Monday, November 11, 2019

Cricut Gift Guide: 10 Crafty Items for the Cricut Beginner

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

A guide to the 10 best crafty gift items to buy for the Cricut newbie.

Cricut Gift Guide: 10 Crafty Items for the Cricut Beginner

The holiday season is almost here and it certainly can't hurt to get some shopping done right away. We all know how horribly overwhelming it gets when you have a long list of gifts to buy and you have to head to the mall in the crazy busy days before Christmas. (For me personally, it seems that no matter how good my intentions, I end up needing at least a few gifts and stocking stuffers on Christmas Eve.)

This Cricut gift guide is intended to help the new crafter or DIY enthusiast as well as the experienced crafter who is new to Cricut machines. (Even if you are an experienced Cricut user, you might enjoy reading my list of Cricut necessities and maybe adding your own recommendations in the comments section.) This gift guide is for the person who wants to add items to their wish list for others to buy, as well as the person who plans to introduce somebody else to new crafting treasures. Cricut has the perfect gifts for the crafters, artists, makers, Etsy sellers, teachers, moms, dads and teens in your life. Please read on for my thoughts on how to get started with Cricut.


Click on each title to be taken to the product's shop link. *This post contains affiliate links and Woman in Real Life may earn a commission if you buy. Your price is not affected.*


1. Cricut Maker

First up, the Cricut beginner needs a Cricut cutting machine. The Cricut Explore Air 2 is a great choice for Cricut newbies looking to cut cardstock, vinyl and iron-on - 100 different materials actually. If your budget is a little higher, I recommend the Cricut Maker because it does all that and has an adaptive tool system that will allow you to add new tools as they are manufactured over time.

There are already a number of tools available for Cricut Maker that no other cutting machine offers - among them an engraving tip, a perforation blade, a wavy blade and a rotary blade (that will help you cut fabric right on the FabricGrip mat without the need for backing material). If you like to sew, I definitely recommend you choose the Cricut Maker. There are so many cute sewing patterns available in Cricut Design Space too.

For 14 decor items to craft with Maker for the holidays read this post. And head to this post for 5 things I love about my Cricut Maker.




2. StandardGrip Machine Mat

To cut materials with a Cricut cutting machine, you need to apply them to a mat first. There are a few types of mats and your machine may come with one or two of them. For most projects that I do, I use the StandardGrip Machine Mat, which works with cardstock, iron-on, vinyl and other medium-weight materials. It would be wise to have an extra StandardGrip mat or two if you plan to make greeting cards regularly or use the materials I mentioned frequently. There are also LightGrip and StrongGrip mats. If you think you (or your gift recipient) will need all three types of machine mats, you can opt to buy a machine mat variety pack.


3. Basic Tool Set

In addition to machine tools, which the cutting machines need to cut and score materials, you will need some basic tools to use after the machine has done its job. The basic tool set is a great option because it includes Cricut crafting scissors, which are sharp and effective and handy for trimming down materials, as well as a weeding tool, which you will use frequently to weed away the excess materials that aren't part of your cut design (negative cuts). There are also tweezers to lift delicate materials, a spatula to lift cuts from the mat and a scraper to clean off the cutting mat.




An annual or monthly subscription to Cricut Access will give you unlimited access to all of the cutting images (over 100,000!), fonts (400) and ready-to-make projects (4,000) you could want. If you don't have a subscription, you can pay for these images individually as you need them, but the cost will soon top the price of a subscription if you make many projects at all. And, with Cricut Access, you will also get 10% off Cricut online purchases, including cutting machines. (So join Access before ordering your new machine, even if you decide to cancel later.)






I'm fairly certain most Cricut newbies (and experienced Cricut lovers alike) will want to make gorgeous, personalized greeting cards. Solid colours of cardstock are perfect to have on hand for creating envelopes and the cards themselves. But you can also jazz up greeting cards with lovely patterned cardstocks. This gift guide item is one of the nice-to-haves rather than a necessity, but crafting is meant to be fun right? And there are so many beautiful patterns available - anybody would love to receive these as a gift. See how I used patterned cardstock to make pretty Mother's Day cards, for example.






If you or your gift recipient does plan to craft cards, you'll also want some Cricut pens. These get inserted into the Cricut cutting machine so that the machine can draw words and pictures for you. I gravitate towards the metallic pens, but it's also handy to have basic colours (especially black). There are also glitter gel pens. Use these pens to add special, personalized touches to invitations and birthday decorations, as well as cards. As an example, see how I used a Cricut pen to add greetings to a Father's Day card.




7. Vinyl


Vinyl is a fun and versatile cutting material that will help you harness the creative powers of your new Cricut cutting machine. You can use it on mirrors, walls, plates, mugs and more. Cricut offers vinyl in a big range of colours, shimmers and patterns, in permanent and removable varieties. With all of the options, it would be hard to pick a clear favourite, but I can't deny that I'm a little obsessed with gold adhesive foil. I have used it to create laundry jar labels, mason jars for spring and a fall pennant banner, among other things.




8. Cricut EasyPress 2


If your gift recipient already has a Cricut machine, you may want to surprise them with an EasyPress 2. EasyPress 2 is Cricut's heat press - it's conveniently portable and much more effective than a home iron for applying iron-on designs onto t-shirts, tote bags, jeans and cushion covers. EasyPress 2 comes in three sizes, 6" x 7", 9" x 9" and 12" x 10". If you're going to purchase only one size, the middle size is a good bet for many projects. The largest size of EasyPress covers more space but it may be difficult to maneuver in tight areas, for example when applying iron-on to a baby onesie. Cricut also has a new EasyPress Mini, a very small press, which works for applying iron-on to unusual or small projects like baseball caps, stuffed animals and shoes. It's also great for pressing seams when sewing.



9. EasyPress Mat

If you use an EasyPress 2, you will also need the EasyPress Mat in a size that corresponds with your machine. The mat keeps your work surface protected, helps eliminate moisture and directs heat to your design, thereby making for a more effective iron-on application. You can also use the mat when pressing sewing projects.



10. Infusible Ink

I have nothing but good things to say about iron-on material - it's all kinds of fun to work with and it's lovely for projects like blankets, shirts, bags, napkins and pillows. With Cricut Access, you can iron on anything from a hipster bear to a diamond engagement ring image. (Look at my reusable produce bag iron-on design for example.) That being said, if you want to pump your projects up a notch for professional looking results, Cricut's new Infusible Ink is where it's at.

Using Infusible Ink transfer sheets and/or Infusible Ink pens and markers and Cricut blanks (t-shirts, totes and coasters), you can create impressive projects that will astound others - they look like they're store-bought. (The ink gets infused into the blanks so you literally cannot feel that it's there.) Look at these Infusible Ink Tea+Read t-shirts as an example.

Open up new crafting possibilities 


Obviously there are many more crafty items that can help you make the most of your Cricut, but these are just a few of the necessities and nice-to-haves that I recommend.

Having a Cricut Maker has opened up a whole new world of crafting possibilities for me personally. I've always thought of myself as creative, but more because I'm a trained writer. Over the years, I've dabbled with crochet, knitting, drawing and other creative pursuits (with varying amounts of success), but I have found that owning a Cricut cutting machine has inspired and assisted me with making home decor, sewing and crafting projects that I otherwise never would have brought to fruition.


Questions for you


Are you a Cricut beginner? Do you have any Cricut crafting questions? If you're an experienced Cricut "maker," what are your essential items to use?



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Cricut Gift Guide: 10 Crafty Items for the Cricut Beginner


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