In this cricut machines beginner’s guide we cover everything from knowing the different machines to how they work. You’ll also learn what projects you can make, and the materials and accessories you will need! Continue reading below…
Cricut for Beginners
Hey crafter! We have a few questions for you…
Do you love crafting? (We’re guessing the answer to that is yes!)
Do you love exercising your creativity with new and exciting projects?
Do you want to have more flexibility to create different kinds of projects?
Do you want to get the best equipment to help you save time on the more laborious aspects of crafting?
Do you want additional ideas for projects, and to implement your current ideas with total precision and amazing quality?
Do you do a lot of cutting, for example, quilting, home décor, toy making, card making, and so on?
If you’ve answered yes to all or several of these questions, it could be time to take your crafting to the next level. You might just need a Cricut machine!
Great! But what is a Cricut machine?
A Cricut machine is a die cutting machine that cuts shapes and patterns from literally hundreds of different materials – from leather, to other fabrics, to paper, to wood – giving you unrivalled possibilities for creating incredible art and craft projects. Sounds pretty sweet, right? It is!
When you start using a Cricut, which come in a bunch of different colors by the way, you will be delighted with how intricate you can get compared to using traditional cutting tools – it cuts materials with an exceptional level of detail. Move over scissors…!
Cricut machines let you either create a design from scratch, or you can choose from a whole bunch of different pre-created designs using its accompanying software, Design Space (more on this below).
There are a few different models of Cricut that do different things. Some models cut thicker materials, others also let you draw, emboss, and fold. Some are great for fabric and heat transfer projects.
That’s just a very, very brief overview – we’ll give you the down-low on everything in the exciting world of Cricut, so you can decide if one of these fantastic little machines is for you.
Sounds exciting! How does the Cricut work?
The Cricut works by cutting through all sorts of different materials. The materials that it cuts is dependent on which machine you are using (more on that soon).
The Cricut works in a similar way to a printer, only it cuts instead of prints. You make a design on your computer using a piece of software called Cricut Design Space (which we will talk about in more detail later) and send it to the machine.
Rather than laying out ink onto materials such as paper or acetate, the Cricut uses a blade to cut materials. You then have professionally cut materials (such as vinyl, paper, fabric and even wood) to create stunning projects with. Each machine can cut numerous different materials, so you can make projects out of a mixture of materials.
I’m intrigued! What projects can you make with a Cricut?
There is an unbelievable number of different projects that you can make using a Cricut. Here are a few examples…
- You can create artwork and graphics for your wall out of materials such as vinyl or balsa wood.
- You can create vinyl designs for jars, cups and mugs, phone cases, and all sorts of surfaces.
- You can make fabric projects such as toys, cushions, by cutting out pieces to sew together. Cricuts are also handy for quilting, letting you create quilting blocks quickly and easily instead of spending loads of time cutting them out yourself.
- You can create and personalise accessories, such as bags, shoes, hats cushions, bags, scarves, jewellery and more. You can do this in several ways, including iron-on projects, so you can place your designs on clothing such as t-shirts or sweaters, or even pyjamas and onesies!
- Leather and faux leather crafts are easy to work on with a Cricut – why not make a wallet, notebook or leather bracelet?
- Cricut makers are great for paper crafts. So, you can create artwork and decorations for your home, or for parties and events, for example, bunting, cake decorations, party streamers and signs. You can also use them for making greeting cards and invitations.
- Cricut machines also let you generate stencils so you can create large designs for painting onto walls and furniture. You can also use vinyl designs on furniture.
- You can make stickers and decals which you can put onto phone cases, your windows and all sorts.
- 3D projects from a whole range of materials are possible, for example, boxes for gifts, toys, home décor, and so on.
- A Cricut can be used to make shapes to use in scrapbooking or similar projects.
- Cricut projects for organising your home such as making labels for your pantry is another great idea.
- You could even create your own Christmas decorations.
I can see several Cricut makers. Fill me in – what is the newest Cricut machine?
The Circuit Joy is the newest Cricut machine, and although it’s compact, there’s a lot you can do with it. The Cricut Joy is the miniature version of its bigger relations. The cut width is 4.5”.
The Cricut Joy is cheaper than the other two machines, meaning that it is a great machine for those wanting to try out the joys (sorry not sorry) of Cricut without making a bigger commitment to one of the other products.
Using the Cricut Joy, you can create stickers, labels, cards, and all sorts. This small machine allows you to personalise pretty much anything you can think of, and it only takes up a teeny tiny amount of room. Say no to boring phone cases, clothing, appliances, and well, just about everything that has a surface! Why not create some beautiful stickers for your windows?
There are loads of ready-to-use designs on the app (some of which are free and some of which there is a small paid subscription for) which you can personalise to make labels, cards, stickers. You can create texts in different fonts, weights and styles to suit you.
Although you can use a mat with the Cricut Joy, you can also enjoy mat-free cutting for cutting 20 feet of vinyl. So, even though the machine is small, you can print wall decorations or create other large projects. How about a banner for a birthday party?
Read Related Topic: 25 Best Christmas Gift Ideas for Kids 2020
So that’s the newest machine… Which is the best Cricut machine?
If you want the best Cricut of all – that is the Cricut Maker. This machine is the all-singing-all-dancing Cricut, the crème de la crème, that gives you the biggest range of possibilities. It’s bigger and more expensive than the Cricut Joy, but that’s because it opens up so many more doors.
The Cricut Maker is the best machine because it is the most versatile. It can cut over 300 materials, has 12 different tools/capabilities and, unlike the other Cricut machines, its cutting technology is at a commercial level. This means that if you want to take things to a professional level, you can. People will look at your projects and wonder how on earth you managed to make them at home! You could even start a business selling products that you make on the Cricut Maker.
The Cricut Maker, as you will see below, has an additional cutting blade and is able to cut really tough materials, including several types of wood, such as balsa wood and basswood. As well as being the quietest of the Cricut machines and a general superstar, it’s also the best machine for cutting fabric because the fabric does not have to be bonded, unlike if you use the Cricut Explore Air 2.
In summary, the Cricut Maker is amazing and does an unbelievable amount of stuff for something the size of a printer!
Hmmm, newest or best… Or another?! Which Cricut should I buy?
There are different Cricut makers to suit different budgets and different projects. You need to consider what you plan to cut and what your budget is. Some people will want Cricuts primarily for creating vinyl stickers or small paper crafts. And some want the most powerful machine available on the market.
What you want to make (as well as how much you have available to spend) will determine which Cricut you should purchase.
As we mentioned earlier, if you are new to Cricuts and you want to test the water, you will probably want to consider the most affordable option – the Cricut Joy. You might also consider the Cricut Joy if you’re short on space, or if you are fortunate to already own another Cricut machine and want this as an additional machine.
If you want to score and emboss, or cut materials at a professional level, you will need the Cricut Maker. This is the best Cricut, (did you guess that we really like this one?) and will give you the most possibilities.
Perhaps though, you want somewhere in between. If you aren’t concerned about cutting wood and really heavy materials, but you want to do more than you can with the Cricut Joy, it’s worth considering the Cricut Explore 2. This is the most popular Cricut maker, and it’s one that gives you a good balance between budget and functionality.
Tip: Although you can buy older models of Cricut machines on places like Amazon, it’s worth getting one of the latest models so that you can access the Cricut Design Space (the latest and greatest Cricut software, which we’ll tell you about below).
Oh, and another budget consideration – don’t forget to take into account the materials you’ll need to buy. This is really important! As well as the cost of the Cricut, you will need to calculate how much you will need to spend on materials. There’s no point shelling out a ton of money on the Cricut Maker to make wood-cutting projects if you can’t afford to buy the actual wood! And nothing is sadder than a lovely Cricut sitting unused!
I don’t have the best Cricut. Should I upgrade my Cricut?
If you already have a Cricut, you know how awesome it is – whichever one you have! You might decide to upgrade your Cricut when you want to develop and start cutting materials that you can’t cut with your current machine.
Upgrading is similar to buying in that you have to ask yourself if you can afford it and whether you can afford to buy the materials for your next machine.
However, if you are using one of the older Cricuts that are no longer on the market, you might find that some things no longer work, such as Cricut Craft Room. In this case, it is worth upgrading to a current model so that you can access Cricut Design Space.
How much is a Cricut and, be honest, is it really worth the money?
If you go direct to the Cricut website, when they are on full price, the main machines are priced as follows:
Cricut Joy – $179.99
Cricut Explore Air 2 – $279.99
Cricut Maker – $429.99
Sometimes (and actually pretty often) you can get special deals. At the time of writing, Cricut were offering money off on LOADS of their products. So keep your eyes peeled!
Whether a Cricut is worth the money really depends on how much you like to craft. If you really enjoy artwork and crafting, a Cricut can really save you a lot of time and give you the opportunity to create projects that just would not be feasible with ordinary cutting tools. As well as make your designs look that much more amazing.
If you are a very casual crafter and you don’t spend much time doing it, you have to ask yourself whether you should be spending the money. There’s no point having a nice shiny gadget that you just never use! (Unless you want to buy us a new Cricut of course!)
You might still not be sure about spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars on a cutting machine. As we’ve mentioned, you could think about getting a smaller Cricut (like the Cricut Joy) first to find out if you like using the machine. Then, when you find out whether you’re addicted to Cricut or not, you can consider investing in the Cricut Maker or Cricut Explore Air 2.
I’m feeling keen! Can you tell me where to buy a Cricut machine?
You can buy Cricut machines direct on the Cricut website. Often that’s where you can get some money off the normal price. Holidays and particular occasions are good times to see whether Cricut is running any deals.
You can also find Cricut machines at your local craft store, such as Hobby Craft, Hobby Lobby, and Joann Fabrics. Some stores like Walmart stock Cricuts, and you can also pick them up on Amazon. Sometimes these stores also have special deals on, so it’s worth checking them out too!
Hang on a minute… Do I have to buy a load of stuff on the side? What comes with the Cricut maker?
Each Cricut machine comes with the things you need to get started. Apart from materials, there are no extra purchases that you need to make, although when you check out the additional extras, you may find it hard to resist, because they’re pretty cool!
So, what do they come with straight out of the box, then?
The Cricut Joy comes with power adapter, blade, a fine point pen, mat, materials for a practice cut and 50 ready-to-make projects online.
As well as the machine, USB cable and power adapter, the Cricut Explore Air 2 comes with a fine-point blade, a fine point pen, a machine mats, materials for a practice project, and 50 free ready-to-make projects.
The Cricut Maker comes with all of the above as well as a rotary blade and additional cutting mat.
There are also bundles you can buy which can include (depending on which bundle you purchase):
- vinyl stencils
- vinyl transfer tape
- vinyl samplers
- iron-on samples
- glitter iron-on
- additional pen set
- additional tool set
- additional blades
- additional cutting mats
The majority of your materials will need to be purchased separately, as the materials in the bundle are only samplers. And, of course, you need materials to create your projects! Check out below for where to pick up materials for your Cricut machine.
What materials can I cut with the Cricut?
Across the different Cricut machines, you have the possibility to cut so many different types of materials. Check out our breakdown on which Cricut you should buy to find out which machine cuts which types of material.
With a Cricut machine, you can cut all different sorts of paper – plain, metallic, sticker paper, parchment paper, corrugated paper, poster board, cardstock and vellum.
You can cut fabric and textiles – felt, denim, canvas, burlap, silk, Lycra, polyester. You can even cut leather and faux leather materials too.
Cricuts cut plastic such as acetate and silicone. Not to mention different types of foam.
You can cut iron-on and Infusible Ink (more on that later) to create heat transfer products.
And with the Cricut Maker, you can also cut thin types of wood, such as balsa wood, chipboard and basswood, and aluminium sheets. Magnet materials can also be cut with the Cricut Maker.
You can even upcycle materials such as aluminium cans and use those for Cricut projects.
Where can I get Cricut materials?
You can buy Cricut materials directly from Cricut, or you can get them at any craft stores either near you or online. Most large craft shops stock Cricut so you will be able to check with staff whether the materials are suitable for Cricut.
Always check through the manual when you get your machine, as it will give you in-depth specifications as to what it can cut, for example, the thickness of card.
Tip: It’s worth practicing with cheaper materials, like card and paper, so that you can build up your skills before you start buying loads of expensive materials. Do note that paper tends to blunt your blades more quickly, though!
Are Cricut materials expensive?
The price of the materials for your Cricut really depends on the types of project you want to make. If you want to try to create a detailed sign out of basswood, then sure, it’s going to be pricey. Or leather, for example, is going to cost you more than other types of fabric.
However, if you’re creating projects out of materials like paper or felt, it is not going to cost you anywhere near as much for the materials. (This is why it’s important to take into this account when you’re thinking about which Cricut you want to buy).
If you’re smart, you can get materials for less money. Shop for materials when there are sales on and stock up when the stuff is at a lower price. You can also keep your eyes open for freebies such as picking up a bunch of fabric in a house clearance, for example. Or check out your local thrift store to see if they have anything.
Um, I thought you said a Cricut wasn’t a printer… Then exactly what is a Cricut cartridge?
The word cartridge can totally be a bit confusing if you’re new to Cricut! Because you might be thinking of a printer cartridge. (I mean, the name is the same!) However, the Cricut cartridge, once a physical cartridge used in the older machines, is now a digital collection of designs that you purchase and keep for use in any future projects.
Cartridges tend to be organised in themes. There are licensed cartridges with exclusive artwork, for example Marvel, Disney and Hello Kitty. You can buy them from the Cricut Design Space or on the Cricut website.
What is a Cricut mat and which one do I need?
Your Cricut mat is the surface that you need for cutting out on and the foundation on which you create your project.
The material grips to the mat. Actually, the mats that come with Cricut machines are quite sticky – just what you need to make sure your materials don’t go sliding all over the place. The level of grip varies for different mats so that they can be used with different materials.
All of the machines come with a StandardGrip mat. The Cricut Maker and Cricut Explore have three other mats that can be used: light, strong and fabric grip. The Cricut Joy has two extra mats: light and card (for making cut out cards). The Cricut Joy mats are, unsurprisingly, more compact, just like the machine.
To choose the right mat, you want to make sure your mat is the right amount of sticky to keep your materials in place but not get stuck! The grip of the mats corresponds to how light or heavy the materials are that you’re cutting.
The LightGrip mat is the mat you want for paper such as construction paper, vellum and regular printer paper, as well as vinyl.
The StandardGrip mat will cover you for cardstock (including embossed cardstock), vinyl, iron-on, and patterned paper.
The FabricGrip mat is good for (you guessed it) fabric! It’s also the best mat for working with crepe paper.
The StrongGrip mat is good for thicker cardstock, including glitter cardstock, stiffened fabric, chipboard, poster board, and magnetic material.
If you are using your mat frequently, you want to make sure that you get the longest life possible out of it. So it makes sense for you to do what you can to take the best care of it.
Cricut offers some tips on how to care for your mats:
- Make sure you keep the cover on when you aren’t using the mat to stop it getting covered in dust and debris.
- Make use of the Basic Tool Set: Use the scraper to scrape off any excess bits and use the spatula for removing cut outs from your mat.
- Only use the recommended types of material for your mat.
There are some places online which recommend cleaning and re-sticking your Cricut mats. Cricut doesn’t actually recommend doing this, so you will need to look elsewhere for tutorials.
What is a Cricut blade and which one do I need?
The Cricut blade is where the magic happens – it’s what does the cutting in the machine. All of your projects are cut with super durable Cricut blades – but different materials need different blades (you wouldn’t try to use paper scissors for leather or fabric scissors for paper).
The one you need depends on the type of project and material you are looking to create. Here is a breakdown of the blades to help you decide.
Cricut Joy, Cricut Explore Air 2 and Cricut Maker:
Fine Point Blade
The most common of the blades – the Fine Point Blade comes as standard with every machine.
It works a treat for doing intricate cuts on light and medium materials – vinyl, cardstock, canvas and paper, as well as canvas, thin faux leather and light chipboard.
(And if you want to be really fancy, you can get the gold housing for this blade!).
Cricut Explore Air 2 and Cricut Maker:
This handy blade has a steeper angled blade than the Fine Point Blade. It’s used for cutting thicker materials, such as corrugated paper, foam, aluminium foil, 0.6mm thick magnetic sheet and leather.
This is for fabrics that are bonded to a backing material. It will cut bonded felt, burlap, denim, oil cloth, polyester and silk. It is similar to the Fine Point Blade but for fabric. Keep it nice and sharp and don’t use it on any kind of paper or vinyl.
Tip: Don’t use this blade if your materials aren’t bonded or it will stretch and rip them and could even damage your mat.
This blade cuts most fabrics, including felt, cashmere, fleece, Lycra, cotton and denim. And they do not need to be bonded like with the Bonded Fabric Blade. This blade actually comes with your purchase of a Cricut Maker.
Tip: Use this for bigger projects as small projects can shorten its lifespan.
A heavy-duty blade for the thickest materials you can cut on a Cricut machine – tooling leather, basswood, balsa and chipboard. You’ll need to use the StrongGrip mat for projects with this blade, and you might even have to tape the mat down for really heavy materials.
The blades are cased inside the housing. This is the piece of the machine that holds the blade in place. It can also hold other tips, for example, an engraving tip, scoring wheel, and perforation blade.
QuickSwap Perforation Blade: With this blade you can create perforated edges that you can tear, for example, if you wanted to make a tear-off section in a birthday card. You can cut light and medium materials with this blade, such as corrugated cardboard, plastic, faux leather, foam, iron-on and more.
QuickSwap Debossing Tip: This tip indents the material you are using to create gorgeous designs and it works with most materials.
QuickSwap Wavy Blade: This blade creates wavy lines instead of straight lines and cuts light and medium materials including fabric.
QuickSwap Engraving Tip: This tip, well, engraves! You can cut into metal such as brass, bronze, stainless steel and more to create images and text.
QuickSwap Scoring Wheel: This tool is for creating sharp folds on both light and heavy materials.
How long does a Cricut blade last?
This really depends on quite a few factors. Cricut blades are made to last, but you can make them last longer by making sure you use the appropriate materials and looking after them properly.
Also, some materials, for example paper and card, wear out blades more quickly than with other materials.
You’ll get an idea of when it’s time to switch up your blade because it won’t cut as clean and sharp as it used to.
What Cricut accessories should I get?
This is another question without one definitive answer. Guess what – it depends on what you want to cut! (How did you know we were going to say that…?!)
Of course, you want the right blades and the right mats for what you want to do with your Cricut machine. There are also some other pretty swish accessories you can get to take your Cricut crafting to the next level.
A good plan is to look into whether you would get more out of your Cricut by getting one of the tool sets. The tool sets vary and again, depend on what you want to cut:
- The Paper Tool Set is for projects where you want to make professional cuts on paper and cardstock, including a Quilling Tool and an Edge Distresser.
- The Vinyl Tool Set includes several scrapers and a piercing tool for you to work with vinyl.
- The Basic Tool Set has tools to help you to keep your project nice and neat, including a spatula, weeder, tweezers and more.
- The Essential Tool Set comes with everything from the Basic Tool Set as well as tools to give you the ability to create scoring lines on your project, as well as cut wider material.
Some of the Cricut bundles also come with a tool set, so it’s worth checking out those bundles when you’re buying your machine initially as you might be able to make a saving.
Bundle! Great idea! Do the bundles come with anything else?
Yup. You can get bundles that come with some materials too, such as vinyl, iron-on, etc. Or with sewing tools if you want to cut fabric.
Some bundles come with additional mats or blades, a pen set, and so on. Again, consider which projects you want to create and which tools and add-ons that you’d get the most use out of.
Do be aware that sometimes materials in the bundles are swapped out based on availability. We don’t want your heart to break if you don’t get the tweezers you were looking for!
Can I travel with my Cricut?
As you know by now, the Cricut Joy is miniature and you can take that with you wherever you want.
What about the other two machines? If you’re lucky enough to have a studio or you just want to take your Cricut with you when you go on holiday, you can travel with your Cricut. These machines are pretty portable. Cricut make a range of cases and totes so that you can transport your Cricut. There are even some that have wheels!
What is the Cricut BrightPad?
You can also get your hands on a nifty little machine that lights up all of the little details of your project – the Cricut BrightPad. It is a work surface that has an LED light with adjustable brightness, meaning that you can see your intricate work much more easily. If you’re doing a lot of tiny details with vinyl, fabric, jewellery, and so on, it’s worth checking out the BrightPad.
What is Cricut Infusible Ink?
Circuit Infusible Ink is a really cool, and beautifully vibrant, type of permanent heat transfer. The technology used here infuses the ink and the material, making it a big step up from iron-on, which sits on top of the material that you are personalising.
You can use Infusible Ink to personalise t-shirts and other types of clothing and fabric that looks incredibly professional. And what’s more, you can also use the transfers for other projects such as coasters and tote bags.
Infusible Ink, compared to other transfers, is mega durable, so you can throw stuff in the washer and dryer frequently without damaging the design. You can also use it with iron-on to create designs with different textures. This is another one of those projects that you can make with the Cricut that will have people wondering how on earth you did it at home!
You can either use Infusible Ink Transfer Sheets which come in different colors as well as pre-designed patterns. Or you can use the Infusible Ink Pens and Markers to make your transfer sheets. “Ink” may make it sound messy, but actually the Infusible Ink is solid, so don’t worry, you won’t get it everywhere like normal ink!
You will need to use a heat press that reaches 400°F or 205°C. You can use the Cricut EasyPress for this.
Just be careful with the type of fabrics that you use, as some cheaper fabrics won’t be able to stand the heat needed for Infusible Ink. You also cannot use 100% cotton. For this type of material, you may be best buying direct from Cricut as you know that it will be suitable for the high heats needed for Cricut Infusible Ink. Their compatible products are labelled so you know that it’s right for Infusible Ink.
Oh, and you (if you haven’t guessed this is already) cannot use Infusible Ink with a Cricut Joy – you will need a Cricut Maker or Cricut Explore Air 2.
I’m with you so far, but what exactly is the Cricut EasyPress and is it worth the money?
If you do a lot of heat transfer projects, then this machine is worth the money. If you’re not sure, it’s worth starting out just using a regular iron, and then you can decide how much of your time is spent on iron-on or Infusible Ink projects.
The EasyPress Mini is great for small and fiddly projects, or more complicated shapes such as shoes and toys.
This Cricut is $69.99 for the EasyPress Mini. The EasyPress itself comes in two different sizes, and is priced at $149.99 for the 9”x9”, and $199.99 for the 12”x10”. Unsurprisingly, the larger the EasyPress, the larger the project you can create.
It’s important to be aware that the EasyPress Mini is not compatible with every type of material, so check which one is going to work best for you.
What is Cricut Design Space?
The Cricut Design Space is the software that means you can operate your machine. It is compatible with Mac and PC and now works on Apple and Android as an App.
For those of you that know something about Cricut, you will know that the Android app is new – so all the Android users now have a chance to use the app. Hoorah!
On Design Space, you can create projects totally from scratch or you have access to thousands of pre-designed images that you can use in your project.
There are also a ton of Make It Now projects which are pre-designed for you and can be made (almost) at the touch of a button! So if you’re itching to make something immediately, you can!
Design Space can look a little bit overwhelming to begin with, but there are lots of useful tutorials online that will help you get the most out of the program. Within Design Space, there are also loads of projects that have been shared in the Cricut Community section, so you can see what other Cricut users have made and also make that project yourself.
The program used to be a cloud-based piece of software but is now a desktop version so that you can avoid some of the reliability issues that can come with cloud-based software. Also, you now don’t need to be connected to the internet. Great if you want to just switch off and craft!
Another cool feature is that if you have multiple windows open, you can even print on multiple Cricut machines at the same time! If you are lucky enough to have more than one, of course!
If you ever need to solve any problems or have any issues with Design Space, just check out the troubleshooting section on the Cricut website. There are also video tutorials that you can check out to help you set up Design Space.
What is Cricut Access?
You can become a member of Cricut Access, which is essentially a low-cost subscription to the absolutely massive Cricut Image Library that you will find on Design Space. There are thousands of images, fonts and projects available to access on Cricut Design Space.
Without a subscription to Cricut Access, you will pay a small amount for the images and projects you use. This can add up, so spending approximately $8-10 a month on a subscription to Cricut Access is totally worth it.
What is Cricut Craft Room?
Cricut Craft Room is something you might see on older blogs and websites. This is Cricut’s old software that has now been replaced by Cricut Design Space.
What is Cricut Cuttlebug?
Cricut Cuttlebug is a manual machine for die cutting. This means that you do not need any electricity or Internet to use the machine. It’s used for the simple cutting and embossing of paper without any technology. It’s more precise than using scissors or knives for cutting, but you don’t have any of the benefits of using Design Space.
It has now been discontinued and Cricut no longer sell these machines themselves, however you may be able to pick one up on Amazon or elsewhere online.
I’m not very technical – is Cricut hard to use?
When you get a new Cricut, it can seem like there is so much to get a handle on. And it’s true that it can take some time to learn how to harness its full power, but with the right tutorials and taking it step by step, even the non-technical crafters among us can learn how to use Cricut with ease.
As long as you know how to use the basic functions of a computer, you can get into Design Space and get everything set up. The Cricut website is jam packed full of how-to sections for every single piece of kit that they make.
Cricut also has a YouTube channel where you can learn how to use Cricut and create all sorts of projects. Cricut even run webinars on how to use their machines. And they’re free! So they offer plenty of help. Not to mention all the help from other people in the Cricut community.
Remember that its multitude of functions is one of the things that makes it so great! And you can also enjoy a sense of accomplishment in learning something that will bring you pleasure and allow you to create crafts that would have been time-consuming or frustrating in the past.
What is fast mode on the Cricut?
The Cricut Maker and Cricut Explore Air 2 now have a fast mode so you can cut twice as fast. This is a really useful feature if you have a lot to cut, as you’ll finish in half the time! Don’t be concerned about the noise your Cricut makes – it’s normal to be noisy during fast mode.
Do note that if your cuts or writing is less precise when using fast mode, you should switch back to using the regular mode.
What is the Bluetooth feature for my Cricut?
The Bluetooth feature is super handy – it means that you don’t have to connect your device (mobile or computer) to your Cricut machine via any messy wires or cables to do the cutting. You can go wireless using Bluetooth!
Be aware that some older models (not the ones listed in this article) will need a Bluetooth adapter.
What is the Cricut Smart Dial?
The Cricut Smart Dial is the dial on top of your Cricut Explore Air 2 where you can adjust the settings for whichever material you are using, meaning that you don’t have to make manual adjustments for pressure , speed or depth.
There are preloaded material settings: vinyl, poster board, cardstock, paper, fabric, light cardstock, and iron on. There is also a custom setting, where you can choose from pre-set material settings in Design Space, or you can select your own.
What is the Cricut Adaptive Tool System?
The Cricut Maker has a superb feature called the Cricut Adaptive Tool System. Using this means that you can keep the housing in place (the part that holds the blade or tool) and easily switch out tips and blades. This makes it easier to create projects using different tools and materials.
What is Cricut SnapMat?
SnapMat is a feature for your phone where you can take a picture of your material on the cutting mat. You can then use this as a virtual preview in Design Space so that you can get your designs perfectly placed. It stops you having to guess as well as makes it easier for you to work on scrap materials.
Note that SnapMat only works with iOS so you will need an Apple phone to use this feature. It is also only for Cricut Explore and Cricut Maker, so you can’t use this with Cricut Joy.
What is the Cricut Community?
The Cricut Community is where you can connect online with other crafters to swap ideas about Cricut products, projects and all things arts and crafts.
You can create your own profile and share your own projects with the Cricut Community so that they can make your projects. And you also have access to thousands of projects that people in the Cricut community have made!
Does Cricut work better with Android or Apple?
Cricut has historically worked better with Apple mobile products than with Android but they keep making updates to include Android.
At the moment, some of the features on the Cricut Community, such as editing projects and creating a profile, are only available on iOS, so you will need an Apple product for this. SnapMat also only works on Apple. Another example is that you can only use the Android app online, whereas the Apple app can be used offline.
However, you may find that in the near future, it won’t make too much difference whether you use Cricut with Apple or with Android.
The most feature-rich version of Design Space is on the desktop version anyway, and that works on both Mac and PC, so fear not – you won’t have to upgrade your computer if you want a Cricut in your life!
My crafts are pretty swish. Can I use a Cricut to make money?
One of the wonderful things about the Cricut machines, particularly the Cricut Maker, is the extremely high quality of the cuts that it makes. Meaning you can use it for professional projects.
If you decide to start a business with your crafting creations, you will need to think about a niche – what do you enjoy creating with your Cricut, and what will bring you money? You could do home décor signs, phone cases or greetings card, among many ideas.
Also think about shipping costs if you intend to make items from home. It can be expensive for larger and bulkier items.
If you decide to sell products using designs from Design Space, make sure you check out the Cricut Angel Policy, which gives you the low-down on what you can and can’t do with the different designs from the Image Library. Some of the key points are:
- You can use the Image Library images in your designs, but not licensed images such as Disney or Marvel designs.
- You can’t sell the images alone.
- You can make and sell up to 10,000 items using the images from Cricut Design Space.
- You need to include a copyright notice with your products
Conclusion – should you buy a Cricut machine?
If you like crafting and you do a decent amount of cutting, Cricut machines are a dream come true. Lots of crafters have a million and one projects that they want to do, but cutting materials can take a long time and even with an extremely steady hand, they do not always look as great as you’d planned.
You might also start thinking about projects you never would have dreamed of before getting a Cricut, through using Make It Now projects or projects from the Cricut Community.
If you want the reality of your projects to look as amazing as you’d dreamed, but you’re being held back by cutting and other limitations, it’s definitely worth considering investing in a Cricut.