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So you got a Cricut or maybe your doing your research first like I did! Either way I want to help you decide what you need to buy in the beginning. I’m going to give you a list of things that you need to get started and then you can always add things a little at a time. To save new users the headache and frustration I had when I first started, I’ve put together this Cricut guide for beginners!
I still remember getting my first Cricut almost 3 years ago! I was so excited to finally get one but I was also overwhelmed by everything at first too. I always recommend starting with smaller projects first to get you used to your machine and software. I originally bought my Cricut to make shirts with to sell for a little extra money but I ended up finding out I could make so much more than shirts! I will write a separate post on that tho because there really is so many things that you can make to sell, give as gifts, for your house, or just for fun! Back when I first bought mine I was in several Facebook groups and asked for recommendations on what I needed to get first.
Now to the list of things you will want to get first.
Basic Tool set
This 7 piece tool set bundle has all the basic tools that you will need to weed, burnish, slice, snip, score, and trim. Included in the set is a portable trimmer ( comes in handy for cutting vinyl or trimming paper), a scoring stylus, spatula, weeder, scraper, scissors, and tweezers.
Depending on which machine you get and which mat you received in you box, you may eventually need more mats. Cricut mats come in two different sizes, 12” x 12” and 12” x 24”. The longer mat comes in handy if you are doing bigger projects.
There are 4 different Cricut mats (green, blue, purple, and pink).
Standard grip – green mat ( This is the one that I use the most ).
This is the basic mat and it is used for cardstock, embossed cardstock, iron-on, and vinyl.
Light grip – Blue mat
This mat is used for lighter materials such as thin vinyl, office paper, light cardstock, construction paper, and vellum.
Strong grip – Purple mat
This mat is used for heavier materials such as leather, specialty cardstock, glitter cardstock, chipboard, poster board, magnet material, and fabric with stiffener.
Fabric grip – Pink mat
This mat is ideal for fabrics, bonded fabrics, felt, and crepe paper. This mat should be used when using the rotary blade or bonded blade.
Note: The Cricut Joy comes with its own specific cutting mat.
Make sure that you always replace the plastic cover when they’re not in use so that they don’t collect dust and keep anything you store it with from sticking to it! Also try not to touch the mats with your fingers because the oils on your skin will eventually make the mats less sticky.
Iron-on Vinyl You’ll want to use permanent vinyl for making car window decals, embellishing cups, mugs, plates, mailboxes. Basically, anything that needs to be resistant! Here is a nice starter pack for permanent vinyl! You’d use removable vinyl for walls, mirror decals, and bathroom decals. Here is a cute starter pack of removable vinyl! Another good use for removable vinyl is to use it as a stencil. You can even make tiny adorable nail art and apply the decals to your nails and then add some clear nail polish over the top to keep them in place! Transfer tape You will need transfer tape for permanent or removable vinyl. You don’t need it for iron-on or HTV vinyl tho. Iron-on vinyl comes with its own special backing. Heat press or EasyPress Here is the Cricut EasyPress 2 that I use: You will also need a mat to use with the EasyPress 2: Cardstock HTV – Heat Transfer Vinyl (iron-on)
Iron-on vinyl is also known as heat transfer vinyl. There are so many different options to choose from!! This is what you will want to use to embellish shirts, hats, pillows, blankets, or pretty much anything with a fabric backing. Some of the different types of iron-on vinyl are foil, glitter, glossy, holographic, neon, metallic, matte, printable, sport flex, and a lot more.
There are generally 2 main types of vinyl ( permanent and removable. There are more but these are the 2 main types.
I have heard of people using a regular clothing iron and using a dish towel in between the garment and the iron but I really don’t recommend it if you plan to sell your projects. You have several options when it comes to heat presses. I started with a heat press because I knew that I planned on making t-shirts and other projects to sell. Plus you get better pressure with a heat press so that when you wash a t-shirt or onesie, the vinyl doesn’t come off in the wash! If you are just making stuff as a hobby or short on room tho, you might be ok with the Cricut Easypress. Just do your research first to decide which would be best for your needs. The EasyPress is not a total necessity right away but definitely something to consider if you end up doing a lot of iron-on projects or plan to sell stuff that you make.
Cardstock is good for making birthday cards and banners. You can find the best deals on cardstock at Joanns or Michaels using their 40% off coupon. Amazon and Cricut’s website are also good places to find cardstock. I to have all kinds of colors laying around of card stock! Never know when you might want to make a card for a loved one or be tasked with making a banner for a Birthday party or celebration! Here is the last cardstock that I bought from Amazon:
Basic Cricut Terminology and Acronyms
631 – ( Indoor, used for stencils temporary wall designs, and window cling ).
651 – Permanent vinyl ( Outdoor and weatherproof )
951 – Permanent vinyl (Marine grade – the higher the number the stronger grade of adhesive!).
Weeding – To weed is to remove the excess vinyl from your cut design.
Mirror –flip/reverse your design ( You’ll want to do this when you are working with Heat Transfer vinyl ). When working with HTV, make sure you put the shiny side down!!!
Weld – This is important to use when you are working with script/cursive letters and want them to be one word. Move the letters close together so they touch, then click “weld” and they will morph together into one piece! Welding CANNOT be undone once you have saved a project!
Attach – This is similar to weld and it keeps images/fonts as they are on the mat when cutting so that they don’t all cut separately. Attach can be undone at any point ( kind of like grouping ).
Group – This groups objects together so that you can more easily keep track of them.
You’ll want to use permanent vinyl for making car window decals, embellishing cups, mugs, plates, mailboxes. Basically, anything that needs to be resistant! Here is a nice starter pack for permanent vinyl!
You’d use removable vinyl for walls, mirror decals, and bathroom decals. Here is a cute starter pack of removable vinyl! Another good use for removable vinyl is to use it as a stencil. You can even make tiny adorable nail art and apply the decals to your nails and then add some clear nail polish over the top to keep them in place!
You will need transfer tape for permanent or removable vinyl. You don’t need it for iron-on or HTV vinyl tho. Iron-on vinyl comes with its own special backing.
Heat press or EasyPress
Here is the Cricut EasyPress 2 that I use:
You will also need a mat to use with the EasyPress 2:
HTV – Heat Transfer Vinyl (iron-on)