Just getting started with Cricut? Here are the essential materials for Cricut that I think you should start with. They will cover a huge variety of beginner Cricut projects you’ll want to make!
I have some other beginner Cricut posts to help you learn about the different machines that you can find here.
For any machine I recommend starting with Cardstock, Adhesive Vinyl (also just called Vinyl) and Iron-on Vinyl (also called Iron-on, Heat Transfer Vinyl, or HTV.)
What can you make with Cricut Cardstock?
Cardstock is a great crafting supply because it comes in so many colors and patterns. Cricut brand is going to be a great place to start because you know it’s been produced with Cricut cutting in mind.
Some other brands of cardstock may not cut as cleanly, or require some trial on error on getting the cutting settings right.
Here is a helpful list for projects to try with cardstock. Go to Design Space and search the Projects and the Images for any of these designs below.
- Party decor
- Home decor
- Cake toppers
THREE tips about cutting Cardstock with a Cricut
- Peel the mat away from the paper, instead of the peeling the paper away from the mat, to prevent paper curling or bending.
- If the design seems to have trouble pulling away completely in the corners, try changing pressure to “MORE” or even trying a thicker paper setting.
- Remember that there is an “Intricate” setting, and it does quite well on detailed designs, so keep that in your back pocket if you’re struggling with paper cutting.
What can you make with Cricut Vinyl?
Cricut vinyl comes in a rainbow of colors, and in Permanent and Removeable “stickiness.” You can also find glitter, patterns.
I honestly don’t distinguish too much between permanent and removable vinyl in my own crafting, but here’s what you should know.
Permanent vinyl vs Removable vinyl
Permanent vinyl is designed for projects that may be outside or may get wet. They can stand up to sun exposure for a few years and have a stronger adhesive. It may cause damage to walls or painted surfaces when removed.
Removable vinyl works for indoor signs, indoor walls, paper crafts, organizing labels, etc.
Often, but not always, permanent has a glossy finish while removable is matter. Usually, that determines the kind I want to use rather than the permanence. But it can be your own choice.
Adhesive vinyl is regularly used for labeling containers (an organizer’s dream), decorating walls or doors, and making other indoor decor pieces.
THREE tips about using Adhesive Vinyl
- Adhesive vinyl has a paper backing. It will usually have writing or grid lines on it.
- You need to use transfer tape when working with adhesive vinyl.
- Only use strong grip transfer tape when using glitter vinyl.
Choose hard surfaces for applying adhesive vinyl
- Smooth wood
How to use Cricut Iron-On
I love iron-on vinyl. You can find varieties with glitter, patterns, holographic, foil, stretch, and more. None of our shirts, pants, jackets, hats, backpacks, shoes or scarves are safe any more 🙂
If you are just getting started with iron-on, or have had a hard time with errors, I recommend this post full of tips for using HTV. You’ll be able to download a cheat sheet as well from that post.
THREE tips for using Iron-on Vinyl
- Remember that you’ll be cutting on the back side of the vinyl, so you will need to mirror your design in Design Space before cutting so that when you flip it over to put on your shirt it will be facing the right way.
- Use the Cricut Heat Guide to correctly match iron-on type to base type and get the temperature and time for best results
- While an iron can technically be used for applying iron-on vinyl, I highly recommend using one of the Cricut Heat Presses. (I honestly use my Mini all the time.)
While adhesive vinyl really only sticks well to hard surfaces, iron-on vinyl can be used on both soft and hard surfaces. This list gives you a good idea of options.
- Soft surfaces
- Accessories (like mittens, headbands)
- Hard surfaces
- Wood (great for wood with texture)
- Canvas (like art canvas, or canvas shoes)
I’m hoping that your head is spinning with ideas now with all the things you can make with your Cricut. I’d like to show you a simple project for each of the 3 essential Cricut materials I listed above.
Easy Cricut Cardstock Project
To make a quick gift tag you will need
- 2 colors cardstock (dark pink, light pink)
- Green or blue mat
- Cricut machine
- Design Space image (Tag #M45093)
Size the tag to be about 2 inches tall. Press cardstock to a mat and click “Make it.” Follow prompts to load the mat, press cut, then remove from the machine.
Glue the two tag pieces together and tie it to your gift with ribbon or string.
Easy Cricut Vinyl Project
This project has 3 colors of vinyl, but don’t let that scare you! (You could also attach all three layers together and cut it from one color if you like – still super cute!)
- 1 to 3 colors of adhesive vinyl (I used yellow, coral and pink)
- Transfer tape
- Design Space image Bright Ideas Sun And Mountains #MF0834BE
Measure the cover of your notebook and size the design so it will fit comfortably. Mine looked best at about 4 inches.
Registration marks for layering vinyl
I didn’t want to have to just “eyeball” each layer of this design because it would be noticeable (to be fair, I do use the eyeball method most of the time!)
Before cutting, we are going to attach a pair of stars to each color layer that we will use to help us line everything up.
Add two small stars to the canvas and attach them to each other. Make two copies and select all the stars. Then align them to Center. Click on one color layer of the design and one set of stars, while holding Shift so they are both selected now. Click Weld, then hide that color in the layers panel. Repeat that process with the two remaining colors.
Unhide each color by clicking the Eye again and you can see that you have 3 colors layers, each with two stars in exactly the same place.
Cut each color from vinyl by following the prompts in Design Space.
Remove the vinyl from the mats, and use a weeding hook to remove the vinyl that is not part of the design.
Next cut a piece of transfer tape to fit over the design with a bit of excess around the edges. Press the transfer tape down on the vinyl, rub with a scraper tool, and remove the backing paper.
Then put the backing paper, or a piece of parchment paper so that just part of the stars pokes up over the top. Line up the stars with the next color of vinyl, press down, then pull away the paper to press the vinyl down over the whole design. Repeat with the last layer.
Now the stars can be cut off, and the design is perfectly layered and ready to position on the notebook.
Tape the design down the center and cut away one side of the backing. Press the vinyl down on the cover, remove the tape and the backing paper from the other side and lay down the rest of the design.
Burning with a scraper and peel away the transfer tape.
Easy Cricut Iron-on Project
If you’re like me, your iron-on vinyl collection may be the fastest growing of all your supplies.
To make a custom bag, gather the following
- Tote bag (cotton, canvas, cotton blend, etc. Avoid a plastic or vinyl bag as it will likely melt.)
- Iron-on vinyl – Glitter Silver
- Design Space image Hot Stuff #M1D015212
Again, measure the area of the bag and size the design. Send to cut and remember to MIRROR the design before cutting. If you don’t the words will be backwards when you try to apply it.
Remove the mat from the machine, and the vinyl from the mat. Weed away the extra vinyl. With the glitter iron-on, it helps to bend the design and look at it from different angles to see the cut lines.
The design is still stuck to the plastic carrier sheet, which is heat safe. Position the design on the bag and heat the EasyPress. Press for 30 seconds at 330°. Flip the bag over and press 15 seconds more.
Let the bag cool slightly and peel away the plastic carrier sheet. Now look at you hot stuff!
Machines for essential Cricut materials
What’s great is that all of these materials can be cut on any of the Cricut machines. You may have to adjust sizing for the Joy, but vinyl, cardstock and iron-on can all be cut with any machine, and with the default fine point blade.
Did you learn anything new about Cricut materials or projects? I hope you’re totally feeling motivated to try something new now.
And remember that in addition to cardstock, vinyl and iron-on, Cricut machines can also cut things like Sticker paper, Window cling, Faux leather, Paper, Specialty vinyl and iron-on: glitter, flocked, holographic,
Specialty paper: shimmer, corrugated, Infusible Ink. Then with extra blades on the Maker you can additionally cut Real leather, Fabric, Felt, Basswood, Craft foam, Chipboard, and more.
I’d love to hear what material is your favorite, or if you have any questions be sure to comment!