Cricut machines for absolute beginners
What is a Cricut machine and what can you make with them? We take you through the very basics to help you decide if a Cricut cutting machine is something you should add to your craft stash!
Here in the first part of our Cricut for Beginners Guide, we'll be going through the basics. We show you how to make the most of your Cricut and the Design Space software and would love to know what aspects of your Cricut Machines you'd like help with!
What is a Cricut machine?
A Cricut is an digital die-cutting machine that is able to cut many different materials for you to use in a plethora of craft projects. You can cut materials such as paper, vinyl and with the correct cutting blades some Cricut machines can also cut balsa wood, fabrics, leather and cork.
Our friends at CraftStash have a brand new Cricut crafting category on the blog with masses of top cricut tips and tutorials for you to follow.
These clever digital machines also have an 'accessory holder'. You can get pens and scoring tools to use in your crafting, for writing sentiments, drawing intricate designs and creating scoring lines on 3D projects or just perfect card blanks.
How does a Cricut machine work?
The machine connects to your computer or smart phone via bluetooth or with a cable if needed. You can then create your own designs or download designs. Cricut has software called 'Design Space' where you can edit and adapt designs before asking Cricut to cut them out.
You can upload your own designs too! Find a complete beginners guide to Design Space here - Beginners Guide to Cricut Design Space
When your design is ready you simply load your materials, press a button and the Cricut has a small blade which moves around the material you are cutting following the lines of the design you have created or downloaded.
The material is secured via a 'sticky' mat so it doesn't move as the blade moves around allowing a perfectly clean cut.
Find out how to clean your cricut sticky mats so they last longer and can be used again and again in this great tutorial from Lou Collins
This feature is sponsored by
To help digital crafters get the most out of their machines, the UK’s best known and loved arts and crafts retailer has created Hobbycraft Cut & Create.
If you are new to digital crafting you can enjoy expert support and exclusive savings to help you on your way.
Hobbycraft Cut & Create costs £39.50 and includes £30 worth of workshops to help you learn your craft - chosen by you from a range of craft machine workshops, 10% off* every time you shop online and in store, a free upgrade to next day delivery with every online order over £25 (saving £5.95 each time), plus a free set of design files each month to use for your crafting - with a different theme every time.
A Hobbycraft Cut & Create subscription lasts for a year, so you can enjoy 12 months of support and design inspiration, plus get your crafting supplies quicker than ever and at discounted prices!
*Excludes digital craft machines, printers, sewing machines, Made to Measure Patterns, workshops, subscriptions and gift cards.
There are many, many wonderful YouTubers who have created great step by step videos for you to use! We asked Christy Cain, a Cricut Expert from the USA, to tell us why she uses Cricut machines.
My Cricut machine has opened up a world of crafting I never knew about and really allowed me to turn my hobby into a career. It saves me time on making things by hand and it is just so much fun to use!
Find Christy on @theappalachianhome on Instagram.
Step-by-step Beginner Video Tutorial
Christy has also made a brilliant video to help you get started with your Cricut machine, covering all the basics.
We also spoke to Stacy, a Cricut Expert from 'Love that Bug', and asked her to let us know what she loves about the Cricut.
I love the ease of use with the Cricut machines and the Design Space program. Also all of the materials that Cricut offers. There is something for every Crafter’s need!
Easy First Project - How to Make a Greetings Card with Cricut
This video from Lou shows the process of creating a simple shaker card with Cricut.
Can I upload my own images with Cricut?
Yes, absolutely! The beauty of a Cricut is that you can create your own unique designs! However, there are also 1000's of files you can either buy as a digital download or even download for free.
The best file format for Cricut images is an SVG because this image format is made up of lines, which will simply and easily guide your cutting blade around your material.
We've even got our own range of downloadable SVGs here on CraftWorld!
Which Cricut Machine should I buy?
There are currently 3 different types of Cricut Machines and accessories available to buy (you can find them all available at www.craftstash.co.uk) and they each offer different features with the more expensive Cricut Maker being able to cut more materials than the Cricut Explore Air 2 and offer more flexibility (hence the higher price). The Cricut Joy is a great option for smaller projects, especially if you have limited space. Don't underestimate the little Cricut Joy, it does still offer some fantastic features! Watch a full video tutorial on the Cricut Joy here - Cricut Joy Tutorial. See the comparison chart below.
Older machines may not be compatible with the current version of Design Space, so do your homework if you are buying second hand.
We found this fantastic comparison chart over on www.heyletsmakestuff.com - click the image below to see the full Cricut comparison guide to show all the feature differences.
What tools and accessories do I need to use a Cricut?
There are a number of consumable items that you will need to replace as you use your Cricut, namely blades and sticky mats.
You will also find many additional accessories that do not come with your machine, but not all of them are essential and the accessories that come in the box include everything you need to get started. When choosing which Cricut machine you want to buy keep in mind that some 'Cricut bundle' offers may save you money down the line.
There is a fabulous post from PracticallyFunctional which goes through every cricut accessory in amazing detail!
Real Crafters' Opinions of Cricut Die-Cutting Machines
We wanted your opinions on Cricut Machines and you didn't disappoint, here are just a few of the many responses we received - to see all the comments head over to the original Facebook post - HERE
I currently have a Cricut maker and absolutely love the versatility of the machine 😍You can do anything from simple shapes to mandala style images and fancy lettering.Whilst the mats are consumable items there are several ways to make them last longer by following simple steps on YouTube videos. Cricut offer several blade housings for materials which means you cut fabric, foam, vinyl, htv, balsa wood, acrylic, card, paper..... the list goes on and on 🥰Cricut use design space as it’s operating system which is simple and easy to use and follow, if you are ever stuck there are 1000’s of videos available to help you out and many groups on Facebook to ask questions too.I’d highly recommend a Cricut to anyone who wants an all in one machine - Sam Oakes
I love the ease and the never ending abilitites of a cricut machine. I have a joy which is so compact and very convenient to just get out and pop away.I was gifted my machine, if I wasn't gifted it I probably wouldn't have purchased one myself. Not only is the machine itself expensive but to keep stocking the materials can get expensive too. Cricut is the only cutting machine I have ever tried and I am so happy with it I wouldn't be interested to look at an alternative just yet anyways. Martina Harrison
We have had my Cricut explore 2 since the middle off august. Absolutely love it we have made keyrings, sanitizer bottles, baby germ signs, elf bottles, diaries, notebooks, personlised sacks even cards now also you can draw and write with the Cricut I also have the joy which I bought due to the the explore air 2 going wrong and I had orders to catch up on while waiting for a replacement I love both machines and I'm using at least one of them every day and always coming up with new ideas the is so much that can be done and cant wait to do more on them wish I had bought Cricut before August. - Cordie Mendes
You can also find all of our Cricut help on CraftWorld by clicking here - Cricut Tips & Advice