The Cricut Machine is amazing on its own, but there are so many Cricut accessories to take your crafting to the next level! Here are my favorite Cricut accessories and how to use them.
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I can’t believe it’s April! Mostly because that means that my twin babies are somehow going to be TWO next month! People are always telling me that it goes quickly, but when I’m up to my elbows in diapers and sleep regressions, it’s hard to take it to heart. But it’s true! We’ve been doing this parenting thing for almost two years and it’s gone by in the blink of an eye.
Today I’m here to share another project for their camping birthday party using my Cricut Explore Air 2 (invitations!), and in the process, tell you all about my favorite Cricut accessories. If you want to read all the posts in the series so far, click below!
There are very few accessories you need to get started using your Cricut Explore, and they come in the package when you buy even the most basic Cricut Explore package — so you don’t have to buy anything extra at the outset! These two included accessories are a cutting mat and a carbide blade. Everything else is optional, but allow you to do even more with this amazing machine! Let’s check them out!
German Carbide Blade
The Cricut Explore comes with a super sharp German carbide blade so you can get cutting right away. It is housed within the Cricut and can easily be changed if it dulls. I use the standard blade for almost all of my cutting and it always lasts longer than I expect it to. If you are cutting rough materials, you may find you have to change it more often. The housing for this blade is silver.
There is also a Deep Cut Blade, which you’ll need for cutting thicker materials, like wood and leather. You’ll need to get the separate housing for it and swap it out in the machine. The housing for the deep cut blade is black. You can also buy the blades individually once you own the housing.
You’ll also get a green 12″x12″ StandardGrip cutting mat in your Cricut Explore box. This can be used for most of your crafting needs — card stock, vinyl, etc. If you’re using more delicate materials, like vellum or light paper, you might want to get yourself a blue LightGrip cutting mat. And if you’re cutting heavier materials that have a tendency to shift, try a purple StrongGrip cutting mat. I use my heavier cutting mat for chipboard and stabilized fabric. But most of the time I stick with the green StandardGrip one.
If you’re cutting larger projects, Cricut also has a StandardGrip mat that’s 12″x24″. I love this for larger vinyl projects — I recently cut iron-on vinyl for 15 bags on one sheet of vinyl using this larger size and it went even faster.
No matter what cutting mat you use, I suggest breaking it in a little bit before you use it for the first time. Take off the clear mat protector and stick the mat to the front of your shirt a few times. It’ll pick up some of the lint and, believe it or not, this will help dramatically when removing your project from the mat after it’s been cut. It’s nearly impossible to remove a project cleanly from a brand-spanking new mat.
Cricut Tool Set
I while back I wrote an in-depth post about the Cricut Tool Set. I won’t go into much detail here about the weeder, scraper, spatula, tweezers, scissors, and trimmer, except to say that all of these tools are so useful and if you’re going to get any accessories for your machine, I’d pick up a tool set. I’ve also got my eye on one of the XL scrapers — I know it would help me clean my mats that much faster!
If you want to make cards, boxes, or anything else that requires precise folding, I suggest getting yourself a scoring stylus. This tool fits easily into the Cricut’s housing. The Cricut can hold a blade and scoring stylus at the same time so you don’t have to swap them out — you can cut and score at the same time! Scoring really makes it easy to fold your projects. If you use projects from the Cricut Image Library, the scoring layer is built into any file that needs to be folded.
One of my absolute favorite accessories are Cricut pens. When I got my Cricut Explore, I didn’t realize it could, in addition to cutting and scoring, also write! My absolute favorite use for this to address cards and letters. Last year I used my Cricut Explore for addressing Christmas Cards, so I knew I needed to do the same for the boys’ birthday invitations! Which brings me to my project for today — addressing birthday invitations using the Cricut Explore!
While using the Cricut to address invitations not the fastest process out there (each card takes about 4 minutes, depending on the fonts you use), it is one of those things you can just set moving while you’re working on other things. I managed to clean my craft room while my Cricut was hard at work addressing the invitations for the boys’ party!
Open the Cricut Design Space. Use the Type Tool in the left-hand sidebar menu to create your addresses. I have three text boxes — a simple font for our return address that doesn’t change from envelope to envelope, one for the invited family name in a fun font, and the same simple font for the family name address.
My envelopes are 5×7, so I used the grid in the Cricut Design Space to approximate the envelope.
You will notice that ALL your fonts load into the Cricut Design Space, but you’ll want to select “Has a Writing Style” from the dropdown menu on the right side (under the Edit header). This will limit the fonts to ones that the Cricut Explore can write easily. It can write any font, but it will outline any that don’t have a designated writing style, which isn’t as neat as the single-line writing of fonts that have a writing style.
Once you have all of your text boxes ready to go, you’ll want to “attach” everything (in the upper right hand menu: Layers > Attach) so that it appears as you’ve laid it out when the Cricut goes to write it. Then click go!
Once you are in the layout screen, nudge your whole project in 1/4″ so that it doesn’t write the return address right at the edge of your envelope.
Put the pen in the auxiliary holder, making sure to press it in all the way, place your envelope in the upper left corner of your cutting mat, and click Go! I like using the finest .03 tip black pen for the most legible writing. I used a .04 here and wished it was little lighter. You can see how the .03 writes here.
And then you’re done! So easy, right?
Stay tuned for more posts in this series! I hope they are helping you discover more and more you can do with your Cricut!
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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.