Getting Started With Your New Cricut

Getting Started With Your New Cricut

December 28th, 2017 • Contributor: Kristen Johnson from A Girl and Her Glitter

Yippee! Hooray! You received a Cricut Machine to call your own!!! Now what?

Ready, Set, Make!

Tools + materials you’ll need to get started:

  • Cricut Maker
  • Cricut Explore Air 1 or 2
  • Fine Point Blade
  • Deep Cut Blade
  • LightGrip, StandardGrip, StrongGrip & FabricGrip Cutting Mats
  • Ultimate Fine Point Pen Set
  • Cricut Tools

It is finally time to make ALL OF THE THINGS! You’ve seen the Cricut magic and how all of the machines can cut. Now that you have one, your time has come. Machine, check. Mats, check. Blade, check. Cricut Pens, check.  Now that you have collected all of your necessary tools, let’s get started.

You are now a Maker!

“Makers gonna make” and you are ready to create! No doubt you are chomping at the bit to get your first project going, let’s start with the basics of design space to start you on the vast amount of possibilities.

1: Go to

Once you get your machine, you will want to visit In the upper right hand of your screen, you will see “Shop” or “Design.” Select Design and you will be opened to a screen to create a Cricut ID and sign in. It's free!  Then you will be taken to a screen that will be the home page of your Design Space.

2: New Machine Setup

Get your machine ready to go

In the upper left hand  of  your Design Space screen, you will see an icon that has three horizontal lines as well as the word “Canvas.” Click on the three horizontal lines and a menu of items will drop. Select “New Machine Setup” and follow those steps.

3: Start a Project

Click on the plus to start a project

Once your machine has been registered, you will be ready to create your first project! Click on the plus sign, “New Project.” You will then see a blank grid pattern and this space is called your “Canvas.” This space is where you create ANY of your materials and is your blank canvas.

4: You are Ready to Create

Add images, text and more to your blank canvas

From here, you will see to the left of your canvas screen, you will see different icons for different projects: Templates, Projects, Images, Text, Shapes, and Uploads. This is your key to creating and making anything you can imagine.

* The top of your screen will remain in the grey,  unable to click on, state until you select your canvas by clicking on one of the icons to the left of the screen.*

Templates help you properly design a wide variety of projects. From goblets to T-shirts, you can click the type of product that you will be placing your finished design on and it will provide a visual image of one for better placement.

Projects include thousands of Ready to Make projects that will have you crafting right away. You can also customize most of these if you like.

Images will bring you to a search screen where you can look through thousands of images for your projects.

Text will bring up a box where you can type and customize any text that you wish to add.

Shapes is an easy way to add some basic shapes or a score line to your project.

Uploads allows you to bring in your own images. The types of files that you can use are .jpg, .bmp, .png, .gif, .svg, and .dxf. Follow the prompts on the screen to get it ready for use.

5: Changing Blades

Learn how to change the blades in a Cricut machine

All Cricut Explore machines, as well as the Maker, use the fine and deep cut blades. The Maker is the only one to use the Rotary blade.

To load your blade housing, simply open up the latch on your machine that has the “B” marked on it. Take your blade and drop it into place and secure with the closure tab. You can change out the standard and deep cut blades in their housings by removing it, pushing the button on top, taking off the cap from the new blade, and inserting it into the housing.

6: Use a Pen to Write

In addition to all that these machines can do,  they can write! Take your Cricut Pens, remove the cap, open the latch with the “A” on it and simply load your writing utensil (making sure you hear it click into the holder) and secure the closure.

7: Use the Right Mat for Your Project


You will have four different types of mats available to you; LightGrip, StandardGrip, StrongGrip, and FabricGrip. You will use different mats for different projects and this allows for a seamless and smooth experience. Learn more about selecting the right mat from a previous post.

8: Tools

You will want tools for weeding out everything from vinyl to iron-on to paper. Be sure to pick up Cricut’s amazing tools that were created just for your enjoyment and ease.

You have your machine and you have now been introduced to Cricut Design Space, Blades options, Pen/Markers possibilities, and Mat choices. You’re all set to start designing and creating!

What are you going to make first? Tell us below in a comment and use #CricutMade on social media.


53 thoughts on “Getting Started With Your New Cricut

  1. Got my Cricut explore air2 for Christmas happy happy want to be able to create my own stencil designs I know I have a learning curve Glad I have winter outside I dont need to make excuses about staying in and learning to play with my new machine I understand there is a great deal of help and ideas with Cricut looking forward to it all

  2. what would make my maker freeze at 51%? Is it the design, the maker, design space, internet? I am connected through Bluetooth.

    • Please call the 800 number. They were very helpful when my machine would not read the registration marks for the print and cut feature. I’m sure they could help you. good luck

  3. Why does my cricut explore 2 sometimes cut on the mat outside the sticky area on the top (area where I Start to load), even though image to be cut is positioned inside the ruler in the canvas.

  4. These instructions were so helpful, I read them on my lunch hour at work and I can’t wait to get home to use it!!
    I just got my machine and I am obsessed but a little afraid of it! LOL!

  5. This machine is amazing! I’ve had it about a month now. I’ve made t-shirts, pennants, snowflake ornaments, window clings, a picture, a lighted Christmas village, and lots more! I received the bright pad for Christmas along with the 30 pen set. Both are fantastic tools I highly recommend. But, I’m so glad that I purchased a bundle when I bought my machine. I think that is vital for beginners. It provided me with most of the materials and tools needed to create with ease.

    Be sure to watch the videos before creating. I’m pretty well versed in Photoshop so the Design Center was easy to use. I still learned a lot (and still am) from the videos. Looking forward to making lots more!

  6. I am new to the Cricut Maker and the Cricut Design Space… I have tried cutting vinyl and every time is a fail! I have messed and played around with the settings and have spent hrs and wasted material but can not figure it out, can someone please tell me a good setting to use for cutting vinyl? Thanks so much!!!!

  7. My first (failed!) project, I leaned on my new green mat and my sweater left a ton of lint stuck to it! How do I clean this off? Can I make it sticky again?

  8. I got a cricut maker for christmas and so excited to use it. I see you are limited to the items to use. Is there a place you go to purchase a the templates for envelopes, cards, etc? I am very very new at this new technology. Any help would be great.

    • If you visit, we have many templates that you can use. You would click on new project, then Projects, then look through all of the ones available. Some are free and others are available with an Access subscription. You could also possibly upload your own for use.

  9. I was advised years ago that the circuit cake machine could do both. Paper and cake . I could never figure out how to use it either way…I called in to the vendor and was told it would void the warranty if I used paper in it. At this point, I didn’t care. I just want to cut abd use it to make things. Any ideas where/how to start ? Feeling wasteful

    • You could check in some of the Facebook groups to see if others have done this with their Cake machine, if you are not worried about the warranty.

  10. I love my Explore 2! I am looking for the modern fonts like what is on your pic above “Where To Start With Your New Machine”. Can someone please tell me what it’s called and where to find it? Thank you!

  11. I got my Explore Air 2 for Christmas from my hubby. I used it today for the first time and I was very pleased. It is very user friendly. I did several projects in a short period of time. I have the old Cricut which I love but after using this one I cant believe how much better it is. I am enjoying this new toy…
    No excuses now to not finish the unfinished projects….Happy Scrapping New Year to all.

    • No, those are two separate machines and only one is needed for you to start crafting. You can find tutorials in our Help section, on YouTube, blogs, FB groups and more.

  12. Very pleased so far. I do wish that if you create something on a canvas and want to transfer it onto another blank canvas it would allow you to.

  13. I would like to know how to get all the fancy fonts that I see people using decorating cups and putting initials on cars.

  14. I love my new machine, day 2 of investigating and making small projects. I am having trouble with the transfer paper. It sticks really bad and leaves a residue on the letters. I am trying to put names on the water bottles and followed all instructions and tutorials….any suggestions?

    So excited to figure out this cool tool!!!

  15. My hubby got me the Cricut Explorer 2 for Christmas and I am so excited to get started, but I am so intimidated by it. I think once I figure out where to start I will have a blast!

  16. I got my very first Cricut, Explorer Air 2. I was afraid at first that this was going to be very complex to use but it seems that it is not. I am reading all of the tutorials that I can find on how to use the machine and make everything. I would like to know if and where you can find the tutorial on how to upload and design your own design???
    Thank you so much for your help

  17. I hope you develop a program that will make my Explorer air 2 compatible with androids. So many of us have non apple devices.
    Please hurry

  18. I created projects with free images and now when I try to make the project again, I am asked to purchase the image? Are the images not really free?

    • Do you already have an account? You would want to set up a Cricut ID if you have not already done so.

  19. I don’t have an apple computer I heave Hp will I have to download the android app for me to use it on my computer

  20. Where can I get free images and fonts to download, I went to sites that say you can download free but I have no idea how, also is it a good deal to go with cricut yearly for fonts and images

  21. Can you tell me the name of the purple font you used on your first picture (where to start with your new machine) and where you got it? I have been looking everywhere for that!!

  22. Got my Explore Air 2 for Christmas, how do I connect with the blue tooth wireless, do I need a blue tooth adaptor? Or is this one blue tooth ready? I cant find anything on this topic.

  23. I cannot believe an Android user cannot download their own images using the app !! This makes my machine a large paperweight…and please, don’t respond with ‘ we hope to have that feature soon’– It does not help those of us who bought this machine exactly for that feature! Horrible marketing practice!

  24. I saw a response about the font used in the first picture and I am interested in the font also. I looked for it in the available fonts with cricut and cannot find it. I also searched for it by name. Is the font located outside of the cricut website or am I looking in the wrong place? Please Help.

  25. Hi, I am thinking about buying a cricut explore air 2. My question is so I have to have a computer to use the software or can I use my Android tablet or phone?

  26. I just received my Cricut air machine for Christmas
    I did not receive a book with instructions is there a way I can get one

  27. I received a Maker for Christmas and am a little intimidated by it. I’m glad to see I’m not the only one! So glad I found this blog with instructions, inspiration and help. There are so many projects going through my head…just need to bite the bullet and try some out!

  28. I have been considering a Cricut Explore Air 2 for some time, but feel uncomfortable spending so much money on something I’m not sure of how to use or what I’ll be able to accomplish with it.
    Why doesn’t the company send out a rep to craft stores to do seminars/demonstrations? I know you have on-line tutorials with instructions, but nothing beats a rep who can answer questions during a demo. Many women I have talked to feel as I do and agree that if they could attend this type of event, they would be much more inclined to feel comfortable enough to buy the machine and you could sell many more machines! Would be a dream job I’d love or any crafter.

    • We have done some city events where people could come make a craft and learn about the machines. I do know that Joann Fabric stores often seem to offer a Cricut class now.

      There are also lots of Facebook groups centered around Cricut, and you could perhaps find someone local who could show you how it works to see if it will be worth it to you.

  29. Have been comparing the Air 2 and Maker for a couple of weeks. I will definitely be doing fabrics as well as vinyl (not much paper), and I understand that if you apply Heat and Bond, you can cut fabric with the Air 2. Funds are limited, and I want to be sure I get the best bang for my buck, so which would you recommend?

    • If funds are limited and you are ok with bonding your fabric, the Air 2 would work fine in your case.

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