Cricut machines are great tools for crafting projects thanks to their versatile nature and their ability to create a wide range of artistic crafts in a quick and efficient manner. A Cricut machine works by letting the user cut out shapes from paper or fabric.
There is so much that you can then do with your chosen fabric, such as creating your own homemade cards, scrapbook pages, and other craft projects. The great thing about a Cricut is that they are easy to use too, especially once you get the hang of the process.
There are several types of Cricut machines available, but they all utilize a similar sort of process. So, once you have learned how to use one, you are sure to be able to pick up on how to use the others with relative ease.
Before we get into our guide as to how to use a Cricut machine, let’s take a look at the history of Cricut to see how it became the crafting behemoth that it is today as well as the different kinds of machines that are available.
How Cricut Came to Be
The original Cricut machine was released on December 21st, 2003, and has since gone on to become a household name in the crafting world.
Manufactured by the 15-year-old company Povo Craft & Novelty Inc, the original goal of the Cricut was to create a powerful yet simple tool that could completely change the way that people went about designing and crafting.
Their goal was certainly achieved with the creation of the Cricut, as the machine has opened up tons of possibilities within the realm of crafting.
Different Cricut Machines
Now that we know how the company came to be, let’s move on to the different kinds of Cricut machines that are currently available.
The Original Cricut
Let’s begin back where it all started, with the most basic model of the Cricut: the Original Cricut machine.
This is the first Cricut machine that was ever created, originally designed with a simple yet well-thought-out goal: to make cutting images out of paper a process that is quicker, more efficient, and less fiddly than the manual method.
The original Cricut came with an inkjet printer, a cutting mat, and a variety of pre-cut designs. The original isn’t as easy to come by anymore, but if you have a look around on a wide range of websites – such as Etsy or eBay – you are likely to come across an old, classic Cricut eventually!
Cricut Explore Air 2
The Cricut Explore Air 2 is a machine that is adored by crafters the world over, and for good reason. This is a more advanced version of the original Cricut, with various, new features that made the Cricut much more versatile and responsive, allowing for a better overall experience.
The Explore Air 2 can also help you out on your journey to becoming a crafter, with various pre-made designs being available.
A fair amount of these designs are great for newcomers to crafting, but there are also various designs aimed at kids. This makes the Explore Air 2 a fantastic choice if you want to introduce your kids to crafting too.
Some of the other new features that were added to the Cricut Explore Air 2 include the following: a built-in laser cutter, a larger cutting area, and a wireless connection that can be synced up via Bluetooth.
Next up, we have the Cricut Maker. The Maker shares a lot of similarities with the Explore Air 2, but there are a few key differences between them. Firstly, the Maker does not have a laser cutter. Rather than this method, it opts for a completely different cutting style: a 3D printer.
The methods of creation with 3D printing and laser cutting are similar, but there are some key differences, so make sure that you know which style suits you better before picking between the Maker and the Explorer Air 2.
One issue that you could have with the Maker is that it does not have a wireless connection. However, if you don’t mind having to plug it in, then this isn’t going to be a significant issue
The most compact – and significantly cheaper –model of the Cricut machines is the Cricut Joy. This is a fairly recent addition to the lineup of machines as well as being one of the newest models that the company has released.
The main difference between this machine and the two larger models that we have looked at is that it has neither a laser cutter nor a 3D printer. Instead, the Cricut Joy opts for a more classical method, utilizing a traditional vinyl cutter.
As the name would suggest, this method involves the machine cutting out shapes. However, it cuts them from vinyl sheets rather than paper.
The Joy might be more limited in terms of what it can do, but if you are a casual crafter looking for a way to enter the crafting sphere then this could be the machine for you to do just that.
The Joy is also an excellent option if you are looking for a cutting machine that is compact enough for travel whilst also having great connectivity.
Now that we have looked at the three major varieties of the Cricut machine – all of which offer a wide range of options for both experienced and novice crafters – let’s get into the important topic of how to actually use the machine!
How To Use A Cricut Machine
The first thing you will need to do is make sure that you have all the right materials for your particular Cricut machine. There are also certain accessories that might differ depending on what you are planning to make with the machine and what machine you have.
Some essentials include a cartridge holder, a cutting mat, and a cutting blade.
Do your research on your chosen machine and the kind of projects that you want to create with your Cricut to make sure that you have exactly what you need to get started.
Once you have your accessories at the ready, you are going to need to download the software program that corresponds with your particular machine.
Once downloaded, you can open the program and there should be on-screen instructions that guide you through the process of setting everything up.
When using the Cricut Explore Air or the Cricut Joy, you should be able to immediately connect to your Wi-Fi network or sync it via Bluetooth as soon as you turn on your device.
At this point, everything should be connected, synced up, and ready to go. You will now be ready to get crafting, cutting and creating!
To begin, all you need to do is place the design template onto the cutting mat. Once that is level, select the design that you’d like to print.
Make sure to press down firmly on the mat. This ensures that the design sticks to the surface. Then position the design where you’d like it to appear on the page in its final form.
All that is left to do is click on the “cut” button. As long as everything goes smoothly, you should be able to watch as the design appears, being cut neatly and efficiently onto the page. Just like that, you have your design!
Make sure to take care when removing the design from the cutting mat. This is a simple process too, as all you will need to do is peel off the backing sheet and dispose of it.
If you need to, keep repeating the process until you’ve used up all the templates.
Using a Cricut machine truly is as simple as one, two, three! Each machine has its own methods and capabilities, but their similarities make it much easier to make the transition between the different machines should you need to.
The Cricut brand is one that is known for its excellence when it comes to its crafting machines, and their reputation is definitely deserved.
When it comes to setting up and using your Cricut machine, make sure to read all of the instructions thoroughly and have everything that you need before you begin, and you should be crafting like a pro in no time!
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