Best Generic Off Brands Cricut Tools and Materials

Do you have to use Cricut brand materials?

Sick of paying through the nose on Cricut supplies?

Yeah, I hear you.

I go through a lot of materials to make crafts for this site. It’s not just the material cost that adds up, it’s also the equipment and the accessories that come with like blades and mats.

I know you’re technically not supposed to use non-Cricut brand accessories. It voids the warranty. But really, who’s going to find out with some of these.

So I’ve made a little list of all the generic (more importantly, cheaper) brands of materials and equipment that I like and my thoughts on it compared to the Cricut branded stuff.

*this article contains affiliate links for your convenience, see full disclosures here


I make A LOT of intricate papercraft projects. I go through way more material than what you see in the finished good because I had to test my designs sometimes a dozen times before I get it right.

About five Cricut branded fine point blades in, I gave up and just ordered the generic stuff.

EWISWAY Blades – Nevermind the terrible name, there are just as good as the real stuff and cost a fraction of the branded ones. I’ve tried all of them. The blue and red tip ones are the most similar in terms of the blade angle but the yellow one works too. I’ve only noticed a subtle difference in cutting some brands of vinyl, I have to put it on the “less” setting but that’s a small sacrifice I’m willing to make.

The top blade is the Cricut branded one, the rest are generic brands. The red cap one is the closest in terms of a blade angle but it really doesn’t make that much of a difference.

I made a little comparison chart for everyone here. The Cricut branded blades always have a colored base whereas the generic brand blades mostly just have a silver metal finish. The blades are shaved to three levels of steepness. The Standard Fine Point blade (Cricut brand is the white cap) is equivalent to the Red cap off brand blade.

Amazon Cricut Mats

This is where I really save money. These off brand Cricut mats are cheap but just as effective. Some of them are branded to target other cutting machines but they seem to have all converged on the standard 12×12 inch material size for the mats work across all the latest cutting machines in market today.

Yes, you can wash your mats but I like to use the Light Grip mat a lot because it is so much easier to clean up. It’s already not super sticky so washing it doesn’t help much. If you’re set on washing your mat, I have a separate tutorial on how to most effectively clean your mat.

Also, something happened with the recent batches of Cricut Standard Grip mats. They are super sticky and peel off with some materials. I just stopped buying them altogether.

Nicapa – This is my favorite brand of generics. They smell a little but I just put it by a window for a day and it’s fine. I dare say I might like it better than the Cricut branded ones. I might be imagining it since I’m saving so much!

Monicut – This one is just as good but I find it smells even worse.

There’s some reviews on Amazon that talk about how the size of the mat is wrong. I have no had issues with this.

Best Cardstock for the Cricut

I’ve never bothered with the Cricut branded paper. I find there are plenty of other cardstock brands that have a better color selection. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Assorted Starter Pack – Basic assorted colors, great starter pack, perfect weight for most papercraft projects
  • Cricut Joy Insert Card Packs – You don’t have to use these with the Cricut Joy, they are nice material kids for cardmaking.
  • Cardstock Warehouse Brand on Amazon – I love the quality of all the matte-colored cardstock with Cardstock Warehouse. It is my go-to brand for individual matte colors that I might need
  • Poptone Assorted Variety Pack – This is the perfect peppy assortment of colors of heavy cardstock. It’s a heavy cardstock assortment with colors I actually use frequently for cardmaking.
  • Seasonal Assorted Variety Pack – This is a slight variation on the Poptone assortment and has a quite few neutrals that complement almost any accent color.
  • Stardream Metallics Line – For paper crafts, the Stardream line is the go-to for a metallic shimmer finish. It is the perfect sheen to make any project pop. The core is also colored is which hard to find for metallic paper.

can you use any vinyl with the cricut?

For vinyl, I found the Cricut branded stuff cuts most precisely with the Cricut machine. (big surprise!) It is also the easiest to weed partly because the cut not too deep but always cuts through.

I find Amazon to be the best option for reliable affordable vinyl. Here are a few of my favorite brands:

HTVRONT – They always have a nice assortment of the latest colors in addition to basics.

JANDJPACKAGING – I know, I know, terrible name but whatever, the vinyl is good.

CAREGY – Another terrible name but reliable material.

Oracle 651 – I find this is probably the closest for adhesive vinyl. My only advice here is to use the light grip mat because the backing sticks too much to the Standard grip mat.

EZ Crafts – I have to mention this one because of the price. I have to warn you, the standard vinyl cutting setting is a little deep so it’s not perfect. I just put it on “less” and deal with a few trouble spots. Again, use the Light Grip Mat.

Expression Vinyl is also another reliable source. They also carry the majority of the well-known brands.

I used to recommend more stand-alone online shops for HTV but they come go so quickly it’s not as reliable. Just stick to Amazon for HTV even in bulk. A lot of manufacturers will list their items at wholesale prices even on Amazon.

HTV, glitter, metallic – The rest of the varietals are a mixed bag in performance and no notable winners. I’ll be honest, I don’t use a lot of glitter. It gets everywhere, terrible to clean up and I’m terrified it’ll get into my kid’s eyes and cause permanent damage. (more common than you think!)

Other Cricut Craft Tools and Accessories

I don’t have any of the dedicated tools. I just use my cast iron pan scraper and tweezers. A credit card works too.

  • Spatula Set – The spatula out of all the Cricut brand tools is the only one I actually like. Unfortunately, it only comes in a set with the scraper. The scraper is nice too but it is no different than other branded and non-branded scrapers. I mostly use this spatula to scrape stuff off the mat and peel vinyl.
  • Weeding Tools – I’ve tried all the Cricut weeding tools and find them a little clumsy. The balance is off or something. I actually find the Tweezerman Point tweezers to be the best at weeding and just an all-around general tool for everything. Some people like to put a needle in a mechanical pencil which is not bad but that only gets the peeling started. The Tweezerman Point tweezers have a sharp enough point to start the peel but then they are tweezers so you can pick as well.
  • Scraps collector – people like this ring for collecting scraps.

A Few Cricut Branded Materials and Accessories Worth Splurging on

Rotary Blade – The Maker is not necessary but it really opens up a lot of materials mostly because while you can cut a lot with the Explorer, it doesn’t cut well or it ruins the mat. I resort to my rotary blade a lot for materials like soft leather, felt and everything else with stretch.

Knife Blade – Again, if you have a maker, the knife blade makes it easier to cut thicker materials. If you only have an explorer, the Deep Point Blade is a nice alternative.

Cricut Leather – Both the metallic and genuine leather are beautiful and more importantly, cuts well with all Cricut Machines. The generic stuff I can only reliability cut with the rotary blade which is limited to the Maker.

Cricut Pens – People on the internet love to talk about hacking their way with other branded pens. I’ve never gotten this to work. Plus, the pens are like the cheapest accessories they have! I love the metallic medium sized markers. I use them to do my faux calligraphy projects.

Wood Veneers – I love the Walnut wood veneer. It makes faux wood projects look so good!

Basswood – If you are doing any wood cutting with your Cricut, I would highly recommend the branded stuff. Other brands are too thick or split or both. Not worth the time.

Related Articles:

Where to buy craft supplies in bulk

Cricut hacks and tips
cricut hacks and tips
off brand cricut tools
off brand cricut tools

21 thoughts on “Best Generic Off Brands Cricut Tools and Materials”

  1. Roxanna Clark

    Thank you for this list!

    1. Lisa Jameson

      Hi Roxanna,
      I just started making paper flowers so I’m just learning. I love your site and I tried to sign up, but it wouldn’t go through.

  2. Wendy

    Thanks so much for this helpful information! As a new Cricut owner, I often wonder if all the Cricut brand materials are worth the huge difference in price. This is a great article that offers great advice as to what’s worth saving up for a Cricut splurge. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Coco

    I totally agree with about all the expense. I come across a lot of Cricut users that use nothing but Cricut products and I cringe as there are so many other great products out there! People really should not limit themselves or worse be to up tight about breaking the warranty ..that one kills me.

  4. Katie

    Do you use cricut branded iron-on?

    1. I have not used that specific one, I’ve only tried a few select regular vinyl rolls from Cricut. There are just so many other HTV options out there that are cheaper.

  5. Michelle

    Thank you for this awesome article. I live in Australia and am having trouble finding black & white chipboard or equivalent. Is there anywhere you can recommend online?

    1. hmm, that’s a tough one. I’ve never been to Australia and know very little about that market. I’m sorry I can’t be more help :-/ You can always make your own with some contact paper and untreated chipboard?

  6. Joyce

    Thank you so much this information is very helpful.

  7. Sharon

    Thanks for the info. It was extremely helpful.

  8. Ana G

    Great article, it is difficult to make the decision to deviate from name brand because you’re afraid it’s more of a waste of money.

  9. sylvie

    Fab article!
    Can you advise if the non-branded deep cut blade can handle 2.4mm tooling leather? I have the cricut knife blade for this but cannot find the non-branded equivalent. Thank you!

    1. Elf @DomesticHeights

      Hi Sylvie,

      There is no non-branded knife blade so you will have to pay full price for the time being :-/

  10. Afra

    Hi, can you advise if there are comparable non-Cricut brand Smart materials for the Cricut Maker 3?

    1. Elf @DomesticHeights

      Hi Afra,
      Ilyssa has not used the non-cricut branded “smart” materials yet so she’s not much help there.

  11. Sharon Heath

    Enjoyed the information you provided for the Cricut. But how ever, you didn’t speak much on the Joy. Do you information on this Cricut.

    1. Elf @DomesticHeights

      Dear Sharon,
      Yes, the Joy mostly requires its own Cricut branded equipment from blades to pens to mats. You can of course use non-branded crafting materials but might need to pre-cut them to size.

  12. Marzia

    can I switch blades 30° 60° 45° and use the same housing? in Italy it is so hard to find the tools and right now the necchi official dealer for cricut in Italy has nothing left in its online shop, everything is sold out, sigh….

    1. Elf @DomesticHeights

      Hi Marzia,
      Yes, they all use the same housing. It’s just the tip of the blade that is different.

      Happy Crafting!

  13. Anne

    Your article is SO imformative!!! Thank you! I have purchased some of the Nicapa mats and the blue was so sticky at first, I thought it was going to tear my paper, but after a few times, this mat was really great! Also have tried the Monicut mats with very good results! I’m signing up right now!!!

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