Paper Crafter Hacks You Need
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If you have a Cricut machine and you aren’t using paper to make cards, tags, and other amazing paper crafts, you are missing out! Sometimes we think of using a Cricut just for vinyl, but there is so much more you can do with it. We get questions though about the best ways of working with paper and making Cricut paper crafts and so we wanted to share our favorite Paper Crafter Hacks with you today.
With these paper crafting tips and tricks for working with a Cricut, you’ll be able to avoid any of the pitfalls that can cause your craft project to fail. We want you to have crafting success time and time again and most of all, we want you to have fun when you make your Cricut projects. So, let’s dive in and learn all about the best techniques and tips for Cricut paper crafts.
Paper Crafter Hacks You Need
1 – Know your paper.
You need to do your research and know what paper is best for your project. All paper is not made the same! Many people will go and grab a sheet of scrapbooking paper from the craft store and have no idea what type or weight it is. It may not be suited for your craft project! For many of our Cricut projects, we use 65-80 lb. cardstock for most of our Cricut paper crafts and we get great results with it. For the bases of cards and many 3D projects, this gives us the best results. There are times when we need something sturdier for a 3D project and that is when we will go up to 100 lb. cardstock.
2 – Check your blade.
It’s a good idea after cutting cardstock, especially if you’re cutting quite a bit of it, to check your blade. This is something you can also do when troubleshooting why your Cricut is giving you some jagged or uneven cuts. Remove your blade and check it for debris. You can use a scrunched-up piece of aluminum foil to help clean your blade. Stab it into the foil ball several times and it will help remove any bits of paper and other materials that are stuck on it.
Depending on how much you use your Cricut blade, it will need to be changed from time to time. If you are having difficulty getting good cuts but your blade is clean, this is a good indicator that you might want to try a new blade. At a minimum, for those of you crafting occasionally, you’ll want to change your Cricut blades every 4-6 months.
More tips for changing blades: When to change your Cricut blades
3 – Make sure your paper is sticking well to the mat.
You want to be sure you have enough adhesive on the mat to hold your paper in place while it cuts. We generally use StandardGrip mats, but for thinner paper, you might want to try a LightGrip mat to keep your material from tearing when you remove it. We also like to use a brayer to help ensure that the paper is well-adhered to the mat.
Pro Tip: If your mat isn’t sticky enough, you can add some masking tape around the edges of your cardstock to help hold it in place.
4 – Use the correct material setting.
If you’re cutting something really intricate – like a mandala design, for example – be sure to use the Cardstock for Intricate Cuts setting in Cricut Design Space. If you’re cutting paper and getting frayed edges and imperfect cuts, give this setting a try.
5 – Resize your envelope templates properly.
Once you have uploaded the envelope design into Cricut Design Space and added it to your canvas, you want to begin by Ungrouping it. Select the square or rectangle and unlock it. Type in the height and width that you need for the size card you have made. Lock it. Select the pieces of the envelope – but NOT the rectangle/square you just resized – and size them up to fit the rectangle. Make sure it fits well with a bit of space around the edges. Delete the rectangle. Select the remaining layers of the envelope and Attach. Now you can cut and score the envelope.
6 – Use the scoring stylus even in a Cricut Maker.
We prefer to use the scoring stylus instead of the scoring wheel in the Maker. The stylus fits in Clamp A, whereas with the wheel, you have to stop and trade it out with the blade in Clamp B. This just makes it so much easier to use and we get great results with it. Remember to change your tool option in Cricut Design Space.
The scoring stylus is also less expensive than the scoring wheel!
7 – Use your Cricut machine to write inside your card.
Add some text with a textbox in Design Space and change your Operation from Basic Cut to Pen. You want it to look like writing and be completely filled in so in your Makers Gonna Learn membership, be sure to search for sketch fonts. These are the ones specially designed to work well with pens. Select your card and the text and choose Attach.
8 – Use HTV on cardstock for intricate designs.
Sometimes it can be tricky to get vinyl designs that are small and intricate to stick well enough to cardstock that it will stay down when you peel up the transfer tape. Using heat transfer vinyl on cardstock helps get better adhesion for your detailed designs.
9 – Use an ATG gun to put your cardstock designs together.
Once you invest in the dispenser, the tape refills are quite affordable and we love the results we get from one of these Advance Tape Gliders. Not only that, but if you make a mistake and need to remove a piece from your design, it’s quite easy to do. Although it adheres well, it still allows you to peel it back up. And, if you need to, you can actually rub your finger over the tape to remove it.
10 – Choose fine-tipped adhesive for more intricate pieces.
The ATG adhesive may not be the best for tiny, intricate pieces so you’ll want to keep some other glue on hand as well. We really like the Zig Two Way Adhesive Pens which come in both a fine tip and a brush tip. You can also use a fine-tipped refillable glue bottle and fill it with your favorite glue for paper crafting. We like Aleene’s Tacky Glue.
11 – Understand the difference between solid core and white core cardstock.
Solid core means that your cardstock is the same color all the way through. With white core, when you cut it, you will see that it is white in the middle. What if you accidentally purchased white core cardstock? Simply take a marker in the same color as the cardstock you are using and go over the white edges with that marker.
12 – Get better cuts from glitter cardstock.
Sometimes you will be cutting glitter cardstock and the blade snags on it and ruins the cut. The best way to avoid this is by placing your glitter cardstock face down on the cutting mat. Don’t forget to use your brayer to help it adhere well. Then, mirror your design in Design Space and you’ll get perfect results.
13 – Don’t remove paper from your cutting mat.
Instead, you want to remove the mat from the paper! Flip the mat upside down and gently peel it away from the paper. This helps prevent the paper from curling up and keeps it flat.
Tanner, Courtney, and the rest of the Makers Gonna Learn Team are all here because we love die-cutting and especially love sharing fun projects and tutorials with fellow makers. We are all great friends and are always having a blast when we are together- you will see this on camera, especially during live streams! We are here to inspire and support you in your crafting journey!