What Comes With the Cricut Maker? And what else do I need?

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Here is Everything That Comes With a New Cricut Maker and Which Other Supplies You’ll Need

Are you in love with your Cricut Explore but think you might be outgrowing it? You’ve seen all the amazing Cricut features exclusive to the Maker machine, that would speed up and improve the quality of your crafts – not to mention the bigger blade and tool selection that comes with the new adaptive tool system on the Maker – and you’re ready to make the jump?

Or are you a crafter that’s thinking about getting a cutting machine for the first time? You’ve looked at both the Explore Air 2 and the Maker, and you’ve decided it’s time to go big or go home?

Either way, if you’re thinking about getting a Cricut Maker for yourself or as a gift for someone else, read on to find out not only what tools and accessories come with the machine, but what else, (like cutting mats, software, and cut files) you’ll need to have before you can make your first project.

What Do You Get When You Buy a New Cricut Maker?

In addition to your choice of color, you have a few options for bundles when you’re getting a new Maker from the official Cricut Store. I’ll go over the bundle options later in this post. If you were to get only the Cricut Maker Machine (in any color), here is what’s comes in the box:

  • Your Cricut Maker machine
  • Its power cord, and USB cable (to connect to a computer)
  • 2 – 12″ x 12″ Mats, 1 pink (fabric grip), 1 blue (light grip)
  • Premium Fine Point Blade with housing
  • Rotary Blade with the new Drive Housing
  • Black Fine Point Pen
  • The Cricut Maker Welcome Book
  • a few small material pieces for a practice project

You’ll also get:

  • A free one-month trial of Cricut Access (only if you are a new subscriber)
  • 50 free project designs, 25 of which are sewing patterns

I think Cricut does a good job of choosing the blades and tools that come with their new machines. They are varied enough that you can try out a few different kinds of projects and learn what you like making before you have to buy more blades or tools. In fact, you can almost, just open the box and start making, without getting anything else.

In the next section I’ll go over the other things you absolutely have to have in order to start crafting with your Maker. (Don’t worry, they’re either free or something you likely already have.)

Can I Buy Just the Maker and Get Started With What’s Inside?

Sort of.

The Cricut Maker does come with everything you need to cut out or draw basic designs. But you also need a way to make (or upload) those designs and send them to the Machine. Otherwise it won’t know what to cut.

You do this through Cricut Design Space.

Design Space is a free software that you will need to download before you can start cutting. You also need a device to download the software to. But since you’re reading this, I assume you have one.

What Devices Can I Download Cricut Design Space On?

These days, you can run your Cricut machine from almost any desktop or laptop computer, tablet, or smart phone. It is an app that you download just like any other.

The layout is different between the computer version and the mobile version, but the features are almost exactly the same. You can also store your projects online using Design Space, so that you can access them from any of your devices.

Here are the links to download each version:

Cricut Design Space for Desktop or Laptop Computer

For the desktop version, you will need to create or sign into a Cricut ID using your email address. Once you are in, click on New Project, and you will be prompted to download. (Cricut is in the process of making Design Space solely a desktop app instead of continuing to host it on their website in 2020, so this may be changing soon.)

If your computer is not Bluetooth compatible, you will connect your machine to your computer with the USB cord that comes with your Maker.

Design Space in the App Store (iPad and iPhone only)
Design Space in the Google Play Store (android phones and tablets)

For the mobile versions, you will also need to create or sign in with a Cricut ID, but that won’t come until after you’ve downloaded the app. In the past, you could only connect a Cricut to a mobile device with Cricut’s Bluetooth adapter.

Once you have your software downloaded and you’re logged in, you are only one step away from crafting your first Cricut Project! All you need now is your cut file.

Where Do I Get Cut Files for my Cricut Machine?

Design Space has several tools that you can use to make your own designs (called cut files), but the easiest way to get started learning your machine, is to work with a pre-made cut file. There are hundreds of websites you can get cut files from. Some are free, and some you would have to pay for. Below, I list my favorite places to get pre-made cut files from.

Getting Cut Files directly from Cricut

There are two places in design space to get cut files: The Images tab, and the Projects tab.

Within Cricut Design Space, there is an IMAGES button (It’s on the left after you click on New Project). Clicking on it takes you to the Cricut Image Library, where there are thousands of cut files that you can insert into your project, resize if needed, and cut out of whatever material you want.

You are automatically placed on the Projects page when you open Design Space. It doubles as the home page for the app. Projects are also cut files, but they have give you a supply list and instructions for a project to make with them. You can insert that into Design Space and edit the project, or you can click the MAKE IT button and it will send it straight to your machine.

Both the Image Library and the Project Library have free and paid files. But remember earlier when I said you get a free month of Cricut Access with your new machine? That means that you get access to over 100,000 files for free, AND a discount on licensed images within these libraries.

You’ll never run out, as long as you keep your subscription.

Getting Cut Files from the Web

There is a huge community of Cricut crafters across the internet. And many of them share cut files that they made in outside software and saved as a file for the Cricut.

There are a few different type of file you can upload that work with your Cricut. But unless you are doing a Print-Then-Cut project, the best type is an .svg file.

(Without getting too much into the technical side of it, this is because SVG’s images are saved as vectors instead of pixels.)

Etsy has an enormous selection of files that you can purchase from hundreds if not thousands of designers. (Just be careful with licensed images.) I got over 4500 results when I searched SVG Files for Craft Room

Craft bloggers are another great source of project files. By the way ALL of my project files are FREE at Simple Creative Living. And I store them all on one page to make them easier for you to get your hands (mouse?) on! Fill out this quick form and get instant access to my Crafter’s Resource Library and download as many as you want.

Pinterest is another great resource. Here is my SVG Cut Files board as an example. (Don’t forget to follow me!)

So now you have an unlimited number of files to work with. (And that’s before you even learn how to make your own!) But remember, the Maker only comes with the small packet of materials for the practice project.

If you want to make anything else – and isn’t that the point of getting the new machine? – you’ll need to get ahold of some extra materials too. Read the next section to get a better idea of what extras you might want to get before or soon after your Cricut comes in.

What Supplies Should I Buy For My Cricut Maker?

Many crafters have entire rooms dedicated to their Cricut crafting. (Not that you need one! I’m a full time Maker and I’m still working at my kitchen table.) That’s because there is definitely no shortage of extras that you will probably want to get and play with.

But you probably can’t get them all at once, so I’m going to walk you through some suggestions on what is important to have starting out, and what you can wait on.

Essential Cricut Accessories

Take the word “essentials” with a grain of salt here. There is technically nothing else that you have to have besides the materials to cut. But here is a list of my must-have Cricut Maker accessories:

  1. The green Standard Grip Mat 12″ x 12″. These are the mats that you use for the most materials, like your heavy cardstocks and vinyls. It seemed a little strange to me not getting any of these in the box with the Maker. I would suggest getting a 2-pack to start with, and then maybe go back for more later.
  2. Cricut’s Basic Tool Set. It comes with a scraper, spatula, weeding tool, tweezers and scissors. If you want to pare this back even more, I’d recommend at the very least getting the spatula, scraper, and weeder. You’ll especially need there if you’re making any intricate designs that will leave small pieces on the mat. These tools are great for getting everything off.
  3. Other Cricut Maker blades. One of the biggest differences between the Explore Air 2 and the Maker is the new Adaptive Tool System. I’ll talk more about this below, but the point here is that there are a lot more options for blades now. (Which means there are a lot more materials you can work with too.)
  4. Materials to cut. The official list of materials that the Cricut Maker can cut has well over a hundred materials on it. And that doesn’t even touch the materials you can use with the other tools. Anything small and flat that you can engrave or draw on can also be used with tools in the Maker.

Tips for Choosing Your First Blades and Materials

Don’t start by choosing the blades and materials. Start by choosing a few projects, then work backward to what tools and materials you’ll need for it. That way you aren’t stuck looking around in Design Space for a project that works with the random materials you bought.

If you do pick out a material first that you really like but don’t have a project in mind for it yet, at least make sure you have the correct blade for it. That way when you do find the perfect project, you’re ready to go.

My Top Blade, and Material, and Accessory Suggestions

For Sewists: The machine already comes with the rotary blade and the pink mat. If you are getting the Maker because you do a lot of quilting or small sewing projects, I’d suggest also getting the Fabric Applicator and Remover Set, and eventually a 12″ x 24″ Fabric Grip Mat. For your fabric, you can use whatever fabric you like or already have. A lot of the projects you’ll see use quilting cotton, but you can use almost any fabric. You may just have to play around with the settings on a scrap piece until you get the right cut.

For Papercrafters: The Cricut Maker comes with the fine point blade and housing, which is what you’ll typically use for your blade. You may also want to consider the Scoring Wheel and/or the Debossing Tip. Papercrafts are usually made with the green Standard Grip Mat or the blue Light Grip mat.

If you’re planning on doing a lot of paper crafts, I’d suggest getting packs of different color cardstocks, and maybe just a few printed cardstock or paper sheets. (I personally think the solid colors are more versatile.) Don’t forget black and white!

For Vinyl Projects: I don’t have any evidence to back this up, but I think most people start looking into getting a Cricut for making vinyl projects. If this is you – you’re definitely going to want to look into getting some good vinyl storage. Here’s what I use and I LOVE IT! The vinyl rolls fit perfectly in the drawers, and the Cricut can sit right on top.

Should I buy a Cricut Maker Bundle?

The Cricut Maker is expensive on its own, so if these bundles are out of your price range, don’t feel bad about it. You can always come back later and get the extras that you want little by little. But if you do have the means to get a bundle, the Cricut Store has some really good options.

In the end, you’re going to have to decide this for yourself based on what your needs are, but here are my thoughts on it.

The Essentials Bundle

The Essentials Bundle (available in all 5 colors) comes with everything you would get with the machine alone, and:

  • a variety pack of cutting mats (1 green, 1 blue, 1 purple)
  • a Deep Point Blade with housing,
  • a scoring stylus
  • the basic tool set (spatula, scraper, tweezers, scissors)
  • a Cricut pen set
  • and a roll of black window cling

My thoughts: If you’re making the jump from an Explore Air 2, you probably have a good amount of accessories, so the Essentials bundle might be a little redundant for you.

If you are buying the Cricut Maker as a gift for someone new to Cricut, I do think this is a really good bundle. And it will cut down on the things your recipient will have to buy for themselves, giving them more room to pick out the fun stuff.

The Everything Materials Bundle

The Everything Materials Bundle (available in all 5 colors) comes with everything you would get with the machine alone and:

  • fabric, felt, and leather samples
  • several kinds of adhesive and iron-on vinyl samples
  • pastel and metallic posterboard
  • corrugated cardboard
  • basswood
  • stencil material
  • vinyl transfer tape

My thoughts: Get the Everything Materials bundle if you don’t have a great idea of what types of projects you’re going to want to make. (Make sure you look through Pinterest and the Cricut libraries first to get some ideas so you know if there’s something particular you’ll want to be making.)

Keep in mind that with all these materials and potential projects to make with the Everything Materials bundle, you would also have to buy other blades, mats, and accessories. For example, you’d need the Knife Blade to use the basswood, and the green Standard Grip mat works best with most of the vinyl and posterboard materials.

The Tote Bundle

The Tote Bundle (only available in Lilac and Blue) comes with everything you would get with the machine alone and a matching padded Machine Tote.

My thoughts: If you didn’t click that link, seriously, take a look at the tote that Cricut makes for their machines. They are legit. It’s got SO MUCH padding. I don’t have one for myself because I have hardly ever taken my machine out of the house. But if I get to that point, I would choose this tote over any other brand in an instant.

Cricut knows that its machines are an investment and they want to make sure it’s protected well. If you plan on taking your machine anywhere (craft night, retreats, etc. ) I would recommend getting this bundle over either of the other ones. You end up saving about $75 with the bundle versus buying it separately.

Other Bundles

Other big craft stores may have their own exclusive bundles as well. I know Joanns has had them in the past for the Explore machines, but the only one I’ve found for the Maker is this Cricut Maker Sewing Essentials bundle (available online only).

I haven’t found any Maker bundles through Hobby Lobby or Michaels, but it never hurts to check again for yourself.

Keep in mind you usually aren’t able to use coupons on Cricut products!

What Cricut Accessories Can I Wait To Get?

This might not be what you want to hear, so ignore me if you want.

But my suggestion is not to go crazy with the vinyl and accessories right away. Get yourself enough materials to make a few projects, then just get started. Once you have a better idea of what you’re doing, go back and have fun picking out new stuff again! (Plus, this way, you get to go to the craft store more often!)

I also don’t suggest getting the BrightPad or the Easy Press right away. UNLESS you are planning on doing exclusively vinyl projects. Then they are great to have if you can afford them. (Or watch for them to be on sale and snatch them up then!)

Just make sure you don’t go overboard and spread yourself too thin!

You can always go back and get them later, and in the meantime, a regular iron will do the job just fine.

As for blades, I’d recommend starting out with just 2 or 3, and getting more as you need them. That’s just one more thing to overwhelm you when you’re first getting started.

And speaking of blades, I promised I’d go over the new Adaptive Tool system for all you Cricut Explore users, so let’s do that now. (Newbies read on. This is good to know if you’re on the fence between the Maker and Explore Air 2.)

Do My Cricut Explore Blades (and Tools) Still Work With the Maker?

YES! Here’s how it works:

Those of you who have worked with the Cricut Explore machines know the blades are able to move in two directions.

  • The whole housing is moved down to touch the blade or pen to your material, and back up when it’s finished.
  • The holder for the blade and housing is moved side to side using the belt that runs all the way across the inside of the machine.
  • The mat is then slid forward and backward by a set of stationary wheels that rolls across the top.

These three mechanisms allow for the blade (or pen or scoring stylus) to touch down at any point on the cutting mat.

The big change that came with the Cricut Maker is that the blade is now able to move in a third direction.

You’ll notice that all of the Maker-exclusive blades and tools have a gold gear-type piece at the top. This is because the Adaptive Tool System on the Maker features a gear that enables the blade to turn as it’s moving.

This means that blades that wouldn’t have worked on the Cricut Explore (because it can only cut in one direction) are now fair game. Any type of wheel, like the Rotary Blade or the Scoring Wheels needs to be able to turn to work, and the Maker provided just that.

However, thanks to the design of the machine, blades that don’t have a gear at the top are still able to lock into place. They won’t be able to turn, like the new ones, but they don’t need to!

This means that every blade you already have for your Cricut Explore One or Explore Air 2 already works with the Cricut Maker. No changes or adapters needed. You can even reuse the housing.

Hopefully this post answered all your questions about what to get when you order your Cricut Maker! Leave a comment below if you have any more questions!

Stay Crafty,
KatyAnna

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