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Must-have Cricut supplies for beginners

Want to know what Cricut supplies are essential for beginners? This post will tell you exactly what Cricut tools are essentials and which Cricut machine to buy by type of project!

This question must be the one I hear most often: Which Cricut machine should I buy and what other products are essential for Cricut projects for beginners?

And the first thing I always say is: What kind of project are you interested in?

It’s the most important thing to know when you want to make the leap into the Cricut world. As a matter of fact, someone whose passion is scrapbooking will not need the same products as someone who sews.

So, instead of just explaining the difference between each Cricut product, I decided to tell you what are the essential tools and materials according to the type of project you want to make.

This list can also be a great gift guide if you know someone who owns a Cricut!

Get 10% off and free shipping using my promo code when you order on Cricut.com. Click here to see the details.

Cricut Machines

To avoid repetition, I will describe here the differences between the 3 main families of Cricut machines: The Cricut Joy, The Cricut Explore, The Cricut Maker.

Further down, in the types of projects, I’ll just name what machine I think is better.

You can also see the comparison table for a quick visualization of the characteristics of each machine.

Update 2021: I also added the new Maker 3 and Explore 3 in the table below to really see the difference. But if you want to know more, you can check out the following post.

This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience and at no extra cost to you. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

The Cricut Explore Air 2 / Explore 3

Cricut Explore Air 2
Credit: Cricut.com

The Explore Air 2 is in my opinion the basic Cricut machine. It’s perfect for everyday DIY. By adding the deep point blade to your purchase, you can increase the number of materials you can cut and get up to 2mm thick.

For more information on the different blades, you can see my post on the different Cricut blades, wheels and tips.

The Explore 3 is the newest and basically, will also allow to cut “Smart Materials” without a mat and at a higher speed. See this post or the table below to see all the details.

The Cricut Maker

Cricut Maker
Credit: Cricut.com

The Maker is perfect for the crafter who always wants to try new things. It is 10 times more powerful than the Explore and offers a wide variety of blades and tips.

To see clearly the difference between all the blades, wheels and tips available, you can see this post.

The Maker 3 is the newest and basically, will also allow to cut “Smart Materials” without a mat and at a higher speed. See this post or the table below to see all the details.

The Cricut Joy

Credit: Cricut.com

I end with the Cricut Joy since it is the least versatile of the Cricut machines.

It can cut repetitive shapes up to 20 feet (unique shapes up to 4 feet) (but you need to get Cricut’s “Smart” materials, just like the Explore 3 and Maker 3).

Also, it has a special mat to make cards quickly (but you must also get the mat that is sold separately and use the card templates available on Cricut Access that require a monthly subscription).

In addition, Cricut now has a new 2 x 2 card mat available for the Explore and Maker series. So the making of pre-folded cards is no longer exclusive to the Cricut Joy.

Also, it is important to note that it does not support the “Print and Cut” feature.

As you can see, there’s a lot of “but.” Personally, I would go with the Explore unless I want to craft very occasionally and in a limited way or unless I want a Cricut that is easily transportable and takes up very little space.

My first Cricut also had, like the Joy, a 6-inch wide mat and I found myself very limited by this feature.

I also want to point out that the Joy’s blades and pens are exclusive to it. In other words, do not think about using the Cricut Pens of the Explore or the Maker with the Joy, they are not interchangeable.

Cricut Design Space

To run your Cricut, you need to use Cricut Design Space. And it is free. But, if you subscribe to Cricut Access, you will have free access to projects, images and fonts.

But I repeat, it is not mandatory to be subscribed to Cricut Access in Cricut Design Space to operate your Cricut.

If you want to learn Cricut Design Space while you craft, take a look at my guide: 👇


Click here to have all the details on the Maker’s guide to getting started with your Cricut

Comparison table

FeaturesCricut JoyExplore Air 2Explore 3MakerMaker 3
Ideal forQuick, everyday projectsPro DIY performance and great versatilityPro DIY performance and great versatilityProfessional-level performance and versatilityProfessional-level performance and versatility
Maximum material width13.9 cm
(5.5 inches)
30.5 cm
(12 inches)
33 cm
(13 in.)
30.5 cm
(12 inches)
33 cm
(13 in.)
Maximum cutting length1.2 m
(4 feet)
61 cm
(2 feet)
3.6 m
(12 feet)
61 cm
(2 feet)
3.6 m
(12 feet)
Material compatibility50+
300+ Materials
100+
300+ Materials
100+
300+ Materials
300+
300+ Materials
300+
300+ Materials
Maximum material thicknessLimited to what the Joy’s fine-point blade can cut2.0 mm (Limited to what fine and deep point blades can cut) 2.0 mm (Limited to what fine and deep point blades can cut) 2.4 mm (Limited by the metal bar under which the carpet fits) 2.4 mm (Limited by the metal bar under which the carpet fits)
Tools/ Capabilities2
(for cutting & writting)
4
(for cutting, writing, scoring)
4
(for cutting, writing, scoring)
12+
(for cutting, writing, scoring & other pro-level effects)
12+
(for cutting, writing, scoring & other pro-level effects)
Double tool holderXXXX
Commercial-grade cutting technologyXX
10X more power to cut hundreds of materialsXX
Works with “Smart” materials for long, continuous cuts without cutting mat.XXX
Works with card mats for quick custom cardsXWith the card mat 2 x 2With the card mat 2 x 2With the card mat 2 x 2With the card mat 2 x 2
Print Then Cut capabilityXXXX
ConnectivityBluetooth® onlyBluetooth®, USB Bluetooth®, USB Bluetooth®, USB Bluetooth®, USB
From the Cricut website

Types of projects

So you will have understood that in order, from the Cricut machine that does the least things to the most versatile, we have:

  1. The Cricut Joy
  2. The Cricut Explore Air 2
  3. The Cricut Explore 3
  4. The Cricut Maker
  5. The Cricut Maker 3

Here is the list of essentials, in my opinion, by type of project. Note that the essentials are the minimum. So if I list the Explore Air 2 as an essential, that doesn’t mean the Maker doesn’t do the job 😉.

Paper / Cards

Although the Cricut Joy allows you to make nice cards quickly, I still recommend the Explore for the reasons listed above.

In addition, since May 2022, Cricut has released a card mat 2 x 2 for its Explore and Maker series!

Here is the list of essentials:

Optional:

  • Fine point blade (for cutting thicker materials)
  • Cutting mat, green (only the blue cutting mat comes with the Explore Air 2 and the Maker. No mat is included with the Explore 3 and Maker 3)
  • Card mats 2 x 2
  • Cricut pens (note that the Explore Air 2 already comes with a fine-tipped black pen, but not the Explore 3)

To learn more about the 2 x 2 card mat, check out this post.

Scrapbooking

The reason I put scrapbooking apart from the previous category is that scrapbooking often involves the use of chipboard. If you want to create your own design with this material, you will absolutely need the deep point blade.

Optional:

  • Cricut pens (note that the Explore Air 2 already comes with a fine-tipped black pen, but not the Explore 3)

Foil transfer

Foil transfer can be performed on multiple materials and Cricut now has its own tools. And what’s great is that it fits on the Maker, Maker 3, Explore Air 2 and Explore 3.

The Cricut Joy also has its own foil tip. But, once again, this tip is particular to the Joy and can not be used with other Cricut.

The essentials:

Keep in mind that you won’t be using the Foil set alone. You will need to combine it with another category on this page such as cards, paper, scrapbooking, etc.

Adhesive Vinyl

You would like to make projects with adhesive vinyl like that mug I made or this candle? Here’s what you’ll need:

Optional:

Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV)

Vinyl layer a Valentine's Day gnome on a gray sweater

Are you passionate about adding vinyl to fabrics like sweaters or bags? I admit that it’s more addictive than I might have thought!!! You can see the t-shit I made as well as the trick to layering several colours of vinyl here.

So you’ll need:

Optional:

Note on the EasyPress:

When I bought my EasyPress, I wanted to make sweaters to go to Disney and I really didn’t think I would like to make more. I just bought the Easy Press 9″ x 9″ and told myself that I would never do anything wider than that. Well, that was a mistake!

Since the Cricut can cut up to 11.5 inches, it wasn’t long before my 9″ Easy Press was not sufficient. Well, with vinyl, you can still press twice, but my advice to you is not to hesitate and take the 12″ x 10″. It’s not true that you’re only going to make baby bodysuits 😋.

What is the Cricut Autopress?

See my article on the Cricut Autopress to find out if it is really for you.

What if I want to customize hats?

Know that Cricut now has a specialized EasyPress for caps and hats called the “Hat Press”. With the caps sold by Cricut, you can even apply Infusible Ink! Check out this article to learn more!

Infusible Ink

Unlike vinyl, the Infusible Ink is very hard to work with. You will need blanks with a very high percentage of polyester or those sold by Cricut. Also, as it is absolutely necessary that the Easy Press does not move a hair during the application and that we can absolutely not make a second press, the Easy Press 12″ x 10 “and the heat resistant tape become essentials.

You can read my full post on Infusible Ink.

The must-have:

Optional:

What is the Cricut Autopress?

See my article on the Cricut Autopress to find out if it is really for you.

What if I want to customize hats?

Know that Cricut now has a specialized EasyPress for caps and hats called the “Hat Press”. With the caps sold by Cricut, you can even apply Infusible Ink! Check out this article to learn more!

Custom mugs

You can use permanent adhesive vinyl to apply to ceramic mugs. Be aware, however, that these mugs can not be put in the microwave and special attention must be taken when putting them into the dishwasher (hand washing is strongly recommended).

So if you love customizing mugs, I suggest the Cricut Mug Press. This requires the use of Infusible Ink and mugs with a specialized coating allowing the “absorption” of the Infusible Ink.

The advantage? They can go in the microwave and dishwasher without worry!

The must-have:

Optional:

Check out my article on making Halloween mugs with the Cricut Mug Press.

Felt (flowers or other objects)

5 crocus flowers in white and purple felt made with free SVG

Felt is special because it all depends on what kind of felt you use. The one sold by Cricut is very thin and is easily cut with the fine point blade (basic blade). The same goes for wool felt, which is more expensive.

If you use the craft felt (acrylic), found in Dollar stores or Michaels, for example, you will need the rotary blade of the Maker. This one will be able to cut all types of felt perfectly. That’s why I’m going to consider it essential.

The must-have:

Check out the post on making felt crocuses to have the details about the different felts and all the tricks to cut them.

Engraving

Oh! When you start having fun with it, it quickly becomes addictive. You can see the LED lamp I made as well as my post on metal engraving.

Here is also a test I did with a picture of my dog 😍.

If you want to get into engraving, here are the essentials:

You are really interested in engraving but don’t know where to start?

I have a course just for you. By following these videos, you will realize 3 engraving projects: plastic, wood and metal!

Check out this page for all the details!

Sewing

Sewing is not one of my qualifications! But I’ve made a nice collage by cutting small triangles of fabrics with my Maker. It’s a gift I made for a friend. You can see the tutorial here.

I really wouldn’t have wanted to cut all of these by hand!! Whoa!!!

If your passion is fabric and sewing, it takes the Maker (or Maker 3)! Yes, there is a fabric blade for the Explore Air 2, but you will need bounded fabric (i.e., that is glued to a rigid material). It can do the trick, but it’s not ideal. That’s why I recommend the Maker that comes with the rotary blade.

I want to make everything!

Haha! Then you’re like me! Obviously, it will take you the Maker or the Maker 3! But no need to buy it all at once! Unless you can get the“Everything material bundle” that will save you a lot of money when you’re starting.

If you really only want the base to start with, I suggest at least this:

Then refer to the types of projects above to add the essential tools depending on what you want to do.

An essential for all types of projects

No matter what type of project you want to do, you’re going to have to learn how to use Cricut Design Space.

Indeed, it is only this free program that can send the projects to your Cricut.

Many people think they have to watch tons of videos before they can finally understand Cricut Design Space and use their Cricut. But this is not the case, because I have the solution for you!

I suggest you use my ebook “A Maker’s Guide to getting started with your Cricut“. This digital book will guide you in making your first projects. You’ll learn Cricut Design Space while crafting 3 easy projects.

Click here for full details

If you have any other suggestions for project types or questions, please leave them in the comments below.

Don’t forget to pin it!

Cricut Essentials classified according to the type of projects you want to carry out.

Michelle

Monday 21st of September 2020

Awesome article. Thank you ❤️🇦🇺

Natalie

Wednesday 23rd of September 2020

:)

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