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Cricut Maker-Tips And Ideas

As a professional scrapbook artist, paper crafter, and author, I have taught people how to turn family memories into legacies for 20 years.


The Cricut Maker

The Cricut Maker has been an important improvement over the Cricut Explore line. It is faster than any of the Cricut Explores and cuts better.

It features two new tool cups and a larger storage area in the lid.

It cuts over 300 materials. You can now cut thicker and denser materials more easily, including leather, chipboard, and wood up to 3/32″ thick.

For sewers, one of the most exciting features is the ability to cut and mark fabrics. What a time saver!

The Cricut Maker has10 times the cutting power of the original Cricut Explore.

It also has been engineered to do Print Then Cut features on colored and printed papers. The Explore can only do this feature on White Paper. New sensors give you wider options. It also has a larger print size for the Print Then Cut feature. The new size for this feature is 9 ¼ x 6 ¼ inches. The registration marks have changed to be a solid rectangle border around the image you are printing. This gives more precision as the sensor reads the entire line around

Then they added a whole new tool line that gives you more options than ever before. There are currently 12 plus tools for all of your cutting needs. It can also cut the most delicate of materials, like crepe paper. Plus it can cut fabric

Works well with iOS, Android™, Windows®, and Mac®.

The maximum cutting area on the original maker is 11.5 x 23.5 inches

There is an area on top of the machine that holds your telephone or I pad. It has a connection port to keep your android device on and charged.

Use your own images and fonts in a variety of standard file formats.

What Is In The Box *

  • The Cricut Maker itself with USB cable and power adapter
  • Premium fine-point blade and housing
  • Rotary blade and drive house
  • Fine-point black pen
  • 2 mats: a pink FabricGrip Mat (12″x12″) and a blue LightGrip mat (12″x12″)
  • Welcome book (not a manual of how to use the machine really)
  • Free trial of Cricut Access and 50 ready-to-make projects
  • Materials for a sample practice project (card with a kite)

* Materials may vary with different bundles. Make sure you read and understand what is included.

Now The Cricut Maker 3

The new upgraded Cricut Maker 3 is now available. And it has caused a lot of excitement! In case you were wondering there was not a Cricut Maker 2. So no, you did not miss a model.

The Cricut Maker 3 is faster than any other Cricut. The Cricut Maker 3 can cut up to 8 inches per second when cutting Smart Materials. Please note that the faster cutting speeds only apply when cutting Smart Vinyl, Iron-on, or Paper Sticker Cardstock. If you are cutting using a mat, the speed will be the same as the original Maker.

The case looks similar to the original, Perhaps the biggest change from the outside is the redesigned buttons. They all got a slightly upgraded look but the famous “Cricut C” button has now become a play or go button. The functions of each button are the same even though their appearance has changed.l Maker. However, as of this moment, the only color available is a baby blue.

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There are now plastic guides on either side of the tray as well as a black sensor on the left side of the tray. These are for the new matless feature with Smart Materials.

What Else Stayed The Same

  • All of the tools that you used and were available in the original maker are still useable in the Cricut Maker 3
  • Pens are still loaded and used in the same way
  • Print Then Cut functions the same way.

Cutting Smart Materials With No Mats

The biggest change and the one that is causing the biggest stir is the ability to cut Smart Materials without a mat! Cricut is releasing Smart Materials that cut matless with both the Maker 3

This feature is made possible by new sensors and guides that the machine uses to make this happen. There are two sensors in this machine that help to align the material as well as make sure you have enough material to make your cut.

Larger Cutting Area

This new feature of matless cutting also increases the overall cutting area. You can now make cuts up to 12 feet with Smart Materials! The maximum width is 11.75 inches when you are cutting without a mat and 11.5 inches when cutting with a mat. NOTE: The 12 feet length is only recommended for Smart Vinyl. A maximum length of 4 feet is recommended for iron-on. The paper sticker cardstock only comes in 13 x 13-inch pieces at this time so longer cuts will not be available for it.

These Smart Materials include vinyl, iron vinyl, as well as paper sticker cardstock.

New Roll Holder

The Cricut Maker 3 has the ability to cut smart materials up to 75 feet long. There is an optional Roll Holder that connects to the Cricut Maker 3. It keeps the matless smart materials straight as the materials are cut. It also has a paper trimmer as part of the tool. The roller tool is an additional purchase averaging about $49.

What's In The Box

  • Cricut Maker 3 machine
  • Fine Point Blade and Housing (Installed in the machine)
  • Welcome card
  • USB cable
  • Power adapter
  • Free trial subscription (for new subscribers)
  • 13 x 13 inch sheets of Smart Vinyl, Smart Iron-on, Smart Paper Sticker Cardstock, and Transfer Tape

There will be bundles that will include additional Smart Materials at additional cost. Bundles are available with a different configurations.

Introducing The Cricut Maker 3

Smart Materials-Matless Cutting

Smart materials are the newest line of products that offer matless cutting. Yes, that means cutting without a mat! The materials are only available on the Cricut Maker 3.

Smart Vinyl

Can you imagine creating larger projects up to 12 feet without a mat? Cricut could. The smart vinyl comes in rolls of 3, 12, 21 snd 75 feet long. in permanent, removable, and specialty finishes like glitter and shimmer. The maximum cut width is 11.7″. These rolls come in a variety of colors. The 75 feet rolls, however, only are available in white and black right now.

Transfer Tape

Transfer tape is also available at lengths of 12, 21, and 75 feet. Transfer tape help you get your backing project off your carrier sheet and onto your base material

Smart Iron-On

Smart Iron-On is available in lots of colors in rolls of 3 and 9 feet rolls. It comes in regular and specialty finishes like holographic and glitter.Smart Iron On can be cut up to 4′ at a time,

Smart Paper Sticker Cardstock

This is cardstock with an adhesive backing. It can be used with no glue. Just cut it and place it where you need it. It comes in sheets of 13" by 13" in lots of colors and color combinations. Just cut, peel, and stick. The maximum cut area for Smart Paper is 11.7″ wide by 11.2″ wide.

Smart Material Tips And Information

Buttons On The Cricut Maker Three

The buttons are actually the same as the Cricut Maker with a new look!

The buttons are actually the same as the Cricut Maker with a new look!

The Special Blades For The Cricut Maker

When you purchase your Maker, inside the package will be a rotary blade and housing (not included on the Maker 3). Installed in the machine is a fine fine point blade and the housing to hold it. However, that is just the beginning when it comes to the options for this tool.

Other blades can be purchased that will help you go beyond the basics to create new and different projects. Before you purchase any additional tools, it is important to know more about them. That way you can decide which tools are right for you.

The Cricut Quick Swap tools fit in the Quick Swap Housing. That means that you only have to have one housing for most of the tools. The only exception to the housing is the rotary blade and the knife blade.

Which Tool Is Which?

The tools are optional purchases. This is a nice feature. You can buy the tools that you need.

The tools are named on the packaging, but not on the tools themselves. However, each tool has an engraved number on the tools as follows:

  • Scoring Wheel 01
  • Double Scoring Wheel 02
  • Perforation Blade 11
  • Debossing Tip 21
  • Wavy Blade 31
  • Engraving Tip 41

The Tools In The Cricut Adaptive Tool System


The Adaptive Tool System On The Maker

The Adaptive Tool System is an innovative system specifically for the Cricut Maker and the Cricut Maker 3. The system allows the machine to offer 10x the pressure in comparison to the previous machine models in addition to allowing the user to switch out a variety of tools

All Cricut tools are based on the line type you select in Design Space. So, when you select the debossing line type on your project in Design Space, your computer communicates this to your machine. Your computer will prompt you when you need to switch tools if your project has multiple line types.

More Adaptive Tools Ideas And Tips

Cricut Maker Specialty Blades

Fine Point Blade

The fine point blade comes loaded with your Cricut Maker and Cricut Maker 3. It may be available in either gold or silver. It was previously called the Premium German Carbide blade. It makes intricate cuts on a variety of thin to medium-weight materials. The blade has a 45-degree angle.

What It Cuts

Thin to medium-weight materials. Suggested uses include paper, cardstock, poster board, iron-on, and other thin to medium weight materials. It is gold in color

  • Use with gold Premium Fine-Point Housing or silver Fine-Point Housing
  • This blade and housing can be used with the Cricut Maker and Cricut Explore family of machines

Cricut Maker Deep Point Blade

The Deep Point Blade allows you to cut thicker materials that is not possible with many other cutting machines

The Deep Point Blade allows you to cut thicker materials that is not possible with many other cutting machines

The Deep Point Blade

The Deep Point Blade helps you get perfect cuts on a wider variety of materials. It has blade has a steeper blade angle (60 degrees vs 45 degrees for the other fine point blades) and harder, more durable steel. It is black in color. It must be used with the Deep Point Blade Housing.

It can be used with both the Cricut Maker and the Cricut Explore.

It can cut materials like magnetic paper, chipboard, and thicker cardboard.

Switching Blades On The Cricut Maker

Changing the blade on your Cricut Maker is so very easy. That is one of the reasons that I love the Cricut machines, Here is how you change your Cricut Maker blade:

  1. Remove The Housing-Remove the housing from the Cricut Machine by opening Clamp B,
  2. Remove The Blade-Push the pin on the top of the housing and gently remove the blade from the bottom.
  3. Insert The New Blade-Remove the plastic covering from the new blade. Insert the new blade into the housing.
  4. Replace The Housing-Place the blade housing back into Clamp B and close the clamp.

Cricut Maker Scoring Wheel


The Scoring Wheel

The Scoring Wheel on the Cricut Maker and the Maker 3 create the perfect scoring lines on cardstock and other materials. This tool replaces the Scoring Stylus that was and is used in the Cricut Explore Air and the Cricut Explore 3.

The Scoring Wheel gives you 10 times more pressure than the Scoring Stylus. That means clean lines on every project, every time.

You get clear score lines with the Scoring Wheel without any cracking. You can see the lines more clearly which helps you create the perfect project at any time.

Single Scoring Wheel

The Single Scoring Wheel makes a single scoring line. It creates a single cleaner folding line. When looking at the two scoring wheels, the Single Scoring Wheel has an “01” engraved on the side of the tool.

Double Scoring Wheel

The double scoring line creates two parallel score lines. The Double Scoring Wheel is perfect for those heavier card stock materials that would crack with the previous Scoring Stylus.

The two parallel lines allow for the material to fold in between the lines and prevent cracking. When looking at the two scoring wheels, the Double Scoring Wheel has an “02” engraved on the side of the tool.

Using the Scoring Wheel

To use, switch out the Scor Wheel Housing with the Knife Blade or other housing. To swap out the Single Scoring Wheel and the Double Scoring Wheel, push the plunger on the top of the Scoring Wheel housing change between the two.

Scoring Wheel Tips

  • If crafting with “pretty” paper, such as glitter card stock or other coated card stock materials, Cricut recommends placing the paper “pretty” side down and mirroring the project. This makes sure that the scoring line is inside the project and that it folds the correct way.
  • The Scoring Wheel does not need to be calibrated.

Which Scoring Wheel Is Right For Your Materials?


More About The Cricut Scoring Wheel

The Deboss Tool


Now you can deboss any design on your projects with the Cricut Deboss Tool. Debossed designs and text are depressed down into a material. That means that you can use it to create recessed/depressed designs in materials.

This tool contains a small rollerball in the tip that will roll over any shape or curve to give a debossed look. The deboss tip is designated with the number “21” on the tip. The deboss tip is meant for a fine deboss application.

To ensure your Cricut debosses exactly where you want it to, you can use the attach tool in design space to fix your debossing design in place on any cut layer. If you’re debossing precut items, you can drag the designs around accordingly on the project preview screen (after you click Make It in Design Space).

In Design Space, some materials will be grayed out for debossing. That means that they aren’t compatible with the debossing linetype.

What Materials Can You Deboss

  • Acetate (including the foil version)
  • Adhesive Sheet, Double-Sided
  • Construction Paper
  • Copy Paper_20 lb (75 gsm)
  • Copy Paper– 32 lb
  • Craft Foam
  • Deluxe Paper
  • Duct Tape Sheet
  • Faux Leather (Paper Thin)
  • Flocked Paper
  • Foil Holographic Kraft Board – Neon
  • Foil Poster Board
  • Freezer Paper
  • Genuine Leather
  • Glitter Cardstock
  • Glitter Craft Foam
  • Heavy Cardstock – 100 lb
  • Heavy Chipboard
  • Medium Cardstock – 80 lb (216 gsm)
  • Heavy Watercolor Paper – 140 lb (300 gsm)
  • Kraft Board
  • Light Cardstock – 60 lb. (163 gsm)
  • Light Chipboard – 0.37 mm
  • Kraft Cardstock
  • Light Glitter Paper
  • Light Patterned Paper
  • Matboard
  • Metallic Poster Board
  • Mulberry Paper
  • Pearl Paper
  • Poster Board
  • Shimmer Paper
  • Sparkle Paper
  • Sticker Paper – Removable
  • Sticky Note
  • Tooling Leather 2-3 oz. (0.8 mm), 4-5-oz. (1.6 mm), 6-7 oz. (2.4 mm)
  • Transparency
  • Vellum

The Cricut Deboss Tool

Debossing Tool Projects

Cricut Engraving Tip


The Engraving Tool enables you to make monograms. add personalized texts and decorative designs.

One thing to note is that the fast mode is not available with the engraving tool.

To prepare your material for cutting, Cricut recommends taping your material down to the mat while—much like you have to do with the knife blade. However, make sure not to tape over the engraving area or you’ll get engraved tape.

Make sure you position your material on your mat so that the tape doesn't pass under the rummer rollers near the mat guides. You can double-check placement on the Design Space project preview screen and move the design accordingly.

Tips On Using The Engraving Tool

  • Place your material in the upper left corner of the mat. To ensure your material doesn't move during engraving, tape material down on all sides.
  • Do not use tape over the engraving area. Position material on the mat so that the tape doesn't pass under rubber rollers near the mat guides. Use the project preview screen in Design Space and move your design to the corresponding position.
  • When working with thicker materials, always move the white star wheels on the roller bar all the way to the right. This gives clearance for thicker materials and ensures you won't end up with track marks on your final project. Additionally, make sure the material is never wider than 11" (28 cm).
  • When using stiff materials, use your hands to gently support the machine mat during the loading and engraving process.
  • To smooth rough edges, use a polishing cloth or finishing grit sandpaper (360-600 grit) to gently sand them down.
  • Test the back of the material first to make sure it doesn’t scratch the material
  • Before working with tooling leather, use a damp sponge to soften the fibers for the best-engraved results.
  • Use compressed air or a soft cloth to remove debris created by the engraving process. Always dust toward the outside of the machine rather than into/through the machine.

What You Can Engrave With This Tool

  • Acetate
  • Aluminum Sheets (0.5mm)
  • Faux Leather ( paper-thin)
  • Foil Acetate
  • Foil Holographic Kraft Board- Neon
  • Foil Poster Board
  • Garment Leather 2-3 oz. (0.8 mm)
  • Genuine Leather
  • Glitter Cardstock
  • Heavy Watercolor Paper – 140 lb (300 gsm)
  • Kraft Board
  • Metal – 40 gauge thin copper
  • Metallic Leather
  • Metallic Poster Board
  • Shimmer Paper
  • Sparkle Paper
  • Tooling Leather 2-3 oz. (0.8 mm)
  • Tooling Leather 6-7 oz. (2.4 mm)
  • Transparency
  • Vinyl Record

Cricut Engraving Tool

More Engraving Ideas And Tips

The Cricut Wavy Blade


The Cricut Wavy Blade adds a wavy line to any project in half the time of other drag blades using the Quick Swap Housing. It is similar to a rotary blade, except it makes a wavy pattern.

The wavy blade works best if you don’t use it for any curves smaller than 3/4″. It’s not great at cutting tight corners!

What Materials Does It Cut

  • Acetate (foil and regular)
  • Adhesive Foil, Matte
  • Cardstock, Adhesive-Backed Glitter
  • Construction Paper
  • Copy Paper
  • Cotton (bonded and not bonded)
  • Craft Foam
  • Crepe Paper ( fine and extra fine
  • Duct Tape Sheets
  • Iron-On (all types)
  • Faux Leather ( paper-thin)
  • Felt (all types)
  • Flannel
  • Fleece ( plush)
  • Foil Embossed Paper
  • Foil Holographic Kraft Board-Neon
  • Fusible Fabric
  • Genuine Leather
  • Glitter Cardstock
  • Heavy Cardstock -100 lb
  • Heavy Watercolor Paper -140 lb
  • Kraft Board
  • Kraft Cardstock
  • Light Cardstock- 60 lbs
  • Light Chipboard 0.37 mm
  • Linen
  • Medium Cardstock-80 lb
  • Metallic Poster Board
  • Pearl Paper
  • Photo Paper
  • Polyester
  • Polypropylene Fluted Sheet
  • Poster Board (regular and foil)
  • Printable Fabric
  • Printable Vinyl
  • Shimmer Paper
  • Sparkle Paper
  • Sticker Paper
  • Tooling Leather 2-3 oz. (0.8 mm)
  • True Brushed Paper

Tips And Ideas For The Cricut Wavy Blade

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Rotary Blade


The Cricut rotary lade has been one of the most anticipated features. Unlike the Explore, the Cricut Maker cuts most fabrics-bonded both or not.

The rotary blade picks up and turns when needed, creating exact points and corners. It can cut circles as small as ¾ inches. Imagine cutting out quilting pieces, or patterns for things like purses, doll clothes, and toys, without the time-consuming process of pinning, and then still worrying that edges won’t line up.

You can cut patterns and mark them with complete ease. Saves so much time if you like to sew. And there are many patterns and sewing projects on the Cricut Access Program. Some projects will be included with your Cricut Access Subscription and others are available at a very nominal fee.

Not only do they have the 12mm Blade, but they also have a pink mat designed to hold fabric while it is being cut. And they have made a washable fabric pen that will mark your fabric. The fabric pen and the fabric mat are separate purchases that have been popular with sewing enthusiasts.

The Cricut Rotary Blade

Bonded Fabric Blade


This blade is a special blade that is used only to cut detailed cuts on bonded fabrics or fabric with an iron-on backer. This tool uses the Bonded -Fabric Blade Housing. The Bonded Fabric Blade can be used with both the Cricut Maker and Explore machines.

This cool pink blade plus housing matches the Cricut FabricGrip™ Mat.


  • You can also use the Fine Point Blade Housing with this tool
  • This is one of the few tools that can also be used with the Cricut Explore

The Knife Blade


The Cricut Knife Blade is made to cut through thicker materials. It works similar to an x-acto knife. The knife itself is designed to make several passes and then create a scoreline to cut through the material through the core of the material. One final pass completes the cut.

Cutting thicker materials with the Cricut Knife Blade is not as quick as cutting a material such as card stock or vinyl. The Cricut Knife Blade will cut multiple passes to create the design, making lighter passes at the beginning and end of the cut and deeper passes in the middle of the cutting process. Depending on the intricacy of the project, this may take many minutes. Plan accordingly when crafting with the Cricut Knife Blade and thicker materials.

The Cricut Knife Blade should be calibrated before first use. This calibrates the Cricut Knife Blade housing. When using the Knife Blade for the first time, insert it into the machine. Within Cricut Design Space, click the left drop-down menu and click “calibrate.” Choose Knife Blade and follow the instructions.

Cricut does not recommend cutting designs smaller than 3/4″ with the Cricut Knife Blade.

Knife Blade Tips

  • Move the star wheels when working with thicker materials. The star wheels may make indentations in the thicker materials. Simply slide them all the way to the right when cutting materials with the Cricut Knife Blade.
  • Don’t be afraid to tape crafting materials to the mat. Even when using the StrongGrip Cutting Mat, thicker materials may want to pop up when cutting. Tape the edges to the mat to help prevent this.

The Cricut Knife Blade

More Knife Blade Information And Tips

The Cricut Perforation Blade


The Preformation Blade is a tool that creates evenly spaced perforation lines allowing for clean tearing of materials without the need to fold the material beforehand.

Enables you to get the perfect tear on all of your projects. Perforation Blade creates evenly space perforation lines allowing for clean, even tearing without the need to fold beforehand - especially great for shapes with curves. It is great for tear out books, raffle tickets, homemade journals, or any project that requires a quick tear,

Uses Cricut Quick Swap Housing and is only for use with the Cricut Maker

The Cricut Perforation Blade

Perforation Tip Ideas And Projects

Scoring Stylus

The Scoring Stylus is available for all Cricut cutting machines

The Scoring Stylus is available for all Cricut cutting machines

The Scoring Stylus

The scoring stylus is still available for all the Explore models as well as the Maker models. While it does make a reasonable scoring line, it is not as visible as the scoring wheel.

More Maker Tips And Ideas

Which Cricut Maker Is Right For Me?


The Bottom Line On The Cricut Maker And The Cricut Maker 3

So, the question is, if you have a Cricut Explore or a Cricut Maker, is it time to go the next step and purchase the Cricut Explore 3?

The answer to that question of course depends on your needs and your budget.

About Your Needs

Let's start with the needs portion of the question. If you currently have a Cricut Explore, you may want to add features that your current machine does not offer. Speed. larger width, tools, and matless cutting are sure enticements to make you lean to that purchase.

If you currently have a Cricut Maker, that is a tougher decision. The Maker 3 will offer you more speed and matless cutting, but little more than that. If you do a lot of vinyl cutting, for yourself or for sales, then this might be time to upgrade. If you are a professional crafter, then these features might be right for you.

About Your Budget

Depending on which bundle you purchase, you will get a sample of the Smart Materials. But if you want to continue with Smart Materials, you will need to make additional purchases. The only place to get these materials is through Cricut. If you have an Access Membership, you will get a discount depending on which subscription that you have. The Smart Materials end the use of mats, so you will not be buying as many mats as before.

Another consideration is the additional costs of the tools that you want and need. These, of course, can be added over a period of time.

So what is right for you? Only you can decide that. No matter what you decide, I wish you Happy Crafting

© 2021 Linda F Correa

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