What Is A Cricut Machine?

If you are creative or working within design or arts and crafts you have probably heard lots of people raving about Cricut machines. The Cricut is the cutting and printing assistant you never knew you needed.

If you are tired of spending hours cutting out intricate designs and stickers then the Cricut could be perfect for you. 

Cricut Machine

In this piece, we look at what exactly Cricuts are, what they do, and the basics of how to operate one of these machines.

If you are considering getting one by the time you’ve finished reading this article you will have all the information you need to know if the Cricut is for you or not. 

What Is A Cricut Machine?

A Cricut is an electric cutting machine that can cut many types of material including paper, vinyl, cardstock, leather, and wood. It cuts very precisely and quickly. 

These machines cut out shapes from different materials, such as letters, words, numbers, and designs. You can also use them to cut out images from vinyl, cardstock, foam board, leather, plastic, and many other materials.

A Cricut cutting machine works similarly to a household printer. You first create your own design in Cricut’s design software or app. Next, you send the design over Bluetooth or USB to the Cricut machine.

The machine then cuts out the design and voilà! Your design goes from the screen to something tangible in your hands within minutes.

There are three main designs, the Cricut Joy, Cricut Maker, and Cricut Explore and the company has recently started selling a Cricut Heat Press.

Cricut machines have given the opportunity to creatives all around the world to start craft businesses and pursue a job that they are passionate about.

How To Use A Cricut Machine

Cricut machines connect to specific software that you will install on your computer or an app on your smartphone. You simply connect the software or app with your Cricut machine to print your designs.

The Cricut Design Space software is compatible with Windows and Mac operating software and the app is compatible with Android and iOS smartphones. 

The Cricut machine has a small blade that cuts your designs precisely every time. Different, sharper blades are available to purchase separately if you want to cut heavier materials such as wood or leather.

Once your design is created in the app or software it is sent to the printer and the pattern is translated to the blade which begins to cut your creation.

There is a range of different Cricut machines, but they all work quite similarly. These five basic steps are the same across almost all models.

  1. Create your design using the Cricut design app or software. Send the design to the machine via Bluetooth or USB, depending on the model.
  2. Choose your cutting material and then place the material on the sticky cutting mat. Place the mat, with the material, into the Cricut machine and press the button to start cutting.
  3. Once the machine has finished cutting your design remove both the mat and the material from the machine. 
  4. You should now have a perfect cut out of your design! Clean the sticky mat and turn the machine off until you next need to use it.

All Cricuts come with a thorough online manual that will hold all the answers to your operating questions. 

The Design Space software comes preloaded with images so that you can start with the simple stuff before moving on to creating your own designs from scratch.

If you don’t want to create new designs every time you can buy a monthly subscription to Cricut Access which gives you access to all the fonts and images that are on the Design Space software. 

This is also the case when using the Design Space app, the only difference is that one is computer compatible and the other is smartphone compatible, but both have the same features. 

How Do I Cut With A Cricut? 

There are two ways to cut with a Cricut, these are manual and automatic. Below we explain the difference between the two cutting settings. 

Manual

In manual mode, you place the cutting material directly onto the mat and press down hard. This way, you control where the cut will happen. For more basic designs this may be your preference if you don’t want to create and send a design to the machine.

Automatic

In automatic mode, the cutter does most of the work. You just have to place the cutting material on top of the mat and press the button. This will be the best setting for more intricate designs.

Any design that you send to the Cricut from the design software will be cut using this setting.

You can also adjust the speed at which the cutter moves across the mat. Simply move the dial next to the power button. 

There are four different speeds to choose between, these are slow, medium, fast, and super-fast. 

Slow is the default setting. Medium is faster than slow and super-fast is even faster. For cutting in manual mode you may choose to use a slower speed to avoid any mistakes. You can also change the settings for each individual material type. For example, if you want to cut vinyl, you would select vinyl.

Types Of Cricut Machines

what is a cricut machine

There are three main types of Cricuts. Below we look at each model and what makes each one unique.

Cricut Explore 

There are four models with the Cricut Explore range, but only two are still available on the market currently. The Cricut Explore Air 2 is one of the most popular machines, loved by beginners and professional crafters alike.

Cut a range of different fabrics and work on either a 12 x 12-inch mat or a 12 x 24-inch mat.

Cricut Joy 

The Cricut Joy only has one model currently. If you are looking for a portable machine so that you can craft on the go then this is the machine for you! 

This machine is easy to set up and even easier to use. Make the perfect stickers, greeting cards, and labels with this compact machine. If you are new to crafting then this would be a great starting point to help you master the basics.

Cricut Maker

The Cricut Maker range currently has two models on the market. The Maker machines are the most powerful out of all the Cricut machine models. 

It can cut hundreds of materials, including leather, felt, fabric, plastic, and wood. It also is compatible with different-sized mats, giving you more choice for the size of your designs with mats ranging in size from 12 x 12 inches to 12 x 24 inches. 

By buying a Cricut Maker you will also have access to the ever-expanding range of tools that Cricut develops, including the foiling tip, rotary cutter, engraving tip, and knife blade, giving you a huge choice of what you can create with your machine.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I Need To Be Tech-savvy To Be Able To Use A Cricut machine?

Having a basic understanding of how a computer works is all that is needed to use a Cricut. The Cricut design software is easy to master and sending designs from computer to machine is a straightforward process that anyone could do. 

If you don’t have access to a computer you can use the Cricut app on your smartphone.

Like everything, you will need to take the time to learn how to operate the machine and the software, but you will be printing and cutting designs in no time.

Are Cricut Machines Worth It?

If you love crafting then a Cricut is a worthwhile investment. Personalize your household appliances and create thoughtful gifts for your family and friends.

There is also the potential to monetize your creations and sell them at craft fairs or online, products like custom t-shirts, stickers, and mugs will always sell. 

What Supplies Do I Need To Get Started With Cricut?

Everything you need to get started will come with your Cricut machine. Inside the box, you will find your machine as well as a mat, pen, blade, and even material samples to get you started on your first project in no time. 

A charging cable is also included and some models come with USB cables. Not all the Cricut models are USB compatible so that is why this cable does not come with each model. 

If you want to work on other materials you will need to purchase these separately. There are sets you can get that include useful hand tools such as tweezers, a scoring stylus, spatula, and scrapers.

You can buy these sets on Amazon or on Cricut’s main website. 

Final Thoughts

It is easy to see why Cricut machines have become so hugely popular. They are a great way of creating projects at home with the kids or saving time on cutting stickers and detailed decals. 

If you dedicate time to crafting already then you will definitely make use of a Cricut. With so many projects you can try to create you will never be bored. To buy a Cricut you can visit the official website by clicking here.

Michael Moore

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