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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 is essential by type of projects.

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

Cricut Machines

To avoid repetition, I will describe here the differences between the 3 main Cricut machines: The Cricut Joy, The Cricut Explore Air 2, 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 amount of material you can cut and make it up to 2 mm thick.

For more information on the different blades, you can see my article 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 greater 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 Air 2 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 article.

The Maker 3 is the newest and basically, will also allow to cut “Smart Materials” without a mat and at a greater speed. See this article 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 or the Cricut machines.

It can cut repetitive shapes up to 20 feet (unique shape 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).

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 point out that the blades and pens are exclusive to the Cricut Joy. In other words, don’t think about using the Cricut pens from the Explore Air 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 mat fits) 2.4 mm (Limited by the metal bar under which the mat 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 cardsX
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 makes it possible to make nice quick cards, I still recommend the Explore Air 2 for the reasons listed above. Here is the list of essentials:

Optional:

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 Pencils (note that the Explore Air 2 already comes with a fine-tipped black pencil)

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)

Are you passionate about adding vinyl to fabrics like sweaters or bags? I admit it’s more addictive than I might have thought!!! You can see the shirt I made as well as my tip to layer several vinyl colours here.

So you’ll need:

Optional:

Note on the Easy Press: When I bought my Easy Press, I wanted to make sweaters to go to Disney and I really didn’t think I’d like making more than that. 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’s wasn’t long before my 9″ Easy Press was not sufficient. Well, with vinyl, you can still get, 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 bodysuit 😋.

Infusible Ink

Unlike vinyl, the Infusible Ink is very hard to work with. You will need blanks that are 100% polyester or those sold by Cricut. Also, since the Easy Press needs to stay very still when applying the Infusible Ink, meaning you can’t go over it twice, the Easy Press 12″ x 10″ becomes essential.

You can read my full post on Infusible Ink.

The must-have:

It is important to note that you will need the Easy Press 2. The original version of the Easy Press is not powerful enough for the Infusible Ink.

Optional:

Felt (flowers or other objects)

Crafting with felt is special because it all depends on what kind of felt you use. The one sold by Cricut is very thin and cuts easily with the fine point blade (the blade that comes with the Cricut). 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 the 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. I don’t have a post about it yet to refer to you, but it won’t be long!! Here’s a test I did with a picture of my dog 😍.

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

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 (The tutorial will be coming soon!)

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

If your passion is fabric and sewing, you’ll need the Maker! 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!

Ha ha! Then you’re like me! Of course, it’ll take the Maker! 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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