11 October 2021 (updated)

Everything About Crafting With a Cricut Machine

Want to make professional-looking crafts from home with nearly fool-proof results? You're not alone. Many crafters seeking to up their crafting game find that a Cricut machine is a perfect fit. 

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What Is a Cricut Machine?

Cricut machines are popular among crafters for a reason! These cutting machines allow for endless creativity at different price points.

For those new to Cricut, they are sophisticated cutting machines that can cut a variety of different materials, including fabric, balsa wood, vinyl, cardstock, and more. Crafters love Cricut machines because they are so versatile and can be used to make professional-level t-shirts, decals, home décor, cards, iron-on designs, cake toppers, and more.

Cricut machines are top-of-the-line, deluxe cutting machines that will have you crafting in no time! Both new and experienced crafters love Cricut machines because there is so much you can do with an easy-to-use Cricut machine.

How to Choose a Cricut Machine

Cricut cutting machines are so popular because so many different Cricut machines are available at different price points.

Cricut Maker

The most popular Cricut is the Cricut Maker.  The Cricut Maker has more options than other models and is the most heavy-duty model. Because the Cricut Maker can do more than other Cricut machines, it is a little more expensive than other models. The Cricut Maker can cut over 300 types of materials. If it's in your budget, you can't go wrong with the Cricut Maker. It will give you plenty of room to grow as a crafter without limitations. You can use Cricut Makers for twelve different crafts, including cutting wiring, scoring, debossing, engraving, and more.

Cricut Explore

The Cricut Explore is another popular option and has been upgraded to the Cricut Explore Air 3. The Cricut Explore is the same size as the Cricut Maker. It can cut over 100 types of materials. While this is not quite as many materials as the Cricut Maker can cut, it is sufficient for many crafters. The Cricut Explore Air 3's balance of affordability and versatility makes it Cricut's most popular machine. The Cricut Explore Air 3 is a great choice for those who are not ready to commit to the Circuit Maker or who don't have the budget for a Cricut Maker. It's also a great choice for those who want to make specific crafts and know that the Cricut Explore Air 3 will meet their needs. The Cricut Explore Air can be used for five different capabilities, including cutting, writing, and scoring.

Cricut Joy

Cricut also makes another cutting machine that is fun and useful but with more limited capabilities, the Cricut Joy. The Cricut Joy has a compact design perfect for smaller spaces. Because it is smaller, the Cricut Joy can cut fewer materials than either the Cricut Maker or the Cricut Explore Air 3. However, the Cricut Joy can cut over 50 materials, which is still a large number! The Cricut Joy works well for crafters who will use their Cricut for specific purposes and know they don't need the full power of the Cricut Maker or the Cricut Explore Air 2. Unlike the Cricut Maker and the Cricut Explore Air 3, the Cricut Joy can only be used for cutting and writing. Common uses are making cards and crafts out of paper stock and smaller iron-ons with vinyl.

Photo Credit: Cricut.com

Cricut Machine Basics

To use the Cricut Maker, you will need access to a device to use Cricut's Design Space software. Cricut Design Space comes complete with ready-to-make projects, or you can design your own. You can also upload ready-to-make designs from a third party. Although this may change in the future, as of now, it is free to use Cricut's Design Space. Cricut Access, which provides unlimited access to Cricut's projects, costs about $10.00 a month.

The Cricut website has a series of videos about how to use Design Space.

Cricut Accessories

Depending on what you plan on using your Cricut for, you may want to consider accessories to give your crafts an even more pro-level look. Accessories can also provide opportunities for other decorative effects.

Cutting blades are a must for versatility. Use a fine point blade for cutting cardstock, vinyl, and faux leather. Crafters use the scoring wheel to create beautiful, edgy, and crispy folds on their materials. The rotary blade cuts through virtually any fabric quickly and accurately. A rotary blade is especially useful for sewing projects. A knife blade cuts thick, dense materials such as balsa wood, Cricut Chipboard, leather, and craft foam. Crafters love that the Cricut can use a fine point pen for writing in any font they choose! It's also good for die-cutting.

Cricut machines have QuickSwap housing for blades and other accessories making it easy to use the right tool for the right craft! Cricut's QuickSwap system simply involves opening a small latch to change a rotary blade for a knife blade, fine point blade, or other accessories. This adaptive tool system makes it easy to make different types of crafts.

Getting a bin to store your accessories is a good idea!

Learning How to Use the Cricut Machine

As with any new machine, there is a learning curve with the Cricut Maker and other Cricut cutting machines. Yet, the Cricut is among the easiest-to-learn crafting method. Since the Cricut is so versatile, you may want to concentrate your early attempts on the projects you intend to do the most. This could be cutting sewing patterns, heat-transfer iron-ons for shirts and mugs, or paper crafts. Cricut Design Space has free ready-to-make projects to get you started even if you have no idea what you are doing.

Before you cut material, place it on a cutting mat. Mats in various weights are a must. You can choose from LightGrip, medium-weight, FabricGrip, and other types of mats. These mats are necessary to ensure your cutting machine functions properly.

Many users report that their kids can use the Cricut with minimal to no supervision showing just how intuitive and easy it is to learn.

The Cricut produces professional-looking crafts with just a little practice!

Cricut Machines and Iron-On Materials

One of the most popular materials to use with the Cricut is HTV or heat transfer vinyl. HTV comes in nearly endless colors and patterns, including glow-in-the-dark and glitter.

While you can use a regular iron to transfer HTV, using a Cricut EasyPress is a good idea if it's within your budget. With a Cricut EasyPress, you can control the temperature precisely, so you are sure to use the right amount of heat for the type of vinyl and fabric you are using.

The Cricut EasyPress is weighted. This means that you won't need to apply as much pressure. It's perfect for crafters who make items like t-shirts, tote bags, and coasters. Although the EasyPress is nice to have, it's not a necessity.

The Cricut Mug Press is a small machine designed just for mugs that are hard to iron on. It's a great addition to your Cricut Maker or other cutting machines.

Photo Credit: Cricut.com

How Durable Are Cricut Crafts?

Cricut's line of infusible products infuses ink directly into t-shirts and other products in Cricut's infusible line. These are more expensive than non-infusible materials, but many Cricut users think their quality is worth the additional cost.

Most Cricut vinyl is washable, although some users avoid putting their wearable crafts in the dryer to help them last longer. Other crafts, such as sewing projects and paper crafts, are as durable as the materials you use.

Whether you chose the Cricut Maker, Cricut Explore, or the smaller Cricut Joy, there is a Cricut for everyone! Once you dive into the world of cutting machines, you may discover a love for new crafts. More than one crafter has purchased a Cricut machine to use for sewing projects then discovered a love of crafting with cardstock or basswood.

Some use their Cricut Maker or other Cricut machines to kick-start a crafting hobby. Others use their Cricut machine to start their own small business. Others may use theirs to customize items with their first and last name or a monogram. However you use your Cricut machine, you will have fun! There is a reason Cricut machines are so popular from small-towns to big cities! You just may use your Cricut machine to give your home or wardrobe a makeover.

Want to Learn More?

Cricut is so much more versatile than other machines.

Cricut’s blog is a treasure trove of information and ideas. If you need inspiration or want to see what is possible with a Cricut Maker Machine, Explore Air 2, Explore 3, or other Cricut, you will find a treasure trove of ideas there. Once you see what is possible with a Cricut machine, you will be excited to unbox one of your own. 

Have fun crafting! And be sure to share your best tips and ideas with all of your loved ones on FamilyApp!  



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