I have been asking for a Cricut for about two years now. I didn’t realize how many items I needed and wanted to just to brand my business. Not only that but I LOVE personalized gifts, so being able to make some gifts and t-shirts without having to run to the print show is pretty fun! When my husband bought me a Cricut Air 2 for my birthday I was surprised and excited! Since then I have been learning to use it and I do realize that I definitely had to do a lot of searching for advice before I could get started!
I had to search for directions because it didn’t come with directions and I have had to make several trips to the store to buy different materials because everything you make needs something different! So I decided to write out these Cricut Tips for Beginners since I myself am considered a Beginner!
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What is everything I NEEDED to Get Started:
- I needed a Cricut Machine! I have the Cricut Air 2 in Mint and I LOVE the color and everything about it! You can get the first Cricut Air 1 but the 2 is twice as fast!
- You need to TOOL SET. The little tools actually help you carve around each detail to get rid of the straps. Any font, cursive, images, are going to need to be carved out it little spots called “weeding” that your little fingers nails won’t be able to get without ruining your material.
- Each TYPE of material needs a different board. You need different Cutting Mats for each type of materials. I ended up purchasing each one separate after I couldn’t figure out why my heavy card stock paper kept ripping and getting stuck to my Standard board. You need Standard for your Iron-On and your Vinyl. You need Light for your Cardstock and Paper and thing stuff like tissue! Then you need the Strong Grip for fabrics and other materials. The Cutting Mat Set has them all and even an extra long board that you might need!
- You need Contact paper if you are planning on making any Vinyl. A role is only about $6.
- You need Teflon for layering your Iron-On Designs.
***After writing this list I realized that the Cricut Explore Air™ 2 Everything Bundle, Mint has everything you need a really GREAT cost! It is only $330 (retails for over $500 if you were to buy everything individually) The only thing I am not seeing is that you are missing the Iron On Protective sheet which is only $6 additional dollars to add to your order.
How to Get Started:
Once you have your machine, it is time to get started!
1. Plug in your Machine
2. Go to Design.Cricut.Com and Sign Up
3. Make your first Cricut tutorial card (Enjoy Card) to learn how it works! It will walk your through set up. It shows you how to cute and write using your machine! It is a really good first tutorial that will start to get you comfortable with your machine.
4. If you choose to not use the USB cord to connect it when making this, you can turn on the power on your Cricut and connect it to Bluetooth.
You have Cut, Print, and Scoring:
- You can make anything by cutting out your design using any of the Cricut Blades. As of now, I have only used the one standard blade. They do have many blades you could shop for!
- You can print by using any of the colored markers, I also learned that the skinny Crayola markers work too but you have to be careful where you put them because you can’t just snap them into your Cricut Air. You can get a marker and mark the line on how low the marker needs to go though! That can save you some money on many designs!
- What in the world is Scoring? You can get a Scoring Stylus Tool if you are making Pop-Up Cards and need to know where to fold your cards at then the Scoring Stylus will help you with that!
Type of Material You Can Use in Your Cricut:
You can use many items that you might already have from cardstock to fabrics. What I was planning on using my Cricut for mostly is for shirts, iron-ons, and vinyl decals!
Lets start with Vinyl. Vinyl is great for making stuff to put on mugs, pictures, laptops, wall decals and more. BUT there is different types of Vinyl!
Regular Vinyl which is usually semi-permanent. It is best for solid surfaces and to be used on items that probably won’t get wet. It is best for decorating indoors.
Permanent Vinyl is best for outdoor use, mugs, glassware, anything that will have to stand up to water, etc..
Heat Transfer Vinyl/HTV/iron on is only sticky once heat is applied to it and is best for fabrics. You can use this Vinyl actually on fabrics!
***All Vinyl should use Contact Paper to apply it! Unless you are doing one solid silhouette where everything is connected (probably more rare then you think) then you definitely want Contact Paper.
Iron-On: Iron-On rolls is to be applied to fabric. You want to read the instruction to each Iron-On. I learned that the Iron settings and times and how to apply has been different to each type of Iron-On I have been using. I also learned that some Iron-On is easier to layer but you don’t want to layer too many at one time. You can not layer glitter iron-on (which is my favorite)!
***If you plan on layering any Iron-On…for instance if you are making a solid color circle and wanted to add a word with another color over the circle without piecing it together like a puzzle, you need teflon paper to put around each layer when ironing.
Cricut Learning Curve:
I am still in that learning curve. Be sure you practice a lot. It look a lot of different tries when I was trying to iron on to a makeup bag. I also learned that some fabrics can’t be used on the specific iron settings.
While learning the dollar store and Walmart should be your best friend in finding materials and stuff to create!
Join Facebook Cricut support groups to ask questions, get ideas, and share your designs! Like any new hobby, finding similar hobbyist is definitely fun!