This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.
So you’ve just bought yourself a Cricut Maker. **Whoop Whoop**
It’s an exciting and overwhelming feeling to sit down in front of this machine that seems to be able to do pretty much any project imaginable.
You’ve seen the ads and videos, you’ve heard your friends rant and rave about this machine. You’ve heard it can cut vinyl, felt, cardstock — geez, you’ve probably have even heard that it can cut thin wood!
That all sounds so incredible, right? BUT believe me, I know that it can also sound scary, intimidating and downright terrifying.
When you think about it, here you are sitting in front of this machine that just cost you a good chunk of change and you’re thinking, “well, what if I wreck it? Hit the wrong button? Put in the wrong material? Or what if I just plain don’t know what to do?”
Let me tell you, these are all questions that ran through my head, too when I got my first Cricut machine.
If you’re a Cricut Maker newbie, or thinking about getting a Cricut Maker, then you have come to the right place. I have complied a helpful list of 10 things you should know about the Cricut Maker before you even attempt to do your first project.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Cricut. All opinions are my own. Also, this post contains affiliate links – should you choose to purchase through these links I make a small commission at no cost to you.
OK, let’s get the most obvious thing you should know (and probably already do) out of the way…
#10 The Cricut Maker is the BEST crafting tool on the market.
Crafting has never been easier or more fun than it is now. The Cricut Maker expands the depth and versatility of what you can create. From something as simple as a birthday card all the way up to a 3-D scene of Paris.
#9 Give the instructions a good read
You know that old saying, knowledge is power, well it’s true and never underestimate how helpful a user manual can be. Cricut makes sure that every machine comes equipped with an easy to read user manual and start-up guide. Before you even think about starting your first project, it’s wise to give the manual good read through.
#8 Start with the sample project
The Cricut Maker always comes with a sample project to get you started off on the right foot. If you mess this one up, don’t even sweat it! BUT, I will tell you the sample project is always geared to beginners and when you load up Design Space the interactive steps walk you right through from beginning to end.
#7 YouTube will be your best friend
Don’t ever count out YouTube. There are so many knowledgable Cricut crafters out there and they are just waiting for you to come and watch their videos! You can learn so many tips and tricks by just even listening to the videos.
While I am crafting, I like to throw on YouTube as noise in the background and my ears always catch little tips here and there.
This year, I started putting heavy emphasis on my own YouTube channel. I don’t have a lot of Cricut content on there yet, but it’s coming! Make sure you SUBSCRIBE now, so you don’t miss it!
#6 Know your tools
The Cricut Maker supports different tools that will cut, score, and even write. Make sure you are using the right tool for the job!
- Fine Point Blade – Recommended for use with paper, cardstock, posterboard, vinyl, iron-on, and other thin to medium weight materials. Fine point blades are gold in colour.
- Deep Point Blade – Recommended for intricate cuts on thicker materials, such as a magnet, chipboard, stamp material, thick cardstock, stiffened felt, foam sheets, cardboard, and some fabrics. Deep point blades are black in colour.
- Rotary Blade – Use it to cut cotton, fleece, denim, and more. With its gliding, rolling action, it cuts virtually any fabric quickly and accurately – without backing material.
- Knife Blade – The extra-deep Knife Blade cuts through dense materials up to 2.4 mm (3/32”) thick with unprecedented ease and safety, almost like an automated X-ACTO® blade. It’s ideal for thicker materials like balsa wood, matboard, and heavy leather.
- Single/Double Scoring Wheel – Break creative barriers with extra-deep, razor-sharp score lines. Scoring Wheel tools take on everything from origami paper to corrugated cardboard and coated posterboard, giving every crease-and-fold project a flawless finish with no cracks.
- Fine Point Pen – Fine Point Pens let you write and draw with intricate precision. Write beautifully styled messages and artistic drawings with your Cricut Maker. Available in a variety of colours.
- Washable Fabric Pen – Automatically mark your pattern pieces so you’ll always know how they fit together.
#5 The right mat makes a world of difference
Just like with the cutting, writing and scoring tools, you want to make sure you are using the right mat for the job. Cricut has a variety of mats for different projects so make sure you’re using the right one. It doesn’t seem like it will make a difference, but it really well.
LightGrip Machine Mat
The LightGrip Mat is a reusable adhesive cutting mat perfect for a wide range of lightweight materials.
- Printer paper
- Thin cardstock
- Construction paper
StandardGrip Machine Mat
The StandardGrip Mat is a reusable adhesive cutting mat perfect for a wide range of medium-weight materials.
- Pattern paper
- Embossed cardstock
StrongGrip Machine Mat
The StrongGrip Mat is a reusable adhesive cutting mat perfect for heavyweight materials.
- Thick cardstock
- Glitter cardstock
- Magnet material
- Poster board
- Fabric with stiffener
FabricGrip Machine Mat
The FabricGrip Mat is a reusable adhesive cutting mat that combines increased strength and density plus a light adhesive perfect for wide variety of fabrics. For use with Rotary Blade or Bonded-Fabric Blade.
- Any fabric. FabricGrip mats are specially designed to secure fabrics for cutting, with easy release.
#4 Always double check your settings
Before you hit the flashing Cricut “C” make sure you double check that your settings are correct. I have wasted a ton of material over my Cricut craft years by not double checking. The other one that trips people up a lot is making sure that they have mirrored their image if they are cutting Iron On.
#3 Don’t be afraid to try and fail.
Creating and crafting is all about letting your ideas come to life. Every idea may not work out and you may have crafts or projects that may make you sit back and say “um, what the heck was I thinking.” BUT at the end of the day, I always like to say, “you’ll never know, if you don’t try.”
#2 Make use of the hand tools
The Cricut Hand Tools are a great addition to your craft room and make your Cricut crafting projects ten times easier.
Here are some of my favourites:
Cricut Scissors have hardened stainless steel blades for durability and smooth, even cuts. The micro-tip blade gives you greater precision on all materials. A removable cover protects the blades.
Cricut Tweezers lift and secure in one step with their reverse grip design – squeeze the handle together to open, and release pressure to clamp together. Smooth interior points help prevent tearing or marring your materials.
Cricut Weeder is for “weeding,” or removing negative pieces around a cut image. When working with iron-on or vinyl images, it helps you precisely remove everything that isn’t part of your design from the carrier sheet. It’s also great for poking out tiny negative pieces from a cut cardstock image.
Cricut Scraper is custom designed to clean unwanted scraps from the Cricut cutting mats, contributing to a longer lasting mat. It can also be used to smooth materials onto the mat or burnish materials such as vinyl to remove air bubbles or wrinkles
Cricut Spatula precisely lifts images from the Cricut cutting mat, preventing intricate images from tearing or curling. The angled head of the spatula allows it to slide underneath the material with ease.
Cricut 12″ Portable Trimmer with 15″ swing-out arm helps you to precisely cut or score straight lines. Replacement blade storage compartments on the underside make fresh blades readily accessible on the go.
#1 – Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and join Cricut communities
So now you know some technical things, let me just say this one last thing. There are a ton of support/help groups out there. Help is always just around the corner — or should I say web? Facebook has a ton of Cricut Community groups that are full of other Cricut Crafters just waiting to lend a helping hand.
For my Canadian followers, I have a really great group going and you can join that here
Hopefully this post has helped you out and given you the boost you need to power on your new Cricut Maker!
If you ever have any questions about Cricut or their products, I am always just a short email away! Feel free to reach out.
Valicia Starks says
My name is Valicia and I’m thinking about purchasing a cricut. What brand and price is good for beginners and does it comes with any tools?
Also, what are the “must haves”.
Hi Valicia! Sorry for my delayed resonse to your question! It was buried in my notifications 🙁 … if you haven’t already got a Cricut, I definitley recommend the Maker. It can do so much with the Maker Tools! But if the Maker is not in your budget the Explore Air is perfectly great, too! You just can’t use some of the blade the Maker can. https://www.shareasale.com/u.cfm?d=372691&m=51766&u=1401399 You can’t go wrong with either machine, though!
If you use that link I sent here, you can also use my code HOLLYGRACE10 to get 10% off any accessories to go with your machine. I highly suggest getting a tool kit and some vinyl to start.