Using the Cricut Maker: 5 Things I Learned + Beginner Tips!

Yes, I did it! I’ve finally joined the Cricut bandwagon. I have been eyeing the Cricut ever since seeing the infomercials back in 2009. Well, 11 years later and I finally acted on my desire to purchase one! Since I’ve been taking a brief sewing break, the Cricut has been perfect in allowing me to express my creativity. One thing about me is I LOVE technology, so the Cricut was perfect in merging crafting with tech.

What Did I Purchase?

The Cricut has come a long way since I recall seeing the informercials where you needed a cartridge to cut various designs. Now everything is digital. In researching which Cricut I wanted to purchase, I thought about what materials I wanted to cut. I ultimately decided on the Cricut Maker as I would be able to cut fabric, soft woods, Cardstock paper and more! The Cricut Maker comes in a variety of colors and bundle options. Since the Cricut Makers on the official Cricut website were out of stock by the time of my purchase, I ended up purchasing my machine through Amazon.

5 Things I Learned and Tips for Beginners

If you’re thinking about purchasing a Cricut, there are a few things you should know. Below are my top 5 experiences I’ve learned while using the Cricut.

  1. You’ll want to invest in the blades. The Cricut Maker comes stock with the Rotary Blade + Drive Housing and Premium Fine-Point Blade + Housing. These stock blades work well on light and heavy fabrics, vinyl, copy and Cardstock paper. As a beginner, you’ll quickly notice that you will be limited in your Cricut making experience if you don’t have the right blade to complete your project. I did end up purchasing the Scoring Wheel since the projects I wanted to try required that tool. I used the Scoring Wheel to make personalized cards and envelopes. Eventually, I will purchase the Knife Blade as I’d like to explore cutting wood in the future. In addition to the Scoring Wheel and Knife Blade, Cricut offers a Perforation Blade, Wavy Blade, Debossing and Engraving Tips for additional costs.
  2. Masking Tape is your friend! After completing several repetitive projects such as creating multiple personalized cards and envelopes, my Cricut cutting mats were easily worn down and some spots became cracked where the blade continuously cut in the same spot. Instead of purchasing new mats, I ended up turning my mat over and “healing” the mat by covering up the cracks with tape. This worked well for me and saved me some money! All of the Cricut mats come with a sticky surface. After repeated use, the mat seems to lose a bit of its stickiness.. Masking or painters tape helps in securing your fabric or vinyl down that may not be sticking well to your mat.
  3. Purchase a 12×24 mat. The Cricut Design software offers a free 30 day trial, which allows you to explore the huge library of projects. Several of the projects offered require the use of a 12×24 mat. Since I didn’t have a mat of this size, I needed to modify my mats to create my project. This is where the masking tape comes in handy again. The Cricut Maker comes with two mats one for fabrics (Fabric Mat) and one for paper and vinyl (Light Grip Mat). Both mats are 12×12. I ended up turning both mats over, aligned them with the Fabric Mat on top and the Light Grip Mat on the bottom and taped the mat where both mats meet in the middle.
  4. Clean your Cricut mats often. Cricut advises users to clean their mats after two to four Knife Blade cuts. I definitely noticed I needed to clean my mats after two cuts when working with burlap as it left a significant amount of lint. I used warm water, dish soap and lightly scrubbed my mat cleaned.
  5. You may want to purchase the bundle. Since I didn’t purchase the bundle Cricut Maker, I needed to buy my accessories separately, these included the vinyl and Essential Tools (weeding tool kit, scraper and scapula set). I also ordered this through Amazon, which it came with tweezers, scissors and a portable paper trimmer. You will also need transfer tape to transfer your vinyl to another surface. I did not purchase the Cricut Transfer Tape as I already had contact paper, which worked well. I did have more success with using the Duck brand vs. the Con-Tact brand as the Duck peel and stick clear adhesive made better contact with the vinyl for me.

What Projects Have I Created So Far?

Wall Art

Door Mat

Vinyl Labels for Herb Garden

The Verdict!

I absolutely LOVE my Cricut Maker. It is a great investment that I know I will be using for many years to come. There’s still so much I’m learning and I’m most excited about creating wood projects and using the writing functions in the near future. I will also explore using the Infusible Inks. There’s so many wonderful patterns and colors, it’s hard to choose!

Do you have a Cricut? If so, feel free to leave any more tips beginners should know. Also, let me know if you’d like for me to provide a tutorial on any of the above projects in a future blog post!

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