If you are new to crafting, you may be wondering just what is a Cricut machine? What does it do? And, most importantly, do you need one? Well, I thought I would answer all of those questions today! I hope by the end of this that you have a better understanding of Cricut machines and if they are something you may need in your home.
What is a Cricut?
A Cricut machine is a digital craft cutter that uses your computer, phone, or tablet to cut shapes, text, and more. You can also draw as well as do more advanced functions like print then cut with some of the machines. Your device will send a signal to the Cricut telling it the path to use for cutting.
Want to watch a video with all of the information in this post? You can click play below to get all of the information!
Can’t watch the video or missed some of the information? Just keep reading as I have it all laid out below as well.
What different machines are there?
There are three Cricut machines currently on the market. Here are the three models along with a brief explanation:
- Cricut Joy – the smallest Cricut machine. Cuts most common materials but cannot do scoring or print then cut.
- Cricut Explore Air 2 – a step up from the Joy with a wider cutting area as well as more functionality and materials.
- Cricut Maker – the ultimate cutting machine with all of the bells and whistles for making a ton of crafts.
Want to see more about the differences? Try our machine comparison post here.
What software do you need?
All Cricut machines work with Cricut Design Space which is a free program. They usually come with a free Cricut Access trial as well that gives you access to tons of images, fonts, and projects. I encourage you to give this a try while you have it for free. If you like it, you can continue by paying a monthly fee. If you don’t like it, you can cancel and still use Cricut Design Space for free. You can use Design Space with your own images and fonts or just pay for them in the software as you go.
What digital devices does it work with?
A Cricut machine will work with a computer, phone, or tablet. There are versions of Design Space for all three and that does include iOS and Android. It will not currently work with things like a Chromebook. Also note that some functions like curved text, foiling, and the knife blade are not available on mobile. So, be sure to do your research as to if your device will work with every function you want to utilize. You can see the minimum system requirements here.
What materials can it cut?
Now that we have explored the question of what is a Cricut, let’s talk materials. All three Cricut machines can cut thin materials like paper, adhesive vinyl, iron-on (or HTV), and more. If you get into thicker materials, you will want to look at which machine will work with the materials you want to cut. I have a full machine comparison here that should answer those questions.
What does it use for cutting?
The Cricut uses a blade or different types of blades for cutting your materials. All three machines come with a fine point blade but as you step up into the Explore and Maker, you will find that there are even more blade options available. You can explore all of the blades here.
You will also need a mat to hold your material into place while cutting. Each machine comes with a mat to get you started but there are a wide variety of mats for different material types. You can see more about mats here.
How do you draw with a Cricut?
All Cricut machines will write or draw with pens and markers. This opens up even more crafting possibilities for you especially if you don’t like your handwriting! Let the Cricut do it for you on all of your craft projects. You will get one pen with each machine when you purchase and you can add on tons of colors, types, and thicknesses.
How does print then cut work?
We have talked about how a Cricut machine can cut your materials, but it can also communicate with your printer and allow you to cut around things that you print. This is great for getting intricate cuts around things you print. You can see more about print then cut here. Please note that Cricut Joy does NOT have this functionality.
Getting Started with Cricut
Now that you have read all about what is a Cricut, you may be ready to buy one. Which Cricut machine should you get? What do you do once you get it? Here is a little help for you there as well!
How to decide which is right for you?
What is a Cricut? Well, a Cricut machine might just sound like a crafter’s dream right now. But there are three options and it is so hard to choose where to invest your money! Here are a few things you can do to help decide!
- Give Cricut Design Space a try. This free app can be used even if you DON’T have a Cricut machine. Download it and start playing around. Take a look at all of the images and projects. Then note what materials you would need to make those projects to help make your machine decision a bit easier.
- Take a look at projects others have made with their machines to get some inspiration. In fact, you can see all of my Cricut posts here. Again look at the materials used so you can determine if the machine you want will make these projects.
- Try our machine comparison posts to dive deep into the functions of each machine. You can start here.
- Ask! Drop down to the comment section below and tell me what type of crafter you are and what you like to make. I will help you decide which machine will work best for you.
Where do you buy one?
Now that you are ready to purchase, you can get your machine at a variety of locations. Try the links below to browse for the best deal!
- Cricut website (they often have great bundle deals!)
- Amazon (look for machines and bundles here)
How do you get started?
Every Cricut comes with materials for your first project and I highly recommend following along with their instructions and making this first. This will help get you familiar with your machine. Then, sign up for our free Cricut class here. This class will walk you through the basics so you are ready to create all the things with your machine!
I hope this helped you and answered all of your questions including what is a Cricut machine. Now that you know, are you ready to purchase your own machine? I really think crafters of all types will love having a Cricut of their very own.