Why Did We Get a Cricut? (for the D.I.Y. Rock Star)



Here’s a little context…

As a D.I.Y. Rock Star, we are in CONSTANT need of collateral, like band merch, and this puppy is SUPPOSED to be able to crank out stickers and t-shirts; two of our fan favorites. That’s one reason why I wanted to lean into something that could make that work easier. —If you’ve been around for ANY time, you will know that MY personal goal is to work smarter—and NOT harder—so I have been skeptical that this tool would make life easier, because I ASSUME there’s going to be this BIG learning curve. —And, YES, it LOOKS like there is, but ALSO, I have done ENOUGH projects that I have started to wonder what could be an easier way to achieve these results, as well as to open up my options to ideas that I have never even THOUGHT of. But that’s just the start of it…..





My impression…

I remember running across the Cricut years ago when doing my crafting shopping. I looked at it briefly and decided that it was too expensive and too difficult. Plus, in the back of my mind, somehow, I KNEW keeping and using the machine would mean buying endless, EXPENSIVE supplies…So, on that steam alone, I was prepared to reject the idea. But we are two years into making our yearly, band-themed holiday ornaments and I want to make the process easier AND make the results even MORE stunning each time, so I started to entertain the idea of such a machine that might help me achieve that. –AND, of course, once I see what I can do for custom t-shirts and stickers, I was smitten. I asked my husband for it for my birthday. What follows, in this post, is the research I did before I decided on this particular model, information about some of the tools I would need in order work effectively with the Cricut Maker, and key tips to help me to get started and to not get frustrated.



There are 3 videos is this series:

  1. Craft Haul https://bit.ly/crafthaulvideo

  2. Cricut Easy Press 2 Unboxing https://bit.ly/cricuteasypress2vid

  3. Cricut Maker Bundle Unboxing https://bit.ly/cricutmakerunboxing



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Available from Songtradr: http://bit.ly/songtradrbruce


#cricut #crafthaul #unboxing #diyrockstar #prejippie #bloomingprejippie


This is a non-sponsored post. But here’s a link to our store, if you’d like to see what we’ve got. We appreciate your purchase. (https://bit.ly/prejippieshop )

Cricut resources:

If you check the description, I have added my personal playlist of YouTube videos that have been helpful in figuring out what to buy and what projects to try AND taught me some valuable tips. ( https://bit.ly/cricutvideoplaylist ) Some of what I have learned has come from bingeing on “Makers Gonna Learn” videos, so check them out, if you want a channel dedicated to teaching you how to use your Cricut, as well as many others. Many of these tips were gathered from:

https://youtu.be/l3g0uBlUWFI Here’s a blog post on how to use iron-on vinyl (with a link to using the heatpress): https://www.cutcutcraft.com/how-to-use-cricut-iron-on-vinyl/



Recap: Why Cricut?

1. I like to craft—especially making t-shirts and stickers

2. Been working WITHOUT one for years now (but didn’t know if I was up for the learning curve; so did a lot of research and see that there’s a TON of free support and also downloaded Cricut’s Design Space software to see how easy it is)

3. Hoping that it will make the things I NORMALLY do—band t-shirts, stickers, iron on patches—easier.

4. There’s a robust community of folks that teach ALL kinds of things about how to do things better, which has been incredibly helpful. See some of the creators I learned from: https://bit.ly/cricutvideoplaylist

5. BONUS: Weirdly, I ALREADY have an inkjet printer—that I bought YEARS ago JUST to make iron transfer t-shirts—so I am already equipped for the cut and print projects (like stickers).





Cricut Tips:

  • Keep Material Dial set to “Custom” on anything but the Cricut Maker—which makes you choose the material each time anyway— (so you won’t forget to select each fresh each time)

  • When making t-shirts, they need to be preshrunk (so Gilden brand is pre-shrunk)

  • Go to wordmark.it to see how your fonts will look on a particular word; you may need to download an extension to show dafont fonts

  • Add Modge Podge OVER removable vinyl to preserve the design

  • Measure twice, cut once; measure with a ruler IRL, then check the screen to see what measurement is selected in the Design Space software


Cricut Aha:

  • Vinyl is a common medium, but needs transfer tape to adhere it (sold separately)

  • AG fonts are best to produce bulletin boards letters (because they are fatter and the Cricut cuts them better)

  • A brayer is important for making sure that the medium is adhered to the mat BEFORE you cut (I bought one in advance of getting the machine; see it in my Craft Haul video: https://bit.ly/crafthaulvideo )

  • Adding wheels to the Cricut machine makes it easier to move around on a desk (especially when you have limited space; mine are on their way to me now)

  • SVG files are the BEST format to create cuttable designs from (because when they are made larger, they don’t lose their crispness)

  • PNG files are great for print and cut, for photography, and for stickers (that need to be printed out on inkjet BEFORE being cut on Cricut)





What is SVG ?

SVG (or “Scalable Vector Graphics”) are the type of files that die-cut machines, like the Cricut Maker, use to make its cuts. I am told that I will need to know how to make, manipulate, and import them in order to be my most creative with my Cricut Maker. These types of files can be purchased from places like Etsy, but they can become quite costly. Also, you do NOT want to just grab them from Google, because you may end up in copyright trouble. Instead, they are free websites that offer these kinds of files that you can use, as well as free image manipulation tools. What follows is a list of those free resources. Some of this information was gathered from: https://youtu.be/l3g0uBlUWFI





SVG-making tips:

  • Use this free software at Inkscape.org (to convert, make and manipulate SVG files)

  • Use Raw Pixel (website with some public domain art that can be copied to use for a graphic file download—import into Inkscape, select all, select path and trace bitmap, select update (to get a screenshot), use “brightness cut off” to trace simple bitmap images, find the middle ground (like 65), click update, clean up extra noise by deleting nodes and export,

  • Use Svg Silh (is a free website for public domain art)




Wishlist:

This is the Cricut Wishlist that I started with. (These are items that will complement the Cricut Maker that I know my family has bought me for my birthday.)

· Cricut Maker cover $25 💥

· Cricut Easy Press 2 200 💥

· Brayer 20 💥

· Heat pad 30 💥

· 12 x12 storage bins

· Wheels 10 💥

· Self-healing cutting mat 20 💥

· Thermal laminating machine 50

· Thermal laminating pouches 20

First projects to try....

Here’s a list of the first Cricut projects that I want to attempt:

· Make a sunflower t-shirt

· BPJ Logo Stickers (small and one large)

· Valentine’s Day shirt

· St. Patrick’s Day shirt

· Craft room banner

· Studio banner

· Workout room banner

· Octopus-themed items

· Bulletin board trim

· Iron on patches for BPJ




Finally…

–And even MORE recently, I have embraced a more minimalistic approach and try NOT to overbuy materials, so while it is TEMPTING to buy bundles of goodies that Cricut now has on sale, I decided to be prudent and wait to see what I LIKE working with as well as what I ACTUALLY want more of.


What do you think? Do you own one?

Are you considering getting one?

Do you have any advice? Or do you have questions? We’d love to hear what you have to say.

Leave it in the comments below.


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