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Cricut Buyers Guide for Beginners 2021

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Cricut machines were created by Provo Craft & Novelty Inc. in South Jordan, Utah. The company itself was created in December of 2003. Cricuts have become a household name due to their versatility and ability to synchronize with computers. Cricut’s mission was to create products that make DIY projects fun and easy with high-quality results that you can be proud of. Cricut continues to innovate and provide new and exciting products that will take your crafts to the next level.

What is a Cricut Machine?

A Cricut is a device that combines the elements of a traditional craft plotter and laser cutter, but instead of a laser, it has a blade. It allows you to cut with exact precision, saving time and elevating the quality of your projects. Cricuts can cut as well as create designs from materials such as vinyl. Some common designs include monograms, holiday designs, and fashion designs. But part of the appeal of a Cricut machine is that its software function allows you to upload any custom design of your choosing, so the possibilities are endless. If you’re a beginner, here’s a list of items that you can create and customize with a Cricut:

  • Iron-On Vinyl Projects
  • Customized clothing and accessories such as t-shirts, shoes, hats, and jewelry.
  • Iron-on designs for wood signs
  • Adhesive Vinyl Projects
  • Customized water bottles
  • Pantry labels
  • Customized wood signs
  • Holiday Decor. Example: Easy Sprinkle DIY Pumpkin
  • Card Stock and Paper Projects
  • Personalized Birthday, Baby Shower, and Graduation cards
  • Bookmarks
  • Event Invitations

This is only a shortlist of the crafts you can make with a Cricut. To explore more, visit the Cricut Projects page for more ideas!

Types of Cricut Machines

1. Cricut Joy

The Cricut Joy has a variety of uses, and it’s easy to set up. The Cricut Joy is both a cutting and writing machine, which is ideal for personalization. This DIY dynamo will help you bring your projects to life with its versatility and ease of use. You can create labels, adhesive decal designs, and everyday projects that aren’t just for creative use but can also be used to help organize your home or office. Many of the projects that you can do with the Cricut Joy can be done in as little as 15 minutes. The Cricut Joy is compact for easy storage and does not require a mat. This machine can cut up to 50 different kinds of materials, including vinyl, cardstock, and paper. It can cut shapes that are up to 4 ft long or repeated cuts of approximately 20 ft. It comes with a single fine point blade so there is no need for specialty scoring tools or blades. It also features Bluetooth wireless technology for easy access to other devices.

Cricut Joy Projects:

  • Custom vinyl decals
  • Personalized T-shirts and other clothes and accessories
  • Adhesive vinyl decals for mugs, glasses, water bottles, phone cases, and more
  • Organization labels for home, office, or events
  • Wall decals that can be permanent or removable
  • Custom cards and birthday banners

What Comes With the Cricut Joy?

  • The Cricut Joy machine
  • A blade and blade housing for safety. It does require Cricut Smart materials, so keep that in mind
  • .04 mm Fine Point Black Pen (Black)
  • 4.5” x 6.5” ( 11.4 cm x 16.5 cm ) Standardgrip mat, which is not essential but still useful
  • Power adapter
  • Welcome Card
  • Cricut Access membership, free trials for new subscribers
  • Over 50 online projects and ideas
  • Materials for practice cutting, which is great for beginners

2. Cricut Explore Air 2

The Cricut Explore Air 2 was created with speed in mind, it cuts and writes twice as fast as the previous Explore models but still delivers the same phenomenal precision. This model cuts over 100 materials, as opposed to the Cricut Joy, which can only handle half of those mediums. It can handle materials as thick and dense as cork board or as delicate as tissue paper, in addition to specialty materials such as glitter paper and bonded fabric. This machine features Bluetooth technology, so you can design from anywhere on your laptop, smartphone, or tablet.

Projects for the Cricut Explore Air 2:

  • Custom T-Shirts
  • Home Decor
  • Personalized mugs and glasses
  • Customized Cards
  • Holiday Decorations
  • Jewelry

What Comes With the Cricut Explore Air 2?

  • A fine point blade that makes it possible to cut over 100 different types of materials ranging from cardstock, vinyl, and iron-on to specialty materials like wood and glitter paper.
  • Adjustable speed ( Fast Mode for when you need to work quickly without sacrificing precision )
  • Bluetooth wireless technology
  • Blade and pen double tool holder
  • Fine Point Pen ( Black )
  • 12” x 12” (30.5 cm x 30.5 cm ) Lightgrip mat
  • USB cable
  • Power Adapter
  • A free trial to Cricut Access for new subscribers
  • 50 project ideas
  • The Cricut Design Space software, a cloud-based software program that gives you access to all of your projects from any compatible device. As a plus, an internet connection is not necessary and you can even work offline. The Design Space software is compatible with iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac devices.
  • Practice cut materials

3. Cricut Maker

The Cricut Maker is a little more advanced than the machines listed above, being compatible with more advanced tools that allow you to make everything from 3D art to home decor, vinyl decals, and personalized labels and cards. The Cricut Maker is the supreme cutting machine for your DIY projects. Like the Cricut Explore Air 2, it can cut over 300 different types of materials with precision and speed. Like the Cricut Explore Air 2, the Cricut Maker has a Fast Mode that allows you to cut twice as fast. You can cut materials as tough as leather or wood, or materials as delicate as tissue while maintaining speed and precision. This machine features a Rotary blade which can cut fabric without the need for backing material, making it a great companion to your sewing machine. It is also compatible with the Knife Blade ( sold separately ) which gives you the freedom to cut through materials that are thick and dense. It also hosts a variety of specialty tips, so you can complete projects that involve scoring, debossing, and engraving all with one machine. It also features the Adaptive Tool

System for exact precision and is compatible with the Washable Fabric Pen ( sold separately ) so you can mark and plan fabric cuts. The Cricut Maker is ideal for those who want professional results.

Cricut Maker Projects:

  • Sewing projects
  • Birdhouses
  • Custom Water Bottles
  • Picture Frames
  • Wood Monogram Letters
  • Fabric Flowers
  • Personalized Blankets

What Does the Cricut Maker Come With?

  • Premium Fine-Point Blade with housing
  • Fine Point pen ( black )
  • 12” x 12” (30.5 x 30.5) Lightgrip mat
  • Power Adapter
  • Rotary Blade and Housing
  • Bluetooth wireless technology
  • Double tool holder for pens and blades
  • Design Space software, compatible with iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac products
  • USB cable
  • Welcome Book
  • Free trial of Cricut Access for new subscribers
  • 50 project ideas
  • Practice cut materials

4. Cricut Easy Press

Ideal for iron-on, the Cricut Easy Press makes customizing t-shirts and other pieces of fabric easier than ever. Able to produce heat of up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, this machine can produce designs that can endure multiple repeated washes. The Cricut Easy Press can reach your desired temperature quickly while being as convenient as an iron. This machine also has an insulated base and auto-shutoff feature for safety. And no need to seek out specialty materials for this machine, the Cricut EasyPress can be used with popular brands of heat-transfer vinyl that you can find in any craft store. It is also compatible with all Infusible Ink products. The Cricut Easy Press is 9” x 9” ( 22.5 cm x 22.5 cm ) which makes it perfect for materials that can be spread out and flattened on flat surfaces. It should be noted, this machine requires a maximum input 120-volt outlet, so it is not recommended for use outside of North America.

Projects for the Cricut Easy Press:

  • Customized shirt designs
  • Blankets
  • Socks
  • Flags
  • Monogrammed kitchen and bathroom towels
  • Personalized canvas bags
  • Pillow Covers

What Comes with the Cricut Easy Press?

  • Safety Base
  • Welcome Book
  • Practice cut materials

5. Cricut Mini

Big things can come in little packages, and the Cricut mini is no exception. The Cricut Mini is ideal for projects on the go or rainy afternoons with your kids. This compact machine is ideal for cutting small shapes and fonts, which can be used for small projects or to add detail to larger projects. It’s great for customizing unusual items like shoes, hats, keychains, or even stuffed animals. This machine is perfect for use on uneven surfaces or small areas that require more precision. The Cricut Mini features a ceramic-coated heat plate to ensure even heat distribution so that your results are consistent and neat. It has three different heat settings that you can adjust based on the type of material you’re working with. For safety, the Mini comes with an insulated safety base as well as an auto-shutoff function. The maximum input for the Cricut Mini is 120 volts, and it is recommended to only use it with North American outlets.

Projects for the Cricut Mini:

  • Customize shoes, hats, and jewelry
  • Iron-on mug designs
  • Monogrammed keychains
  • Designs for Stuffed Toys
  • Gift Bags and Cards

What Does the Cricut Mini Come With?

  • Safety Base

6. Cricut Personal Electronic Cutting Machine Review

This portable electronic cutting machine is ideal for creating customized greeting cards, scrapbook materials, and other types of paper projects. The Cricut Personal Electronic Cutting Machine can work with materials such as paper, cardstock, vinyl, and vellum. You can cut shapes, individual letters, or phrases. Unlike some of the other Cricut machines, this machine does not require a computer, as it is a cartridge-based system. If you’re looking for a creative gift for someone who is not computer savvy but who loves crafts, this could be the perfect gift. This machine is no longer available on the Cricut website but is available on Amazon and Ebay.

What Comes with the Cricut Personal Electronic Cutting Machine?

  • Accessories may vary depending on the seller, but on Amazon, sellers may offer George and Basic Shape cartridges.

7. Cricut Heat Press

Cricut Heat Presses include Mug Presses and Easy Presses. Heat Presses can be used to customize everything from clothing and accessories like t-shirts and canvas bags to dishware like mugs and water bottles. The designs can withstand multiple washes and are dishwasher safe, making your custom projects durable and high-quality.

Cricut Heat Press Projects:

  • Monogrammed mugs
  • Holiday mugs
  • Wedding Glassware
  • Custom Canvas Bags
  • Custom T-shirts

What Comes with Cricut Heat Presses?

8. Cricut Mug Press

If you would like to create high-quality, professional customized mugs the Cricut Mug Press is for you. Compatible with Cricut Infusible Ink, the Cricut Mug Press offers endless possibilities for your own custom designs. You don’t have to worry about adjusting the pressure or temperature, these settings are automatic. The heating mechanism includes zone heating which ensures that your results will be even and consistent. And while most Cricut machine projects can be done with your kids, the Cricut Mug Press should only be used by adults. It is recommended to use it in a well-ventilated area, as it emits vapor during the heat transfer process.

Mug Specifications

  • Make sure to get the correct types of mugs before starting. You can buy Cricut compatible mugs here.

  • The Cricut Mug Press is only compatible with mugs that are 11 to 16 oz (350-470 ml), straight wall design only.

  • The diameter of the mugs must be 86 mm +/- 1 mm ( 3.2 -3.4 inch diameter )

  • Mugs must be sublimation mug blanks that have been poly-coated.

Cricut Mug Press Projects:

  • A matching set of mugs for your home
  • Personalized gifts for friends, family, and coworkers
  • Sets for Weddings, Baby Showers and Birthday Parties

Which Cricut Machine is Best for Beginners

Cricut Explore Air

If you’re new to Cricut machines, we’d suggest starting out with the Cricut Explore Air. This machine is cordless and comes with the Cricut Design Space software system so that you can send designs from your own computer. This software features over 50,000 designs from the Cricut Image Library, but you’re not limited to these designs, you can also upload your own custom designs and fonts.

Cricut Explore Air Projects:

  • Party Invitations
  • Personalized Wedding Gifts
  • Seasonal Home Decor
  • Scrapbook Designs
  • Customized Cards for Birthdays, Holidays, and other Events

How Much Are Cricut Machines

The prices for Cricut machines depend on the model, and if it comes as a bundle with other materials.

1. Cricut Joy - 149.99 and up

2. Cricut Explore Air 2 - 169.99 and up

3. Cricut Maker - 329.00 and up

4. Cricut Easy Press - 109.00 and up

5. Cricut Mini - 49.00 and up

6. Cricut Personal Electronic Cutting Machine Review - 49.27 and up ( Only available via Ebay and other third-party sellers )

7. Cricut Heat Press - 49.00 and up

8. Cricut Mug Press - 199.00 and up

How Long Do Cricut Machines Last

Cricuts can be used for years, but it’s important to know which kinds of materials and programs may be compatible with them. Some newer models may not support certain types of mediums or may not be compatible with your current computer model or software. Keep all of these factors in mind so that you can use your Cricut to its fullest potential.

Types of Cricut Mats

  1. LightGrip

Suited for securing lightweight materials such as paper, light cardstock, and vellum.

  1. StandardGrip

StandardGrip mats are for the Cricut Joy only. Ideal for working with materials such as Adhesive-Backed Deluxe Paper, and Infusible Ink Transfer Sheets.

  1. StrongGrip

Use for specialty cardstock, mat board, backed fabric, and other materials. The StrongGrip mat was created specifically to secure heavyweight materials.

Types of Cricut Blades

  1. Fine-Point Blade

Best for light to mid-weight materials such as poster board, light-weight fabrics, cardstock vinyl, and iron-on. Premium Fine-Point Blades are compatible with the Maker, Explore, Explore One, Explore Air, and Explore Air 2.

  1. Deep-Point Blade

If you would like to expand the range of materials that you work with, a Deep-Point Blade is essential. The Deep-Point Blades have a steeper angle and are made from steel that is more solid and durable than regular blades. This blade allows you to tackle materials such as chipboard, rubber sheets for stamps, or custom magnets.

  1. Bonded-Fabric Blade

The Bonded-Fabric Blade is made from German carbide steel and is ideal for making intricate cuts with the Cricut Maker, but it is also compatible with the

Explore, Explore One, Explore Air, and Explore Air 2.

Types of Cricut Vinyl

  1. Premium Vinyl

Cricut’s Premium Vinyl is a permanent product that can last for up to 3 years. It is waterproof, lies flat without tunneling or bubbling, and is resistant to UV rays, making it the perfect material for outdoor projects. This vinyl can be used with all Cricut machines.

  1. Smart Vinyl

What’s the difference between Premium Vinyl and Smart Vinyl? Smart Vinyl can auto-load so that you can make continuous cuts, and you do not need a mat. Like the Premium Vinyl, it can last for up to three years and is water and UV-resistant. However, it can only be used with the Cricut Joy, so keep that in mind.

  1. Removable Premium Vinyl

Nothing’s written in stone, and your vinyl designs don’t have to always be permanent. The Removable Premium Vinyl can be removed without residue after over two years. It’s perfect for creating removable auto decals, labels, and decor that you can stick anything. It can also be used with all Cricut cutting machines.

Best Places to Buy Cricut Machines

  1. Cricut.com
  2. Amazon.com
  3. Ebay
  4. Walmart

The Best Places to Buy Cricut Supplies Online

  1. Cricut.com
  2. Amazon.com
  3. Ebay
  4. Walmart

The Best Place to Compare Cricuts

You can compare Cricuts directly at the Cricut.com Help Center. You can use the Cricut Machine Comparison Chart to help you decide which Cricut model is best for you.

Cricut Machine Warranties

Cricut machines purchased new from Cricut.com or through other authorized sellers generally have a warranty of up to one year. If you would like to view the warranties for specific models, including older models, click here.


We hope that you found this Cricut Buyers Guide helpful. If you are beginning your DIY journey or are looking to step up your current projects, be sure to check out Cricut.com to browse products, tutorials and DIY ideas.