Have you ever wondered, “What is a Cricut machine and what does it do?” Well, here’s every detail you need! Learn all about the machine, how it works, what you would need to get started, and so much more.
It’s no secret that one of my favorite crafting tools is a Cricut machine. I’ve been a fan since I first tried the machine and its technology in 2013, and I haven’t looked back.
My Cricut machine is the tool that I also get the most questions about! So I’m incredibly happy to be partnering with the Cricut team on a series of posts to do a deep dive on all things Cricut.
And the first question we’re diving into is the most common: what is a Cricut machine and what does it do?
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What Is a Cricut Machine?
Let’s start with the basics! “Cricut” is pronounced just like the bug (I’ve heard “cry-cut” more than a few times, but that’s not it!).
A Cricut machine is a smart cutting machine that can cut all types of different materials for your crafting, DIY, or hobby projects. You can design a creation, connect the Cricut wirelessly to your computer, load your desired material into the machine, and the Cricut machine will cut out your exact design with perfect precision.
In addition to cutting, the Cricut has a drawing function. You can load a pen into the machine, load paper, and Cricut will draw your design so that it looks like the work of a professional calligrapher.
There is also an embossing tool to use with the machine, so that you can emboss paper, or add foil to designs as well.
… And What Does It Do?
In a nutshell, a Cricut takes an incredible amount of hand-cutting out of your crafting workflow. And it replaces that hand-cutting with extremely precise pieces that look as though you bought them.
It takes DIY and craft projects to the next level.
Logistically, here’s how a Cricut works. You start in Cricut Design Space, which is the free (and easy!) software that comes with every machine. In Design Space, you can upload or create your own designs, or choose from the thousands of images, fonts, and projects already in the library.
Once your design is created in Design Space, connect your Cricut machine wirelessly to your computer. Load your material onto a cutting mat, and load the mat into the machine. The cutting mats have a sticky grip on them that keep your material in place as the Cricut cuts, draws, or embosses on the material.
Once your material is in place and you’ve selected your cutting settings, press go and your Cricut will do all of the rest of the work! There’s a blade housed inside that’s teeny tiny but extremely powerful, and it cuts out even the most intricate designs for you.
When the machine is done, remove your mat and take your material off of the mat. Now you have a perfectly prepped material to add to your DIY creations!
What Can a Cricut Machine Cut?
One thing I love so much about the Cricut is that it’s extremely versatile. With older cutting machines, choices were pretty limited as far as materials. But Cricut stepped it up (way, way up).
Cricut machines can cut hundreds of different materials. My most used materials are paper, cardstock, vinyl, iron-on vinyl, and bonded fabric.
Depending on the machine, you can also cut chipboard, leather, basswood, extra thin paper (like vellum), felt, foil, and lots more.
Types of Cricut Machines and How They Differ
There are three different Cricut machines, and each serves a slightly different purpose.
Cricut Explore Air 2. This is the one that I own, and the one that I recommend if you’re looking to get a great tool with plenty of capabilities, but maybe aren’t into heavy duty crafting.
The Explore Air 2 can wirelessly connect to your computer, cuts 100 different materials (great for cardstock, vinyl, iron-on, and the like), and it’s super speedy. I love that it’s easy to navigate and can handle basic materials with ease.
Cricut Joy. This is kind of a mini machine that makes smaller projects extremely easy and quick! It can draw and cut, and you can purchase Smart Materials for it, which you can cut without a cutting mat.
I’ve always thought the Cricut Joy would be great to keep in a classroom for an elementary school teacher.
Cricut Maker. This one means business! I’m hoping to upgrade to a Maker soon.
If you’re a sewer, this machine can cut your fabric patterns for you. It can handle delicate paper without ripping or tearing. The Maker also can cut leather, wood, and lots of heavier materials (in addition to all of the standard materials that the other machines cut, too).
Tools And Accessories
In addition to the cutting machines, you’ll need a few tools and accessories to really get the most out of your machine. I have found that I don’t use every tool that Cricut offers. But below is a list of the tools that I use every time I use the machine.
Cutting Mats. There are a variety of cutting mats, each with different levels of grip. There are also different lengths and sizes. I like to keep a few on hand.
Weeding Tool + Scraper. These come in the Basic Tool Set and are my most-used tools. The weeding tool helps you remove excess vinyl from your vinyl projects, and the scraper helps remove debris from your cutting mats.
Pens. If you’re working on a project that involves drawing, check out the selection of pens to work with.
There are so many other specialty tools as well for specific projects. I encourage you to check out their Tools Page!
How I Use My Cricut
I have found that there are three main categories of projects that I create with my Cricut.
DIY and Crafts. Obviously, I use my Cricut any time I’m doing a project that needs cutting. I do this for two reasons.
First, it speeds up my process because hand-cutting takes time and the Cricut is way faster than I am. Secondly, the machine produces a better and cleaner result than I ever could.
It makes every project look polished and professional.
Household and Organization. The Cricut is super handy for things around the house. Making labels, creating signs, and organizing drawers or cabinets are all great uses.
Kids and School. I find it incredibly useful in creating projects with or for the kids, especially when it comes to school!
If a teacher needs 40 bats cut out for Halloween, I can do that for them in a few minutes. We’ve made school spirit shirts in the morning before we left the house for school — that’s how quick it is.
There possibilities for creation are endless — these are just a few ways I’ve found myself using the Cricut repeatedly.
Some of Our Past Cricut Projects And The Materials We Used To Make Them
To give you an idea of the variety of what you can create with a Cricut, here are some of our past projects! Click through to see more details and a full tutorial for each.
DIY Spring Centerpiece (Cardstock)
Harry Potter School Supplies (Iron-On Vinyl)
DIY Shirts + Coasters (Infusible Ink)
Make Disney Family Shirts for Halloween (Infusible Ink + Vinyl)
Mother’s Day Card Ideas: Printable Download (Cardstock)
Make a Car Survival Kit for a Road Trip (Infusible Ink)
DIY Typography Easter Eggs (Vinyl)
Shirt Ideas for Your Next Disneyland Trip (with Free Patterns!) (Iron-On Vinyl)
Mickey Mouse Ears (Craft Foam)
Sidewalk Chalk Stencils (Stencil Vinyl)
I’d love to know what other questions you have! Drop a comment or find me on Instagram @lovelyindeed and DM me anything you’d like to know.
The Cricut machine is a tool I believe in big time, so I’m happy to help answer any questions. Have fun! xoxo
This post is sponsored by Cricut. All opinions are my own. Thank you for being supportive of the brands that help keep Lovely Indeed rockin’!
9 thoughts on “What is a Cricut Machine And What Does It Do?”
I love all the lovely ideas you presented, however, I am not electronic-minded at all. I am concerned about being able to process all that has to be done to operate this machine. I would like to have one to embellish some of my paintings and other forms of artwork. I think it would work for things like that also. Do you have any advice on my situation? Thank you!
Hi Darlene! Honestly, the Cricut is one of the more intuitive and simple machines you’ll find. I think that with the abundance of tutorials and how-tos online for getting started with it, you’d be just fine! The Cricut website has lots of great resources, and there are tons of YouTube videos by Cricut users that walk you through step-by-step.