10 Things You Must Have For Your New Cricut

10 Things You Must Have For Your New Cricut main article image
Posted on March 4, 2021 by Desiree McClung

When you unbox a new Cricut, there will be some basic supplies that come with your new machine. In addition to those contents, many new crafters can get easily overwhelmed by the plethora of choices for tools, blades, cutting materials and accessories. It is important to take stock of what you have and what is necessary to use your machine successfully before you walk out of a craft store spending an entire paycheck.

An overview of the Cricut Machines

There are several machines currently on the market, including the Cricut Maker, the Explore Air 2, and the Joy. Each comes with contents specific to the machine. Contents of the package may also vary from retailer to retailer, and bundles contain additional products in addition to the ones listed below.

Cricut Maker

  • Rotary blade and housing
  • Fine-point blade and housing
  • 12×12” fabric grip mat (pink)
  • 12×12” light grip mat (blue)
  • Cricut black 0.4mm fine tip pen

Explore Air 2

  • Fine-point blade and housing
  • 12×12” standard grip mat (green)
  • 12×12” light grip mat (blue)
  • Cricut black 0.4mm fine tip pen

Cricut Joy

  • Fine-point blade and housing
  • 5×6.5” standard grip mat (green)
  • Cricut black 0.4mm fine tip pen

There are so many accessories designed for a specific Cricut machine. Many items designed for the Joy or the Maker are not compatible with the other machines. For this reason, I have chosen for this article to focus on the top 10 things that you would need for the Cricut Explore Air 2.

1. Cricut Design Space Software

First and foremost, you will need to have a digital device that is compatible with Cricut Design Space. Design Space is a free software program that can be downloaded onto most computers, tablets, or mobile devices. Design Space is a program that allows the user to cut with the Cricut machines. Luckily, Design Space is available for use on many devices. Currently, it is available to use with Windows 8 or later operating systems, MacOS 10.15 or later, and iOS 12 or later on iPhone. There are several generations of iPads that are compatible and most Androids 6.0 or later are supported as well. It currently is not available for use with Chromebooks. It is available for use with Kindle Fire HD if you are clever enough to install Google Play onto it.

2. Weeding Tools

Whether you are using vinyl, HTV or other materials, a weeder is vital to assisting in taking out those tiny pieces between letters and images. This tool assists with lifting or peeling away the parts of the image that you do not want transferred to your project. All weeding tools have a sharp point to extract even the smallest pieces. There are some with straight tips, curved tips and bent angles. They often look like dental hygiene picks. Each crafter usually has a preference to which they prefer. I use the traditional hook weeding tool while my son likes the straighter piercing tool.

3. Scraper Tool

A scraper is a wonderful aid in cleaning debris from mats, adhering and smoothing your material onto your mat, great as a bone folder for score lines and for transferring your cut images to your projects. I have a mini and an XL scraper and I use them both daily.

4. Scoring Stylus

This is the newest tool in my crafting toolbox and I can’t believe that I went months without one! There are so many projects that I made during the holidays that I needed this for, such as explosion boxes, cards and envelopes and 3D projects. This accessory pops into the Explore Air 2 housing A and allows your machine to score a fold line. This makes folding projects so much easier, faster, and neater.

5. Transfer Tape

Many project Cricut crafters make involve using vinyl material. In order to apply your vinyl to a project surface, you will need a product to help transfer your vinyl from the vinyl backing to the project that you are applying your design to. This is where transfer tape comes in handy. In addition to the traditional transfer tapes available, some items around the home, such as painters’ tape, clear contact paper, or scotch tape can be used to transfer your image to your project.

6. Vinyl

As mentioned above, there are so many mediums that you can cut with a Explore Air 2 machine, but vinyl is one of the most common materials used. The projects that vinyl can be used with are endless and with such a range of colors, patterns and textures, it is easy to become overwhelmed by the choices. I purchased a variety pack of vinyl colors in 12×12 sheets and a roll of black and white when I first got my machine. I felt that for little initial investment, I had a large selection of colors to choose from.

7. Cardstock

Since I am an avid paper crafter, cardstock is one of my most essential supplies. Even before I owned a Cricut, I had mounds of cardstock for projects I worked on. 65 lb cardstock with a solid paper core yields the best results from the Cricut machine for most projects I have created. Craft stores often have sales on individual sheets of paper or you can purchase paper packs with coordinating colors or patterns to make paper selection for projects seamless. I prefer paper packs for the value.

8. Cutting Mats

When you purchase a new machine, Cricut will supply you with at least one mat because it is vital for every single project you cut with your machine. Each material you cut needs a specific mat to adhere the material to properly and hold the material in place as the machine is cutting your image. Additional mats are necessary because mats can get dirty and won’t stick properly, which can ruin a project. Cricut offers 4 mat types: Standard Grip (green), LightGrip (Blue), FabricGrip (pink), and StrongGrip (grey). Cricut sells 12×12 mats and 12×24 mats for the Explore Air 2 and Maker machines. Most projects on Explore Air 2 need a standard or light grip mat. If I have an oversized project that needs a larger mat, I simply use painters’ tape to adhere two 12×12 mats together

9. A Cutting Tool

Scissors, a paper trimmer, or a craft knife and self-healing mat are also very important for crafting. Scissors are the least expensive and an easily accessible cutting tool available since most people already own a pair of scissors. You can purchase fine-tipped craft scissors that are handy for detailed cuts and intricate work but they are not necessary. A paper trimmer is a great accessory to have if you are short on space and you want nice, clean cuts. I use this for my leftover supplies and to cut vinyl off the rolls for a straight edge. I like that the trimmer I own is compact and I can slide it into a drawer when not in use to keep my workspace cleaner. Many crafters prefer the ease of using a rotary cutter or a craft knife with a self-healing mat to cut materials.

10. Cricut Pens

Since I do so much paper crafting and card making, pens are one of my obsessions. I purchased a pack of Cricut fine point pens when they were on sale, but crafters can also purchase adapters for housing A on the Explore Air 2 to use with a variety of pens and markers, which makes the options for projects endless.

Some of the products that you need for Cricut crafting may already be lying around your home and some you will have to invest in. Starting with what comes in the box, items listed in this article, and purchasing is small quantities, is a great way to gauge what you need and what is most important to you. Remember to purchase items for crafts you are working on to help focus on what you need and you can slowly build up your collection over time.

Have fun shopping for your new hobby, and happy crafting!

Looking for crafts to make with your Cricut? Here you can check 100+ things you can make with a Cricut machine!

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1 Comment
Wendy Boulay

March 10, 2021

As a Cricut crafter myself, I 100% agree with this! I use the same brand of cardstock...it's amazing!

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