Earlier this week I shared everything you need to know about your first Cricut Cutting Machine. Electronic cutting machines can be a bit intimidating to use and if you’re like me, you may not be sure if purchasing one is right for you. If your still trying to decide and missed my review, you can read it HERE.
Today I’m breaking down exactly just how easy a Cricut is to use with a photo guide to quickly get started for beginners. With this step by step tutorial you’ll be off and running in no time!
How to quickly get started with a Cricut for Beginners
**Disclaimer: Although this post is NOT sponsored by Cricut, it does contain affiliate links. Many of the supplies listed can be found at your local craft or online, but the links have been provide for your convenience.**
Supplies for getting started with a Cricut
- Cricut Cutting Machine (similar)
- Cricut Tool Kit
- Cricut Cutting Mat
- Scrapbook Paper (similar)
- Cricut Vinyl Pack (similar)
- Transfer Paper or Cricut Transfer Tape
Step by Step Instructions for getting started with a Cricut
To get started, you’ll want to plug in your Cricut machine and hit that power button.
So far, so good.
Select a Design
If you are working from a cartridge, insert it into the machine and select the design you will be cutting.
The older cartridges come with a keyboard overlay to help you quickly select your design. Although the newer packs may not include the keyboard overlay, they do include a reference guide that allows you to easily determine which key commands you will need.
For the sample I’m demonstrating, I will be using key #20 and can access finer details with the F keys.
Adjust for size and material being cut
Stick with me here… this next step requires a little math and a chart. However, I promise it’s super easy!
The Cricut conveniently allows you to adjust how large or small you want the design to reproduce at. For this project, I measured the surface area I would be customizing and dialed in exactly how large I wanted the design to cut at.
Based on the material being cut, you can also adjust how much pressure will be used. For vinyl, you want the Cricut to cut the vinyl top layer, but not the backing paper underneath, so you will select a lower pressure setting. There is an easy to read pressure chart inside of your roll of Cricut vinyl to help you determine the appropriate setting.
Once you’ve selected your design, determined if you are cutting paper or vinyl, and adjusted the settings, it’s time to load the machine.
Place your paper or vinyl onto the Cricut cutting mat lining it up with the guides.
Insert the loaded cutting mat into the front edge of the machine and hit the “Load Paper” button. If you aren’t using an overlay guide, it’s the second button in on the bottom row.
You are officially ready to begin cutting.
Punch in your design and hit the “Cut” button.
Your Cricut machine will take care of the rest!
Once the cut is complete, push the “unload paper” button and the mat will easily slide out of the machine.
Remove Cut Design
Using your tools, carefully remove the newly cut image from the paper and cutting mat.
Ta-da! You have created your first Cricut piece to get crafting with! It’s seriously so quick and easy you’ll wonder what other images you NEED to cut next.
Working with Vinyl
As soon as I cut my first paper image, I immediately wanted to start playing with vinyl. Vinyl is SUPER versatile for customizing a variety of things and is just as easy to work with as paper. However, it does require a few extra steps.
Weed Negative Space
Remove any of the negative spaces from your cut design.
You will not be needing these and want to have them removed before you transfer the vinyl image.
Peel Transfer Tape
Cut a piece of transfer tape a little larger than the size of the vinyl you will be transferring.
Add Transfer Tape Over Cut Vinyl
This is going to feel counterintuitive, but trust me on this… place the sticky side of your transfer tape down, over the top of your newly cut vinyl design. The idea is that you want to be able to peel the vinyl away from the backing paper while keeping your design as smooth as possible. The transfer tape allows you to do that.
Rub the tape over your design so that the vinyl adheres to the tape.
Peel Away Vinyl Backing Paper
Carefully peel the vinyl/transfer tape away from the vinyl backing paper. Work slowly making sure that the vinyl does not tear and is attached to the transfer tape.
Position and Transfer
Place your vinyl/transfer tape onto the surface you are customizing and press down on the vinyl. Slowly remove the transfer tape to complete your project.
I’m definitely in the honeymoon phase off owning a Cricut and I can’t wait to spend more time with it. I promise to fight of the urge to gush and make every post about it, but that will be the biggest challenge in using this cutting machine.
What have you made with your Cricut? Do you prefer working with paper or vinyl? Still have questions about the Cricut Cutting Machine? Ask away in the comments below.