What Pens Work With Cricut? How to Use Any Pen with Your Cricut Machine

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Cricut pen tutorial

Owning a Cricut machine is wonderful! There is so much you can do with it. But sometimes, you want to venture out beyond the means of what Cricut provides, like with Cricut pens. I absolutely LOVE Cricut pens, their gel pens and calligraphy markers are great, but what if you want to use others like sharpies, brush markers, glitter pens, and more? I don’t know about you, but I want to know all the pens that work with Cricut!

Fortunately, there is a very easy way to make nearly any pen work with your Cricut machine. This hack I will share with you today allows you to use other brand pens with your Cricut Maker, Explore Air 2, Explore 3, or Maker 3 machines! I will also include some tips for Cricut Joy as well.

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What pens work with Cricut?

Pens that naturally work with your Cricut machine include any Cricut brand pens such as these gel pens, metallic markers, or calligraphy markers.

But what about making other markers and pens work with Cricut? Perhaps you already own or just love the look of some other brand’s pens, so you wish you could use non-Cricut brand pens with your Maker, Explore Air 2, Explore 3, or Maker 3 machine.

How to use any pen with your Cricut machine

How to use Sharpie markers with your Cricut

Here’s the secret, clamp A of your machine holds a pen adapter. That adapter inside is actually removable! Why does this matter? Because if you can remove the Cricut pen adapter, then you can insert alternative adapters that will allow you to use any pen with your Cricut machine!

These alternative adapters allow you to use Sharpies, Bic markers, Tombow brush markers, Crayola fine-line markers, and many other options!

My two favorite pen adapter options are from this shop on Etsy or this brand on Amazon. Both work well with any Cricut Maker, Maker 3, Explore Air 2, or Explore 3 machine!

How to Use Any Pen with Your Cricut Machine: Easy Cricut Pens Tutorial. Learn how to use pens like Sharpie, Bic, Crayola markers and Tombow brush pens with your Cricut machine!
Pen Adapter Set from Kid Sharp Productions!
Rainbow Pen Adapter Set by Craverland

How to Change Your Cricut Pen Adapter – Video Tutorial

Below is a quick video tutorial that will teach you how to change your Cricut pen adapter in Clamp A of the Cricut housing to the third-party pen adapter set. Keep reading below to see a picture tutorial and all my recommended Cricut pens!

How to Remove Your Cricut Pen Adapter

Cricut pen adapter

First, you need to know how to remove the pen adapter that comes with your Cricut machine. Open your Cricut machine, and the pen adapter is found in Clamp A to the left. Toggle open the clamp and start to press down on the clamp while wiggling the adapter up with your fingers.

How to change your Cricut pen adapter.

While pressing down on the center housing and up simultaneously on the adapter, from the bottom, release the pen adapter. You will need to be gentle but fairly firm.

How to remove Cricut's pen adapter in the Explore Air 2, Maker, Maker 3 or Explore 3 machines.

Once loosened, you will remove the white adapter from the inside of the Cricut center housing. There is only one was the adapter comes out, so it will be obvious.

How to use pen adapters with Cricut.

Now that clamp A’s housing is empty, you can insert one of the adapters! Some Cricut pen adapters will label which pens they work with; others will leave it up to you to test various options with each adapter.

That means you can change out the Cricut adapter for new ones that will hold a variety of different pen brands.

How to Use Any Pen with Your Cricut Machine: Learn all the pens that work with Cricut like Sharpie, Bic, Crayola markers, Tombow brush pens, and more!

In the image above, I am inserting a Bic marker into my Cricut, and it worked great!

Remember, even if one of the adapters is labeled “BIC markers,” that doesn’t mean there may not be other brand pens that work with that adapter!

I discovered that my Tombow dual brush markers work with the Uni-ball Signo adapter. Using a brush marker with your Cricut like this could help you create lovely brush calligraphy art!

Easy Cricut pen tutorial

Are you looking for more Cricut hacks? Read my 28 Cricut and Design Space hacks every Cricut owner should know! You may also love my 25 sanity-saving craft vinyl hacks every crafter needs!

Cricut Compatible Pens

Non-Cricut Pens (you will need this adapter set here)

  1. Regular, Metallic & Neon fine-point Sharpie
  2. Ultra Fine Point – Sharpie
  3. Art Pen – Sharpie
  4. Pilot Precise (V5 & V7)
  5. Bic Marking (Fine & Ultra Fine)
  6. Bic Cristal 
  7. Sakura Gelly Roll
  8. Amaza Gel Pens
  9. Sharpie Oil-Based Paint (fine and extra fine)
  10. Uni-ball Signo UM-153
  11. Tombow Brush Pens (use with Uni-ball adapter)

Crayola Markers that work with Cricut machines

Again you will need the pen adapter set.

  1. Fine Line Marker
  2. Super Tip 
  3. Detailing Gel Pen

Cricut Brand Pens

For those who want to stick with just the Cricut brand, here are some of my favorites to use!

  1. Ultimate Fine-point pen set
  2. Black pen set
  3. Glitter Gel pen set
  4. Peacock pen set
  5. Calligraphy Black pen set
  6. Candy Shop pen set
  7. Infusible Ink makers

Are you ready to try out this new Cricut hack? Learn how to write with Cricut inside a Joy card insert here or try out hatch-filing text in Design Space with this typography tutorial!

Note for Cricut Joy Users

This pen tutorial works great with the Cricut Maker, Explore Air 2, Explore 3, and Maker 3. However, the Joy machine works differently because it does not have a separate insert for pens. But I have tried and love these pens here for my Joy machine, which are dual-tip including both fine-point and marker tips. And they write very smoothly!

More Cricut Help for Beginners

I have many more Cricut hacks, help, and projects here on Abbi Kirsten Collections.

How to use non-cricut pens with your machine!

Love this Cricut tutorial? Don’t forget to share it with your friends!

About Abbi Kirsten

Welcome to my colorful corner of the internet, where we play with vibrant crafts and unlock your creative magic! Hang out with me and get lost in a fun array of projects, tutorials, and products, from stunning papercraft ideas to flower templates, Cricut help for beginners, and endless crafter’s hacks.Β 

To access all the magic, join the Member Vault and participate in my monthly Craft-Alongs in my Facebook group!

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37 Comments

    1. HELLO I HAVE A QUESTION, I DIDNT REALIZED I PURCHASED CRICUT EXPLORE PENS AND I HAVE A CRICUT MAKER. WOULD I STILL BE ABLE TO USE THEM. OR I NEED THESE APPLICATORS

      1. Cricut pens work seamlessly with both Explore and Makers. The adapters come into play when you want to use a non-cricut pen. πŸ™‚

    1. Google “using pen or marker with Cricut expression”. It will show you how to use stubby markers and how to flip the lid to use full size pens with items from Dollar Tree Good luck

  1. I’m new to this I bought a use explorer air. I’m trying to use the design space I created a picture I want to put on vinyl.The blade won’t come down is that because I don’t have a pen in the place for it.

    1. Hi! The blade will work without a pen. It sounds like the blade may not be installed in the clamp properly. You may want to google Cricut help to see a video of how this is done. More than likely the blade just needs to be pushed down into the clamp. πŸ™‚

  2. I cant seem to find the link for the pen adapters for the Cricut Air 2. Is it still available? Thank you. Audra

    1. Hi Linda! I haven’t tried that exact brand but I have used many other similar brands like Tombow dual brush pens and they work well!

  3. Thanks! This worked great! I even tried pens that were not listed and most of them fit in one of the holders.

  4. This is incredible! I have this set and would love to see how the Tombow writes when used. Which fonts do you use when using the Tombow?

  5. Are your free classes for Cricut Joy?

    Can I use the Cricut Ultimate Fine point pen set with my cricut joy. Someone gave me a box if pens for the cricut explore machine.

    1. Cricut Joy will require Cricut brand compatible pens for the Joy only because the machine is smaller.

  6. Your site is filled with a wealth of information! Does one of the pen adapters work with artesprix sublimation markers?

    Best Regards,
    Alicia

    1. Hi Alicia,

      You can use the Silhouette pen adapter with the Artesprix sublimation markers.

      Happy crafting!

    1. Possibly! You will just need to try your pens with each of the different adapters to see which one fits. πŸ™‚

  7. Hi Abbi!
    Would really appreciate if you could help me. Would you know of a very good white marker/pen that is compatible with the cricut explore 2 please? I have copper pearlescent paper and would love to do white writing on it. Thanks so much, Melanie

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