Cricut Basics: How To Customize a Pencil Case with Vinyl by How To Heat Press

Cricut Basics: How To Customize a Pencil Case with Vinyl by How To Heat Press for Underground Crafter

Naomi from How To Heat Press is joining us for the first of three guest posts that will help you to explore your Cricut! Today, she’ll show you how easy it is to customize a pencil case with your Cricut and adhesive vinyl. She’ll share tips for using heat transfer vinyl (also known as iron-on), too. The best part is that once you master this project, you can use the same process to customize so many different projects with your Cricut and vinyl.

This post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation (at no added cost to you) if you make a purchase using these links. Photos in this post are © How To Heat Press and are used with permission.

About How To Heat Press

How To Heat Press was started by Naomi and Dan in 2016. They’ve been using heat press and cutting machines for years, and they love all the wonderful projects you can create with these machines. How To Heat Press provides information about heat press and cutting machines (with a focus on Cricut machines), heat press and Cricut tips and tutorials, and t-shirt business tutorials.

Show your support by following Naomi on Website | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter

Cricut Basics: How To Customize a Pencil Case with Vinyl

Tutorial by How To Heat Press

Cricut Basics: How To Customize a Pencil Case with Vinyl by How To Heat Press for Underground Crafter

Do you want to make a cool custom pencil case with Cricut?

This project is a Cricut Basic, but if you haven’t done it before, you’ll need to know a few things!

Depending on what your blank pencil case is made of, you could use adhesive vinyl or iron-on vinyl.

The pencil case I’m using for this project is only suitable for adhesive because it’s made of a type of flexible plastic. This would immediately melt if I applied heat. But if you had a blank pencil case made of fabric, you would use heat transfer vinyl (iron-on) instead.

How To Make A Custom Pencil Case

Here is what I am using to complete this project:

Now let me show you how I customized this pencil case for my daughter.

1. Choose Pencil Case Design

The design I am using for this pencil case is very simple… It is just my oldest daughter’s name: Galilee!

Does that even justify being called a design? I’m not sure! Nevertheless, sometime the best designs are the most simple.

You can really put anything you like:

  • Make a text design like me
  • Choose a free SVG image
  • Use a combination of text and image

It’s up to you, and will depend on the surface area on your pencil case.

To make this simple design, I opened a new project in Cricut Design Space. I created a text box by clicking the text icon on the left menu, and then selected the font ‘Leckerli One’.

If you wanted to use this font yourself, and didn’t have it in Design Space already, you can find it free here on Google Fonts.

Once I had typed out the name, the text was spread out and needed to be joined up so that it would be cut as one piece.

Cricut Basics: How To Customize a Pencil Case with Vinyl by How To Heat Press for Underground Crafter | Cricut Design Space editing

To do this I selected the text and clicked ‘advanced’ and ‘ungroup to letters’ (top edit panel).

I was then free to shift the letters together so that they were touching. Once the letters were touching, I clicked weld (bottom right of the canvas).

Welding cannot be undone, so make sure everything is in the right place before clicking it. This makes the whole design a single layer that will be cut as one piece.

The final step before cutting was to size the design. I made this design 6 inches (15 cm) to fit the blank pencil case.

Cricut Basics: How To Customize a Pencil Case with Vinyl by How To Heat Press for Underground Crafter | Cricut Design Space editing

2. Cut Design in Adhesive Vinyl

Now I’m ready to cut the design out of adhesive vinyl.

Because I’m using vinyl, I do not need to mirror the design. If you are using heat transfer vinyl, you will need to mirror the design as it is applied in reverse.

Set material settings to ‘vinyl’ for Cricut Maker, or set the dial to ‘vinyl’ for Explore Air 2.

Adhesive vinyl goes color side up, and backing paper side down on cutting mat.

Cricut Basics: How To Customize a Pencil Case with Vinyl by How To Heat Press for Underground Crafter | Cricut Maker cutting vinyl

3. Weed Vinyl

Once your design has been cut, weed away the excess vinyl.

This just means pull away any piece of vinyl that you don’t want to end up on your pencil case (or other surface). The Cricut Basic Tool Set has the perfect tools for doing this.

Cricut Basics: How To Customize a Pencil Case with Vinyl by How To Heat Press for Underground Crafter | vinyl before weeding

5. Apply Transfer Tape

For this type of project, make sure you’re using the Standard Grip Transfer Tape, not the Strong Grip Tape!

Place the transfer tape over the weeded design. Press down from the middle of design towards the outer sides, one side at a time, to reduce the chance of air bubbles. Then burnish (rub/press down) with a squeegee (also included in the Cricut Basic Tool Set).

Remove the vinyl backing paper carefully to make sure all of the vinyl is stuck to the transfer tape.

Cricut Basics: How To Customize a Pencil Case with Vinyl by How To Heat Press for Underground Crafter | vinyl name in script font on transfer tape

6. Apply Vinyl To Pencil Case

The final step is to apply the vinyl decal to the pencil case.

You can measure out the perfect spot with a ruler, or just have a good guess as to where it will be centered (like I did).

Position the vinyl on top of the pencil case and start by pressing it down in the center of your design. From the center, press it down out towards one side, and then starting from the center again, press it down out towards the other side. 

Once the whole decal is down, burnish it again to make sure it is stuck onto the pencil case.

Now start to remove transfer tape by rolling it back onto itself at a sharp angle, and slowly roll it back carefully, in case some has not stuck down.

Cricut Basics: How To Customize a Pencil Case with Vinyl by How To Heat Press for Underground Crafter | vinyl name in script font on pink glittery pencil case

A Custom Pencil Case

That’s all there is to it – now you can make vinyl designs to put on anything and everything!

To be honest the vinyl I used wasn’t the best quality, but it was super cheap!

I’ve used it before on other projects and it lasts well… it doesn’t crack, peel, or fade, but it’s just not as nice or easy to work with as something like Oracal 651.

What is Oracal 651 used for?

Any adhesive vinyl project really.

It’s another permanent vinyl that’s great for:

  • mug decals
  • car and window decals
  • permanent wall decal

However, the result with the much cheaper vinyl is still good, and my daughter loves it (which has got to be the most important thing).

Thanks for reading!

Naughty and Nice Couples Iron-On T-Shirts | Cricut Holiday Event 2018

Naughty and Nice Couples Cricut Iron-On T-Shirts by Underground Crafter Are you looking for quick Cricut gifts to make for your favorite couples for the holidays? Then you’ll love my naughty and nice iron-on t-shirts! In this post, I’ll share the cut files for two naughty and nice couples t-shirt sets. You can make them as-is or further customize each project in Design Space.

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

Since I got the Cricut EasyPress 2 this summer, I have been a crazy iron-on fool! I have been ironing-on (or is it iron-oning?) projects left and right. In September, I even had the wacky idea to iron-on thirty Oriental Trading Mini Canvas Tote Bags with the logos of my blog and Jessie At Home’s blog for a shawl styling demo we did at In the MKNG.

I was so delirious afterwards that I forgot to take pictures of the completed bags. Even with an EasyPress 2, ironing-on 60 logos in one sitting is no small feat. But trust me, the finished bags were awesome! The point of this little story is that without the stress of ironing (and the stress of pulling out an ironing board in my one bedroom apartment), I am totally free to make as many iron-on projects as I want. When Angie from The Country Chic Cottage, Carolina from 30 Minute Crafts, Jen from 100 Directions, and Jessica from Mad in Crafts invited me to participate in their Cricut Holiday Event, I knew I would be having some iron-on fun.

Christmas is much more fun for the kiddos than the adults, so I wanted to make some t-shirts for some of my favorite couples for the holidays. I mean, why shouldn’t the grown ups get to have fun, too? I decided to do a play on the theme of naughty and nice and make two different sets of shirts. Each one includes a “naughty” cut file and a “nice” cut file. You’ll need to decide who in each couple is deserving of which project!

 

Naughty and Nice Couples Iron-On T-Shirts with Cricut

Tutorial by Underground Crafter

Naughty and Nice Couples Cricut Iron-On T-Shirts by Underground Crafter This is an easy peasy iron-on project that is perfect for Cricut newbies or pros. Newbies can make the shirts as-is, and Cricut pros can customize the cut files to include additional images or different fonts.

Materials

Instructions

Customize Your Cut Files in Design Space

  • Use my cut files in Design Space “as is” by clicking on Make It, or customize by looking for images (my search terms were “Christmas tree,” “gift,” and “Christmas stockings”), changing the fonts, or adjusting the sizes to better fit on your shirts.

Cut Your Iron-On

  • Make sure you “mirror” each mat before cutting and place the iron-on shiny side down on the mat. Choose your cutting materials in Design Space and it will let you know what to do next!

Naughty and Nice Couples Cricut Iron-On T-Shirts by Underground Crafter - cutting with Cricut MakerWeed Your Iron-On

  • Once all your pieces are cut, trim away excess unused iron-on with your scissors to save for your next project. Use your weeder to remove iron-on from around your cuts.

Pre-Heat Your EasyPress 2

Naughty and Nice Couples Cricut Iron-On T-Shirts by Underground Crafter - EasyPress 2 pre-press t-shirtStart Pressing!

  • Use the EasyPress 2 to press out any wrinkles on the center of the t-shirts before you get started.
  • Position the iron-on on your first t-shirt with the clear liner on top so that the text is facing you and readable. You can center your iron-on, set it at a diagonal, or position it another way. Make it your own!

Naughty and Nice Couples Cricut Iron-On T-Shirts by Underground Crafter - position iron-on on t-shirt

  • Press the iron-on on the shirt using the heat setting and time recommended for your type of iron-on and 100% cotton.
  • Once you have pressed the iron-on, peel off the clear liner carefully following the instructions for “cold peel” or “warm peel” based on the material you used.

Naughty and Nice Couples Cricut Iron-On T-Shirts by Underground Crafter - position iron-on on t-shirt

  • Repeat for each shirt.

Naughty and Nice Couples Cricut Iron-On T-Shirts by Underground Crafter - Naughty and Nice Ones

  • Don’t forget to adjust the temperature and time settings on your EasyPress 2 if you switch to a different type of iron-on between shirts, like I did!

Naughty and Nice Couples Cricut Iron-On T-Shirts by Underground Crafter - Not Too Naughty and Just Nice Enough

Check out the rest of the projects in the Cricut Holiday Event below!


How To Make a Custom “Makers Gonna Make” Iron-On Bag with Cricut EasyPress 2

How To Make a Custom Makers Gonna Make Iron-On Bag with Cricut EasyPress 2 by Underground CrafterAre you always on the hunt for the perfect project bag to tote your next work-in-progress in? In today’s tutorial, I’m going to share how to make your own customized Makers Gonna Make project bag using iron-on and the Cricut EasyPress 2.

This post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation (at no added cost to you) if you make a purchase using these links. This post is sponsored by Cricut, but all opinions and thoughts are my own.

Before I share the Makers Gonna Make project tote, let me tell you about my new favorite toy (er, um, I mean tool), the Cricut EasyPress 2.

How To Make a Custom Makers Gonna Make Iron-On Bag with Cricut EasyPress 2 by Underground Crafter - EasyPress 2If you’re like me, ironing is your least part of crafting. When I was quilting a lot, I always dreaded the torturous ironing at the beginning of each project. And, in the last two years, as I have made more and more Cricut projects (mostly iron-on), I have been reminded why I don’t quilt too much anymore! Ironing is really just not fun and with iron-on projects, sometimes the lack of fun can also lead to poor application. If you’ve ever had any of these ironing problems in your craft projects…

How To Make a Custom Makers Gonna Make Iron-On Bag with Cricut EasyPress 2 by Underground Crafter - ironing problems…you may want to check out the EasyPress 2, a new heat press by Cricut. I shared my unboxing here on Facebook if you’d like to see what’s in the box.

How Is the Cricut EasyPress 2 Different from Original EasyPress?

When Cricut announced the EasyPress last year, it was available in one size (9” x 9”) and in one color (Sky). The EasyPress 2 is available in three sizes (6” x 7”, 9” x 9”, and 10” x 12”). Besides the difference in prices (as you might guess, the smallest is the least expensive), each size is best suited for different types of projects and situations. If you make a lot of smaller iron-on projects, like baby clothes or hats, or if you plan to take your EasyPress 2 to craft night often, you might want the 6” x 7” size. If you make a lot of larger projects, like banners or blankets, you will probably want the 10” x 12” size. The 9” x 9” size (which is the one I have) is great for medium sized projects, like shirts, bags, and aprons.

How To Make a Custom Makers Gonna Make Iron-On Bag with Cricut EasyPress 2 by Underground Crafter - Meet the EasyPress 2 familyAnd, of course, the EasyPress 2 is available in Raspberry, not just Sky. The bottom of the EasyPress 2 is ceramic and flat, so it heats very evenly and stays dry. It also has a USB port for firmware updates in the future. If you like to pick your colors, that matters, too, right? It also comes with a Safety Base. You can rest your EasyPress 2 on the Safety Base while it heats up, between applications, and between projects. No more accidentally burning your arm on the side of an iron, or worrying about damaging your crafting surface (or your pressing surface) in between presses. The EasyPress 2 heats up to as much as 400 degrees, but it feels cool on the sides, so as long as it is in the Safety Base, you shouldn’t have to worry about burning yourself between project steps. The Safety Base also comes with rubberized “feet” so you don’t have to worry about it scratching your crafting or storage surface, or slipping out of place.

How Does the Cricut EasyPress 2 Work?

Having never used the original EasyPress, I wasn’t sure how much of a learning curve there would be. I was pleasantly surprised about how easy it was to use.

How To Make a Custom Makers Gonna Make Iron-On Bag with Cricut EasyPress 2 by Underground Crafter - EasyPress 2 Quick Start GuideThere are six buttons on the EasyPress 2. On the left side, you have the power button (to turn it on and off). The button with a thermometer on it (upper left) is what you press when you want to change the temperature. And, the button just beneath that with a clock on it is what you press when you want to adjust the time needed.

How To Make a Custom Makers Gonna Make Iron-On Bag with Cricut EasyPress 2 by Underground Crafter - EasyPress 2 onOn the right side, you have a plus and minus button. After pressing the temperature or time button, you can adjust up or down with these buttons. On the far right, you have the Cricut button, which is just like the “Go” button on your Cricut machine. This will be red while the EasyPress 2 is heating up, to indicate that it is not yet ready to use. Once it reaches the right temperature, your EasyPress 2 will beep and the light will change. Even if you don’t hear the beep, you can what the temperature it has reached by checking the digital readout. There is a detailed chart of recommended EasyPress settings here that includes the temperature, time for pre-heat, time for application, time for post-heat, and whether the material is a “warm peel” or “cold peel” material. Some materials come off more easily after cooling completely (“cold peel”), while others can still be warm to the touch (“warm peel”).

Once you have reached your temperature — which happens quickly, even when you have an 80 degrees or more temperature difference between materials — and have set the amount of time you need, you’re ready to use the EasyPress 2. As the name suggests, it is literally about an easy press at this point.

Place your project on a heat-safe surface (I used the 12” x 12” EasyPress Mat, which is also portable for crafting on-the-go). Then put your project on the mat, and your iron-on material over that. Lift up your EasyPress 2, place it on top of the project you’d like to “iron,” and press the Cricut button. Once the time is counted down, it will beep again and you can remove it and return it to the Safety Base. If you want to use it to press fabric, just put your fabric on your heat-safe surface and go.

How To Make a Custom Makers Gonna Make Iron-On Bag with Cricut EasyPress 2 by Underground Crafter

How To Make a Custom Makers Gonna Make Iron-On Bag with Cricut EasyPress 2

Tutorial by Underground Crafter

How To Make a Custom Makers Gonna Make Iron-On Bag with Cricut EasyPress 2 by Underground CrafterNow that you know all about the EasyPress 2, are you ready to make your custom Makers Gonna Make project bag? I customized the big project bag to show my love of Cricut and sewing. Be on the look out in a few weeks for the follow up project — customized notions bags (made in the three sizes pictured below) for crochet and knitting!

How To Make a Custom Makers Gonna Make Iron-On Bag with Cricut EasyPress 2 by Underground Crafter - materials

Materials

How To Make a Custom Makers Gonna Make Iron-On Bag with Cricut EasyPress 2 by Underground Crafter

Instructions

Customize Your Bag in Design Space

  • Use my Makers Gonna Make Project Bag in Design Space “as is” by clicking on Make It, or customize by looking for images in your favorite crafts, changing the font, or adjusting the sizes of the images. Here are just a few of the Cricut options available, for example.

How To Make a Custom Makers Gonna Make Iron-On Bag with Cricut EasyPress 2 by Underground Crafter - Cricut images in Design Space

Cut Your Iron-On

  • Make sure you “mirror” each mat before cutting. Choose your cutting materials in Design Space and it will let you know what to do next!

How To Make a Custom Makers Gonna Make Iron-On Bag with Cricut EasyPress 2 by Underground Crafter - cuttingWeed Your Iron-On

  • Once all your pieces are cut, trim away excess unused iron-on with your scissors to save for your next project. Use your weeder to remove iron-on from around your cuts.

Pre-Heat Your EasyPress 2

Start Pressing!

  • Use the EasyPress 2 to press out any wrinkles on the bag before you get started.
  • Position the largest piece of iron-on on your bag first with the clear liner at the top. That piece will make the biggest impression, so make sure it’s straight! I had to press this twice, because at first I didn’t realize that the straps on the bag were making the EasyPress 2 uneven. For the second application, I held down the EasyPress 2 firmly to make sure it was straight.

How To Make a Custom Makers Gonna Make Iron-On Bag with Cricut EasyPress 2 by Underground Crafter - iron on at top of bag

  • After pressing your first piece of iron-on down, you can start to add the other pieces.

How To Make a Custom Makers Gonna Make Iron-On Bag with Cricut EasyPress 2 by Underground Crafter - iron on pieces

  • Don’t forget to adjust the temperature and time settings on your EasyPress 2 if you switch to a different material, like I did!

How To Make a Custom Makers Gonna Make Iron-On Bag with Cricut EasyPress 2 by Underground Crafter

  • To avoid creating an uneven pressing surface from the added height of the bag straps, I held my EasyPress 2 sideways for the side pieces.

How To Make a Custom Makers Gonna Make Iron-On Bag with Cricut EasyPress 2 by Underground Crafter - EasyPress 2 in useOnce you have everything pressed down and all the pieces have reached the right temperatures, you are ready to peel off the clear liners and enjoy your new project bag!

How To Make a Custom Makers Gonna Make Iron-On Bag with Cricut EasyPress 2 by Underground Crafter - completed project bagIf you love this project, check out my tutorial for the Crocheters Gonna Crochet and Hookers Gonna Hook iron-on bags here.

Crocheters Gonna Crochet project bag tutorial by Underground Crafter - on wood background

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

Cricut Basics: Make a Crocheters Gonna Crochet Iron-On Project Bag

Make a Crocheters Gonna Crochet Iron-On Project Bag with Cricut by Underground CrafterAre you looking for a fun way to tell the world you love to crochet, or a great gift for your favorite crocheter? I’m sharing a quick and easy project for a Crocheters Gonna Crochet project bag that you can make in (much) less than an hour!

This post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation (at no added cost to you) if you make a purchase using these links. Materials for this post were generously provided by Cricut, Oriental Trading, Lion Brand, and Clover USA.

I’m so excited to be part of Everything Iron-On with with Angie from The Country Chic Cottage, Carolina from 30 Minute Crafts, Jen from 100 Directions, and Jessica from Mad in Crafts. You will find dozens of great iron-on projects you can make with your Cricut in this online event, and there’s even a great giveaway going on (enter at the end of this post), so read on for details.

Everything Iron-On with Cricut

Although I used my brand new Cricut Maker (I cannot get tired of saying that!) for my project, you can also use any of the Cricut Explore family machines to make your version.

Get To Know Cricut Maker Scoring Wheels with Underground Crafter - Cricut MakerCrocheters Gonna Crochet Project Bag

Cricut Project by Underground Crafter

Materials

Cut the Iron-On

Make a Crocheters Gonna Crochet Iron-On Project Bag with Cricut by Underground Crafter - Design Space screen shot

  • Set your pressure setting dial to “Custom” on the Explore machines. For Maker and Explore, in Design Space set material to Foil Iron-On.
  • Select “mirror on” so your images will cut correctly.
  • Place the Foil Iron-On on the cutting mat with the liner (shiny) side down.
  • Follow instructions in Design Space to cut your iron-on pieces, being sure to mirror the second piece, too.

Weed the Iron-On

  • Use your weeder to remove the excess iron-on from each piece of your project.
  • Tip: Cut excess pieces away before weeding so you can use the iron-on for another project.

Apply the Iron-On

  • Use your iron or EasyPress to press your Canvas Tote Bag so it’s relatively wrinkle-free before you start.
  • Position the bottom piece of Cricut Foil Iron-On (the yarn ball alone) as desired so that the iron will be touching the clear backing side and the back of the iron-on is touching the tote. Press the iron down firmly following the iron-on instructions until your yarn ball is firmly attached. Allow to cool completely before removing the clear backing sheet.
  • Position the larger piece of Cricut Foil Iron-On (with the phrase and yarn ball) so that both layers of yarn are aligned. Make sure the words are right side up so that the iron will be touching the clear backing side and the back of the iron-on is touching the first layer of iron-on and the tote. Follow the instructions above to adhere the iron-on.

Make a Crocheters Gonna Crochet Iron-On Project Bag with Cricut by Underground Crafter - project bag flat

Now that your bag is finished, stuff it with your favorite crochet goodies! Mine includes a skein of Lion Brand Feels Like Butta and a Clover Amour crochet hook.

Make a Crocheters Gonna Crochet Iron-On Project Bag with Cricut by Underground Crafter - project bag with yarn and hook

P.S.: If you like to live on the edge, I also made a Hookers Gonna Hook cut file in Design Space.

Make a Crocheters Gonna Crochet Iron-On Project Bag with Cricut by Underground Crafter - Hookers Gonna Hook alternative cut file

I made a practice version, but alas, it turns out you are NOT supposed to layer glitter iron-on because it will loose its stick over time. It was still a fun practice project!

Make a Crocheters Gonna Crochet Iron-On Project Bag with Cricut by Underground Crafter - Hookers Gonna Hook alternative projectP.P.S. If you are looking for something for knitters, try my Yarn Lover project in Design Space. (You can find the full tutorial for the Yarn Lover project, including tips for working with transfer tape, here.)

Cricut Basics: Tools and Supplies (with Yarn Lover Project Tutorial) by Underground Crafter | Have you wondered which tools and supplies you need for your Cricut Explore? In this post, I share my must-haves along with a fun project for crocheters and knitters in holographic vinyl with transfer tape.Find more great Cricut Iron-On projects from other bloggers participating in Everything Iron-On below!


Enter to win a Cricut EasyPress, EasyPress Mat, and Iron-on Prize Pack using the Rafflecopter giveaway widget. By entering this giveaway, you are voluntarily submitting information to Rafflecopter. You can read their privacy policy here for more details about how that information is used. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cricut Basics: How Does the Cricut Machine Work? in 10 Easy Steps

Cricut Basics - How Does the Cricut Machine Work? by Underground Crafter | Have you been wondering how easy it is to use a Cricut? I'll show you how beginner-friendly it is with this photo tutorial.

I’m continuing my Cricut Basics series with a question that was definitely on my mind when I was unboxing my machine: How does the Cricut machine work? If you’re new to cutting machines, or are transitioning from another brand of machine, you’re probably wondering how steep the learning curve is for you to get up and running with a new Cricut machine. (Spoiler alert: It’s pretty easy! I’ve even broken it down into 10 easy steps.)

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

Shop new arrivals from Cricut!

If you’re new to this series (and/or new to Cricut), you may want to read these posts first:

If you already have your hands on a Cricut Explore machine, here’s a quick walk through of how it works.

Step 1: Take your machine out of the bag.

As I mentioned in my initial review, my Cricut Explore Air came packed in a carrying bag. I use this regularly to bring my machine to my mom’s apartment. I also keep it in the bag when not in use to keep dust (and cat hair!) away from the machine.

Cricut Basics - How Does the Cricut Machine Work? by Underground Crafter | Have you been wondering how easy it is to use a Cricut? I'll show you how beginner-friendly it is with this photo tutorial.Step 2: Plug in and open the machine.

Plug the power adapter into your machine and then into an outlet. I’m using Bluetooth to connect my Cricut Explore Air to my tablet in this tutorial, but if you have a Cricut Explore One or want to connect to your laptop or desktop via USB, you will also need to plug your USB cable in. (By the way, the black wires in these photos have nothing to do with the Cricut — those are from my sewing machine. I was also photographing this tutorial when I took these pictures.)

Cricut Basics - How Does the Cricut Machine Work? by Underground Crafter | Have you been wondering how easy it is to use a Cricut? I'll show you how beginner-friendly it is with this photo tutorial.Press the button on the left side labeled “Open” to open up the machine.

Cricut Basics - How Does the Cricut Machine Work? by Underground Crafter | Have you been wondering how easy it is to use a Cricut? I'll show you how beginner-friendly it is with this photo tutorial.Step 3: Turn the machine on.

Press the power button on the right side to turn the machine on.

Cricut Basics - How Does the Cricut Machine Work? by Underground Crafter | Have you been wondering how easy it is to use a Cricut? I'll show you how beginner-friendly it is with this photo tutorial.Step 5: Login to Cricut Design Space.

As I’ve mentioned before in this series, Cricut Design Space is the cloud-based app that you use for designing projects and communicating with your Cricut machine. If you’re a brand new user, you should use the New Machine Setup.

Cricut Basics - How Does the Cricut Machine Work? by Underground Crafter | Have you been wondering how easy it is to use a Cricut? I'll show you how beginner-friendly it is with this photo tutorial.If you’re an existing user and you are using Bluetooth, you should also connect with your Cricut now.

Cricut Basics - How Does the Cricut Machine Work? by Underground Crafter | Have you been wondering how easy it is to use a Cricut? I'll show you how beginner-friendly it is with this photo tutorial.Step 6: Choose a Make It Now Project to Make or Adapt, or Design Your Project.

Once you login to Cricut Design Space, you can search for Make It Now projects, look for inspiration before designing your own project, choose one of your existing projects, or design a new project.

Cricut Basics - How Does the Cricut Machine Work? by Underground Crafter | Have you been wondering how easy it is to use a Cricut? I'll show you how beginner-friendly it is with this photo tutorial.Once your project is ready, click “Make It” to notify your machine.

Cricut Basics - How Does the Cricut Machine Work? by Underground Crafter | Have you been wondering how easy it is to use a Cricut? I'll show you how beginner-friendly it is with this photo tutorial.

Step 7: Make a selection on the Smart Set Dial.

Rotate your dial so that the dot on the pressure-setting dial is facing the material you plan to cut, write, or score. If your material isn’t listed, choose “Custom” and select the material from the drop down menu in Design Space.

Cricut Basics - How Does the Cricut Machine Work? by Underground Crafter | Have you been wondering how easy it is to use a Cricut? I'll show you how beginner-friendly it is with this photo tutorial.Step 8: Load your cutting mat.

Place your material on the cutting mat. Follow the instructions in Design Space for loading your cutting mat. Be sure to press the flashing load button (the on the right side of the machine with the up and down arrow) after positioning your mat in the guides on the machine so that it loads properly.

Cricut Basics - How Does the Cricut Machine Work? by Underground Crafter | Have you been wondering how easy it is to use a Cricut? I'll show you how beginner-friendly it is with this photo tutorial.Step 9: Press the Cricut button and let the machine go to work!

Once you press “Go” in Design Space, the Cricut Button on your machine will start flashing. Press it to start your project.

Cricut Basics - How Does the Cricut Machine Work? by Underground Crafter | Have you been wondering how easy it is to use a Cricut? I'll show you how beginner-friendly it is with this photo tutorial.

The Cricut will go to work. Design Space will notify you if you need to change pens, blades, or mats for your project.

Cricut Basics - How Does the Cricut Machine Work? by Underground Crafter | Have you been wondering how easy it is to use a Cricut? I'll show you how beginner-friendly it is with this photo tutorial.

Step 10: Remove and enjoy!

When your project has finished cutting, writing, and/or scoring, you will be notified via Design Space and flashing lights on the machine to unload your cutting mat. Use the same flashing up and down arrow button you used to load the mat to unload it. Take your project off the mat and you’re ready to enjoy it.

By the way, if choosing your first project seems too overwhelming…

…just remember that your Cricut will come with supplies and instructions for a getting started project.

Cricut Explore Air unboxing and review on Underground CrafterAnd, there’s always the online Help Center (which includes a whole section on new machines) and the toll free hotline to help you out if you get stuck. If you’re looking for a more in-depth course, there’s Craft and Create with Your Cricut Explore with Lia Griffith on Craftsy.

Do you have other questions about Cricut? Let me know and I may answer in an upcoming post.