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Having a Cricut cutting machine for crafting is so much fun but can be a bit overwhelming at first. Here are some tips on how to get started your Cricut cutting machine!
**See the bottom of this post for the current Cricut Cutting Machine Sales!!**
A Cricut after 20 Years of Waiting
I had been wanting a Cricut machine for about two decades, back to when I was a teen and scrapbooking. I never got one though because I didn’t want to spend the money and didn’t want to deal with the cartridges they had back then.
Fast forward 20 years, I was 35 and it was 2021. I had been saving up money from birthdays and Christmases, $20 here, $5 there, over the years. Then for my birthday in April my parents gave me cash as a present. Somehow a Cricut cutting machine jumped into my head.
I said alright, that’s it, the money isn’t doing me any good if I just keep saving it all, I’m going to buy the Cricut Maker bundle for $419. And I did! I’m so glad that I did. I’ve used it for hobbies so far, using up some of my old scrapbooking paper for cards made on the Cricut, made some fun vinyl sayings for around the house, made decorations for my 3-year-old twin boys’ birthdays and also my 5-year-old boy’s birthday, made them custom shirts, decorations for their desks at home, shirts for my neighbor who just had a baby, etc. It’s been so much fun!!
*Note: the Cricut Maker Bundle that I bought is significantly cheaper now that they came out with the Cricut Maker 3 just a month or two after I made my big purchase. Oh well!
Differences Between Cricut Machines
There are different options for Cricut Machines. The Cricut Joy is the smallest and the Cricut Maker 3 is the most robust.
As you know, I love buying through Amazon but when it comes to Cricut machines and materials, I prefer to shop through the actual Cricut website. Part of that is because I get 10% off since I subscribe to their Cricut Access program (which I highly recommend) but also because often things are actually less expensive on Cricut’s website than on Amazon. Also, then you know you’re getting the real deal, which is especially important when purchasing a new machine. The links I’ve included in this post are to the Cricut.com website so you know you’re getting actual Cricut materials.
The Cricut Joy is portable which is great for on the go and all you need for making basic cards and cutting vinyl. The Cricut Joy below can use ‘Smart Materials’ if desired so you can work without a mat.
Cricut Explore 3
The Cricut Explore 3 is the middle option between the different Cricut machines. It’s larger than the Joy and can do more than the Joy but not as much as the Maker.
I chose to go with the Cricut Maker back in 2021 before the Cricut Maker 3 came out. The Cricut Maker that I have can cut over 300 materials including cardstock, fabric, vinyl, and even thin wood! As I mentioned earlier, I’ve loved making shirts, decals for the wall, signs, cards, and more!
I’ve made so many fun things over the past year with my Cricut Maker. I’ve also bought A LOT of materials to use with my Cricut Maker, probably more than I need. I’ll include some of my favorites below!
The Cricut Maker Bundle, as shown below, is a great deal (much cheaper than when I bought it!) and comes with so many great accessories and materials to get you started on your Cricut journey! Currently, the bundle is just $50 more than the machine itself and the bundled materials are worth waaaaaayyyyyy more than $50.
Cricut Maker 3
The Cricut Maker 3 came out two months after I finally purchased my first Cricut. I was a little disappointed but a few of years later, my original Cricut ended up having enough issues that I needed to buy a new one. Yes, needed, it brings me so much joy I need it 🙂 Ha! Really though, being a budgeter we saved up money for it and didn’t make this purchase lightly.
The biggest difference between the Cricut Maker and Maker 3 is that with the 3 it doesn’t require a mat and can instead use ‘Smart Materials’. One thing of note though, is ‘Smart Materials’ are significantly more expensive than traditional vinyl and other materials, though you can get them on sale at times which is great!
One of the great things about the Cricut Maker 3 compared to the previous model is it can cut really long projects since it doesn’t need a mat. With the older Cricut Maker, the biggest mat was 12″x24″ so making something longer than 24″ wasn’t able to be done. With the Cricut Maker 3 that’s not a problem anymore which can be great for big projects like murals on walls.
Cricut Basic Tools
The Cricut Basic Tools are essential for everything from card making to wall clings. The dental pick-looking tool is extremely helpful for intricate designs and the purple-handled scraper is great for ensuring your paper, vinyl, or other materials are well adhered to the mat.
I use these basic tools every time I make something on my Cricut. The ones I use most are the dental pick looking tool and the scraper with the purple handle.
Precision Tools for Everyday Crafting
A Complete Tool Kit for Cricut
Suitable for Big and Small Projects
Kickstart Your Creative Journey
I use these every time I make anything with my Cricut!
The Cricut Maker I have doesn’t use the newer Cricut ‘Smart Materials’ so I need to have a mat for mine. All older models are that way. I’ve also heard that the ‘Smart Materials’ are quite expensive so people sometimes prefer to use a mat and regular materials even if they have the Maker 3 that doesn’t require a mat.
The variety pack of Cricut Mats contains one of each: standard grip, strong grip, and light grip mat.
Personally, I feel that off-brand mats are just as good so I often buy them from Amazon, such as the ones below.
Cardstock is great for making cards, making fun paper crafts, and so much more! I love making special cards, especially pop up cards, as well as fun little projects that my kids love. This is the cardstock I use and I really like it. They also have a smaller version for smaller projects. The 12×12 fits the whole Cricut mat.
Cricut sells some of their own paper but I’ve found much of it to be textured and doesn’t work all that well within my Cricut. I prefer the cardstock linked below.
- PERFECT FOR ARTS & CRAFTS: This cardstock is perfect for any craft project, scrapbooking page, greeting card, origami, wedding invitation suite, and more!
- DELIGHTFUL 10-COLOR CARDSTOCK: In this pack of 100 sheets, you will receive 10 sheets each of Re-Entry Red, Cosmic Orange, Solar Yellow, Martian Green, Celestial Blue, Gravity Grape, Lunar Blue, Pulsar Pink, Grocer Kraft and Antique Gray so you can be more creative in your crafting
- THICK, DURABLE CARDSTOCK: Weight: 65 lb./176 gsm
- ELECTRONIC CUTTING MACHINE COMPATIBLE: Compatible with most Die-Cut machines, copiers, inkjet and laser printers
- ASTRODESIGNS CARES: We are committed to conserving our natural resources through responsible business and manufacturing policies and practices. Astrodesigns products are FSC certified for responsible forestry.
- YOU MAY GET OUR ORIGINAL ASSORTMENT OR OUR REFRESHED ASSORTMENT: Creative Collection 18-Color Assortment is receiving a brand refresh filled with original colors and new colors, so there will be a short time of transition. Each paper pack is filled with bold and vibrant colors. You can’t go wrong with either assortment!
- NEW BRAND, SAME QUALITY PAPER: The new and improved starter pack features 11 original colors and 7 new colors for all your colorful moments! Astrodesigns will still give you the same quality paper for all your creative moments!
- OLD ASSORTMENT: 4 Sheets each of Royal Blue, Colonial Blue, Lilac, Concord Grape, Wisteria, Bubble Gum, Old Town Red, Re-Entry Red, Orbit Orange, Galaxy Gold, Goldenrod, Martian Green, Gamma Green, Kraft, Natural, Clove, White, and Eclipse Black
- NEW ASSORTMENT: 4 Sheets each of Lime Green, Gamma Green, Celestial Blue, Periwinkle, Colonial Blue, Lilac, Wisteria (Violet), Bubble Gum, Re-Entry Red, Cosmic Orange, Orbit Orange, Yellow Orange, Solar Yellow, Pulsar Pink, Plasma Pink, Grocer Kraft, Concrete and Eclipse Black
- PERFECT FOR EVERYDAY PROJECTS: Colorize your documents, flyers, crafting, school projects, color-coding and more. Whether in your home, office, or classroom, Astrodesigns and Creative Collection is the only choice to bring your ideas to life!
- Inkjet and laser guaranteed
- Easy to score and fold and cuts cleanly
- Acid and lingin free for great quality that doesn't deteriorate
- 72 Sheets (4 sheets x 18 colors)
- 4 Sheets each of Royal Blue, Colonial Blue, Lilac, Concord Grape, Wisteria, Bubble Gum, Old Town Red, Re-Entry Red, Orbit Orange, Galaxy Gold, Goldenrod, Martian Green, Gamma Green, Kraft, Natural, Clove, White, and Eclipse Black
- Easy to score and fold and cuts cleanly
- Acid and lingin free for great quality that doesn't deteriorate
- 72 Sheets
Printable Sticker Paper
If you’re looking to make some fun stickers, I suggest the WeLiu Sticker Paper. You can print images from your printer then cut them out using the Cricut or you can draw directly on the sticker paper using your Cricut.
I used to suggest the Cricut Sticker Paper and I do still like it but the one below is waterproof which is really nice!!
- WATER-RESISTANT PRINTABLE VINYL - This Super-Value Pack of Matte Printable Vinyl Sheets allows you to create Beautiful Water-Resistant Labels and Stickers for a variety of purposes both Indoors and Outdoors; Simply seal the sticker with a UV Resistant Sealer Spray to boost Waterproofness and Durability.
- HIGHLY DURABLE VINYL STICKER PAPER - Create Long-Lasting Color-True Product Labels, Vinyl Lettering, Wall Quotes, Photo Stickers, Custom Decals and File Folder Labels. Our Thick Matte Printable Vinyl is perfect for All of your Projects.
- SUPER EASY TO USE - Our Top-Quality Printable Vinyl for Inkjet Printer allows Ink to Dry Quickly. These sheets are Easy to Cut both by hand and with a Die Cutter Machine such as Cricut. Our unique Backing Layer makes Peeling a Breeze, and the High-Quality Glue makes application Simple and Smooth. Key Product Features
- COMPATIBLE WITH YOUR PRINTER - Our Inkjet Printable Vinyl is Guaranteed to Work Perfectly with your Inkjet and/or Laser Printer. Each self-adhesive Vinyl Sheet comes in the standard 8.5" x 11” measurement.
- LIFETIME FACTORY WARRANTY - All JOYEZA products come with a Lifetime Guarantee. If you have ANY problems with your Printable Vinyl Sticker Paper for the LIFETIME of the product.
I love using this for stickers as well. I have made a lot of removable stickers with printable vinyl. Similar to the sticker paper, you can print out your desired design through the Cricut Design Space software and your Cricut will cut it for you.
If you’re wanting to do wall decals or decals on anything else that you may want to remove someday, it’s best to use removable vinyl. This pack is a great deal and it’s nice to have various colors. This is a pack I have on my wishlist for birthdays and Christmas as I could always use more!
This 40-pack of removable vinyl is an amazing deal. So great that I’ve purchased it from Cricut two times! I love the variety of colors, how easy it is to use, and how great it sticks to what I want it to yet comes off cleanly if I want to remove it. I also love that this vinyl lays flat unlike most vinyl that comes in a roll.
Tip: always be careful when you’re buying vinyl to see if it’s removable vinyl or permanent. You wouldn’t want permanent vinyl on your walls if you think you’ll change the design in a year!
Vinyl Transfer Tape
If you’re using vinyl, you’re going to need transfer tape as well. The transfer tape helps you, you guessed it, transfer the vinyl from what was just cut to your wall or whatever you want to put it on after it’s been cut. Otherwise, you’d have a whole bunch of random pieces that wouldn’t end up on your surface smoothly.
One thing to note is you CAN reuse this transfer tape. I didn’t know that at first and would throw it away after first use but now I know to keep reusing it until it’s no longer sticky instead.
If you’re wanting to make t-shirts or even personalized potty training underwear like I did for one of my kids, you’ll want iron-on vinyl.
One note about iron-on is you won’t need the transfer tape above because when you cut the iron-on vinyl you actually will mirror the image negating the need for transfer tape.
CRAFT PERSONALIZED DIY PROJECTS LIKE A PRO - Carry your creative side on your clothing or display in your home decor with Cricut Everyday Iron On Vinyl. Measuring 12in x 2ft, the Iron On vinyl is easy to apply with Cricut EasyPress or any household iron
APPLY ON ANY SURFACE - The HTV vinyl sheets can be applied on any type of surface including wood. Also, this Cricut heat transfer vinyl withstands the test of time and stays intact for more than 50 washes. (Wash and tumble dry inside out)
Strongbond SportFlex heat transfer vinyl gives you great results on Activewear made from polyester or nylon. It cuts and weeds easily, therefore is great for beginners and professionals.
Create beautiful holographic projects with this easy to apply iron-on material. HOLOGRAPHIC SPARKLE SAMPLER INCLUDES- 6 (12” x 12”) sheets In Fuchsia, Red, Blue, Green, Silver, and Gold. Allow 24 hours after application before washing and hand wash inside out in cold water, hang to dry.
Cricut EasyPress 2
The Cricut EasyPress 2 makes it so easy to make t-shirts, sweatshirts, personalized onesies, and more. At first, I was frugal and used a regular household iron. I quickly grew tired of the guessing, waiting, and screw-ups with the iron and splurged to purchase the Cricut EasyPress 2. I’m so glad that I did. It’s so easy as you can actually dial in what type of material you’re ironing on to and the type of material being ironed on. From there it tells you how hot to set the EasyPress and for how many seconds.
I have the 9×9 model that is featured below. There is also a larger model but I find this one to be sufficient for my needs. There are different colors to choose from. They also have an updated, more expensive one.
A NO-STRESS HEAT PRESS — Get pro-level heat-transfer results with Cricut EasyPress 2, the speed of a heat press and the convenience of an iron
ADJUSTABLE TIME AND TEMPERATURE— Control temperature up to 400 ºF (205 ºC) and set the timer to take on just about any heat transfer project that comes your way. Lightweight and easy to store.
Unlike a traditional iron, it isn’t recommended to use an ironing board when applying vinyl to clothing. You can use a towel to protect the surface or get this handy mat that works perfectly every time.
Flawless iron on transfers with the Cricut Easy Press using this multilayer, durable mat!
The EasyPress Mini is absolutely adorable! I was already excited when I got this for Christmas off my wishlist but when I opened it and saw how cute and tiny it was I squealed “cuuuutttteeee!!!!”
Though it’s small, it packs a mighty punch as it still gets very hot to get the job done. It was perfect for making one of my son’s personalized potty training underwear as I detail in this blog post.
Brayer & Remover Set
The Brayer is one of those things that I didn’t know I needed it until I got it and holy wow, it’s amazing. Previously I had just been using the small scraper as part of the Basic Tools set to ensure my cardstock or vinyl was adequately adhered to the Cricut mat before sending it through the Cricut machine but honestly, this is SO much better.
- Included components: Metal, Plastic, Rubber
- Package Dimensions: 2.54 L x 19.05 H x 10.414 W (centimeters)
- 10.2 x 6.5 x 1.6 inches
I highly suggest investing in a Cricut cutting machine if you enjoy crafting. I bought it mainly to make cards and have used it for so much more already and I’ve only had it for a year. There are many more accessories and materials you can purchase once you get the hang of what you’re doing, but I didn’t want to overwhelm you too much! I’ll have subsequent posts with more Cricut projects that I’ve made with my Cricut Maker!
Cricut is having a Sale!! Click the banner above to start shopping the current SALE including $150 off the the Maker, $20 off the Easy Press, $50 off the Table Lamp, and so much more!!
Cricut.com is offering FREE SHIPPING on orders $99+. Use promo code SHIPJAN or JANSHIP through 1/31.
As always, take an additional 10% off ALL of your purchases, including machines, by becoming a Cricut Access member!
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As a mom of identical twins and a son two years older, I have gained invaluable experience in the realm, and chaos, of parenting. With a Master's Degree and Education Specialist Degree in School Psychology, I spent years as a school psychologist, helping children navigate through their educational and emotional challenges. Now as a stay at home mom and professional blogger, I combine my areas of expertise to help you in your parenting journey.