If you’re tired of buying pre-cut scrapbooking shapes and using a hobby knife, you may want to consider crafting with a Cricut cutting machine.
What is a Cricut Machine?
The Cricut is a personal electronic cutting machine designed by Provo Craft that connects with your computer to draw or cut out any shape, design, or phrase that you want. It works with a wide range of materials, leaving you with endless craft possibilities. Creativity is your only limit.
How Does it Work?
Cricut Design Space is online software that connects to your Cricut to instruct it what to do. It lets you create projects using fonts, shapes, and other files. A Cricut can only cut or write files called scalable vector graphics (SVG). These SVGs are most commonly designed using the open source software Inkscape, Cricut Design Space, or Adobe Illustrator.
Choose an SVG and then place a material on the 12” by 12” Cricut cutting mat. Follow directions on screen and the mat will be pulled into the machine by rollers. A blade or pen will then cut or write whatever design you instruct it to. The mat will come back out and then you’re ready to put your craft together.
What Can a Cricut Cut?
A Cricut can cut over 60 different materials. Here are just a few examples:
- Faux leather
- Glitter cardstock
- Window cling
- Poster board
- Heavy chipboard
- Magnetic sheets
For an exhaustive list, check out the Cricut website.
What Can I Make?
Cricut machines offer endless possibilities—especially if you make your own Cricut SVG files. Create elaborate 3D paper creations, wedding invitations, custom coffee mugs or t-shirts, intricate scrapbooking layouts, etched glass, and more. Check out Pinterest and Cricut Facebook groups for more ideas.
You can also cut printed images into shapes, which is great for scrapbooking. Just follow the machine’s print then cut directions.
What Cricut Accessories Do I Need?
Cricut makes tools that either come bundled with your machine or have to be purchased separately. Here are a few main ones:
- Cutting Mat: You must use a Cricut cutting mat with your machine. These come in three levels of adhesiveness: light, standard, and strong grip. Each works with different kinds of materials.
- Scoring tool: This tool is placed in the machine’s empty holder. It creates score lines for paper cards, boxes, and more.
- Weeding tool: Similar to a dental pick, the weeding tool is used to pull small pieces of vinyl off of your projects.
- Pens and Markers: Cricut brand pens and markers are designed to work with the machine. However, there are other pens that work with the Cricut
Many crafters have also found cheaper alternatives to the supplies offered by Cricut.
Where Do I Start?
Choosing where to start is hard. Luckily, Cricut Design Space offers some help. After connecting your machine, it prompts you to create a card using provided materials. It’s a simple greeting card that familiarizes you with the Cricut’s cutting and writing features.
Simple Cricut Craft Ideas
Once you’ve gone through the tutorial, it’s time to get started on your own projects.
Here are some simple crafts that you can make with your new Cricut. Use them with free files or take a stab at making your own.
- Freezer Paper Painted Shirts: With just freezer paper, fabric paint, a paintbrush, and a shirt, you can use your Cricut to make whatever shirt design you want. This is a great money-saving way to make custom or novelty t-shirts.
- Classy Thank You Card: Use this free thank you card file to create a simple black and white thank you card. These are perfect to keep on hand or to gift to someone in a set.
- Vinyl Beverage Decals: Personalize plain mugs or tumblers with a simple vinyl decal. Make the decal yourself or use one of the free SVG files for Cricut that you can find here.
So, are you ready to create with a Cricut? Let us know your favorite Cricut crafts or hacks in the comments!
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