From the perspective of a casual DIY’r who has never used a paper crafting machine before…
I read ALL the blogs I could find before my first purchase – a Cricut Explore Air 2 – and I still did it wrong (although I had a blast doing it). So here is what you need to buy with your Cricut to really get started!
1. What’s in the Box?
The Cricut Explore Air 2 comes with
- A sample pack of cardstock to create the starter sample card project
- One fine point black pen
- One cutting blade (pre-installed)
- A power cord
- A USB connection cord
- The Cricut Machine
This is enough to do… basically nothing. Which is super unfortunate as you will want to start doing everything at once. Even the sample project requires more than is in the box.
2. The Essential Tools
You think you can fold cardstock in half? Maybe not. I thought I could. My first few cards turned out terrible because of the crease lines. If you are going to do anything with folding (spoiler: you most likely are) you need this tool.
The tiny bits that get cut out will stick to your mat. Instead of ruining your nails trying to pick them off, use the plastic scraping tool.
You wont be able to get the smaller pieces of vinyl with the this tool. I wouldn’t event attempt vinyl without it.
3. More than one mat
If you are doing a project with multiple cuts it makes sense to have more than one mat ready. Especially if the cut is intricate and you’ll have to scrape the mat after. The standard grip mat is very sticky. Lighter materials are easy to rip if you aren’t careful. (Let’s not kid, heavier materials – also very easy to rip). A light grip and extra standard grip is a good investment
4. Many Kinds of Glue
Perhaps it should go without saying, but no one said it to me. If you are a beginner you need to invest in a few different types of glue. It’s frustrating to go through the entire cutting/folding process to use the wrong glue and your project is a mess. Do not use cheap dollar store glue… On top of plain white glue and a glue stick I would recommend.
Much easier to control than white glue and I find it doesn’t wrinkle the cardstock as much.
This is the secret weapon of getting glitter where it needs to be without giant glue gobs. I had never heard of it until I needed it.
5. So many materials to play with!
Materials can get expensive. Build your stock slowly.
Cardstock is the easiest and cheapest material. Buy plain cheaper stuff for testing new projects and fancy stuff for when you are confident.
Scrapbook paper is not cardstock. It works best on the poster board setting.
Vinyl. Make sure you know whether you want permanent or removable. The permanent tends to be cheaper but is obviously… permanent and no good for windows or walls.
Glitter. Stickers. Tiny Jewels. It’s nice to have a few of these on hand to jazz up your first projects.
Where should I buy these things?
Any of the links in this post will take you to Amazon.ca (disclaimer for affiliate links).
Cricut.com frequently has sales. Be aware that although they do ship to Canada all prices are in USD.
The dollar store is great for embellishments, frames, cork, foam, and glitter. It is not a good idea to get your glue, paper, or generic brand pens from dollar stores. They simply don’t hold up as materials.