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10 Things You Need to Start Cricut Crafting Today

This article is brought to you by Lizzsews


If you're interested in starting to craft with a Cricut (or another die-cutting machine (ex. Silhouette)), you're in the right place! Here's everything that you'll need to get started with Cricut crafting- without spending too much.


Recommended read: 10 Things You Need To Start Machine Embroidery Today


 1. You're going to need a Cricut, you can choose any Cricut machine that you want. These are the Cricut machines, their capabilities compared to each other, and assorted by price (low-high):


  - Cricut Joy 

 - Max material width of 5.5", and a max cut length of 47"

 - Can cut, write, and foil

 - Compatible with 50+ materials

 - Bluetooth and compatible with Cricut design space


  - Cricut Explore Air 2 (The best value machine)

 - Max material width of 12", and a max cut length of 24".

 - Can cut, write, score and foil

 - Compatible with 100+ materials

 - Can use print then cut with a home printer

 - Bluetooth and USB, and compatible with Cricut design space



 - Cricut Explore 3

 - Max material width of 13", and a max cut length of 141"

 - Can cut, write, score and foil

 - Compatible with 100+ materials

 - Is compatible with smart materials, no mat

 - Can use print then cut with a home printer

 - Bluetooth and USB, and compatible with Cricut design space


  - Cricut Maker

 - Max material width of 12", and a max cut length of 24"

 - Can cut (+rotary blade for fabric, +knife blade for deeper cuts like balsa wood and leather, + wavy blade for a decorative wavy edge), write, score (+double scoring wheel), foil, deboss, engrave, perforate (create even perforated cuts, like your own raffle tickets or coupons)

 - Compatible with 300+ materials

 - Can use print then cut with a home printer

 - Bluetooth and USB, and compatible with Cricut design space


  - Cricut Maker 3 (most powerful Cricut machine)

 - Max material width of 13", and a max cut length of 141"

 - Can cut (+rotary blade for fabric, +knife blade for deeper cuts like balsa wood and leather, + wavy blade for a decorative wavy edge), write, score (+double scoring wheel), foil, deboss, engrave, perforate (create even perforated cuts, like your own raffle tickets or coupons)

 - Compatible with 300+ materials

 - Is compatible with smart materials, no mat

 - Can use print then cut with a home printer

 - Bluetooth and USB, and compatible with Cricut design space


Remember, each machine uses different materials, where some materials may be compatible with one machine, they may not be compatible with another. Some materials can be used with a few machines, where some materials are specific. For each Cricut crafting essential, I will state the machine name and what tools you will need to purchase, as well as optional tools. 


Cricut Explore Air 2 vs. Cricut Explore 3:

 - Explore 3 has a width of 13" vs. the 12" of the air 2

 - Explore 3 is compatible with smart materials and can cut without a mat

 - Explore 3 can cut longer materials because it's not restricted to a mat (only smart materials)

 - The Explore 3 can cut faster than the Explore Air 2


Cricut Maker vs. Cricut Maker 3:

 - The Maker 3 has a width of 13" vs. the 12" of the maker

 - Maker 3 is compatible with smart materials and can cut without a mat

 - Maker 3 can cut longer materials because it's not restricted to a mat (only smart materials)

 - The Maker 3 can cut faster than the Maker


 2. Machine mat


 - Cricut Joy

  - StandardGrip mat, 4.5" x 12" and 4.5" x 6.5". 

This mat is an essential, even though the Cricut Joy has smart materials and can cut without a mat! This is because if you're cutting anything less than 4.5" x 6", it is recommended to use a mat, and you'll want to use your vinyl scraps. 

 

  - LightGrip mat, 4.5" x 12"

This mat falls in the middle of essential vs non-essential because of the cardstock. If you know that you will be finding yourself cutting different cardstocks and papers then this is essential. But if the only thing you will be doing with cardstock and papers is making cards, then this mat is not essential. 

 

  - Card mat 4.5" x 6.25"

This mat is essential. It can be used to make cards. To create cards with your Cricut Joy, cut cardstock to the height that you want and double the length that you want (to match with the sizes on the card mat, 3.5" x 4.9" or 4.25" x 5.5" or 4.5" x 6.25"). Fold the cardstock in half to make your card shape and use your scraper tool to smooth it out. Slip the bottom part of the card into the slot on the mat leaving the top part out of the mat and start your design. 


 - Cricut Explore Air 2

  - StandardGrip mat, 12" x 12" and 12" x 24"

This mat is an essential, it will be used for your vinyl. 


  - LightGrip mat, 12" x 12" and 12" x 24"

This mat is an essential, it will be used for all of your cardstock and papers. Cards can be made using cardstock, the scoring stylus, the cutting blade, and Cricut pens or the foil transfer tool. 


  - StrongGrip mat, 12" x 12" and 12" x 24"

This mat is not an essential, you will find yourself rarely using it. This mat is used for specialty cardstock, mat board, and backed fabric. 

 


   - FabricGrip mat, 12" x 12" and 12" x 24"

This mat is not an essential, only because to cut fabric with an explore air 2, it must be bonded. If you are going to be cutting fabrics, invest in the maker as it is compatible with the rotary blade. 

 

 - Cricut Explore 3 

  - StandardGrip mat, 12" x 12" and 12" x 24"

This mat is an essential, even though Cricut Explore 3 has smart materials and can cut without a mat! This is because if you're cutting anything less than 13" x 6" you'll have to use a mat, and you'll want to cut your vinyl scraps! 


  - LightGrip mat, 12" x 12" and 12" x 24"

This mat is an essential, it will be used for all of your cardstock and papers. Cards can be made using cardstock, the scoring stylus, the cutting blade, and Cricut pens or the foil transfer tool.


  - StrongGrip mat, 12" x 12" and 12" x 24"

This mat is not an essential, you will find yourself rarely using it. This mat is used for specialty cardstock, mat board, and backed fabric.


   - FabricGrip mat, 12" x 12" and 12" x 24"

This mat is not an essential, only because to cut fabric with an explore air 3, it must be bonded. If you are going to be cutting fabrics, invest in the maker as it is compatible with the rotary blade. 


 - Cricut Maker

  - StandardGrip mat, 12" x 12" and 12" x 24"

This mat is an essential, it will be used for your vinyl. 


  - LightGrip mat, 12" x 12" and 12" x 24"

This mat is an essential, it will be used for all of your cardstock and papers. Cards can be made using cardstock, the scoring stylus, the cutting blade, and Cricut pens or the foil transfer tool. 


  - StrongGrip mat, 12" x 12" and 12" x 24"

This mat is not an essential, you will find yourself rarely using it. This mat is used for specialty cardstock, mat board, and backed fabric. 

 

   - FabricGrip mat, 12" x 12" and 12" x 24"

This mat is an essential, with the Cricut Maker, this mat and the rotary blade, you can cut fabric.


   - Cricut Maker 3 

  - StandardGrip mat, 12" x 12" and 12" x 24"

This mat is an essential, even though the Cricut Maker 3 has smart materials and can cut without a mat! If you're using smart materials under 13" wide by 6" long, you'll need to use a mat, and you'll want to be able to cut your vinyl scraps. If you are just using regular vinyl, and not smart vinyl, you will need this mat.


  - LightGrip mat, 12" x 12" and 12" x 24"

This mat is an essential, it will be used for all of your cardstock and papers. Cards can be made using cardstock, the scoring stylus, the cutting blade, and Cricut pens or the foil transfer tool.


  - StrongGrip mat, 12" x 12" and 12" x 24"

This mat is not an essential, you will find yourself rarely using it. This mat is used for specialty cardstock, mat board, and backed fabric.


   - FabricGrip mat, 12" x 12" and 12" x 24"

This mat is an essential, with the Cricut Maker, this mat and the rotary blade, you can cut fabric. 


 3. Cutting Blades


 - Cricut Joy 

  - Foil transfer tool

This blade is not an essential. Although the foil transfer kit does add beautiful embellishments to your projects and can take simple projects like birthday cards and gift bags to the next level. 


  - Blade and housing

This is an essential, but don't worry about it being an extra expense, it will come with your machine! This is the main blade and will be used for all of your projects from cardstock to permanent vinyl to iron-on vinyl, you will choose your material in Cricut design space and your Cricut will determine the pressure to use with the blade. 


   - Cricut Explore Air 2

  - Foil transfer tool

This blade is not an essential. Although the foil transfer kit does add beautiful embellishments to your projects and can take simple projects like birthday cards and gift bags to the next level. 


  - Blade and housing

This is an essential, but don't worry about it being an extra expense, it will come with your machine! This is the main blade and will be used for all of your projects from cardstock to permanent vinyl to iron-on vinyl, you will choose your material in Cricut design space and your Cricut will determine the pressure to use with the blade. 


 

  - Bonded fabric blade and housing

This is not an essential. With this blade, you can cut fabric, but only bonded fabric. If you're going to get this blade you will need the FabricGrip mat. 

 

  - Deep point blade and housing

This is not an essential. It has a steeper blade angle and harder more durable steel. It will allow you to cut, magnets, chipboard, thick cardstock, foam sheets, and more. To note here- I have cut a cereal box under the chipboard setting with the regular premium fine point blade at normal pressure with no trouble, I did not use the deep point blade. 

 

  - Scoring stylus

This is an essential. With the scoring stylus, you will be able to create (score) fold lines for cards, envelopes, boxes, and other 3D projects. 


   - Cricut Explore Air 3 

  - Foil transfer tool

This blade is not an essential. Although the foil transfer kit does add beautiful embellishments to your projects and can take simple projects like birthday cards and gift bags to the next level. 


  - Blade and housing

This is an essential, but don't worry about it being an extra expense, it will come with your machine! This is the main blade and will be used for all of your projects from cardstock to permanent vinyl to iron-on vinyl, you will choose your material in Cricut design space and your Cricut will determine the pressure to use with the blade. 

 

  - Bonded fabric blade and housing 

This is not an essential. With this blade, you can cut fabric, but only bonded fabric. If you're going to get this blade you will need the FabricGrip mat. 

 

  - Deep point blade and housing 

This is not an essential. It has a steeper blade angle and harder more durable steel. It will allow you to cut, magnets, chipboard, thick cardstock, foam sheets, and more. To note here- I have cut a cereal box under the chipboard setting with the regular premium fine point blade at normal pressure with no trouble, I did not use the deep point blade. 

 

  - Scoring stylus 

This is an essential. With the scoring stylus, you will be able to create (score) fold lines for cards, envelopes, boxes, and other 3D projects. 

 

   - Cricut roll holder

This is an essential. The Cricut Maker 3 can cut smart materials without a mat, and the roll holder will keep your material aligned and help eliminate cuts that aren't precise. It will also create a clean-cut for your material when you're done cutting. 


   - Cricut Maker

  - Foil transfer tool

This blade is not an essential. Although the foil transfer kit does add beautiful embellishments to your projects and can take simple projects like birthday cards and gift bags to the next level. 


  - Blade and housing

This is an essential, but don't worry about it being an extra expense, it will come with your machine! This is the main blade and will be used for all of your projects from cardstock to permanent vinyl to iron-on vinyl, you will choose your material in Cricut design space and your Cricut will determine the pressure to use with the blade. 

 

  - Bonded fabric blade and housing

This is not an essential. With this blade, you can cut fabric, but only bonded fabric. With the Cricut Maker, there is no point in getting this blade as you can just get the rotary blade to cut un-bonded fabric! 

 

  - Rotary blade and drive housing 

This is an essential. With this blade, you can cut fabric, and with the maker, it doesn't have to be bonded. If you're going to get this blade you will need the FabricGrip mat. 

 

  - Deep point blade and housing

This is not an essential. It has a steeper blade angle and harder more durable steel. It will allow you to cut, magnets, chipboard, thick cardstock, foam sheets, and more. To note here- I have cut a cereal box under the chipboard setting with the regular premium fine point blade at normal pressure with no trouble, I did not use the deep point blade. 


  - Wavy blade

This is not an essential. It is a fun tool that will create a wavy edge on many popular materials. 


  - Engraving tip

This is an essential. With this blade, you can engrave many popular materials for a permanent and unique design. For example, you can engrave on dog tags, jewellery, acrylic blanks and more. 


  - Debossing tip

This is not an essential. Although, if you plan to work with cardstock and papercrafts a lot, it will create beautiful debossed designs on cardstock, poster board, kraft board, foil cardstock, and more. 


  - Scoring wheel tip

This is an essential. Instead of a scoring stylus, with the Cricut maker machines, a scoring wheel is used instead. You can use a scoring stylus in the Cricut Maker, but the scoring wheel creates a stronger, deeper score and exerts more pressure. With the scoring wheel (or stylus) you will be able to create (score) fold lines for cards, envelopes, boxes, and other 3D projects. 

 

 - Knife blade

This is not an essential. Although, it will allow you to cut many different types of thicker materials. For example, basswood, chipboard, and tooling leather. BUT, know that this blade is not compatible with the mobile design space app, you must use a computer to use this blade. You also won't be able to cut intricate designs with details smaller than ¾" with this blade.

 

  - Perforation blade 

This is an essential. With this blade, you can create perfect tear-offs and easy peel-aways using paper, cardstock, poster board, and more. Examples of using this blade include advent calendars, gift coupons, and raffle tickets. 


   - Cricut Maker 3

  - Foil transfer tool

This blade is not an essential. Although the foil transfer kit does add beautiful embellishments to your projects and can take simple projects like birthday cards and gift bags to the next level. 


  - Blade and housing

This is an essential, but don't worry about it being an extra expense, it will come with your machine! This is the main blade and will be used for all of your projects from cardstock to permanent vinyl to iron-on vinyl, you will choose your material in Cricut design space and your Cricut will determine the pressure to use with the blade. 

 

  - Bonded fabric blade and housing 

This is not an essential. With this blade, you can cut fabric, but only bonded fabric. With the Cricut Maker, there is no point in getting this blade as you can just get the rotary blade to cut un-bonded fabric! 

 

  - Rotary blade and drive housing 

This is an essential. With this blade, you can cut fabric, and with the Maker, it doesn't have to be bonded. If you're going to get this blade you will need the FabricGrip mat. 

 

  - Deep point blade and housing

This is not an essential. It has a steeper blade angle and harder more durable steel. It will allow you to cut, magnets, chipboard, thick cardstock, foam sheets, and more. To note here- I have cut a cereal box under the chipboard setting with the regular premium fine point blade at normal pressure with no trouble, I did not use the deep point blade. 


  - Wavy blade

This is not an essential. It is a fun tool that will create a wavy edge on many popular materials. 


  - Engraving tip

This is an essential. With this blade, you can engrave many popular materials for a permanent and unique design. For example, you can engrave on dog tags, jewellery, acrylic blanks and more. 


  - Debossing tip

This is not an essential. Although, if you plan to work with cardstock and papercrafts a lot, it will create beautiful debossed designs on cardstock, poster board, kraft board, foil cardstock, and more. 


  - Scoring wheel tip

This is an essential. Instead of a scoring stylus, with the Cricut maker machines, a scoring wheel is used instead. You can use a scoring stylus in the Cricut Maker, but the scoring wheel creates a stronger, deeper score and exerts more pressure. With the scoring wheel (or stylus) you will be able to create (score) fold lines for cards, envelopes, boxes, and other 3D projects. 


  - Knife blade 

This is not an essential. Although, it will allow you to cut many different types of thicker materials. For example, basswood, chipboard, and tooling leather. BUT, know that this blade is not compatible with the mobile design space app, you must use a computer to use this blade. You also won't be able to cut intricate designs with details smaller than ¾" with this blade.

 

  - Perforation blade

This is an essential. With this blade, you can create perfect tear-offs and easy peel-aways using paper, cardstock, poster board, and more. Examples of using this blade include advent calendars, gift coupons, and raffle tickets. 


   - Cricut roll holder

This is an essential. The Cricut Maker 3 can cut smart materials without a mat, and the roll holder will keep your material aligned and help eliminate cuts that aren't precise. It will also create a clean-cut for your material when you're done cutting.


   4Essential tools



  - Scissors

These are not essential, I'm assuming you probably already have good scissors for crafting at home? Oh, well maybe these are essential then! 


  - Portable Trimmer

This is essential, I use mine way more than I thought I would. It creates nice clean cuts and it really is my go-to for cutting vinyl. 


  - Scoring stylus

This is essential, we talked about this earlier in the blades section, it's compatible with the Cricut Explore family and the Cricut Maker (but with the Maker, you won't need the stylus, you'll want the scoring wheel). With the scoring stylus (or wheel) you will be able to create (score) fold lines for cards, envelopes, boxes, and other 3D projects.


  - Spatula

This is not essential, but a good tool to have. The spatula will help you to remove your projects from the mat. I rarely use mine.


  - Reverse Tweezers

This is borderline essential. By squeezing the handle, they open, and when releasing the handle they clamp together. This allows you to pick up small embellishments.


  - Scraper

This is an essential. It will help you to burnish your materials to your mat and will allow you to apply your vinyl to your transfer tape then apply the design to a surface.


  - Applicator and remover set

This is an essential, especially if you're getting the Maker or Maker 3. This set is designed for fabrics on the FabricGrip mat, but I have had great success with them even with my other projects. The Cricut brayer eliminates wrinkles, kinks, bubbles, and puckers in fabrics on the mat but also with vinyl. The steel broad tip tweezers allow you to lift up fine threads and excess material from the mat. I find that the tweezers are great for getting small, or even large hairs off of the mat! 


  - Weeder

This is an essential. This is what you will use to weed your vinyl projects. Weeding is when you're removing negative pieces around a cut image, you will need this tool to weed.

 

 5Pens

There are tons of different types of pens for Cricut and it depends on what you're looking for in them to decide what's essential. For me, the Cricut black fine point pen and gel pens are enough as I don't use them too often. 



I have the infusible ink pens and still have not used them, so I would say that those aren't essential. 

   

   6Iron-on vinyl

This is essential. Iron-on vinyl, also known as HTV, is used with your heat press on anything from shirts, hoodies, tote bags, wood, and more 


 * If you're getting the Maker 3 or the Explore 3, and you want to cut iron-on vinyl without a mat, make sure that you get smart vinyl. If you want to cut without a mat with the Joy, make sure that you get Cricut Joy smart materials.


Recommended read: How I made article 16, ski hoodie

Recommended read: Cricut when to mirror (and how)


   

   7Permanent/removable vinyl and transfer tape

This is essential. Permanent vs. removable vinyl are as they sound. To apply them to a surface, you will need transfer tape and the scraper tool. This type of vinyl is used for anything, from soap trays, to acrylic blanks, to decals, and more. 


 * If you're getting the Maker 3 or the Explore 3, and you want to cut permanent or removable vinyl without a mat, make sure that you get smart vinyl. If you want to cut without a mat with the Joy, make sure that you get Cricut Joy smart materials.


Recommended read: How I made article 6, phone stand



If you're interested in making stickers, you will need to get sticker paper, I don't recommend Cricut sticker paper as it is too thick for most printers. I am still yet to find a sticker paper that works for my printer. You can use print and cut to create stickers using your Cricut.


Recommended read: What is smart vinyl

   

   8Infusible ink

This is essential. Infusible ink is one of my favourite materials to work with. You apply the ink using transfer sheets and heat. Examples include socks, mugs, coasters, tote bags, shirts, and more. 


Recommended read: How I made article 17, deer coaster


   

   9Cardstock

This is an essential. Using cardstock you can create cards, scrapbooks, make 3D boxes, and more. There's glitter cardstock too! 


Recommended read: How I made article 9, birthday card



   10Accessories

  - Heat presses

These are essential. This is how you will apply your iron-on vinyl and infusible ink onto your blanks. 

 

 - EasyPress mini

This is an essential. It is perfect for uniquely shaped objects, like shoes or stuffed animals, and for smaller projects. 


 - EasyPress 2

This is an essential. I didn't purchase it right away when I started, and I immediately regretted it. If you're planning on doing anything with a decent size, hoodies, shirts, tote bags, and more, you will need this press! You can use an iron, but I have had much better results with the EasyPress as it heats up equally from edge-to-edge on the ceramic-coated heat plate, where an iron does not. Either size is fine, get whatever you think will best suit your needs, I just use the 9" x 9".


 - EasyPress Mat

If you're using an EasyPress, this mat is essential. I have tested using an ironing board vs. towel vs. EasyPress mat vs. glass cutting board and have had the best results with the EasyPress mat. To me, it's worth the extra cost. Get the Easypress mat a little bigger than your EasyPress if you can. 

 

To determine the heat for your EasyPress, amount of time and pressure, use the Cricut heat guide


 - Mug press

If you're interested in designing mugs that are dishwasher-safe and peel-proof, this is an essential. I have tried doing a mug with infusible ink without the mug press and it took way too long for mediocre results.


  - Heat resistant tape

This is not an essential. I have this tape and use it much less than I thought I would. It's used to keep your project in place when pressing with your heat-press, without leaving any residue. 



  - BrightPad

This is not an essential. Although, if you have trouble with your eyes, this might be very helpful for you. It illuminates hard-to-see cut lines when you're weeding your vinyl.


   11. Blanks

This is an essential. What are all of these supplies and materials without crafting blanks? You're going to need something to design on! From tote bags to canvas shoes, to acrylic blanks, to hoodies, and more, there are so many possibilities.


Recommended read: What are blanks

Recommended read: Where to get blanks



   12. Cutting files, SVG's

This is an essential. You can't use your Cricut without a cutting file! Good news for you, many are free. If you have Cricut design space, you will have access to tons of SVG's as part of the subscription, you can also purchase SVG's from sites like Creative Fabrica or The Hungry JPEG.


Recommended read: What is an SVG


Please remember that whether or not a tool is essential depends on you and your use of the machine. These are my personal opinions and thoughts of the tools, based on what I have seen, heard, or personally experienced.


Recommended read: How I made article 2, Happy Birthday Card -This is a great first project as you learn your new machine! 


Leave a comment below and let me know which machine you plan on getting! And don't forget to subscribe to stay up to date with all of Lizzsews new articles. See you next time!

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