If you are just getting started with Cricut it’s hard to know what you really need. I have the Explore Air machine for about four years, I think. I love it and haven’t felt the need to upgrade yet. If you are just getting into Cricut there are so many accessories it is overwhelming. Let’s talk about what Cricut accessories you really need.
Are You a Casual Crafter
If you are like me, when I bought my first Cricut I was a casual crafter not wanting to invest a fortune into my hobby. I was upgrading from the Cricut Personal Cutting Machine you know the one that took cartridges. I only had about three cartridges and had only used it to decorate the bulletin boards in my classroom. This blog post is for that level of crafter, not someone looking to open an Etsy shop and mass produce adorable items.
My Must Haves
The spatula is an absolute must. You need this little guy in order to carefully remove cardstock from the mat.
I still use my old-school spatula from my first Cricut. It looks vintage now compared to all the new stuff.
The weeding tool is my second pick for the most valuable accessory. It looks like something your dentist would use, but it’s a must to get those tiny pieces of vinyl out of your designs.
You will see all kinds of tools like scrapers and brayers. I use a credit card (really it’s an old key to the Disneyland Hotel with Mickey on it)to smooth out bubbles in vinyl and to adhere vinyl to transfer tape. If you are just getting started, you can skip those.
Must-Haves for Shirt Making
One big-ticket item I feel is a must is the Easypress. I bought mine about two years ago, and I love it. It takes all the guesswork out of applying Heat Transfer Vinyl. I won’t lie, I’ve been known to iron with it too because it’s so much bigger than a regular iron it cuts done ironing time.
Before I bought the Easypress, I ruined so many projects trying to get the HTV to adhere. Since buying this I haven’t ruined one thing. It definitely is worth the price.
Heat Press Pillows are another must. They can be hard to find and expensive. I made my own with foam and ironing board cover material. I’ll have to do a post on how to make those. Heat Press Pillows are really important if you are making small shirts like onsies. The pillow raises the area where you are applying the vinyl so that it is higher than the seams around it which helps the vinyl adhere better.
Teflon sheets are recommended for heat transfer projects. Being frugal (cheap according to my husband) I opt for parchment paper. I bought a small roll at Target and I’m still using the same couple of sheets two years later.
Using All Your Cricut’s Features
Buy the pens. Writing is one of the best features of your Cricut. My handwriting is ugly. I love having my Cricut write beautifully on gift tags, invitations, and countless other ideas. Cricut pens come in amazing colors. They are the ideal thing to pick up when Michaels does their buy one get one 50% off. I have found other pens that will work in the Cricut, but honestly, they are not the same quality as Cricut pens. I love to save money, but this is one time when I say pay for the brand!
Blades and Mats
Without the deep cut blade, you are limiting your crafting abilities. As far as mats go, there are several different kinds of grips; standard, light, and strong grip. I find that the standard grip has been suitable for all my needs. A brand new standard grip mat has a pretty strong grip and the older they get the lighter the grip so I haven’t invested in different grips. However, I do have 12″ x 24″ mat, which is quite handy for making stencils and extra-long projects. Definitely, get the extra-long mat.
Applying vinyl that isn’t heat transfer requires transfer tape. You will definitely need some of this in your tool kit. However, Cricut transfer tape is a little pricey for what it is. I use clear Contact paper I buy at Dollar Tree. I pick up a roll every once in a while to make sure I don’t run out mid-project. It works like a charm for a fraction of the price.
There are a
few options when it comes to vinyl. No doubt Cricut has a huge selection of many different kinds of vinyl, and they seem to come out with more daily. I have tried a few other brands that are great as well. Oracal has great color options and they have outside grade vinyl for car decals. Siser Easyweed is also a great choice. Siser is less expensive than Cricut and is great quality. The Easyweed has never let me down even with the most intricate of designs, I have had Cricut tear on me during the weeding process.
Design Space Subscription
Design Space is an amazing program. You can easily create images using their free shapes. Uploading your own images is also easy, but a little time-consuming. The monthly cost of a subscription to Design Space is $10.99. This includes access to an abundant supply of images and fonts. It took me a long time to break down and buy my subscription, but I love it. The price is worth it for just the fonts alone. I highly recommend subscribing to it. If you find you don’t use it, just cancel it.
So, those are the must-haves I recommend investing in right away to really use your Cricut to its full potential. Let me know if I missed an item you feel is a necessity.
If you take my advice and get the Easypress, download my free printable for HTV temps. It’s the perfect size to affix to the inside cover of your Cricut.
Edit to the post: Due to the popularity of this post, I have written an ebook about learning Design Space, what tools you need, and I have included tutorials on a few of my most popular projects. You can purchase the book here.