If you’ve had a Cricut for a while you probably already know this, but if you’re relatively new to your Cricut then I bet you’re beginning to see that this machine truly has so, so many fun uses – so much more than just cutting paper. Although that’s personally my favorite way to use it, Cricut has done an amazing job designing and creating a product that is so versatile and functional for a variety of different needs. I love it!
What’s in the Box?
So what all did you actually acquire when you made your Cricut purchase? Ready for the big reveal? Cricut Explore Air and the Cricut Maker offer different packages, and the more you pay the more products are included in your bundle. Today I want to talk about what is included with the basic option and what you are most likely to find in your box.
If you’ve purchased a Cricut machine, your box will include:
- Cricut machine
- Getting Started guide
- Power & USB cord
- Standard grip cutting mat
- Sample projects
Once I got my box home I was so excited to get started, I realized I had to make a trip back to the store because there were no tools that came with the basic box. Can you move forward without those essential Cricut tools? Yes and no: see my article here about the essential Cricut tools you need to get started. If I had to do it all over again I would have spent a little bit more money and purchased a bundle from Cricut, to make sure that I had all of the extras and goodies so that I was ready to create truly anything that I wanted the minute I’d completed set-up.
Here are a few items I recommend that you purchase in addition to your Cricut Maker to get you started:
- Extra Mats!! I am a little OCD and the mat that comes in the Cricut box is curved slightly at the edges (from having been stuffed inside a box!). I wanted nice flat mats. I purchased the regular grip and the light grip.
- Cricut Tool Set. With the basic set-up you get a scraper, tweezers, spatula, and scissors. This can be purchased on Cricut or Amazon.
- Extra blades.
Further, if you are worried about how much ink you will run through, you can always purchase the HP Instant Ink Subscription like I did. It is so easy: when my ink is getting low, HP ships me another one and at a discounted price too. It’s truly a win-win!!
What machine should I get?
If you haven’t made the big purchase quite yet, you may be wondering which product is better for you: The Cricut Explore Air 2 or The Cricut Maker. Both are amazing in their own right, but come with a notable price difference.
I like the possibilities of the Maker and think I will purchase one soon, but for now I am happy with the Cricut Explore 2. So far it has created everything I want.
How Do I Set Up My Machine?
Read the instructions!! I hate reading the instructions and much prefer a video tutorial to walk me through everything. But I followed the set-up instructions and completed the sample projects and I have to say that Cricut does an excellent job walking you through the steps in a quick fashion.
Taking care of your cutting mats
I admit that I don’t always do the best job of taking care of my cutting mats and have had to buy more as a result. I want you to be able to preserve your mats for the long haul, so listen carefully. Try to remember to set the cutting dial to the proper setting for the particular project you are doing (So often I forget, and if you’ve got the dial set wrong the blade can really dig into the mat and dull the blade. It’s not good). So take note: to preserve your mats, it is very, very important to have the dial set to the correct setting.
Keeping the mat clean can be achieved by wiping down the mat with a baby wipe – preferably a non-alcoholic one – after each use. This will help it stay cleaner, and make the stickiness last longer.
If you mat does lose its stick and grab, you can give it a quick spray with Krylon Reposition adhesive. It does wonders. If you do use Krylon Reposition adhesive, make sure that you tape off the edges where you don’t want the adhesive to stick to. Use masking tape or Washi tape to tape off the edge of the mat, then give it a quick spray for a light grip. Let it sit for a bit to do its magic and ta-da! You’ll have a mat with new life.
There are a few different types of mat: for paper projects I LOVE the light grip mat. It has just enough grip to hold onto my paper projects but doesn’t make it impossible to retrieve cuts from the mat and helps me avoid curled paper.
Your Cricut mat choices:
- Blue – Light Grip
- Green – Standard Grip
- Purple – Strong Grip
- Pink – Fabric Grip
The Pink mat is designed for fabric and is to be used with the Cricut Maker. Here’s a general rule of thumb: the thicker the material being cut, the stronger the mat grip you’ll want to use.
One amazing feature of both machines is the pen tool. You can add a Cricut Pen or Marker and once you have a design loaded in Design Space it can draw the pattern for you. (Other markers will work too, you just have to make sure to get the correct size). These pens are perfect for creating kids’ coloring pages, signs, special handwritten messages on greetings cards, and so much more.
Keep Your Machine in Good Working Order
There are many videos on how to keep your machine clean – here are just a few:
Add links here (note for traci)
When loading a project, make it a habit to double check the dial for the proper setting. Loading a project and noticing once it starts to cut that it is set wrong is a real bummer. If you make a mistake, hit the pause button and move the dial to the correct setting, and then hit the pause button again to resume cutting.
Also note that blades can get dull with a lot of use. Make sure you have extra blades on hand to replace dulled ones when you notice that cuts are not coming out as cleanly as they should. As with the mats, you have a number of different options for blades:
- Fine Point
- Deep Cut
- Bonded Fabric
- Rotary Blade
- Knife Blade
I have only used the fine point blade and have cut perfectly through vinyl, paper, card stock, thin chipboard, plastic stencil material, and more, all with no problems at all. Check out this quick guide for an understanding of all of the blades Cricut offers.
That should cover the basics of what comes in the box and the main parts that you’ll need to succeed when creating fun, unique DIY treasures. If you have further questions, don’t hesitate to send me an email or comment below and I will be happy to lend a hand. You can also consult with any number of these helpful articles and guides: they’ve all been so useful for me and contain great tips and tricks to get you going. Good luck and have fun!
YOU MAY NEED…
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Don’t own a Cricut? but want to get started with die cut crafting? Cricut cutting machines allows you to cut, drawn, score, and so much more on various materials such as vinyl, chipboard, light weight plastic, paper, card stock, and if you get the Cricut Maker – fabric, wood, leather and more. If you love to create, you might want to check out all the possibilities the Cricut offers. It’s so cool!! Just click on the picture to see all the info.
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