After receiving questions for the last four years about all things Cricut, here are the most asked questions from beginners and my expert answers for all ten of them.
I’m going on my fourth year of sharing Cricut content here on the blog, and I have been a Cricut partner since day one. I’ve flown out to work with Cricut on the launch of Cricut Joy months before anyone knew about it, I’ve tried new machines before they hit stores, and I’ve been taught by the creators of Cricut products exactly how to use their materials (and how not to!).
It’s safe to say that I get a lot of Q’s from beginners about how to get started, what to buy, and how to troubleshoot mishaps. Today I’m compiling the top ten questions I get on a regular basis from Cricut newbies and my honest opinions and expert answers for them all.
Top Cricut Beginner Q&A’s
“How Do I Get My New Cricut Machine Out Of The Box?”
This is the most asked question I receive about Cricut. So many people purchase their shiny new machine and then immediately get intimidated and are afraid to even open the box. Setting up a new machine is super easy, and the Cricut Design Space program walks you through every step of the way. But if you want a written tutorial, here’s a blog post I wrote.
“Does A Cricut Machine Come With A Blade?”
Yes! All Cricut machines in the Explore, Maker, & Joy families come with a standard blade for cutting paper, vinyl, and Cricut Infusible Ink. If you want to cut bonded fabric, wood, metal, or special designs/patterns like wavy lines or perforations, you’ll need to buy those blades separately and check your machine for compatibility. (All specialty blades work with Maker and Maker 3)
“What’s The Difference In Removable And Permanent Vinyl?”
Okay, time to get real…there’s not that much of a difference. The removable is a little easier to remove than the permanent, but they both will come off. Personally, I always choose the removable option with Cricut vinyl because I find it easier to weed and apply, but I rarely need to remove my vinyl. If I’m applying vinyl to a container, it’s because I intend to leave it there.
“What Materials And Tools Should I Buy To Get Started?”
One of the most exciting parts about getting your first Cricut machine is picking out materials and tools, but this can also be overwhelming. There are a LOT of options which can totally cause decision overload. My best advice is to check out this post where I break down the basics you need to start with based on your specific hobbies and crafting goals.
“How Often Do You Have To Change The Cutting Blade?”
It really depends on how often you use your machine. For casual infrequent crafters, you can go at least a year without changing the blade. I have found that paper is harder on blades than vinyl is, so if you do a lot of scrapbook layouts or card making, you may need to change your blade more often than someone who mostly makes decals. It’s time to change when your cuts start getting torn or jagged.
“I have an Explore Air 2. Should I Upgrade To The Maker 3?”
The Cricut Explore Air 2 is a great machine in any of the varieties available. It can cut paper and vinyl, as well as bonded fabric. If you find yourself needing to cut materials like wood, chipboard, or other thick materials, or if you’re interested in using the specialty blades like perforating lines or engraving metal, an upgrade is necessary. But if you’re not planning on upping your crafting game, you can stick with the Explore. Although the new Cricut Explore 3 cuts Smart Materials, so that may be worth buying a new machine to you.
“What Are Cricut Smart Materials?”
Cricut Smart Materials are vinyl and paper that do not require a mat for use with Cricut Explore 3, Cricut Maker 3, and Cricut Joy. Other machine models are not compatible with Smart Materials. Instead of loading a sheet of vinyl onto a Cricut mat, then removing it after the cut, you can slide the vinyl roll directly into the machine. The backing is thicker and the machines are made to keep the materials flat and tight during cutting.
“I just want to make labels. Which machine do I need?”
Cricut Joy is the perfect machine for making labels. It’s small and can be stored anywhere, more affordable than the larger machines, and has special Cricut Joy Smart Label materials that make gorgeous labels in minutes. Plus there’s a Cricut Joy App that has pre-designed labels you can choose if you don’t want to spend time creating custom designs.
“How Do I Use Transfer Tape? Mine Won’t Grab The Vinyl.”
Transfer tape definitely has a learning curve and takes a bit of practice. The key is using a scraper tool on the front and back of the vinyl cutout to get the transfer tape on nice and tight. Then peel the backing away from the transfer tape instead of the tape from the backing. This video shows the process in realtime, but you’ll get better with practice.
“Weed, Burnish, Mirror…Is There Some Kind Of Cricut Dictionary?”
There are a lot of words involved with Cricut tutorials you’ll find online that may seem unfamiliar to you. There’s a whole world of Cricut lingo that you’ll learn as you go, but I created two guides for total beginners to have you feeling confident when you’re following along with projects you found on Pinterest. These are the words and phrases you need to know about Cricut tools and materials, and here’s all the Design Space lingo.
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