The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Crafters: Cricut Tools, Hacks & More
The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Crafters: Cricut Tools, Hacks & More
Posted 31st August 2021 •
By Brandi Cooper
So you just got a Cricut? Awesome! Now it's time to learn about the wonderful world of Cricut tools. It can be a little intimidating to do your first project, but with the help of this Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Crafters, it will help you jump right in there with the confidence needed to create your very own project successfully.
Let's break down the various tools each Cricut Family uses, what they are used for, and throw in a few Cricut hacks to help master your cutting machine.
The Best Cricut Tools for Crafters
The first set of tools you should purchase when starting out crafting is the Basic toolset. This set is a MUST HAVE to complete your projects. If you are lucky enough to purchase a Cricut Bundle and machine, most likely, you will have one of these sets included. However, you can find them in any craft store that sells cutting machines.
Basic Tool Set
tweezers (for picking up/laying down small pieces)
spatula (to lift materials off the mat)
scissors with cover (to cut materials)
weeding tool (to remove unwanted material from your design)
scraper (to burnish materials or surfaces together)
Other tools such as blades allow your Cricut machine to cut your projects. Depending on the type of material you want to cut, you'll need to choose the corresponding blade for that material. Each family of Cricut Machines has its own set of blades that work ONLY with that machine. The blades and tools are separated by family, so you can easily tell which ones to purchase for your machine.
Currently, there are 8 types of blades and 5 other crafting tools available. It's useful to note that each blade or tool is held by the corresponding housing. The Rotary Blade, for example, can only be held by the Rotary Blade Housing. When purchasing for the first time, the housing and blade will be sold together except for the quick swap tool.
Now to get into the breakdown of each tool and what machine can use it.
Cricut Foil Transfer tool with small and large replacement tips
Cricut Maker Family Tools
The Cricut Maker can cut 300+ materials using the tools listed below. These tools are not able to be used in any other Cricut cutting machine.
The rotary blade is a first of its kind. This tool was first introduced with the first Maker, allowing crafters to easily cut fabric and other thin materials, like tissue paper or cork. Sizing restrictions of 3/4" or larger when using this blade are recommended to allow proper cutting.
The Knife Blade is ideal for your profound cuts on stronger and thicker materials such as balsa wood, chipboard, leather, and other materials up to 3/32" thick. No other Cricut Machine can cut materials as thick as this blade can handle. It currently retails for $30.
The QuickSwap Tool was designed to swap tips quickly and easily at a touch of a button. The Quickswap housing retails for $30, and then each tip is $20- $30. This housing holds 5 Quickswap tools, which are listed in more detail below.
Scoring Wheel/Double Scoring Wheel
The Scoring Wheel or Double Scoring wheel can apply 10x the amount of pressure than the scoring stylus. It currently retails for $30 for a single or $70 for the combo pack. The single Scoring Wheel is used for paper, cardstock, and other lighter materials. The Double Scoring Wheel is used for thicker materials such as poster board and cardboard.
The Debossing Tip presses into your material to create an imprint. It glides a tiny ball across your material instead of cutting through like a blade. This tip currently retails for $25.
The Debossing tool can add depth to your projects and extra pizzaz that layered material can't achieve.
The Engraving Tip is designed for inscribing words or designs into your material to create a permanent imprint. It presses a pointy metal tip into your material. Some materials that can be engraved with this tool are aluminum sheets, copper sheets, faux leather, Kraft board, and vinyl records. This tip currently retails for $30.
The Perforation Tip is designed to cut a perforated line on your material. It achieves this by using a notched circular blade. This blade is best used for paper and cardstock. It currently retails for $30. This tool would be best used on a flyer where you would want someone to tear off a phone number or information from the bottom.
The Wavy Blade is designed to cut a decorative wavy edge down your material. It achieves this look because the blade itself is wavy. It can be used on a variety of materials such as felt, craft foam, cardstock, iron-on, poster board, paper, and more. It currently retails for $30.
Cricut Explore and Cricut Maker Family Tools
The Cricut Explore has a variety of blades for different projects. These blades are also compatible with the Cricut Maker family.
Premium Fine-Point Blade
The premium fine-point blade is recommended for intricate cuts in materials such as paper, cardstock, poster board, vinyl, iron-on, and other thin to medium materials. The blade itself is made from german carbide steel, and it is gold in color. This blade comes with your Cricut machine; however, if you need a replacement, they currently retail for $35.
Deep Point Blade
The Deep Point Blade is another fine-point blade. However, the difference is the angle of the tip. This one is made for medium to thick materials such as cardboard, stiff felt sheets, and balsa wood. It is black in color to easily tell apart from the Premium fine-point blade. It currently retails for $35.
Cricut Roll Holder
The Cricut Roll Holder is Cricut's newest tool. This tool keeps large rolls of vinyl or HTV aligned on your machine for clean, precise cuts. It offers a built-in trimmer for straight cutting. It currently retails for $50.
The Scoring Stylus is used to score materials such as cards for easy folding and assembly. The Cricut can hold a stylus and a blade simultaneously, so you can score and cut your projects quickly and easily. This tool currently retails for $10.
Foil Transfer Tool
The Foil Transfer Tool is designed to create foil accents on top of your projects. This tool applies pressure on top of the foil sheets to transfer the foil onto the project. It looks like a knife blade; however, the tip is rounded metal. It currently retails for $40 as a kit that includes 3 tips for different line thicknesses.
Bonded Fabric Blade
The bonded Fabric Blade is useful for fabric crafts, particularly bonded fabrics that have thick backings. This blade is pink in color to match the pink fabric grip mat. This blade currently retails for $35.
Cricut Joy Tools
The following tools can only be used with the Cricut Joy machine due to its small build.
Cricut Joy Blade
This blade comes stock with the Cricut Joy. It is an all-purpose blade that is compact, just like the machine. The Cricut Joy's blade can be used on all 30+ materials such as paper, vinyl, poster board, cardstock, and more. It currently retails for $33 for a replacement blade and housing.
Cricut Joy Foil Transfer Tool
Just like the Cricut Explore and Maker Foil transfer Tool, The Foil Transfer Tool is designed to create foil accents on top of your projects. This tool applies pressure on top of the foil sheets to transfer the foil onto the project. It looks like a knife blade; however, the tip is rounded metal. It currently retails for $30 and only has 1 tip, unlike the larger Cricut Maker and Explore machines.
Unmissable Cricut Hacks
Once you become a seasoned crafter, you will have picked up a few hacks to make life SO much easier. We've rounded up 5 of the most used Cricut hacks to help speed up the crafting process and get a little more organized in the craft room.
#1 Hack: How To Clean Your Cricut Mat
Your mats are bound to pick up any and every bit of hair, fabric, and fuzz it comes in contact with. Keeping the plastic covering on when not in use and replacing it as soon as you are done using the mat is a good start. This will help keep the gunk down to a minimum.
When it comes time to clean your mat, one way to do so is to use a lint roller to roll across the mat to pick up loose hair, fuzz, and other fine particles. If you have some leftover paper or adhesive on your mat, try a baby wipe to remove some of the excess dirt. You may also use your Cricut spatula to help pull up small pieces that were left when removing projects.
Another way to remove excess debris from the mat is to run it under lukewarm water and gently rub it away. This works well after cutting certain fabrics or felt.
There are tons of suggestions on how to re-stick your mat using products such as Goo-gone and spray adhesive. The problem with this trick is that the adhesives not meant for Cricut use may come off inside your machine, and then your machine would no longer be covered under warranty if it were to break. A new mat is always going to be cheaper than purchasing a new machine!
#2 Hack: How To Store Vinyl & Iron-On Vinyl Rolls
If you ever wondered what the best way to store vinyl or HTV rolls is, Ikea trashbag holders are a cheap and easy solution! They retail for about $3 a piece and can be stacked on top of each other when hung on the wall.
You can use nails, screws, or command hooks to hold them in place, and it works wonderfully to free up some drawer space for other craft-related items.
Other crafters have zip-tied the bag holders together to make a full circle and then sit them on top of their craft station for easy access.
#3: Hack: How To Remove Paper and Vinyl From the Mat Without Bending Material
Turn your mat upside down and begin to curl the mat away from the material. This will allow the material to stay flat as you remove it and prevent your projects from bending, curling, or ripping!
#4: Hack: Store Vinyl Scraps In Clear Zipper Pouches
Save any and all scrap pieces! They can still be used for smaller cuts.
Store leftover pieces in Clear zipper pouches to easily see what you have. You can separate them by vinyl type and/or color for even quicker access.
If you are using Design Space on a tablet or phone, you can use the Snap Mat feature to organize your designs on your vinyl scraps.
#5 Hack: How To Recall A Font Used
Once you have welded your design together, it can be difficult to remember which font was used to create your design. Thankfully Design Space has a feature to show you what font was used.
Right-click on the font layer and choose Image Info. You will then see the font name.