What I Wish I Knew Before I Got a Cricut
If you’ve been using Cricut machines for as long as we have – nearly 15 years – there may be some things that you would do differently if you were starting all over again right now. If you’re planning to get a Cricut or are fairly new to using one, check out What I Wish I Knew Before I Got a Cricut. You’ll know what you need to know right from the beginning!
What I Wish I Knew Before I Got a Cricut
We’ve gathered 20 things we wish we knew before we got a Cricut to share with you below. Check them out!
1 – You don’t need to have the top of the line machine to get started.
The Cricut Explore is a great machine and with the majority of projects we make, we don’t find we need a Maker. Most are made with vinyl and HTV and an Explore works really well for that.
2 – We think it’s better to cut on a mat instead of matless cutting.
Cricut Smart Vinyl is more expensive and more difficult to weed. And with some projects, you have to use a mat anyway.
3 – You don’t need to pay for Cricut Design Space.
Design Space is the software that allows you to design your projects and send them to your Cricut to be cut. If you hear people talking about paying for Cricut Design Space, what they really mean is that they’re paying for Cricut Access. Cricut Access is a subscription that gives you access to their cut file and font library. You don’t have to have that in order to use your Cricut machine because you can get something like a Makers Gonna Learn membership or purchase files elsewhere to use in Design Space.
Pro Tip: You can actually download Design Space before you even have a machine. It’s a great way to try out the software and start learning it while waiting for your machine to arrive.
5 – Don’t pay $2-5 for cut files.
Find a place like Makers Gonna Learn with a membership so you can take advantage of a library of files for one low price. You’re going to use so many files if you’re crafting with your Cricut on a regular basis and a membership will save you money over time.
6 – Your Cricut isn’t scary!
Lots of people are intimidated by their Cricut machines when they first get them, but they really aren’t scary. Change your thinking from being scared to being excited. Set a goal and focus on mastering one thing at a time.
7 – A Cricut machine can cut a lot more than just vinyl.
Most people are introduced to a Cricut because of it being able to cut vinyl, and that’s a great place to start. But, we don’t want you to limit yourself! You can cut so much more with Cricut than just vinyl or iron on vinyl. Depending on which machine you have, you can cut paper, cardboard, felt, fabric, burlap, balsawood, basswood, wood veneer, magnetic sheets, certain types of leather/faux leather, chipboard, freezer paper, and so much more.
8 – Craft fails are part of the learning process.
None of us became experts without having some failures along the way. This means you’re stretching to learn new things and that’s great.
9 – Don’t buy that Cricut bundle.
You’ll end up buying colors you don’t actually use and may ultimately spend more by sticking to only Cricut brand. We like to use Siser Easy Weed HTV and Starcraft Vinyl because they are better quality and a lower price.
10 – Your cursive fonts need to be kerned.
Kerning refers to the spacing between the letters. Cursive fonts need to be kerned so that they flow together just as they would with handwriting. Some are automatically kerned by Design Space but you may need to do some manual kerning at times too.
11 – Sometimes it’s not that your machine is broken
It can be a much simpler problem than that. Check your blades. Clean them as needed. Replace them as necessary. For a hobby crafter, that is about every 3-6 months depending on the materials you’re cutting.
12 – You don’t have to cut out 14 different layers of a project.
If you have a really detailed project with lots of colors, you will find it is a lot of work to cut it out as an SVG. Instead, you can turn any SVG or PNG into a Print then Cut. This makes it so much easier to work with.
13 – You can use HTV for much more than just fabric items.
You can use it on leather, metal, and even on painted canvas among other surfaces. We especially like it on wood.
14 – It’s important to burnish before weeding.
Burnish after cutting your design and weeding. Then burnish again after applying transfer tape including from the back.
15 – You don’t have to waste expensive material to try out new things.
We recommend using Dollar Tree supplies to try out new techniques and ideas before investing in the more expensive, higher quality materials for your final project.
16 – You don’t need a large and expensive heat press when you’re just getting started.
The Cricut EasyPress Mini works well for many projects. In fact, it is especially good at getting into some of those smaller areas of your design that a larger heat press would have problems reaching.
17 – There is no need to invest in all the adaptive blades and tools at once.
Just because your machine can cut many, many different types of materials doesn’t mean you’re going to enjoy using it for those purposes. Start out by mastering the projects you can make using your fine point blade and expand from there. Buy more blades and tools as you need them
18 – You can clean your Cricut mats and it doesn’t have to be complicated.
Yes you can get more use out of your Cricut mats! Our favorite quick and easy way for cleaning them is with baby wipes, but the video above shows two other methods as well. Speaking of Cricut mats, we actually prefer using Nicapa mats. They work just as well and are less expensive. (Note: We aren’t fond of the strong grip Nicapa mat but all the others are great!)
19 – It’s possible to manipulate cut files in Cricut Design Space to customize them as you’d like.
You can do so much to make your own customized projects. Try changing the colors, removing elements, moving things around, and so on. You can use fonts to create your own custom files.
20 – You can make money with your Cricut.
You can turn it into your full-time job or simply use it for a side gig that can pay for your machine and supplies.
Bonus tip – There is a great community of other Cricut crafters out there for you to connect with. If you join Makers Gonna Learn, you can participate in our private Facebook group, but there are many other communities on Facebook and elsewhere where you can find like-minded crafters who will support and cheer you on.
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!