This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.
Growing up, I had a neighbor named Patti. Patti had 2 boys who were just a few years younger than me (and very close in age to my baby sister) and we spent a considerable amount of time with their family. They had an above ground pool we enjoyed using in the summer, my older sister and I would pet sit for them when they went on vacation (they had lots of cats plus a dog and 2 horses) and they always had the newest and coolest toys, board games and video game systems that we enjoyed playing. Oh yeah, they also had an extensive collection of VHS tapes they let our family borrow from, like our own personal Blockbuster without the fees. As neighbors go, they were basically the best neighbors kids could ask for!
One of the things I always admired about Patti was that she was super crafty. My mom, who I barely even remember opening her sewing box, was not a crafter at all. (It’s okay mom!) Patti, on the other hand, was always making new and cool creations. She had a whole room in her house dedicated to her crafting and would even make things to sell at craft fairs. I loved looking through her collection of craft supplies and seeing all of the neat things she’d create.
Sometimes she would even let us make crafts with her. This was back when scrunchies were a big deal and she would pay my older sister and me to help her pin the fabric before she sewed them. (I think like 10 cents a scrunchie; we thought we were rolling in the money, ha ha!).
Now I have daughters of my own and they are always wanting to craft. Always. And I, well, I am not super skilled in that area. Although I always wanted to learn to sew as a child, I never did. I had dreams of making my own quilts, but I never managed to learn. I started to learn to knit and crochet but never really figured those out either.
Remembering how much I always loved Patti’s crafts, I decided that I didn’t want to keep my girls from becoming the crafters that they wanted to be. That meant that I needed to up my craft game so I’d be able to help them as they grow older. First stop – Cricut!
I’ve been seeing adorable crafts on Pinterest and Instagram for years now and almost always, when asked, the crafter proclaims that they made it with their Cricut. I’ve been intrigued for years but always too nervous to take the Cricut leap myself. I even started a Pinterest board months ago with all of the cool Cricut things I found.
When Cricut reached out to me about teaming up together to try out the Cricut Explore Air 2, I decided that now is the time! My girls deserve more crafting time with mom and I WANT to be that mom who makes crafts with her girls. And, to be honest, there were quite a few Cricut crafts that I saw that I’ve been wanting to make for myself too!
As a newer Cricut owner and user myself, today I wanted to share my top tips for a beginner Cricut user. These are things I’ve learned over the past month of using my Cricut.
12 Tips for a Beginner Cricut User
Start with a Cricut Explore Air 2
There are a few different Cricut machines. Some can do more than others and are available at various price points. I started with a Cricut Explore Air 2 and feel it’s a great machine for a beginner. It’s reasonably priced and it can cut so many things! In fact, it can cut over 100 different materials including premium vinyl, iron-on and htv-vinyl, cardstock, faux leather, adhesive foils, specialty paper, poster board and lots more.
It was very easy to set up and it doesn’t take up very much room. I’ve just been using one of our old desks. It’s been the perfect place for me to sit and work with my Cricut. If you don’t have a dedicated table or desk, don’t worry. The machine is light enough that you can get it out when you need it and just use your dining room table, then store it in your closet when not in use. It’s light and easy to tote around.
What Does the Cricut Explore Air 2 Come With?
You get more than just the machine with this unit, which is great! It also comes with a Cricut Premium Fine Point Blade and Housing, a Cricut 12 inch x12 inch LightGrip Adhesive Cutting Mat (perfect for vinyl and htv projects), a Cricut Black Fine Point Pen, access to Cricut’s design software Design Space, and a 2 week free trial to Cricut Access!
Buy a Few Additional Accessories Right Away
Although the Cricut Explore Air 2 does come with the items I mentioned above, (and also the supplies you need for the sample beginner project), you’ll want to go ahead and order a few additional items so you can get crafting right away! I’d recommend the Cricut Basic Tool Set, a pack or 2 of Cricut cardstock, and 1 roll of Cricut Premium Vinyl.
Do the Practice Craft That Comes with It First
Your Cricut Explore Air 2 comes with all the supplies you need for your first sample craft: A card that says “enjoy” on the front. Although even it may look overwhelming to a beginner Cricut user, it’s a great craft to start with and actually very easy! Just follow the steps in Design Space. It will walk you right through it. If you have trouble, you can always search YouTube for a video tutorial of how to make the Enjoy card.
It’s Normal to Be Nervous
Excitement turned to fear when my Cricut supplies showed up at my door. I was terrified to break it out of the box and start creating. Why? I don’t know, but I’ve seen from the Cricut groups I joined on Facebook that being nervous about making your first few projects with a Cricut is absolutely normal.
Let me say that again, if you are scared to get your Cricut out of the box, you’re not alone. In fact, some women in the group I’m in said they bought a Cricut and then it sat in a box for MONTHS before they had the courage to start creating. Even after I finally opened my box, I didn’t try the sample craft until the following day.
It’s Easier Than It Looks
Okay, it IS normal to be nervous but once you finally jump in and do it, you’ll realize pretty quickly that you were silly for being so scared. It’s really not as hard as it looks! As I finished the first sample craft that was included with my Cricut Explore Air 2, I was shocked at just how easy it truly was. I really didn’t have anything to be afraid of!
Join Cricut Groups on Facebook
I joined a couple of Cricut groups on Facebook and they have been so helpful already! There are bloggers out there who dedicate all of their posts to just Cricut crafts and other crafty ladies (and men) who share their knowledge readily on Facebook. Join a few groups and find the one that resonates with you the most! You’ll be glad you did!
Search Pinterest for Cricut Inspiration
Pinterest is an amazing place to go for Cricut craft ideas! I have a board dedicated just to Cricut crafts and I’m constantly adding new crafting projects that I am excited to try in the future. Lots of people offer free SVG files on there.
Check Design Space for Free and Affordable Crafts
If you head to Cricut’s Design Space you can find tons and tons of craft ideas with the instructions right there for you.
Stick to Easy Projects that Others Have Created
This leads me to my next tip — for your first few crafts until you’re feeling pretty confident with your new Cricut machine and Design Space, stick to making projects that others have already done. It’s so much simpler than trying to create something yourself and will result in fewer frustrations. (Trust me, been there, done that. Learn from me!)
You have to crawl before you walk. I know you’re probably eager to start creating t-shirts and mugs with sayings and images you’ve designed yourself, but get your feet wet on projects that are already laid out for you first.
Know You WILL Make Mistakes
You are going to make mistakes for sure! Just realize that ahead of time so when they do happen, it’s no big deal. The best way to learn is by making mistakes and learning from them! A mistake doesn’t mean you won’t still conquer your new Cricut machine. You can do it!
Choose Practice Materials
When you first start making things, choose your materials wisely. For example, after making my sample card, the first thing I decided I would make are these adorable tear-away reveal gift tags from Jennifer Maker. With Christmas just around the corner, they looked like such a fun project to do for my kids. Now they won’t know whose present it is until Christmas morning!
For my very first trial run making these gift tags, I used a color that I wouldn’t be upset about if I messed it up. I had a limited number of red and green card stock sheets in my package, so I started out with a piece of blue cardstock. I figured if it worked on the first try, I’d have blue gift tags which would still be great to use since they are a winter color, but if they didn’t turn out well, I wouldn’t have used up one of my red or green sheets. This helped me feel less pressured as I printed my first set of tags.
And you know what – I DID mess up my first time. I tried to make the tags smaller so I could fit more on one sheet and that proved to be a bad idea. It just didn’t work. Lessons learned though – my second batch on green card stock turned out great!
Remember to Have Fun with It!
My last tip is to remember to have fun with your new Cricut machine! Crafting is supposed to be fun! If you get stressed out, step away for a day or two and then come back to it. Eventually, before you know it, you’ll be creating amazing crafts that all of your friends and family will be oohing and ahhing over. You might even be able to sell some of your Cricut creations for a little side hustle!