Cricut Tools: Must have tools for your Cricut machine whether you’re using a Cricut Joy, Cricut Maker or Maker 3, Cricut Explore Air 2 or Explore Air 3, or Cricut Mug Press. A beginner’s guide to everything you’ll need to get started with your Cricut Explore Air 2 machine so you can easily make projects.
Congratulations on getting your Cricut Explore Air 2. Chances are you are full of questions like what tools will you need, how can you make shirts, what type of vinyl do I need, and much much more.
To get started with your Explore Air 2 you’ll need some basic tools and supplies. If you bought just an Explore Air 2 and not a bundle your machine will only come with a light grip mat and fine point blade. Both are great for getting started, but you’ll also need some more supplies like vinyl, weeding tools, and an EasyPress if you’re going to make shirts.
Must-Have Tools for your Cricut Machine
It doesn’t matter what Cricut machine you have because you’ll be using the same tools for each of them. While the Cricut joy has its own set of tools you can also use the regular toolsets with it.
To get started on projects you’re going to need a few tools like weeding tools, scraper, and brayer. I really like the Essential Tool Kit because it comes with everything you’ll need to get started. In addition to that, the XL Scraper and Brayer are great tools to have.
Cricut Tools Explained
Let’s go over the tools you’ll get in the essential tool kit and what they can be used for.
Cricut Tweezers – The Cricut tweezers are great for picking up small items and securing them to their proper place. Think small embellishments like rhinestones, pieces of paper, or stickers. They’re a reverse design so you squeeze them to open them and when you let go they close, making sure to hold onto whatever you’re picking up. This helps to cut down on hand cramps that traditional tweezers can give you and they’re more secure so your small items don’t drop.
Cricut Weeder – This is the tool with the hook on the end. Be careful because I have stabbed my thumb with it a few times not paying attention, but it’s by far my favorite tool. It makes weeding a breeze and the pointy end helps to hook onto your vinyl and peel it away from the backing or transfer tape. The weeder is used to remove the vinyl you don’t want on your design aka the negative space. It can also be used to poke out pieces on cardstock or to help lift it off the Cricut mat.
Cricut Scraper and Cricut XL Scraper – I love to use mine to get paper off my Cricut mats or other small particles that are stuck to my mat. It’s also used to smooth vinyl designs to their surface like a cup, sign, window, and more. It helps to lay your vinyl down smoothly and get out any bumps or air bubbles from under the design. The XL scraper is great for larger designs.
Cricut Spatula – The Cricut Spatula is used to remove paper designs from the Cricut mat. It slides right under the paper to make for easier lifting.
Cricut Trimmer – I use this for a lot more than just Cricut projects. My paper trimmer comes in handy for cutting down printables, paper, and even my sublimation designs. You can also use it to cut down vinyl. It gives you straight cut lines with ease.
Cricut Scoring Stylus – The Cricut Scoring Stylus can only be used with Cricut Maker and Explore Air machines. It scores the paper to add lines to it. It’s great for cards, and envelopes. 3d paper designs, boxes, or embossing your paper.
The Brayer is great for applying your material to your cutting mat. While it’s meant for the fabric you can also use it with vinyl to get a smooth application to the mat. It helps remove wrinkles, bumps, and bubbles.
To weed I really like using the tweezers and weeder. The weeder is the hook-looking tool and it is great for weeding smaller items while the tweezers are good for weeding bigger items. I also use the tweezers to remove the carrier sheet from Iron-On Vinyl after pressing.
Must-Have Cutting Mats for the Explore Air 2
When it comes to mats you’ll most likely mainly be using your Green Mat, but depending on what projects you’re doing you might need the other colored mats. I recommend getting the 3 pack of mats that has each type of mat (light, standard, and strong grip) in both the 12×12 and 12×24 sizes. It’s always good to have each size on hand because you’ll never know when you’re going to want to cut a bigger item and you’ll want to be prepared.
What materials to use on Cricut Mats.
Are you wondering which materials work on which Cricut mats? Here I’ll explain each mat and which materials work on it.
Cricut Blue Mat – The Cricut Blue mat is a light grip mat and is used for anything that doesn’t require a lot of stick. Things like:
- sticker sheets
- washi sheets
- wrapping paper
- construction paper
- tissue paper
You’ll use this for anything that is on the thin side. You can also use the blue mat for vinyl or iron-on, but you could run into issues if your mat has lost some of its stickiness.
Cricut Green Mat – The Cricut Green Mat is the standard or medium grip mat and you’ll use this for a lot of materials like:
- Iron-or or HTV
Cricut Purple Mat – The Cricut Purple Mat is a strong grip mat. This is used for thicker materials like:
- Faux Leather
- Glitter Cardstock
- Poster Board
Cricut Pink Mat – The Cricut Pink Mat is a fabric mat. You’ll use this for materials like:
- Unbonded Fabric
Must-Have Blades for your Cricut Machine
When it comes to blade the Explore Air 2 only has 3 blade varieties. The Deep Point Blade, Bonded Fabric Blade, and Premium Fine Point Blade. The Premium Fine Point Blade will come with your machine and the other 2 blades are optional. If you’ll be cutting bonded fabric or felt then it’s a good idea to grab the Bonded Fabric Blade. The Deep Point Blade is good for thicker materials like foam, chipboard, cardboard, magnet and more. Each blade has it’s own color housing unit so you can tell them apart.
Get the Deep Point Blade, Premium Fine Point Blade, Bonded Fabric Blade.
The Cricut Joy only has 1 blade.
The Cricut Maker has a variety of different blades and depending on what you’re making will determine which blade you’ll need. The Cricut Maker blades can only be used with a Cricut Maker or Cricut Maker 3. Cricut Maker blades are:
Cricut Maker Knife Blade
Cricut Maker Rotary Blade
Cricut Maker QuickSwap tips are tips you switch on the main housing unit. The housing unit is what you place into the Cricut Maker so it can cut your design. With the housing unit, you pop off one of the tips and place on another tip. There are 4 tips that can be used with paper, vinyl, cardstock, fabric, and more.
Cricut Maker Wavy Blade
Cricut Maker Embossing Tip
Cricut Maker Engraving Tip
Cricut Maker Scoring Wheel
Cricut Maker Perforation Blade
Must-Have Materials for your Cricut Machine
The Explore Air 2 and Maker can cut over 100+ materials, but chances are the most common materials you’ll be cutting are vinyl, cardstock, felt, or stickers.
Iron-On – Iron-On vinyl is the kind of vinyl you’ll use to make shirts. You’ll need an EasyPress to apply the vinyl to your shirts. You won’t need any additional items for Iron-On vinyl. Iron-On comes in a variety of types too. Everyday which is the basic kind, pattern, prints, foil, glitter, and much more.
Learn more about the EasyPress 2 here. It’s a must for working with Iron-On.
Vinyl – Permanent & Removable. Permanent vinyl is the kind you’ll use to make mugs, cups, signs, outdoor items, and decals for cars. Removable vinyl you’ll use on walls, indoor windows, and labels. When working with these types of vinyl you’ll need transfer tape. Transfer tape helps you to apply the design to the surface you’ll want it on.
Cardstock – Working with paper is a lot of fun. Homemade cards, cake toppers, birthday banners, and so much more. I’ve done everything from making holiday cards for family to making all of my kid’s birthday decorations.
You can also make your own planner stickers, felt masks, and so much more with the variety of materials Cricut has to offer. The possibilities are endless.
Cricut Beginner Projects
Want to get started on easy beginner projects?
Make a Personalized Tumbler or Cup
Make Baby Milestone Markers with free SVG File.
Infusible Ink Tie-Dye Shirt – You don’t even need your Cricut machine for this one!
Faux Leather Keychains you can even personalize them with HTV or Iron-On. Free SVG File included.
Learn how to Cut Felt with your Cricut Explore Air 2 or Explore Air 3
Once you’ve cut felt make a Candy Bouquet!
Easy Tic Tac Toe bags. Change the design to match different holidays or events.
Snowball Bucket with Free SVG File
Thursday 2nd of March 2023
I’m so excited to get started
Wednesday 29th of December 2021
i just got this machine for Christmas Your site is one of the ones with simple and to the point what you need to start with your machine so thank you so much. Have a blessed day
Tuesday 23rd of February 2021
I received this machine as a Christmas gift, no clue what materials I needed.This article was one of the most helpful ones I' ve found! Thank you so much for sharing.
Tuesday 23rd of February 2021
You are so welcome! Enjoy your new toy!