the possibilities are endless. We could easily see ourselves making custom Christmas Cards or even Red Packets for Chinese New Year with the Cricut Joy.
The Cricut Joy can do both cutting and drawing
Custom labeling for your home
After the previous tests, we turned our sights to our surroundings to find some more practical uses for the Cricut Joy. It seemed immediately obvious to us that the Cricut Joy would be an amazing label maker for the home and office, and so we started cutting and pasting labels on everything.
We were impressed with how the Cricut Joy have been performing so far, and so we decided to push it even further by going even smaller. The machine churned out perfectly cut letters for home switches that were much prettier and longer lasting than our older labels.
Switch labels created using the Cricut Joy (photo on the right)
Pushing the Cricut Joy yet a little further, we went even smaller and it took the challenge like a champ! The balcony light switch below measured just 28mm wide, and the thickness of the lines on the alphabets were less than 1mm thick. Now that really blew our minds away! While we must be honest here and point out that peeling out such thin vinyl and transferring them onto the switches felt like performing brain surgery, the result was 100% worth the effort. The result looks great, and the Permanent Smart Vinyl provided to us by Cricut is so sticky and durable, the letters still look brand new after 3 months of daily use.
The Cricut Joy is a small machine that packs a punch. We were really impressed by how small we can go, and how thin and precisely the machine can cut. Further, the quality of the materials from Cricut is top notch, and is sure to last a long time under normal use.
In addition to card and vinyl, the Cricut Joy can also perform cuts for iron-ons and foil transfers. The possibilities are truly endless, packet in a small package that can be easily stored in our tiny HDB BTO flats.