Cricut Basics: So, What’s a Cricut and What Can I Do With It?

What's a Cricut and What Can I Do With It? via Underground Crafter | The Cricut Explore series machines are more than just cutting machines. They can also write, print then cut, and score. Find out more and get a roundup of over 15 beginner-friendly tutorials that you can make as soon as you get your machine out of the box!

A few weeks ago, I shared a Facebook Live video about getting started with a Cricut on the Underground Crafter Facebook page and a reader mentioned that she had “no idea what this machine does.” In this post I’ll tell you all about Cricut machines and what you can use them to make, and I’ll share more than 15 beginner-friendly Cricut projects that you can make right away once you get your machine.

This post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation (at no added cost to you) if you make a purchase using these links. Supplies for this post were generously provided by Cricut.

I didn’t know much about Cricut machines a year ago, and, to be honest, when I first got my machine and reviewed it, I had only the vaguest ideas of its capabilities! Now that I’ve been using it regularly for about six months, I have learned that Cricut machines can do so much more than what I originally thought. (By the way, in this post, I’ll be referring to the Cricut Explore series. I have the Cricut Explore Air.)

Cricut Explore Air unboxing and review on Underground Crafter

First things first: Pronunciation

Cricut is pronounced like the insect (“cricket”) and not like “cry-cut,” though I assume the spelling is a play on their origin as simple cutting machines. Go ahead, say Cricut with confidence. Now you sound like a pro!

On to the good stuff…

Cricut machines started as die cutting machines which used a cartridge (or die) and manually-applied pressure to cut shapes out of various materials.

The Cricut Explore series are the latest generation of electronic machines that can cut, write, and score a wide variety of materials. You use a cloud-based software called Cricut Design Space to tell the machine what to do. You can use Design Space on a laptop, desktop, or tablet/mobile device.

Design Space is straight-forward and easy to learn. You can create your own unique projects and store them in the cloud, or, if you aren’t very design-oriented, you can choose from loads of “Make It Now” projects (many of which are free). These are pre-designed projects that include detailed materials lists. (I also recommend a subscription to Cricut Access, especially if you plan to use pre-existing designs or like to have a broad range of fonts.)

You can watch a quick demonstration of the machine writing and cutting in this video.

Cutting

The Cricut can cut many materials. You can find a thorough list (including recommended settings) here. You adjust the pressure-setting dial to select from a list of standard materials, or choose Custom and then select the appropriate material from a drop down menu in Design Space.

Cricut Basics: How To Upload Images in Design Space (and Make Your Own Literary Geek/Quote T-Shirt) tutorial by Underground Crafter

So far, I’ve personally used the Cricut to cut:

  • Paper,
  • Card stock (here),
  • Magnet sheets (here and here),
  • Several types of vinyl (here and here),
  • Iron-on (here and here),
  • Adhesive foil (here), and
  • Washi sheets.

The cuts can be really simple (yet extremely precise)…

Easy Hexagon Gift Tags by Underground Crafter | Craft Lightning Winter Holiday Edition 2016 with Country Chic Cottage, 30 Minute Crafts, and Tried and True

or more intricate than what you could accomplish by hand.

it’s so pretty! #cricut #cricutrocks #crafternoon

A post shared by Jessie Rayot (@jessie_athome) on


Writing

You can also use your Cricut for writing with Cricut Pens. These are available in several point thicknesses and lots of different colors. You can create “hand written” projects or things that appear machine printed.

Cricut Basics: Cutting Magnet Sheets (and How To Write and Cut in Design Space) tutorial by Underground Crafter | Make your own magnetic organizer board with your Cricut!So far, I’ve used the writing features to add a seemingly handwritten touch to a cutting project and create intricate adult coloring book pages with “Make It Now” projects. For the winter holidays this year, I plan to use the writing features to write out address labels, gift tags, and crochet and knitting project care labels.

You can get more writing project ideas in this video and see the Cricut Pens in action.

What's a Cricut and What Can I Do With It? via Underground Crafter | The Cricut Explore series machines are more than just cutting machines. They can also write, print then cut, and score. Find out more and get a roundup of over 15 beginner-friendly tutorials that you can make as soon as you get your machine out of the box!

Print Then Cut

Print then cut is a feature I haven’t used much because I don’t have a very good printer at home. However, if you have a color printer, you can print intricate, multi-color designs and then use your Cricut to cut them. I reached out to some blogger buddies and asked them to share their favorite print then cut projects and tutorials so you can get a sense of the range of projects you can make with this feature.

Scoring

You can also use the Cricut for scoring with a Cricut Scoring Stylus. You can see the Scoring Stylus in action in this video.

This is a feature I plan to use more for making clean folding lines for holiday and birthday cards and to create small gift boxes. Since I haven’t done any scoring projects yet, I asked my blogger buddies for some favorite projects and here’s what they shared:

Do you have other questions about Cricut machines?

I hope this post answered some questions about what Cricut machines can do as well as some of the projects you can make with these machines. If you have other questions, let me know in the comments!

What's a Cricut and What Can I Do With It? via Underground Crafter | The Cricut Explore series machines are more than just cutting machines. They can also write, print then cut, and score. Find out more and get a roundup of over 15 beginner-friendly tutorials that you can make as soon as you get your machine out of the box!

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