I’m Amanda, and I put the AMANDA in A MANDAtory Activity (and I like a good bad pun).
As part of my gift and craft making for friends and family, I fell in love with making candles and soap. Now, I want to share them with you. A Mandatory Activity sells artisan candles and bath products handcrafted, by me, in Maryland. My candles are hand-poured using 100% soy wax. Take a look around and find something to love.
Are You Thinking About Getting a Cricut, But Don't Know What You Need? Are you thinking about getting a Cricut, but you aren't sure what you need to buy to get started? We are going to run through the 6 things you need in order to get started with Cricut projects. I think my actual […]
Are You Thinking About Getting a Cricut, But Don't Know What You Need?
Are you thinking about getting a Cricut, but you aren't sure what you need to buy to get started? We are going to run through the 6 things you need in order to get started with Cricut projects. I think my actual desire for a Cricut got trumped by my fear of needing to buy 100 new things, and since I didn't know what I needed, I waited and waited. You don't need to wait, you just need a small list of items...it's really just 6. Full disclosure: Your Cricut will become your new best friend, and you'll end up with the other 94 things later...but on your own terms and without overload!
I Don't Even Know How to PRONOUNCE Cricut, So It's Probably Too Hard to Figure Out How to Use?
So, maybe I jumped the gun a little? Have you been reading my posts and seeing my projects and thinking, "these look really fun, but what is a Cricut?" Or maybe you're even stuck because you don't know how to pronounce it. Is it CRYcut?? And if you can't even pronounce it, it's probably too hard to figure out how to actually use it. Is the conversation you are having in your head something like that?
First of all, it's not CRYcut, there's no crying in Cricut. 🙂 It's pronounced like cricket, but with an "uh". Like crick-uh-t. Second, it's not that hard, but it I get how it can be intimidating (see my post here about being afraid of your Cricut), but there are SO many great resources online, and if you only know me, ask me!
When I was a beginning and first got my Cricut, I had no idea what to do. Cricut itself was the resource I turned to. When you get your box, it doesn't just have a big, scary machine inside (jk), it has a bunch of helpful information and a link to the Cricut people. Those Cricut people have a ton of getting started videos. In fact, they have so many getting started videos, I don't think it makes a ton of sense for me to make any, but you be the judge. Here's a link to videos walking you through all the things you need to know to get started! How to Cricut with Cricut Explore Air Video
The box will also have materials to make your first project (mine was a little phone card), and a tutorial on how to do it. And THEN you're off to the races. My list of items is below, and if you make it to the bottom of this post, you'll get the abridged version. 😉
Cricut Is No Longer Intimidating, It's Now a Source of Happiness
My Cricut has been with me cranking out projects on the daily (ok, well on some evenings and on weekends, a girl's gotta work), and I've had mine for nearly 5 years, so I know she's getting old, but she's my friend and she needs very little support from me to keep creating, so I haven't upgraded.
I have the Cricut Explore Air, and it's wonderful because it has Bluetooth technology and you can instruct wirelessly from your computer, iPad, or even your iPhone. There is a top-of-the-line mamma bear of Cricut machines called the Cricut Maker (which is what I will get next time now that I've mastered the Explore Air), but the Air does so many things, it's a great place to start and is 30% less expensive than the Maker. Incidentally, Cricut has just released the Cricut Joy, which is teeny tiny and fits in the palm of your hand, but can do a lot of smaller projects. It just came out a few days ago, but it's $179...and you need special materials. Right now, you can get the Cricut Explore bundle for about $230, so unless space is your primary concern, I think the Explore is a much better value. Update: I've since purchased the Joy too (gulp) and will post a review shortly!
Enough Chit Chat, Here Are the 6 Things You Need
Okay, I've talked enough. Here's my list of what you need to get started with your Cricut. I'm going to assume for the purpose of this list that you already have a computer...because you will need a computer too. 🙂
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#1 A Cricut machine. Duh. There are a bunch of different colors. There's even a sleek black one if you are going for Cricut chic. 🙂
#2A cutting mat. You need a cutting mat to put your paper or cutting material on and feed into the Cricut machine. There are three basic mats, strong (purple), regular (green), and light (blue). I personally use more blue mats than anything else because I like to peel my projects off the mat without much effort...but I recommend one of each and the link here is a set of one of each.
#3Basic Cricut tools. Tiny scissors are always helpful in one's craft room, but you really need this set so you have the small square scraper to get little bits off of your mats, and the pokey tool if you make anything with vinyl. What is missing in this set, oddly, is a scoring stylus, which is a MUST. You can’t even put a seam inside of a card without a scoring stylus…so don’t forget that one.
#4Some Cricut pens. Your Cricut can write for you. That's right...labels, nametags, card sentiments, gift cards. All. The. Things. But you need to feed it a pen, and it's easy. This is a set of the basic black pens. I got the mega set of colors for Christmas and it's super fun, but needed for right now.
#5Some paper. You don't need to buy Cricut paper to use the Cricut. In fact, when I first started, I used the Recollections paper from Michael's most (even though it's 8.5 by 11 and not 12 by 12 like the mat size). There is a way to change the paper size in Cricut before you cut. I can make a video on that if you like? Just comment below if you'd like one. Recollections paper goes on sale all the time for 2 bucks, and even when it's regular price, you can use a Michael's coupon and end up getting a decent stash put together for not much cash. I use a lot of Cricut paper NOW because I love the texture and the weight of it, but I definitely built up to it. That being said, Cricut does have paper sales pretty regularly and you can get their paper packs for as low as 4 bucks sometimes.
#6 Cricut Access Standard. This is kind of a biggie. Do you NEED it to use your Cricut, no...but you are greatly reducing your ability to play if you don't grab it. What is it? It's what you use in the Cricut design software (called Cricut Design Space) to create your projects. You know when I go into Design Space in my tutorials and look for images or shapes (see the apron card project, that was a pretty good example). If you have access, it gives you literal access to a ton of free projects, fonts, shapes, images, and all sorts of goodies. It ALSO gives you 10% anything that's not free, and supplies on the Cricut website. So when you are ready to try Cricut paper and the fun box of colored pens, you'll get 10% off all of those things. I didn't get it right away because I wanted to see if it would be useful, but I quickly decided there were enough projects in Design Space that I wanted to try and this was the best way to do it (vs. paying for everything individually). There are monthly plans and annual plans. So, you don't NEED it now, but you probably will want it soon after you get started.
So, 6 is kind of a lot of things, but now that you know what the things ARE. The least expensive way to get them is to get yourself a machine bundle, which takes care of #1, #2, #3, and often #4 (and right now also a trial of #6!) for one price that is not incrementally higher than just the machine alone. It's the bundle. As I write this post now, it's on sale for $230. So you could buy the bundle and some paper and be good to go. Since the bundle contains the machine, the mats, the tools, a pen, and an access trial, that makes the list 2 items long! 🙂
She's a beauty, no? The bundle is also available in different colors, but not all of them.
Want to get the list down to JUST ONE ITEM? There's a bundle that is called the Everything Bundle that also includes a bunch of paper and cutting materials, a full set of black pens, a small set of colored pens, and the black Cricut is one of the available colors. 🙂 This bundle is typically about $300, which is a pretty great deal.
KNOW WHAT ELSE?? SHE COMES WITH A FREE CRICUT ACCESS TRIAL if you are new to Cricut. So that's truly all the things bundled together. The "everything bundle" isn't the most clever name, but it works when you legit throw everything in there...
That's It! Grab Your 6 Things (or Grab A Bundle) and Follow Along with My Tutorials. We'll Have Fun.
Hopefully this list will help disspell some of the concern about how much stuff you really need.More importantly, I hope that I have helped you learn how to say Cricut properly. 🙂 Welcome to the world of Cricut, it makes me very very happy.
Now that I have this post off my chest, time for more paper projects! If you want any more basic information, please let me know. I love answering questions and helping out. Grab some stuff and join me for tutorials! There are so many fun things planned, and I can't wait to share them with you.