Truth: It took me a few years to actually break down and buy a Cricut machine.
Another truth: It look me a few days to unbox it and tackle the set-up. (It was actually really easy, but in my head, I made it into a huge ordeal.)
A third truth: It took me even longer to do my first real project, and that took me a few tries because it felt really daunting.
Here’s the deal, though. Just like anything new, there’s a bit of a learning curve. Now that I have my Cricut figured out — I have the Maker machine, go big or go home right? — I feel like there are infinite numbers of Cricut projects that could be done.
If you’ve landed on this blog post because you’re not really sure about what to do with your Cricut, you need a little encouragement, or maybe you’re even considering buying a Cricut… let me help you a little! I’m by no means a crafting expert…or even close to being an avid crafter, but because most of what I sell can be turned into a Cricut craft, I need to be able to test my files thoroughly. That’s actually the reason why I even have a Cricut, if I’m being honest. I’m not super full of craft ideas or even the inclination to craft. I’m just being real, y’all. But, even as an every-once-in-a-while maker, I can tell you…you’ll be happy with your Cricut!
Some Cricut Stuff You Ought to Know – Affiliate Links Abound!
If you’re on the fence about whether or not you want to purchase a Cricut, this is some simple stuff that you ought to know. You also ought to know I’m a Cricut affiliate, so the links you click here are affiliate links, and can be tracked back to me. If you’re so awesome as to purchase from one of these links, I get a little commission at no additional cost to you!
- All Cricut machines are not created equally. The Cricut Maker is the biggest and most expensive baddie you can find as of June 2021, and it’s intended for hella crafters and small businesses. The possibilities with this one are huge – you can cut over 300 different materials, and the tools you can swap out are pretty awesome. The Cricut Explore is the next size down – you can use 100 different materials with this one. Cricut Explore doesn’t have quite the capabilities as the Maker does, but if you’re looking for a beginner machine to dive into the world of crafting, this is the one you want. The Cricut Joy is the smallest machine. Compared to the other two, your options are limited, but if all you’re looking for is a cute little dealie that will help you label, organize, or make small crafts (think coffee mug size), the Cricut Joy is a fantastic addition!
- You can sign up for Cricut Access. There are three levels – free, standard, and premium, which you can pay monthly or as a single payment for the year. What does this get you? Cricut Access gives you access (gasp!) to images, fonts, and projects. In short, it means you don’t have to go hunting your own stuff if you’re really not into shopping for SVG files or fonts to use with your Cricut. I think it’s also pretty good for project ideas if you’re jonesin’ to make something but can’t come up with any of your own ideas.
- They want you to buy Cricut Access, but you don’t have to. You can source your own stuff, and you can really expand your Cricut arsenal. For example, you can buy SVG files that have already been designed, or you can purchase your own fonts to use with Design Space. (PS – Design Space is the software that the Cricut uses, and basically serves as the hub between your creative design on your computer and your Cricut cutting machine.) It’s reasonable for even beginners to do this – uploading SVGs and installing fonts is easy peasy. Shameless plug: I offer an Entire Shop Bundle that includes every single one of my SVG files and every single one of my fonts, and it includes access to future releases, as well. With over 2,300 SVG files and over 150 fonts, you’re going to have plenty of designs and kinds of fonts to choose from. (These numbers are current as of June 2021!)
- There are so many collateral materials that you can purchase to go with your Cricut. These folks have really got this crafting thing down, and know how to suck you right in. Want to make a shirt? Fantastic, you can get heat transfer vinyl on Cricut’s site, as well as an EasyPress to iron on vinyl. Want to make a coffee mug? Sweet deal, if you don’t want it to peel up in the dishwasher, check out the Infusible Ink and the mug press.
- You’re not limited to Cricut to purchase materials for your Cricut projects. You can easily find material bundles on Amazon, and you can also find Cricut brand items for sale there, too. That said, I would recommend thoroughly researching the stuff you’re buying. It’s likely to work just the same, but there’s nothing wrong with sticking to Cricut brand products to get the best possible result. You do you, and you buy what you think will work with your machine and for your project.
What Can You Do With Your Cricut Machine?
I already mentioned mugs and shirts. They’re probably two of my favorite project types to do with my Cricut machine because…well, everyone needs t shirts, and if you’re like me…coffee rules the world, so wouldn’t you want a bunch of cute coffee mugs?
Here are a few more Cricut projects for beginners that maybe you haven’t even thought of.
- Use vinyl as a stencil on a glass, and fill in the negative areas with etching cream for a permanent design for the beer lover in your house. (Me. That’s me!)
- Use vinyl as a stencil so that you can make your own doormat. You can buy a blank doormat, apply the stencil, and use paint to paint your design right onto the mat! This type of project would probably be best paired with the Cricut Maker, since it’s able to cut larger designs.
- Greeting cards are another fantastic idea, and you could use the Cricut Maker, Cricut Explore, or Cricut Joy for this one. There are a lot of cute clipart designs found on Cricut Access, and you could also use a text-based design (or handlettered, like my designs). All you’ll need is some card stock to get this project started. I might even suggest finding some double-sided foam tape so that you can adhere your newly cut things to your card, giving it a bit of a 3D effect. I should mention, there’s also a foil attachment, so you can even lay down your own colored foil onto a greeting card!
- If you’ve got a Cricut Maker, you can expand far beyond t shirts and mugs. This machine can be fitted with tools that cut leather and fabric. Yep, that’s right. You could make earrings, or even cut thin wood (like balsa) to make cute little models or home decor.
- You can use pens to address envelopes or write on paper – bet your Christmas cards never looked so good!!
Cricut Craft Materials
A recommendation, friend. Don’t be intimidated by the amount of materials available for your Cricut and the projects you can do. Cricut crafts like vinyl projects, paper crafts, and other kinds of projects use different kinds of materials, and it’s easy to feel like it’s literally so. much. stuff!! I mean…I guess it really is a lot, but in the world of DIY, more materials is better!
I’m not an avid crafter – only once in a while – but I can tell you the materials I keep handy. For beginners, I would recommend the same so that you’re getting your feet wet in a variety of projects!
- Blanks. You’ll need to keep a variety of blanks handy so that you’re not just randomly and needlessly cutting vinyl. “Blanks” just means that the item you’re putting your vinyl (or other material) on doesn’t have anything on it. I have shirts, mugs, glasses, and tote bags in my stash. I also have a set of cork coasters that I haven’t done anything with yet.
- Vinyl. Vinyl was confusing for me at first, because I incorrectly assumed that all vinyls are created equally. They’re not, and I swear there’s a different type for every project. I keep permanent vinyl on hand (good for stencils and making decorative stickers), and heat transfer vinyl (HTV, sorta AKA iron on vinyl) which must be ironed on (good for t shirts and transferring designs on to fabric). Within those two types of vinyl, you’ll find solid colors in every shade of the rainbow, glitter, iridescent, patterned, etc. Possibilities seem endless, which is probably why you find so many people doing vinyl projects!
- Infusible ink. Infusible ink is wild, y’all. It comes on a sheet (like vinyl) and is thick and quite dull colored. After you cut your design, you have to anchor it to whatever you’re putting your design on (like a coffee mug), and then bake it. Once it’s cooled, you take it off, and it’s magically applied and vibrant in color. I like using infusible ink on mugs because it’s dishwasher safe.
- Card stock. I haven’t really jumped into the world of greeting card design just yet, but having a selection of card stock on hand will be quite handy if you intend to do so, or if you plan on getting into paper craft projects.
- A variety of tools. I think this is sorta optional, but it’s nice to have some options. For example, I sprang for the foiling tool set so that I could apply some fancy-schmancy gold foil to cards. You can also get infusible ink pens, scoring tools, and other writing utensils.
Advice: Find a Pin, and Try the Project
Pinterest is a treasure trove of project ideas for your Cricut and all things DIY and hobby! There are so many beginner projects that will help you become more comfortable using your machine.
Give it a try – plug in “Cricut Projects” and see what happens. Mug ideas, keychains, tips and tricks for your Cricut, project ideas, tips, tricks, hacks.
Speaking from experience, the best way to remove the intimidation factor of your new Cricut machine is to just dive right in. Pick a Cricut project, read over the instructions, then follow the step-by-step, and then realize that it’s not as daunting as you thought it would be.
There will absolutely be trial and error for beginners. I certainly made mistakes along the way, and perhaps got a bit frustrated. Ultimately, you’ll begin to learn what works and what doesn’t, and you’ll begin to develop your own systems and methods to make it work best for you!
A Few of My Own Cricut Projects
Here’s a little proof that basically anyone can hook up their Cricut, upload some files, and make things! These are a few of the Cricut projects I made, so hopefully these give you all a few project ideas that you might want to try out, too! If you’re interested in any of these files, they’re available for purchase in my shop – personal and commercial use is included, and they’re super easy for beginners! All you have to do is upload these babies to Design Space, size it accordingly, and go!
For real, if I can turn these files into an actual tangible thing that looks mostly cute…anyone can do a Cricut project! You can click the individual images to go to the file I used!
Can You Turn This Into a Business?
Uh, yeah, for sure. I’m not selling anything that I make with my Cricut machine, I just sell things that can be used with a Cricut machine. But you could totally make shirts, greeting cards, or any other apparel or decor, and turn your love affair with your Cricut into a home business. I see people do this all the time, so why shouldn’t you?! Selling your Cricut crafts is a potentially fun way to supplement your income, earn a little extra money for the holidays…or, well, I guess you could make all of your holiday gifts with your Cricut machine to save money, too!
Get Started with Your Cricut Projects
If you were looking for a sign, this is it! Hopefully this blog post has given you a bit of encouragement, and now you realize how easy Cricut projects could be for you!
What are you currently working on? What is the first Cricut project you hope to tackle?