You’ve been there just like me, unwrapping that brand new Cricut machine in anticipation! Once that oh-so-satisfying plastic protective film peels away to reveal the craft tool most creators dream of, it probably hits you, splat in the face – I don’t know how to use this thing or where to look for help?! There are thousands of Cricut tutorials for beginners out there but because of the plethora of options, you still feel lost.
At this point, you probably sense mounting overwhelm, losing sight of why you were excited about this Cricut purchase in the first place.
Ten years and four Cricut machines later I am now sharing the answer to successfully learning a Cricut machine from day one with ease.
Learning your Cricut machine means finding the right help from a consistent source. The key is learning how to master Design Space BEFORE throwing my time away on trying to build crafts that didn’t seem to succeed.
1. Which machine should I buy? Explore or Maker?
Which machine should I buy? If you haven’t purchased a machine yet, you may be wondering whether the Explore or Maker will work for you. Or possibly, even the new Cricut Joy mini machine.
There are a lot of factors to choose the right machine. The Maker machine is the newer model and will offer compatibility with the new Quickswap housing. To find out what fits your needs best read this comparison post here.
2. Is Cricut Design Space easy to learn? What is the best Cricut tutorials for beginners?
You might be a Cricut-interested person that is wondering if purchasing a machine would be a waste because you are afraid the Design Space software is hard to understand. Let me reassure you…
All you need is the right Cricut tutorials for beginners.
Design Space is very easy to understand as long as you have some guidance and patience to learn the tools BEFORE jumping into a craft. Trust me, you will save yourself a big headache. One of my goals for my readers is to help with Cricut projects and mastering their machines.
If you are new to Cricut or overwhelmed please, please take the time to learn before you craft. I want to invite you to my FREE Cricut Freedom Workshop here where you will Learn my 3 Key Secrets to Mastering Your Cricut Machine (WITHOUT TECH CONFUSION OR OVERWHELM).
Additionally, I have created an ebook that can have you whizzing through projects like a pro in as little as a week!
Download the Cricut Confidence ebook and SVG bundle – A Step by Step Guide to Confidently Mastering ALL Design Space Functions on Desktop, iOS, and Android Devices! This book is stuffed with Cricut tutorials for beginners!
3. Which devices work with Cricut Design Space?
Cricut is compatible with desktop or laptop computers such as Mac and PC. You can also use mobile devices such as iPad, tablets and phones.
The downside to using mobile devices is the loss of some functions.
Mac and PC – all functions available – Snapmat is the only feature I use that is iOS only.
iPad and iPhone – all functions except pattern fills, curved text, templates, and knife blade used for Maker owners.
Android devices – all functions except Print Then Cut, offline, Snapmat, pattern fill, curving text, and knife blade used for Maker users. If you are an Android user I STRONGLY recommend owning a computer to make up for the additional functionalitys lost.
4. How do I connect my machine to Bluetooth (wireless)?
Cricut machines come with a cable that plugs directly into your computer so Design Space can tell the machine what to do. I don’t know about you, but if I can eliminate any cord in my workspace I will. Bluetooth allows for wireless cutting.
Whether you are using a computer, iOS, or Android device you can connect via Bluetooth. First, make sure you are within 15 feet of your machine and that it is powered on.
On Windows PC, open Settings on your computer and select Devices. Make sure Bluetooth is toggled on. Select your machine. If Cricut prompts you to enter a pin, then type 0000, and hit enter.
For Mac users, open System Preferences and select Bluetooth. Your machine should appear when powered on, and you can click Connect.
If Cricut prompts you to enter a pin, then type 0000,, and hit enter.
The same applies to mobile devices you will just go to Settings on your phone or iPad.
5. What is the difference between a Jpeg/PNG image and an SVG cut File?
Many Cricut novices are very confused at first about the difference between an SVG file and a Print Then Cut image file (Jpeg or PNG format)
Print Then Cut
The best way to understand Print Then Cut is to think of it like this, you printed something like a gift tag from your computer (likely a colored image) and naturally, you would cut the gift tag out with scissors by hand.
Print Then Cut replaces the part where YOU have to do the cutting. Instead, your Cricut machine does the work for you with incredible precision! Your material will almost always be cardstock, paper, or printable vinyl. JPEG AND PNG image formats are automatically Print Then Cut when uploaded to Design Space.
SVG Cut Files
Cut files are quite different from JPEG or PNG images. SVG files are vector graphics that are used to stack independently cut materials (vinyl, paper, fabric, etc.) into layers for one final design. In other words, your design is built from colored materials NOT ink from a printer.
The Layer’s Panel to the right in Design Space will always tell you what type of image file is on your canvas. Read more about Print Then Cut and SVG files here.
6. How do I upload my own images and SVG files?
Learning how to upload your own files to Cricut Design Space is one of the most freeing and exciting aspects of owning a Cricut machine. Beginners have many questions when they first get started. The one I hear most often is, how can I upload an image to Cricut Design Space?
Cricut Access provides thousands of images, but most of us want to use files we find around the web from bloggers or on Etsy to perfect our vision.
7. How do I convert an image to an SVG cut file?
Learning to create your own SVG files is an amazing skill to have. Usually, around the time a Cricut user starts to feel confident using their machine they may ask, how can I convert an image to SVG? I have built an entire program around designing SVG files and converting images.
8. How do I access my project/images when I am not connected to the internet?
In early 2020 Cricut updated Design Space to be offline friendly, Meaning you can cut your designs even if you do not have internet! This is a wonderful feature to have because internet servers can crash mid-cut and then ruin the designs. But now the machine will continue regardless of the internet takes a nose dive or not! Read how to download images for offline use here.
9. What are the most necessary tools to have for Cricut?
Let’s be real, a Cricut hobby is expensive. Cricut offers so many great tools and accessories but it can be overwhelming trying to decide what is really necessary when you are just getting started.
Besides the machine here is what I recommend having on hand before you start crafting.
- Mats – have at least 2 green standard Cricut mats on hand.
- Extra fine-point blade replacement – your blade can last a long time but having a replacement on hand is important because you will probably find you need it at the most inopportune time!
- Basic Cricut starter toolset – this is important for lifting materials from the mat.
- Weeding tools – If you plan on doing anything with vinyl this is a must.
- Weeding ring – Okay, so it is actually a nail polish holder, but I use it to collect scraps of weeding without the mess!
- Cricut Pens – There are lots of pretty pens to use with Cricut! Have a few on hand. If you want to know how to use non-Cricut pens with your machine read this post here!
- Quickswap tools – Maker users ONLY. Debossing, engraving perforating, and more is possible with the Quickswap tools.
- Straight cutter – I love using a straight cutter to trim my materials before placing them on the mat. This keep edges straight and can eliminate material waste.
- Easypress (more on this in a minute) – An Easypress is preferred for any iron-on vinyl projects.
10. Is the Cricut Easypress worth it? Can’t I just use my iron?
Yes, you can use your iron. No, your project probably will not turn how as perfect as you like. The reason for this is that irons all have very different temperature standards. The Easypress was created at one standard that works with Cricut materials to perfection. Cricut also provides a heat guide that gives you everything you need to set the heat precisely.
11. What can I cut with Cricut? And where can I find materials at the best prices?
It is widely known that Cricut machines can cut materials like vinyl and paper. But do you know that these little powerhouses can cut sooo much more than that?! I’m talking everything from wood to types of plastic and fabrics! There are A LOT of options. Click over to my list here to read all the materials a Cricut can cut!
12. Why is my material tearing/not cutting all the way through?
Ah, tearing material, nothing will make a Cricut newbie discouraged faster than this! There are usually a few factors that cause this.
- Dull blade – this should be the first thing to check.
- Wrong material setting – double check that you have selected the most accurate setting.
- Mat is not sticky enough – if your mat is not holding the material down then it will probably lift and tear during the cut
13. How do I install my own fonts into Design Space?
I love discovering new fonts to design with, especially those with special fancy characters. Learn how to download and install your own fonts in this post here!
Be sure to also check out my round up of the 60 Best Free and Paid Fonts as well!
14. Where can I find SVG files for Cricut?
Finding great SVG files can be a bit of a treasure hunt but there are a few go to places.
- Etsy – Etsy (such as my shop) is full of great shops that have amazing SVG cut files.
- Pinterest – search by keyword on Pinterest – has never failed me yet!
- Here! On Abbi Kirsten Collections I have hundreds of freebies inside my Freebie Vault that you will love. Enter your email via the teal button below and gain access to all my free designs!
15. Why is the image layout changing when I go to the cut screen? (Attach Tool)
The Attach tool is one of the most used functions in all of Design Space.
When you go to your Cut Screen, often your images will move because Cricut is laying them out as it “sees best.” However, many times we need the images to stay exactly as we have placed them on the Canvas – this is where the Attach tool comes in. `
Attach allows you to hold an image, scoreline, or draw line relative to another object’s placement on the Canvas so that it stays put when you go to cut your design. The Attach tool can be found at the bottom of the Layer’s Panel to the right of the Canvas.
To reverse the effect, you will see the option to Detach at the bottom when the items are selected.
16. What is Snapmat?
Snapmat is a Design Space tool that allows you to capture an image of your
mat so you can match your designs on the Cut Screen to that of your material on the mat itself. Snapmat is a feature that is only available on iOS mobile devices.
Snapmat is an excellent way to use scraps of materials on the same mat or cut multiple colors of material on a single mat. So long as they are all cut with the same setting you can add many scraps to one mat.
Learn how to use Snapmat and ALL other Design Space functions by downloading my Cricut Confidence Ebook!
I know that list was a lot of info but I hope it answered some of the questions that are swirling in your head! Don’t forget to join my Cricut Freedom Workshop and I will see you there!
About Abbi Kirsten Collections
I have spent the last 9+ years building my creative skills and sharing them with others. My flower designs are created with simplicity, color, and crafty fun in mind. If you haven’t yet, be sure to join the subscriber community to gain access to all my freebies or visit my signature design shop here!
Want to join my Facebook community to share your crafts and learn from the best? Click here to request access to my group, Crafters and Cricut Lovers.