Cricut Tips and Tricks You Shouldn’t Miss
When it comes to cutting materials for your crafts, there’s only a few names that come to our mind, and Cricut is one of them.
Cricut cutting machines are relatively more expensive than other similar cutting machines, but they are worth the extra expense. It is especially the Cricut Maker, the latest model from this brand, that has more features than other machines.
If you are already using the Cricut Maker, or any other Cricut machines, or thinking of buying a Cricut machine for all your cutting needs, you should be aware of some information related to these machines.
Not only the instructions and steps, an user should know all the tips and tricks of a Cricut cutting machine.
If you have a Cricut Explore Air 2, you’ll get the most of it by subscribing to the Cricut Access, which will give you access to more than 30,000 free images and 370 fonts for you to use.
Access to these fonts and images cost about $10 a month, but it will cost you less if you subscribe annually to the program.
You can also buy each image and font for a price if you don’t want to subscribe to Cricut Access, but that will also cost you more than the yearly subscription, especially if you plan to use the program a lot for your work.
Any image that you decide to download from the Cricut Access, you can actually edit, change, recolor, slice, contour and weld into anything you want. This is true for any design that you download from the Internet, download from the Cricut Design Space software or create yourself.
If you download an image from the Internet or Design Space, and change it to your own liking, it will become completely different and almost unique.
There will be no chance of someone else having the exact same designs as you even if you had used the same original design.
The Cricut Design Space and the Cricut Access comes with a search bar, where you can search for the type of designs or fonts. The search bar can be quite particular at times, so you should probably experiment with your search.
Instead of being satisfied with the results that come up in your first search, you should change the words or the spelling to look for more options.
For example, if you are looking for a simple straight line to include in your designs, look through all the images that come to you by searching “lines”, “line”, “linear”, “straight line” and “straight” instead of simply searching with “lines”.
You can also search with synonyms or words related to the image you need, i.e. search for “flower”, “flowers”, “spring”, “floral”, “plant”, “red”, “tree”, “blossom”, “bloom”, “floret”, “petals”, “floweret” and even the name of the flower you have in mind instead of just “flower”.
When you find an image that you do like amidst hundreds of other images that fall under the same category but looks completely different, there’s actually a shortcut way to finding images that are similar: in color, shape or size.
The best way to look for similar designs is to search from the same cartridge set that the design you like came from.
There’s a small “Information Icon” at the bottom of each image, and when you rest the mouse point on it, a whole dialogue box will open up. A clickable green link will take you to a new page that will have similar images to the one you’ve liked before.
Most of the time, it will be images that are of the same color pallete, the same color combination or something equally matching.
Even if you don’t want to pay for images, for a monthly subscription or an annual subscription, there are still a lot of free images you can use. For this, you’ll need to first search for the images you are looking for, and then use the “Free” filter.
You can find the “Free” filter at the top right side of the page. Here, you can also find other filters here, including “3D Objects”, “Background & Textures”, “Borders”, “Frames”, “Phrases” and “Printables”.
For complicated design projects, you might need to use only certain parts of it, especially for one color. When this is the case, it is better to “hide” the parts of the design that you don’t want to use at the moment instead of “deleting” it.
You can do it with every single portion of your design, and can send certain parts to the machine to be cut.
This feature helps when you need to cut certain portions of your design on vinyl or adhesive vinyl to be placed on fabric or T-shirt for screen printing. This also helps when your designs contain a lot of different colors, and you need to screen print them separately.
You can see the parts of the image that you have kept “Hidden” or “Not Hidden” in the “Layers” menu bar, at the right side of the window.
You can use a number of keyboard shortcuts in Design Space, which can make your work easier. The most common keyboard shortcuts that we can use anywhere else can be used on Design Space as well, i.e. Control Z for Undo, Delete Button for Delete, Control V for Paste and Control C for Copy.
With every Cricut machine, you get a cutting machine where you can place any material before cutting it. With the Cricut Explore Air 2, the cutting mat is a standard gren one but with the Cricut Maker, the cutting mat is a grip mat that is light blue in color.
When you first get the green cutting mat with the Explore Air 2, it might feel sticky to your fingers; however, if you peel the plastic cover off, you can de-tack it with the help of an old T-shirt.
Place a clean but dry T-shirt on the sticky surface of the cutting mat, and the fabric will take all the stickiness off. This would save your other materials from getting sticky when you place them on the green cutting mat.
You won’t have this problem with the blue grip cutting mat that comes with the Cricut Maker. If you don’t like the sound of the green sticky cutting mat for your projects, you can buy a blue grip mat for any of your Cricut cutting machines.
Don’t throw away the sticky plastic cover that comes with the green cutting mat, as it can be used to keep your cutting mat clean and sticky for a long time. You can use this plastic to keep your cutting mat covered when you don’t need it.
It is also important that you clean your cutting mat every now and then. It is not very hard or time-consuming to clean. Every now and then, give it a light wipe with some wet tissues or baby wipes, and your cutting mat will be clean.
If you want to use any cleaning agent, try wiping the cutting mat with non-alcoholic water based wipes, especially the ones without added chemicals or fragrance. It is especially important that you give the cutting mat a wipe after you’ve used it to cut vinyl or cardstock, because that’s how dust builds up on the mat.
Always start using a new machine with a sample project. If this is a new machine that you’ve just gotten, or if you haven’t used your machine for a long time, it is better to try a sample project rather than getting on with your project straightaway.
This way, you might save your materials, blade and time if there’s something wrong with the machine. Some test cuts could work well, instead of a sample project with your machine.
It is crucial that you remember to put the lid back on your marker pens after you’re done using them. Just like regular pens, you might forget to put the lids back on and keep the marker pens open, which will definitely ruin the pens. Marker pens are quite expensive for you to waste them with carelessness.
You need some special tools to use with your cutting mat, i.e. a weeding tool, a pair of tweezers, a scraper, a pair of scissors and a spatula.
You can’t remove your materials off the cutting mat without these tools, especially the weeding tool, which is crucial for removing adhesive vinyl from cutting mats.
If you don’t have a tool for peeling your material from the cutting mat, you’ll probably end up mangling your material and ruining the whole design.
In the same way, without the right scraper, you can get all the stray material pieces from the cutting mat, but you might ruin the adhesive on the cutting mat.
If you don’t want to limit yourself to using Cricut marker pens for your design, you can also use other regular marker pens in your Cricut machine, i.e. Sharpie markers. For this, you need to separately order a Cricut Pen Adaptor to use any pens you want.
Always remember to replace your blades when you need to. Cricut blades can become dull with use, especially if you have been cutting thick and hard materials.
A dull blade can ruin your designs and waste materials, so it is very important that you replace dull blades the moment that your blades start to become dull.
Heat transfer vinyl papers are used for making stickers and posters, and for cutting or printing on these kinds of materials, you need to make sure that your design has been designed in a mirror image. You can make a mirror image of your design by selecting the option on the “Make It” box that appears in the Design Space software.
These are only some of the tips and tricks that can come in handy when you are using a Cricut machine and the Cricut Design Space software.
There are a dozen more such ideas that you’ll begin to understand once you start handling the machine and the software.