Cricut machines are the Thermomix of the crafting world – a status symbol with a cult-like following, and the love for Cricut is justified. Most of Cricut's crafting machines are rather large for the average user, someone who just wants to spread some joy amongst friends and family – enter the Cricut Joy.
It's a significantly more compact version of the other Cricut machines, opening up more opportunities for crafty-types, and is the perfect machine if you’re short on space and just want to indulge your creative side.
Think of Cricut as a plotting machine that can cut and draw. At minimum, it works on cardstock, vinyl and iron-on transfers. Attach blades or markers to the Cricut Joy and it will accurately cut or draw onto these materials.
The Cricut Joy is under 2kg and you can pick it up one-handed, so you really can carry it around with you. And the only cable you need is the power cable thanks to Bluetooth connectivity (which isn’t a pain when pairing your device, thankfully).
The design is simple and clean, so it’s going to look good when you’re taking photos and videos for your Instagram or TikTok followers. When it’s operating, it’s a little louder than you expect it to be, but no louder than the average inkjet printer.
A word of warning, however: Your Cricut crafting can turn into an addiction pretty easily. You’ll get STS (Shiny Tool Syndrome) and SMS (Shiny Material Syndrome) and become addicted to tutorials on Instagram and TikTok. RIP your credit card and phone battery.
Cricut Joy price and availability
- Announced March 2020
- List price of $179/£179/AU$249
The latest machine to join the Cricut ranks is the company's smallest and most affordable one, sparking joy in crafters the world over.
The Cricut Joy is available to purchase from most major crafting stores and online retailers, setting you back $179 / £179 / AU$249. This price not only includes the machine itself, but also a cutting blade, fine-point pen, a standard grip mat and some material to get you started.
The ongoing cost of crafting materials will need to be taken into consideration, which vary in price depending on what you're after. Cricut makes its own range of Joy-specific material, but you can also source material from third parties.
Cricut Joy: What can you make?
The beauty of this machine is that you can create fully customized gifts, either for yourself or a loved one, or make a bit of cash on Etsy.
At the very least you can create custom
- greeting cards, bookmarks, bunting, party decorations
- labels for containers in your fridge and pantry, at offices and in classrooms
- mugs, glassware, reusable bottles and cups
- wall, mirror and car decals
- clothing and tote bags
If you’ve got a few hours to waste, Pinterest is the mecca of Cricut project ideas.
Cricut Joy: Design
- Smallest Cricut machine yet
- Sleek design
Cricut Joy is the smaller sibling to the original Cricut machines, giving it a couple of limitations; it can only cut thinner materials and only on materials up to 11.4cm wide. That being said, you can still create a decent amount with the Cricut Joy.
The machine’s design is simple and sleek, and even though the casing is plastic, Cricut Joy feels sturdy enough when you’re handling it. The teal clamp holding onto the blade is easy to find and release, so it’s a piece of cake to switch to pens or a new blade.
The guides make it easy to insert the materials into the machine and the rollers move the material into the Joy automatically. Using the 'Smart' Cricut materials allows the machine to 'read' the material and ensure it has enough to do the job.
When you need to pack up, it’s easy to unplug the power cable and whisk the gear out of sight.
Cricut Joy: Setup and ease of use
- Easy to set up and use
- Needs a Cricut app
The Cricut Joy comes with one blade and one black fine-point pen, so all you need to buy separately is materials to run through the machine and some transfer tape.
There are plenty of material types and lots of multi-packs if you’re not sure what colours you want to try. That said, when looking at materials to buy, make sure to get the materials that are Joy-friendly as not all will be thin enough to go through the machine.
Cricut has a bunch of 'Smart' materials as well that have been designed specifically for the Joy. They include:
- Permanent and removable vinyl (including shimmer, glitter, translucent and holographic colors)
- Pre-folded cards and inserts
- Writeable labels, paper and vinyl
- Iron-on (including shimmer, glitter and holographic colors)
- Label cardstock
- Infusable ink transfer sheets and pens
While you don't necessarily have to stick to using Cricut's own crafting material, your DIY projects will likely go a lot smoother when using these, at least until you've come to grips with what the little machine can do for you. After that, you can be a bit more adventurous and explore other options.
Transfer tape is what you need to get your cut-out design onto the final product. It’s like clear contact.
There are a multitude of other accessories and consumables you can buy, but be aware that this is where your credit card can really get a beating.
Set up is pretty simple – connect via Bluetooth to your device and install the Cricut Design Space or Cricut Joy app, both of which are available for iOS and Android.
It can take some brain power to create your design in the way you want it to be cut or, if you're stumped for ideas, there are ready-to-use designs available on the app. If you've never done anything like this before, it's best to do some test cuts until you get the hang of it, or be prepared to run out of your favorite materials before you finish a project.
If you’re familiar with vectors and SVG files, you can also import these into the app and then just let the machine do its thing.
Should I buy the Cricut Joy?
If you’re itching to try something new with your crafting, you can’t go wrong with the Cricut Joy. Before you know it, you’ll be showing off your creations to your friends and family, and maybe even making some pocket money on the side.
Buy it if...
You're short on space
When your dining table stops being a crafting space and goes back to being your WFH desk, the Cricut Joy is easy to manoeuvre. At 1.75kg you can pop it in a carry bag and take it with you if you want to influence your friends with your new crafting skills.
You want to try out a Cricut machine without paying top dollar
Unless you have plans on becoming an Etsy hustler, the Cricut Joy is the perfect price for hobbyists. The money you save by not buying one of the bigger Cricut machines, you can spend on more materials and tools to make more goodies.
Don't buy it if...
You want to experiment with a wide range of crafting materials
Even though Cricut sells varying colors for its different materials, and you can source a variety from third parties, the size of the machine will limit the kind of material you can work with. If you truly want to indulge in some experimentation, you'll need to consider other crafting machines.
You've got dreams of crafting larger projects
If that's the case, then you should opt for one of the larger machines, like the Cricut Explore or Maker series, that can work with bigger and thicker materials.
[First reviewed May 2022]