Cricut Materials For Beginner-Friendly Projects

by Jane Melcher
Updated on

If you are someone who owns their own Cricut, then you might want to get your hands sticky with some beginner-friendly projects.

It can be quite overwhelming, especially when you are alone and there are so many materials to choose from. We have designed this guide to help you start your Cricut journey.

What Cricut Materials are Beginner-Friendly?

The materials you purchase should reflect the kind of project you want to do.
It is important to note that different projects require different materials.

When you own a Cricut machine, you should only use Cricut-certified materials or accessories. Other materials apart from the Cricut brand, voids the warranty.
Once you master how to use Cricut, the process becomes fairly simple.

Before you learn how to use your Cricut, here are some common materials that are suitable even for a total beginner.

  • Cricut pens
  • Transfer tape
  • Easy press mat
  • Cricut tool set
  • Mats
  • Bright pads
  • Heat press

We will go through the list and explain what each material is used for, and how to accomplish your project effectively. With some practice, you should be exploring different projects in no time.

Cricut Materials For Your Projects

Before you get the design finalized, you might want to test it out. It is recommended to purchase materials, such as vinyl, in bulk so that you can try out different designs and finishes before the final cut.

1) Cutting Mat (Rating 4.9/5)

Cricut Cutting Mat Variety 4 Pack, 12 in. x 12 in
792 Reviews
Cricut Cutting Mat Variety 4 Pack, 12 in. x 12 in
  • Ensure extraordinary results with four new...
  • LIGHT GRIP : Specially formulated for...
  • STRONG GRIP : The Strong Grip mat offers a...
  • FABRIC GRIP MAT : The FabricGrip Mat combines...
  • STANDARD GRIP MAT : The Standard Grip mat has...

Cricut mats usually come in two sizes, "12×12" and "12×24". You can get whichever size you prefer.

The cutting mats also come in varying strengths. For example, the strong grip mat has the most strength.

Different strength mats (LightGrip and StandardGrip) are used for different materials. You will get a free LightGrip mat when you buy a Cricut machine. The LightGrip Mat is perfect for light materials. For example, paper and cardstock.

It would help if you also consider shopping for the FabricMat, which has strong adhesive properties and is perfect for foam materials.

Before you use any sticky mat, you can prime it by sticking it to a piece of cloth and removing it several times. This should make it less sticky and easier to use.

Pros

  • Long lasting
  • Strong adhesive
  • Durable

Cons

  • Poor packaging

2) Cricut Tool Set (Rating 4.7/5)

CAREGY Craft Vinyl Weeding Tools Set, Precision Craft Vinyl Tools Kit, Weeding Kits for...
616 Reviews
CAREGY Craft Vinyl Weeding Tools Set, Precision Craft Vinyl Tools Kit, Weeding Kits for...
  • Vinyl Weeding Tool: CAREGY vinyl weeding tool...
  • Hook Weeder & Tweezers: CAREGY vinyl weeding...
  • Scraper and Spatula: CAREGY vinyl weeding...
  • Safety Protection Scissors: CAREGY vinyl...
  • Multi-purpose Craft Weeding Tools Set perfect...

The Cricut tool set is very helpful. This tool set should probably be the one you buy first. It contains a paper trimmer for cutting materials, a replacement blade and a scoring blade for the trimmer.

Other tools include:

  • Tweezers for lifting small sections
  • Spatula to lift your cut pieces from the sticky Mat
  • Scoring stylus to add fold lines on any paper projects
  • A pair of scissors
  • A weeder to remove scraps
  • Fine point blade

Always ensure to use the tweezers to lift any projects off the Mat. Using your fingers could shorten the lifespan of the adhesive. These tools are also perfect for beginners.

Pros

  • Works well on vinyl
  • Durable
  • Precise
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Expensive

3) Scoring Wheel or Stylus (Rating 4.8/5)

CRICUT Stylus Lilac
7,852 Reviews
CRICUT Stylus Lilac
  • Package Dimensions: 25.908 H x 1.193 L x...
  • Package Weight: 0.032 kilograms
  • Create score lines in paper, cardstock, and...
  • Country of Origin : China

Depending on your machine, you will need a scoring wheel or stylus. For a Cricut maker, you will require a scoring tool. You will need a stylus for a Cricut Explore Air 2 and other explore series.

Both instruments enable you to create score lines. Score lines give you the perfect folds for card projects, cardstock, and home decor pieces. You will need a scoring wheel or stylus for multiple other projects.

Pros

  • Value for money
  • Easy to use
  • Easy to store

Cons

  • Higher Price

4) Heat Press/ Easy Press (Rating 4.8/5)

Sale
Cricut EasyPress 2 Heat Press Machine (9' x 9'), Ideal for T-Shirts, Tote Bags, Pillows, Aprons, and...
33,513 Reviews
Cricut EasyPress 2 Heat Press Machine (9" x 9"), Ideal for T-Shirts, Tote Bags, Pillows, Aprons, and...
  • A NO-STRESS HEAT PRESS - Get professional...
  • PERFECT FOR GENERIC-SIZED PROJECTS - At 9" x...
  • ADJUSTABLE TEMPERATURE FOR DIFFERENT PROJECTS...
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  • PORTABLE, LIGHTWEIGHT & EASY TO STORE - The...

You might also want to try other designs when you own a Cricut machine—printing on t-shirts, leather, or tote bags. Heating presses vary in size. The size you pick depends on the type of project you undertake.

You could also iron on the print designs. However, there is no guarantee that you would apply the right amount of pressure required to transfer the print well. To avoid all this, a heat press will get the job done.

A heat press and easy press do the same job. Suppose you can purchase either of them, the better for your projects. If you purchase an easy press, you need to also purchase an easy press mat. The Mat also works with a heat press.

Pros

  • Portable
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to use
  • Adjustable temperature
  • Easy to store

Cons

  • Unclear instructions

5) Bright Pad (Rating 4.3/5)

Etcokei Light Pad for Weeding Vinyl, A4 LED Bright Pad Go Weeding Light Table for Diamond Painting,...
21 Reviews
Etcokei Light Pad for Weeding Vinyl, A4 LED Bright Pad Go Weeding Light Table for Diamond Painting,...
  • Higher Brightness: 5500LUX ultra high...
  • Adjustable: 3 modes of brightness settings to...
  • USB Powered: Etcokei LED ultra bright light...
  • Wide applications: Pefect for weeding vinyl,...
  • Portable and Durable: 14.1 x 10.5 inches, fit...

A bright pad is a perfect tool for working with vinyl or basic vinyl. Projects on vinyl usually get messy. Weeding is a Cricut tool that helps remove vinyl's scrappy parts.

To use the bright pad, lay your vinyl on it, and use the weeding tool to remove any wayward pieces. This will give you better angles and precise edges. In addition, it will produce even results.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Perfect for black prints
  • Very bright

Cons

  • No paper holder

6) Transfer Tape (Rating 4.6/5)

Sale
YRYM HT Clear Vinyl Transfer Paper Tape Roll-12 x 50 FT w/Alignment Grid Application Tape for...
49,071 Reviews
YRYM HT Clear Vinyl Transfer Paper Tape Roll-12 x 50 FT w/Alignment Grid Application Tape for...
  • 【EASY RELEASE NO RESIDUE】Clear Transfer...
  • 【CLEAR RED GRID】The 1/2” see through...
  • 【MEDIUM TACK】 Not too sticky that you...
  • 【WIDE APPLICATION】Our vinyl transfer tape...
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Transfer tape is a must-have when working with Vinyl for Cricut. When applying vinyl to any surface you prefer, transfer tape also ensures all the pieces move. Tape is essential where you have projects with intricate details.

Of course, you can move vinyl from its backing without transfer tape. But if your project has minute detail, you need to use transfer tape. This is because it makes the transference process easier.

Pros

  • Doesn't leave residue
  • Wide
  • Easy to use
  • Multiple uses

Cons

  • It won't pick glitter

7) Blank Materials (T-shirts) (Rating 4.6/5)

Gildan Men's Heavy Cotton T-Shirt, Style G5000, 10-Pack
24,494 Reviews
Gildan Men's Heavy Cotton T-Shirt, Style G5000, 10-Pack
  • Fabric Weight: 5.3 oz/sq.yd. 100% U.S. Cotton
  • Classic Fit, tubular body
  • Versatile mid-weight fabric for year-round...
  • Our most popular t-shirt
  • Non-topstitched, classic width, rib collar

Before starting any project, you need blank materials on which to print. Be it t-shirts, mugs, pens, backpacks, etc. Of course, you also don't need a huge range of blank materials. But the materials and supplies are compulsory, even for stickers.

The process isn't over when using design space until you click the "print then cut" option. You can always save your designs and use them for other crafts like scrapbooking. Additionally, you can use leftover prints on all the things you ever wanted to brand.

Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Easy to print on
  • Long-lasting
  • Well-fitting

Cons

  • They shrink after washing

8) Cricut Pens (Rating 4.7/5)

Sale
Craft World 0.4 Tip Fine Point Pens for Cricut Maker 3/Maker/Explore 3/Air 2, Ultimate Fine Point...
7,195 Reviews
Craft World 0.4 Tip Fine Point Pens for Cricut Maker 3/Maker/Explore 3/Air 2, Ultimate Fine Point...
  • PREFECT FOR CRICUT MACHINE: Write and draw...
  • PERMANENT AFTER DRY: Each set includes 30...
  • NON-TOXIC: Craft World fine point pen is made...
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  • MORE DURABLE:Close the pen cap in time after...

Cricut coloring pens are excellent for creating doodles and writing and drawing text, among other things. What makes it even more fun is all the fonts you can use. Of course, you can also download additional fonts for your projects.

Cricut pens come in a pack of different colors. This means you can use multiple colors for a single project. You can also add a touch of "handwritten" and personalized messages with the Cricut pens.

Pros

  • Permanent
  • Durable
  • Non-toxic
  • Multiple colors

Cons

  • Very light colors

 

Easy Cricut Projects For Beginners

As a beginner with Cricut, you might be overwhelmed by all the potential projects you could commit to. However, you should note that most beginner projects are very simple. You don't have to sift through many instructions. Therefore, this list is a breakdown of all the projects that are perfect to start with.

a) Personalized Mugs and Plates

You don't need much vinyl for this project. It is very easy to make a personalized mug. Personalized mugs and plates make great gifts. You can also easily design a few awesome designs and save them for future use.

The saved designs can also be used on other items. For example, personalized mugs and plates are a great DIY project. It is simple to start and design a mug press project, which is perfect when you are a beginner.

b) Personalized Pillows and Blankets

It is very simple to start printing personalized messages on pillows and blankets using Cricut's design space. You can make "his and hers" pillows and blankets depending on the occasion. For example, you can print festive messages on blankets for gifts during the festive season.

You can also customize a whole set of sheets, pillowcases and blankets. After creating the design, you can easily print the image on your choice of bedding. This project is fun to do, and you can easily get carried away.

The choices are very many. You can get inspiration from stenciled pillows to fabric-cut pillows from anywhere.

c) Paper Flower Making

There are many different types of flowers. Therefore, getting a template for making a paper flower is easy. However, with this project, you will need a little extra work. First, you want to cut out the 3D spiral from design space.

After that, use a quilling tool to roll up the spiral into a beautiful flower. And that's it. It's done. However, you can add color to the spiral before rolling it up. A pop of color could spruce up the look of the flowers.

d) Customized Party Invites

Cricut paper projects are some of the simplest Cricut projects. For such projects, you can use plain cardstock and plain Cricut pens. However, you can also use glitter cardstock and pens for a touch of flair.

After specifying your card's size, shape and color and typing in what you want the card to say, you can continue to print then cut. Before printing the card, you can also add a few images if you would like.

Your customized cards will be some of the best you have ever created. They will be very popular if you send out invites for your child's birthday.

e) Coasters

Customized coasters make great gifts. To make personalized coasters for gifts or a personalized project, you need plain coasters. After designing the details you want on your coaster, print and transfer the design to your coaster. A fun print would be star wars coasters.

However, you have to consider that with this project, you will need a heat press or easy press. You will also need an easy press mat. The plain coasters you purchase should also be capable of sublimation for the infusible ink to stick.

f) DIY T-shirts

T-shirts printed with personalized or custom designs look cool. And for a first Cricut project, printing on a t-shirt is right up that alley. Since printing on t-shirts is versatile, you can print anything on t-shirts.

It is also a project for the whole family, a boy/girl band, or even a group of friends. You can come up with cool designs on Cricuts design space. Furthermore, the designs don't have to be limited. You can always experiment with fonts and material types.

How To Create Custom Settings

Before embarking on any project, you should create custom settings for each project. Here are some ways you can create these settings on your Cricut maker.

i) Slide the Rubber Rings Away

When working on projects that require hard materials such as wood and foam, it is better to slide the rubber rings away. This is to prevent your material from being imprinted on by the roller bars that feed the Mat through the machine.

ii) Follow the Materials Settings

Most materials come with their preferred settings. Settings such as the pressure and multi-cut settings. Setting your Cricut's Explore Air wireless settings as close to the instruction settings will yield a successful project experience.

iii) Multi-cut Thicker Materials

You want to adjust the cut settings to multi-cut for materials such as leather. This is required to cut through the whole material. The pressure settings shouldn't be adjusted since thick materials don't require more pressure.

iv) Maximum Thickness

Cricut machines have a maximum thickness requirement. For a Cricut maker, the maximum thickness should be less than 2.4 mm. On the other hand, a Cricut explore air 2 can only tolerate a thickness of less than 2.0 mm.

v) Testing

Before starting any projects, ensure you have extra mats to test the Cricut. You might consider adjusting the pressure and multi-cut settings. This is an important step because your project might not be successful if the settings are not right on.

The Bottom Line

A simple Cricut project will only use three different materials. But before you embark on a project, ensure the instructions are simple. Avoid projects with many instructions or projects with no direction.

Prepare all your materials and tools beforehand, so you aren't stranded. It is important to note that your projects will not be perfect when you start. However, with practice and a few trials, your projects should get better.

About the author

Jane Melcher

Jane is a stay-at-home small business mom. She makes more than her husband selling her creations on Etsy.

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