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How to use a Cricut Card Mat with Maker or Explore

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Create custom designs using the Cricut card mat. This mat cuts up to 4 cards at once and is compatible with both the Maker and Explore machines. Let’s take a deep dive and learn what this mat can do.

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Cricut insert card made on card mat 2x2

What is the Cricut card mat?

The Cricut card mat is uniquely designed to cut the front of a paper card while protecting the inside and back layer. This concept was originally introduced with the Joy allowing us to create a custom card in minutes.

Cricut Joy Card - You Got This

Take a look at how to make a single insert card using the Cricut Joy.

Since then Cricut has released the 2×2 card mat, which can make up to 4 cards at once. For the first time, this card mat is compatible with both the Maker and Explore machines.

The mat is a little larger than traditional cutting mats measuring 16.25 x 13 inches. There are 2 protective covers over the adhesive parts. There is also an adhesive divider that allows you to slip one half of the card underneath and only cut the top portion.

Cricut 2x2 card mat

Types of Cricut cards

With the introduction of the new 2×2 card mat, Cricut has given us more blanks. These cards come in all different sizes colors and materials. Cricut has also given each size a universal name. Take a look at the chart to see what’s available.

cards for the card mat in boxes
  • R10 – 3.5 in x 4.9 in (8.9 cm x 12.4 cm)
  • R20 – 4.25 in x 5.5 in (10.8 cm x 14 cm)
  • R30 – 4.5 in x 6.25 in (11.4 cm x 15.9 cm)
  • R40 – 4.75 in x 6.6 in (12.1 cm x 16.8 cm)
  • S40 – 4.75 in x 4.75 in (12.1 cm x 12.1 cm)

The letter represents the size, R is for rectangle and S is for square. Card designs can be sized to work with any of these dimensions.

In addition to the various sizes, there are a few different types of Cricut cards to choose from.

Insert cards These are the traditional folded cardstock cards. Once cut, a coordinating piece of cardstock is slipped behind the design. The design needs to be a stencil type so all the pieces of cardstock are held together. This is the type of card I’m making in the tutorial below.

insert cards made with the cricut card mat

Cutaway cards These cards come with adhesive inside, a colorful insert is attached to the adhesive before cutting. After cutting, you weed out the excess cardstock to reveal the color underneath. With this type of card you can use any designs and keep the middles of letters. Scroll down for a demo of this type of card.

thank you cutaway card

Foil transfer insert cards These cards come as a kit and work with your foil transfer tool. You are able to cut a design into the card then add detail with the included foil.

Create cards in Cricut Design Space

You will find lots of premade cards in Cricut Design Space. You can also create your own but I recommend starting with the premade projects to get a feel for the card mat and materials.

Be sure to watch the video for a step by step walk through on how to make 4 insert cards with the Cricut card mat.

Cricut card mat and insert card

How to make Cricut insert cards using the 2x2 card mat

Yield: 4
Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

Use the 2x2 Cricut card mat to create 4 cards at once.


  • Cricut insert cards



Cricut Design Space

  1. In Cricut Design Space navigate to Projects and select a card you want to make. You can sort designs by type using the drop down box. I chose this thanks a lot card.
  2. Click customize then duplicate the design on your canvas 4 times. 4 design on a canvas
  3. Then click Make it.
  4. The card mat will be automatically selected, ensure the size is correct in the dropdown box on the left. card size on mat
  5. Click continue and select the material. I recommend cardstock for intricate cuts.

Prep the cards and mat

  1. Pull the protective covers off the card mat.
  2. Place the back side of a folded card under the divider and press the top half onto the adhesive. Repeat this for all 4 spaces.
  3. On the machine, a Maker or Explore, move the star wheels to the center so they do not leave tracks on the cards, then load the mat. Cricut card mat and star wheels
  4. Start the cut from Design Space and push the flashing button.

Assemble the insert cards

  1. When the cut is complete, unload the mat and carefully remove each card. The cut pieces will remain on the mat, remove them with a scraper.
  2. Place a piece of insert cardstock into the slits from the back of the card.
  3. Now you have 4 custom cards ready to gift to someone.


    There are many ways to use the Cricut card mat. You can cut a single card or make 4 different designs. Scroll down for a walk through of the different ways to use the mat.

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    Make a single cutaway card

    You can create 1-4 cards using this mat. Let’s make a single cutaway card using a premade design.

    Start in Cricut Design Space and select a cutaway card project and click Make it.

    butterfly cutaway card design

    In the next screen, choose the appropriate card size on the left and move the design around if you’d like. It will automatically be centered.

    choose card size in Cricut design space

    Now prep the card and mat. Open one of the folded cards and pull off the adhesive backing.

    pull adhesive backing off cutaway card

    Place a piece of holographic cardstock pretty side down on the adhesive and press in place. Then load the card onto the mat by slipping the back under the divider and pressing the top firmly onto the adhesive.

    Back in Cricut Design space click continue and choose a material. I have found that cardstock for intricate cuts works best. Try this setting first but you may end up changing to something different depending on the type of cut and the age of your blade.

    On your Maker or Explore machine, move all 4 star wheels to the center so they don’t run over the cards or adhesive while cutting. Then load in the mat and start the cut.

    cutaway card on card mat (1

    When the cut is complete, gently pull the card off the mat. You can use a scraper tool to help so the material doesn’t curl.

    Then use a weeding tool to remove the cut cardstock. This feels different from weeding vinyl, go slow and pull gently so the paper doesn’t rip. It’s more difficult to pull up full pieces like you can with vinyl.

    weeding a cutaway card

    Once weeded, this card is done! A cutaway card allows you to use a more intricate design then you can with an insert card.

    Holographic cutaway card

    Create 4 different cards on 1 mat

    It’s easy to duplicate a single card and cut it 4 times on a mat. To make the most of your mat, let me show you how to cut 4 unique designs at once.

    In the projects screen of Cricut Design space search for and choose the cutaway card design set up and select the size of card you are using. I’m working with R20 cards.

    Cutaway card design setup

    Then duplicate this 4 times on your canvas and fill it with designs. You can add cut elements along with writing. Just ensure the design fits inside the dashed line. You can use the 4 designs I created by opening this Design Space project.

    With all 4 designs created, click make it. Make sure the correct card size is selected for each card.

    4 card designs in Cricut Design Space

    Designs may show up on different mats in the next screen. To move a design to a different mat, click on the 3 dots in the corner then move object.

    Cricut design space move object

    Then click the mat you want to move it to. Repeat this until all designs are on the same mat. Make sure the card size on the separate mats is the same before moving objects. If it is different you will get an error message.

    move object step 2

    Click continue and follow the same steps for the cutaway card project above.

    Cricut card mat FAQs

    Can I cut more than 1 size card at a time?

    No, all 4 slots on the card mat must be the same size.

    What if I don’t move the star wheels?

    Because the mat and material are so thick you will end up with tracks on your cards.

    Do I have to use Cricut cards?

    No! You can cut your own cardstock to create insert cards. A standard R20 card requires a piece of cardstock cut to 5.5 x 8.5 inches, scored down the middle. The insert cardstock should measure 4 x 5.25 inches.

    Can I cut different cards on a single mat?

    Yes, you can design and cut different cards at once using the 2×2 mat.

    How do I get different designs to cut on the same card mat?

    Take a look at the tutorial above. You will need to select each design once it’s on the mat and choose to move the object to the first mat. Repeat this step with each design until all 4 are showing on a single mat.

    The Cricut card mat 2×2 format is ideal for making lots of unique cards at once. I love this mat for thank you cards and invitations. It’s also great for making a batch of birthday cards ahead of a busy season.

    Drop your card mat questions in the comments, I’m happy to help.

    If you like this post, be sure to pin and save it.

    A complete guide to the 2x2 Cricut card mat

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