5 Essential Cricut Tips For Beginners
Posted on 26th July 2017
If you've just purchased your first Cricut, you're probably feeling amazed at what it can do and excited for the projects you're going to make - but also a little overwhelmed. A tool like the Cricut can do almost anything - if you know how - and that's also why it can be a bit intimidating.
To get you started, we've collected our five essential tips for Cricut beginners:
Your cutting mat and you
Your cutting mat is an essential part of your setup, and it's important you keep it as clean as possible. If it isn't clean, then your blade may catch on debris, ruining your cut. Dirt and waste from previous projects can stick to your new project, ruining your hard work. Always brush debris off your mat after each cut, and, if necessary, you can wash your mat using a mild soap and warm water.
It is inevitable that if you use your Cricut a lot, you'll have to replace your mat regularly. This is to be expected: it's better to replace an old mat than to ruin your projects.
Bonus tip: Peel your mat away from your paper, not vice versa. This ensures your project does not suffer from an unsightly curl.
Materials you can cut (and ones you should avoid)
Cricut state you can cut more than 100 different materials, and you can see their complete list on their website. If you try to cut a material that is not on this list you may damage your Cricut, so we recommend you start out by sticking to the recommended selection - there's plenty to choose from. Remember: some of these materials will require a Deep Cut blade.
Additionally, we recommend you use a different blade for each different material (cut your cardstock with a different blade to your balsa wood) and replace them as needed - this is much more efficient in the long-run.
When you do use a new material that you haven't cut before, always do a small test cut first. There's nothing more frustrating than setting up a project and then wasting materials because the cut settings are wrong.
Adding your own images to the Cricut Design Space
Cricut Access subscriptions are available or you can use your own from Design Bundles or Font Bundles - both are a budget friendly options and a great way to get your design just right.
Uploading images is easy:
- Open Cricut Design Space and click 'Upload Images' on the left.
- Click the Upload Image button and then click Browse to find the image on your computer.
- Use the magic wand tool to ensure Cricut only selects the parts of your image you want to use.
- Save the image to your Image Library - it's now ready for use!
Sticking vinyl to rough surfaces
Many popular projects use vinyl to create illustrations or words that are then stuck onto canvas or wood. This looks great, but it can be hard to get a good finish with vinyl when sticking it to a rough surface. Here are some tips:
- Coat the surface first - use either a clear coating or acrylic paint to smooth the surface.
- Experiment- some vinyl, such as those with a permanent adhesive, will stick better than others.
- Spray after sticking - a clear adhesive spray used after sticking can boost the longevity of your project.
Iron-on Vinyl Project Tips
Iron-on projects are a great way to make awesome custom gifts and are suitable for beginners. However, getting them right first time isn't always easy! Follow these tips to ensure your first project is a success:
- Measure the surface of the babygro, t-shirt or cushion first. Getting the size wrong can be an expensive mistake.
- Mirror your image in Cricut Design Space so that the transfer side is correct. This is especially important with any designs that include words!
- Use a thin cloth between the vinyl and your iron to help protect your transfer.
- When using the iron, firmly press the iron rather than moving it back and forth.
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