9 Things You Might Not Know Your Cricut Can Do
When you buy a Cricut machine for the first time – especially a Cricut Maker – all the different possibilities can be very exciting, but also a little overwhelming. It is well known that a Cricut machine is a great tool for cutting paper and vinyl, but beyond that it can be tricky to wrap your head around everything else that it can do if you’ve never used one before. The Cricut Maker comes with so many new features and attachments that the possibilities are virtually endless. It can work with hundreds of different materials in loads of different ways. Below are some examples of the different tools and tricks that you can use with the Cricut Maker, to help you get some ideas going.
1. It can score
As well as cutting your papercraft projects, your Cricut machine can also score them, creating perfect fold lines with hardly any effort. There are a lot of different options for scoring tools: you have the Scoring Stylus, which is simple to use and very affordable. There is also the Scoring Wheel, which can apply up to ten times more pressure than the Stylus, making it a lot more powerful and capable of deeper scores. And then there is the Double Scoring Wheel which creates two parallel scored lines, which is perfect for thicker materials such as cardboard. Having all these different scoring options opens up a whole world of possibilities for 3D papercraft projects!
2. It can engrave
One of the most exciting things that the Cricut Maker can do is engrave, because no other Cricut machine has been able to do this before. The Engraving Tip can be purchased on its own or with the QuickSwap housing (a multi-purpose tool housing for which you only have to change the tip for different linetypes rather than buy a whole new tool) if it is your first QuickSwap tool. You can engrave soft metals like aluminium, copper, and brass, as well as materials like acrylic, acetate, and even leather! This tool is perfect for creating personalised jewellery and leather goods, beautiful illuminated acrylic artwork, or just about any project you can dream up! It’s worth noting that the Maker can only engrave flat objects, so it can’t engrave things like pens or jewellery boxes. The recommended maximum thickness for any material is 2.4mm so it’s important to bear that in mind with any engraving project that you undertake.
3. It can cut wood, foam sheets, leather, & other tricky materials
One big advantage that the Cricut Maker has over other Cricut machines is that it is the only one that is compatible with the Knife Blade. Unlike the normal Fine Point Blade that comes with every Cricut machine, the Knife Blade can cut through much thicker materials like foam sheets, leather, and even a few types of wood! This is a fantastic tool because it enables you to use all sorts of materials that would otherwise be too thick for your machine to cut. Due to longer cutting times, the Knife Blade is only compatible with Design Space on a computer rather than an Android or iOS device, so take that into consideration when planning your Knife Blade projects.
4. It can cut fabric without a backer
With all other Cricut machines, if you want to cut fabric, you have to first attach your fabric to a backer or stabiliser. The Cricut Maker and its Rotary Blade are a game changer. The Rotary Blade enables you to cut fabric without a backer – you just stick it onto your mat like you would any other material. Unlike a lot of the other tools, every Cricut Maker comes with a Rotary Blade and FabricGrip mat included, so you don’t have to fork out any extra to benefit from this unique feature.
5. It can apply foil
Add some shimmer and shine to your projects with foil! Intricate foil decorations can take your projects to the next level and really impress people. Most foil application tools use heat to adhere the foil to your projects, while the Cricut Foil Transfer Tool uses pressure instead. It comes with three tips that apply different amounts of pressure, so you can work with different line thicknesses depending on what you want for your project. This foil tool is compatible with both the Explore and Maker machines, so you can still use it even if you don’t have the Maker.
6. It can write and draw
If you want to add a handwritten or calligraphy element to your project but you’re not super confident in your own handwriting, then fear not! Your Cricut machine can do it for you, in virtually any font. However, because of the way the Cricut works, and the pathways it follows, you get the best results when using a thin (eg handwritten-style) font – when you use a thicker font, the Cricut will only draw the outlines of the letters, so if you want them filled in, you will have to do it by hand. It still does this with thinner fonts, but because the lines are so much closer together, it often looks as though they are filled in.
As well as writing, your Cricut can also draw illustrations and pictures. Think beautiful line art, your own colouring pages, mandalas, and more! (Although be warned, while also very cool, watching a robot draw a perfect circle may cause feelings of inadequacy about your puny human abilities.) Cricut pens come in loads of different colours, sizes, and styles, so you can add all sorts of beautiful artwork to your projects. You can also experiment with using other kinds of pens, but you may not get the best results as they won’t be designed to fit snugly into the A clamp on your machine. Lots of crafters have tried different types of pens and posted their results in blogs and videos, so it’s worth doing some research on what has worked for others before using non-Cricut pens in your machine.
7. Print Then Cut
One largely unsung hero of the Cricut world is the Print Then Cut feature. This is a nifty tool for the Explore and Maker machines that allows you to print designs on your inkjet printer and cut around them perfectly. You can choose to print with bleed (where the ink spreads out beyond the design to allow room for error) for a seamless cut, or without bleed if you need to have a border around your design. Print Then Cut is perfect for quickly creating custom stickers, iron-on designs, and decals. You can use any material that is compatible with your printer, such as cardstock, sticker paper, printable vinyl, and more.
8. Create perfect perforations
The perforation blade does exactly what it says on the tin – it adds perforated cuts to your projects. If you need something that tears away, this is the tool for you. You might be making a notebook or sketchbook with tearaway pages, novelty entrance tickets for an event or cute date, a poster with tearaway strips of contact information, a homemade advent calendar… the list goes on and on! The perforation blade would be perfect for any such project, adding a really high-quality, professional-looking finish.
9. Design your own projects
One of the great things about owning a Cricut is using Cricut Design Space. This software is simple and easy to use, and allows you to create your own unique designs – which is especially helpful if you don’t have access to programs like Photoshop or Procreate. While somewhat basic in comparison, Design Space still gives you all the essential design tools you need to make loads of great projects with your Cricut. You can download any combination of fonts and images from Creative Fabrica and create countless fun designs with them.
Hopefully this has sparked some inspiration and given you a better understanding of the capabilities of your Cricut machine. These are just a few of the things that the Cricut Maker can do, and Cricut are constantly working on adding new tools and features all the time, so this list will only expand!
If you have a question about anything in this post, or if it has inspired you to start a new project, feel free to pop it in the comments below!