So, you just got your Cricut machine! Do you hug it and cuddle it in your sleep, like a little kid who just got their favorite toy? Do you leave it in a box for a while, hoping you could learn a little about what it can do and how to use it? Or do you feel like you must run from it now, while you have a chance? I ask these questions based on what I've seen in forums and social media posts. I've seen people say they've had it for months and haven't opened the box because they have no idea how to use it. There are some people who are frustrated after using it for a few days and are giving up. It is encouraging to see that most of us have this experience: we unboxed our Cricut the day it arrived, ran out of supplies, and went to the craft store or ordered more supplies the next day!
Photo from Cricut.com
I got my Cricut at a time when I was going through treatment for breast cancer. I got some extra money, so I decided to get something nice for myself. I thought it looked like a fun craft to try but I really did not know what I would use it for.
Since I was very busy, I could not use it as much as I wanted, but I realized quickly that the Cricut bug had bitten me. Hard. Then Covid-19 happened and we had to worry about another bug. We have stayed home, for weeks, months, and now almost a year. I spent a lot of my free time getting to know my Cricut and learning how to use it, and to do other craft projects. There's something about creating and finishing a project that is satisfying, a diversion from my work routine, the worries about my illness, and home confinement. If you are looking for a fun hobby, Cricut is the way to go!
If you're new to this, where do you start?
1) Open the Box!
First, you definitely need to open the box! You can only learn so much watching videos! Experimenting is fun! Getting your Cricut set up is easy! Cricut provides you with easy instructions on how to get your machined powered up, connected to the Internet, and how to access Design Space.
2) Connect to the Net
You should know how to power up, so I'll skip that part. To connect to the Internet, Cricut comes with a HDMI cable shown below. You want to plug it directly to your laptop or computer.
But what if you're using a tablet like IPAD and don't have a HDMI connectivity? One word answer: Bluetooth! If you're not familiar with Bluetooth connection, follow the instructions here.
3) Test Her and Practice
Once you're connected, the Cricut manual shows you how to practice on one simple card project. Practice some more on your own, but you do not get a lot of materials out of the box. You will find that you love this machine and will want to do more! So, you will quickly need supplies and basic tools. I tell people to start with papercraft, like cards, paper flowers, or simple banners. Cardstock is cheap, so you can make mistakes without thinking you are wasting a lot of money.
4) Getting More Supplies
You need mats. Cricut will only work when you load your material using a carrier mat. There are various types, and they are color coded.
You need blades. Cricut comes with standard blades. For your initial projects, most likely you'll just be using the fine point blade. But, if you want to be adventurous, you can get more information on the different blades here.
I mentioned cardstock earlier. Any cardstock would work. I use Recollections, 65 lb cardstock. If you want to dive into vinyl work right away, start with removable vinyl, it's easier to handle! We'll talk more about the many types of vinyl in another post.
You need basic tools. These are the two I use the most: a weeding tool and a scraper. Cricut sells them, but other less expensive tools are available in other stores.
A good pair of craft scissors is useful, and papercraft glue. I use Art Glitter Glue, but others would work also.
5) Start Learning
Once you have gone through your initial set of supplies and have gotten more, you are ready to learn even more. Within the Cricut website, there's a lot of learning materials. I really do think that not too many people know this, or they don't even look! Get to know your machine. Get to know the different settings, different blades, different mats, and the basic features of Design Space.
There's a vast amount of videos on Youtube. Start with the beginner videos for the machine you are using.
Facebook forums are a great resource. People there are generally helpful, but be careful because you can also get a lot of inaccurate information.
Best of all, be prepared to accept failures and learn from them. Focus on simple projects at first. Be good at it, then learn more.
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