Hopefully, having read the first in this blog series, ‘Which Cricut Should I buy? 2021, you already have a decent idea of which machine you want to buy- or maybe you’ve already bought one! As I mentioned before, there are some essential tools that you’ll want to invest in to make your Cricut crafting experience just that little bit smoother. But it can be a bit overwhelming- from choice to the cost of each- especially if you’re new to the Cricut world. So, for the second of my blog posts in collaboration with Hobbycraft*, I’m going to cover the top 5 tools for the Cricut beginner. Let’s start with no. 1 and in my opinion, one of the most important ones to get!

Top 5 Tools for the Cricut Beginner

Jump to:

  1. Weeding tool
  2. Scraper
  3. Scoring Stylus
  4. CardMat (Cricut Joy only)
  5. Cutting Mats (variety pack- Explore and Maker ranges

This blog post is part of a sponsored collection of blog posts created in partnership with Hobbycraft* There are no affiliate links in this post.

1. Weeding tool

What is it?

A metal tool with a curved/angle body and sharp tip.

How ‘essential’ is it?

This is ‘top level’ essential- without this you will quickly get frustrated. In almost all the tool sets (see more below), you can also buy this on its own (£8).

What do you use it for?

This tool is used for so many things but its name comes from its main role, ‘weeding’ and it is essential if you’re ever thinking about working with vinyl or Infusible ink. Weeding is when you from remove negative pieces of vinyl/iron-on (i.e. the bits you don’t want).

But the tool is also helpful for poking out pieces in any other intricate work e.g card stock. The sharp tip means you can poke/pick things up easily and the curved edge helps to hold things down. I’ve even used the tip as a substitute for a quilling tip to help start rolling 3D flowers…Just be careful not to poke yourself!

2. Scraper tool

What is it?

A plastic scraper with a smooth but fine edge

How ‘essential’ is it?

Another one I would say is ‘top level’ of essential and comes in most of the tool sets (see below for more). It can also be bought in the XL size (£10) for larger projects, but the small one is perfect for most.

What do you use it for?

Scrapers are used for two main things:

  1. To apply transfer tape and vinyl, making sure you have a clean and smooth finish (no air bubbles!), as well as good adherence with the adhesive backings.
  2. To clean up cutting mats. You can remove scraps/bits of paper easily by gentle scraping at the surface. This is essential to prepare for your next cut (and make sure things stick well to the mat) but just be careful not to scrape too aggressively and damage the mats stickiness.

The extra-large scraper is perfect for large decals/projects.

Special mention: Scissors, spatula and tweezers

What is it?

Scissors- don’t really need an explanation, right?

Spatula- a thin, flat metal headed spatula

Tweezers- fine tipped tweezers which have a reverse grip feature

How ‘essential’ is it?

Scissors: Top level essential of course!

Spatula and tweezers: I’m grouping these together as they’re definitely helpful to have and often come as part as a tool set (see more below) but not quite as essential as the others. Mid-level essential- nice to have but you might be able to get away without it.

What do you use it for?

Any seasoned crafted will know that not all scissors are made equal. Yes, you can use your favourite standard scissors to do your Cricut crafting, or dip into your child’s pencil case. But these Cricut scissors are worth it.

They are fantastic craft scissors, and I honestly couldn’t be without them. They make clean and precise cuts with its super sharp and precise micro-tip. It also comes with a really handy removable blade cover. I’m very possessive of them- they’re up there with my fabric scissors: DON’T TOUCH, ITS MINE.

The tweezers are helpful for lifting fiddly cuts easily and also has a very fine tip. The reverse grip feature is one that takes a bit of getting used to but is supposed to help lifting and securing them in one step.

The spatula is probably the one I use the least but it’s helpful to lift things off the cutting mat, preventing it from curling as you lift.

Essential Tools/Basic Tools Set

Luckily for you there are several ‘essential’/’basic’ tool sets available which include a lot of the tools mentioned above, because well- they’re pretty essential when it comes to working with the Cricut! From vinyl work to paper craft, you’re going to want at least one set of these. There are different sets ranging from £10, all the way up to £50. Each set has a slightly different combination of tools. You may want to look at which one has the ones most suited for the projects you want to do, or fits within your budget.

3. Scoring Stylus

What is it?

A metal headed pen-like tool with a hard but blunted tip to create score lines. For use in the Explore and Maker ranges.

How ‘essential’ is it?

This is ‘top level’ essential. I use this very often and wouldn’t be without! It comes in some of the essential tool sets but also available on its own (£9).

What do you use it for?

This is one of the first tools I bought for my Cricut Maker and is probably one of the best value tools I’ve bought. The scoring stylus is applied with pressure to create fold lines. It’s used for things like cards, boxes and envelopes. But it can also be used to create 3D elements to designs with clever folding (I still think it’s magic that you can turn a flat star into something 3D with simple scoring and folding).

One of the great things about the stylus is that it sits in clamp A (the pen side) which means you can have the cutting blade in clamp B, scoring and cutting in one step (without having to switch out tools/pause mid-cut). This is so great when making things like gift boxes as you can leave the machine to it, peel the card off the mat, fold and go!

There is one thing about the stylus that is a bit annoying- because it’s in the pen clamp it doesn’t put that much pressure down into the paper/card so the score lines are fainter, which can sometimes make it a bit fiddlier.

Whereas there is a scoring wheel tip which comes for the Maker range (in fact there’s two! The single scoring wheel and double scoring wheel). I personally don’t have these yet, but it is high on my list! The scoring wheel can put 10x more pressure creating a deeper score line- producing a much easier line to fold against (think more like those pre-cut card blanks you can buy which you fold in half). The double scoring wheel is perfect for thicker materials too. But like I said, this is only available for the Maker range, plus the price point of the stylus is a big selling point for me and makes it a ‘top level’ essential!

4. CardMat (Cricut Joy only)

What is it?

A special cutting mat for creating cards using card blanks

How ‘essential’ is it?

If you own a Cricut Joy, you really need to own a CardMat. This is ‘top level’ essential- the type of thing you won’t regret buying at all (£7)

What do you use it for?

One of the unique selling points of the Cricut Joy is the cards you can make. The Joy has a whole range of materials and designs on Design Space (free and Cricut Access) just for greeting cards. They are so quick and easy to make on the Joy- it’s genuinely one of my favourite things to do with it. Need a birthday card real quick? Cricut Joy it. Invitations for a party? You’ve got it covered.

Plus, you can make some great personalised (and hilarious) designs which are evolving as the Cricut Designers flex their Cricut Joy skills (I’m loving the new fold and cut style designs).

The special thing about the CardMat is that you can sandwich your card around the mat so that only the front of the card is being cut. This makes it perfect for making the trademark colourful Joy insert cards. By slotting in an insert card behind the front it makes the designs really pop and stand out. And it is so much quicker to create a card as you can use a pre-made card blank- rather than having to cut and score a card on the flat (as you would with the other machines) or carefully having to position a card blank on a cutting mat to line up with your design.

If you’ve got a Cricut Joy without a CardMat, you’re missing out! Go get one!

5. Cutting Mat (variety pack)

What is it?

A set of cutting mats for loading your material onto, ready to cut. Variety sets include: LightGrip, StandardGrip and StrongGrip mats.

How ‘essential’ is it?

Top level-cutting mats are absolutely essential for any of the machines. You can’t really cut without them (ok, you can cut SmartMaterials- but that would restrict you to SmartMaterials only).

Variety packs for Explore/Maker ranges are £21 for 12×12 range and £27 for 12×24.

For the Joy, different mat strengths are sold individually.

What do you use it for?

Cutting mats are essential for Cricut crafting. You ‘load’ (stick) your material on to them before loading the mat itself into the machine for it to cut/draw/score etc. Getting the right mat for your material is essential, especially as you’ll be using a variety of materials- there is nothing more frustrating than having your cardstock slip as the machine is cutting, or the opposite- curling/ripping as you try to peel it off the too-sticky adhesive surface.

There are three main types of mats in the variety pack: LightGrip, StandardGrip and StrongGrip, with each being best suited to different materials.

The LightGrip is, unsurprisingly, for light materials. Best for printer paper, vellum, light cardstock etc.

The StandardGrip mat is for medium-weight materials like thicker paper, vinyl, iron-on and cardstock.

The StrongGrip has been made specifically for heavyweight materials like thick cardstocks, glitter cardstock and chipboard.

Cutting mats lose their grip over time and will need replacing- using the same one mat will 1. not give you the best results (see above) and 2. will make the stickiness run out quicker. Having a range of mats means you have the best one for your material to hand and improves longevity.

If you chose to buy them individually then I would recommend you definitely buy the LightGrip and StandardGrip. Get the StrongGrip if you think you might cut those materials.

A note about the size range of the mats- which come in the standard 12×12 inch size or the longer 12×24″ size. The 12×12″ are your essential, bread and butter mats. But the 12×24″ mats are great and have made my life so much easier in so many projects. For one thing, they fit the massive Cricut cardstock. They also let you cut much larger designs, or large quantities of a smaller design. Things like bunting or my Ramadan Countdown Calendar are a breeze to cut as you can fit more designs on the single 12×24″ mat, cutting more out at one time. This meant I had less loading/unloading time (which when you’re making 30 boxes is a big deal). You may need to think about storage though as they’re not as easy to store away!

Just FYI, there are also short and longer mats for the Cricut Joy– same benefits apply but the storage thing for longer mats isn’t such a big issue.

And as we’re talking mats, there is another mat which isn’t included in the variety pack but might be a consideration especially if you plan to use the rotary blade tool on the Maker: the FabricGrip mat.

This one has been made to withstand the increased cutting pressure of the rotary blade, whilst also keeping fabrics in place for precise cuts and easy removal. The adhesive is able to hold fine materials like silk, all the way up to thicker ones like canvas. If you plan to cut fabric, you’ll need this mat.

That rounds out my top 5 tools for the Cricut beginner

So, there you have it. My top 5 tools for the Cricut beginner that will have you covered as you start your journey into the Cricut world. These are all tools that I love and use the most, and the ones that make things just that little bit easier.

I hope you’ve found this list helpful- I know I found the whole realm of Cricut overwhelming when I first joined it, so I’ve tried my best to make it simpler for you!

If you haven’t checked it out already- head over to my last post, “Which Cricut should I buy? 2021“, for my low-down on the machines themselves, or head into store to test out a machine in Hobbycraft’s “Try before you Buy” areas to see more about the machine themselves.

And let me know- do you agree with my list? Is there something I’ve missed? I’ve heard good things about the brayer but haven’t got one yet!

Love,

*This is a sponsored post in collaboration with HobbycraftAll views and opinions are my own.

**Full transparency I was gifted my machines as a Cricut UK Influencer but before that I had planned to buy the Cricut Maker myself- you can read more about how I got my first machine here.

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