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DIY Thanksgiving Table Runner made with the Cricut Maker 3

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This post is sponsored by Cricut. The views and opinions expressed are entirely my own. You can read my full disclosure here.

Use the Matless cutting feature on the Cricut Maker 3 to customize a table runner for Thanksgiving.

Can I tell you how much I love my Cricut Maker 3 and its new matless cutting feature?!? It makes doing DIY projects like this customized Thanksgiving table runner so much easier. Since I didn’t have to slice the design into mat sizes I was able able to cut the design all at once. This not only saved me time, but it also saved a lot of Iron-on that I can use for future projects.

In case you didn’t know, earlier this year Cricut released their newest crafting machines the Explore Air 3 and Cricut Maker 3. In many ways, these machines are very similar to the Explore Air 2 and original Cricut Maker. They use the same tools and can work with the same materials. So what is it that sets them apart? Well like I mentioned above both of these machines (like their smaller counterpart the Cricut Joy) are enabled to cut Smart Materials matless!!

Cricut has spent years developing machines that could cut materials. Why did it take them so long to come out with machines with this capability when competitor machines have had it for a while. Well, because they saw all the issues that those same competitor machines were experiencing with that feature and they wanted to find a way to fix those existing issues before they went ahead with that feature on their own machines. Cricut is all about quality and customer experience.

What were some of those known issues with matless cutting that Cricut wanted to avoid? Well, two of the main ones that have been mentioned were:

How to determine that the material being used was long enough for the project.

This is a very important concern. Because when you are using mats the machine can tell you how many mats you need in each color so you don’t run out of material mid-cutting causing you to not be able to finish. Think how frustrating this can be? think of having to run to your local raft store mid-project and hoping they have the exact color and type of material to finish your project.

Also, unlike when cutting with mats, when cutting mattless the machine just keeps cutting. So if you run out of material guess what the machine starts cutting? That’s right starts cutting into the machine itself. This is bad for it can not only damage the crafting machine but also ruins the cutting blade.

To address this issue, Cricut had to redevelop the insides of the Cricut Explore Air 3 and Maker 3 to give them both a special sensor that will check your roll of Smart material to make sure it is long enough for your project (before it starts cutting) This sensor can also tell if the material is loaded crooked to seld adjust.

How to stop material from slipping when cutting long designs

This is also a major concern. Cricut noted that with competitor machines using the matless cutting feature that the materials tended to slip in the machine when cutting long designs. This would cause the material in many instances to get damaged (wrinkling and creasing) and sometimes even caused the design to jump when cutting so the whole cut design would be ruined. They really didn’t want this to happen with their machines.

In the end, Cricut ended up designing special Smart Materials that had reinforced backing and tracks on the side of the backing to facilitate being used without a mat. In essence, the backing becomes the mat. This has been shown to prevent slipping when cutting.

These new machines though they look and work similarly to their predecessors have in reality been redesigned from the inside out to allow the ability to confidently cut materials without a mat. As an added benefit, when cutting matless both of these machines can now cut even faster. Now right now Cricut only has 3 different Smart (or matless) materials available. You can get Smart Vinyl & Iron-on in various lengths as well as Smart Adhesive Cardstock, For all other materials (or when using scraps of Smart Materials) you will use the standard Cricut Mats.

When I heard this news I knew I had to have one. I went with the Cricut Maker 3 since I also love using all those awesome adaptive tools that only work with the Cricut Maker machines. Today I am going to show you how cool this matless cutting feature is by showing you how to make this fun DIY Thanksgiving Table runner.

You can make your own Customized Thanksgiving Table Runner following the tutorial below or pin this post to your Thanksgiving board on Pinterest to make later on!

Yield: 1 Custom Table Runner

DIY Thanksgiving Table Runner

DIY Thanksgiving Table Runner

Thanks to the matless cutting feature with the new Cricut Explore Air 3 and Cricut Maker 3 you can easily customize table runners using Smart Iron-on.


  • Open Cricut Design Space for Thanksgiving Mat.-->HERE*
  • Click to make and Mirror the Iron-on mat design.
  • Select Smart Iron-on as the material
  • Insert Smart Iron-on into the Cricut Maker 3 **
  • After cutting the design cut off extra material using
  • Use the weeding tool in the essential tool kit to weed your design.
  • Cut each section out using the scissors from the essential tool kit.
  • Place design where desired on the table runner (I designed the Thanksgiving pattern to go around the edge of the table runner with the Thankful Grateful Blessed message to go on each end)
  • Heat your Easypress 2 to 315° and set the timer to 30 seconds.
  • Press the design to the table runner one section at a time until done. ***
  • Flip the Table Runner over and press down the length for 15 seconds.
  • Let cool and peel off iron-on backing.
  • Enjoy!


* Not wanting to waste any Iron-on I do not have the full design attached to cut all in one piece. Rather I have it optimized to cut each side separately so that I could adjust the mat before cutting to save as much Iron-on for later projects.

** I used the Cricut Roll Holder (sold separately) to keep the long roll-on Iron-on from falling to the floor while cutting. It is definitely worth the extra cost.

*** I did a quick 5-second spot-press on the design to hold all the pieces in place before I officially pressed it. This helped a lot since the design was so long and I didn't want it shifting while doing the official press.

I love how this project turned out and seriously love my new Maker 3. Being able to cut longer projects is totally a game-changer. You can also do extensive projects like several shirts all at once cutting downtime and wasting less material.

Yey! Along with the Explore Air 3 & Maker 3 machines, Cricut also released a cool roll holder (that comes separately) that can attach to both of the new units for when using matless Smart materials. I totally recommend getting one. It helps hold your smart materials so they don’t just roll off your table when cutting long designs and even has a built-in paper cutter so when you are done cutting your design you can cut the Snart Vinyl or Iron-on so you have a nice straight cut making it easy to load into your machine again in the future and so you don’t waste any material.

What Projects would you love to make with the Cricut Maker 3?

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