Cricut Basics: What Is A Cricut Cutting Machine + Free Crafting SVG

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Do you love crafting? If you have ever wondered “What Is A Cricut Cutting Machine?” then this is the post for you! Be prepared to have your crafting and DIY life changed forever in this ultimate Cricut guide!

Do you love crafting? We do too!Have you everr wondered "What Is A Cricut Cutting Machine?" Be prepared to have your crafting and DIY life changed forever in this ultimate Cricut guide! We're answering all of your Cricut questions about what is a Cricut Maker, Cricut Explore Air 2 and Cricut Joy and we're also sharing a free craft SVG that says "I'd Rather Be Crafting" and has a drawing of a Cricut.

Disclosure: Thank you to Cricut for working with us on this sponsored post. As with every article on Hello Creative Family all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

Hi Crafty Friends! The other day I sat down and looked up the date that I made my very first Cricut project. Want to hear something crazy? I have been crafting with Cricut for 7 years! In some ways it feels like I’ve been using a Cricut forever! In other ways it seems like just yesterday when I had all that excitement and butterflies in my stomach as I unboxed my Cricut and used it for the first time.

Cricut cutting machines are amazing and I had no idea just how much owning a Cricut would change my life!

This incredible machine has opened so many doors for me– I’ve sold crafts I’ve made on my Cricut, I’ve taught classes locally and internationally on how to use a Cricut, I’ve built a blogging business with a very high percentage of my readers being Cricut users, and I’ve even written a Cricut book with a well respected publishing house and have a second one on the way! (You can find The Unofficial Book of Cricut Crafts here.)

The ultimate Cricut how-to book that covers everything you need to know to purchase a Cricut and use it like a pro!

I have written a ton of content about how to use a Cricut cutting machine over the past 7 years, and have shared tons of Cricut crafts and SVG files, but it occurred to me recently that I’ve never written a post on what a Cricut is! So today, for anyone unfamiliar with Cricut (but super curious), I’m going to share that information with you.

Make sure you read all the way to the end because I’m going to be sharing a free SVG cut file with you that you can cut using your Cricut!

What is a Cricut machine and what does a Cricut do?

Craft table set up with Cricut Maker, Cricut Explore Air 2 Cricut Joy and Cricut craft supplies.

Let’s start at the very beginning shall we? What is a Cricut and what does it do?

Cricut is company that creates electronic cutting machine used for crafting. They currently have three cutting machines that they are producing– The Cricut Maker, Cricut Explore Air 2 and Cricut Joy (more on each of these below).

Crafters can use their Cricut along with Cricut’s design program called Cricut Design Space to cut a variety of different materials ranging from paper, to vinyl and iron-on, to fabric and felt. I share more info on what each machine can cut below.

To cut with your Cricut, you design your project in Design Space and then lay your material on a Cricut cutting mat and insert it into the machine. The Cricut then uses a cutting blade to cut the design into the material that you are using.

The Cricut Maker and Cricut Explore Air 2 use cutting mats that come in two sizes– 12 inches by 12 inches and 12 inches by 24 inches.

The Cricut Joy is a smaller machine that has the ability to cut with or without a cutting mat. The Cricut Joy cutting mat sizes are 4.5 inches by 6 inches and 4.5 inches by 12 inches.

What is a Cricut Maker?

Cricut Maker loaded with a fabric mat with pretty floral fabric. A Cricut cutie sits next to the Cricut Maker.

The Cricut Maker is the ultimate smart cutting machine. It is the only cutting machine with an Adaptive Tool System which allows you to cut over 300 different types of materials!

The Cricut Maker can use the same blades that the Cricut Explore Air 2 uses (Fine Point Blade, Deep Point Blade, Bonded Fabric Blade and Foil Transfer Tool) but it can also use the eight Adaptive Maker Tools.

Eight Cricut Adaptive Tool Blades

This means that the Cricut Maker can cut everything that the Cricut Explore Air 2 and Cricut Joy can cut and then some!

The three Adaptive Tools I use the most are:

Cricut Knife Blade: With this super sharp blade you are able to cut thicker materials like wood veneers, balsa wood, basswood and chipboard. (You can see my first knife blade project, read my knife blade success tips and get a free “home” cut file here.)

Cricut Rotary Blade: Forget scissors and manual rotary cutters when sewing! With the Cricut Rotary Blade you can cut a multitude of different types of fabric from quilting cotton to denim and leather using your Cricut Maker! Cricut even has sewing patterns you can cut in Design Space! (You can read our article titled “If You Sew You Need The Cricut Maker- Here’s Why!” here.

Cricut Engraving Tip: This tiny tool took my crafting to a whole new level! It can be used to engrave bracelets, pet tags, pendants and more! (You can see my tutorial on how to engrave bracelets with your Cricut Maker here.)

Want more information on what each of these amazing tools can do? Read my post on Cricut’s Adaptive Tool System here.

The Cricut Maker (and Cricut Explore Air) also have a secondary tool holder where you can insert pens so that you can have your Cricut draw! Watching my Cricut draw is one of my very favorite things to do.

Your Cricut Maker and Cricut Explore Air 2 can also be paired up with your home printer to “Print and Cut” which means you can print designs on paper, printable vinyl, stickers and printable iron-on and then have your cutting machine cut it out. It’s so, so fun!

If you have ever seen a Cricut project and thought “I wish I could make that” then the Cricut Maker is the machine for you. With over 300 materials that the Cricut Maker can cut, the only limitation is your imagination.

You can see the full list of materials that the Cricut Maker can cut here.

What Is A Cricut Explore Air 2?

Fuchsia Cricut Explore Air 2 with an adorable Cricut Cutie

Cricut’s other full size cutting machine is the Cricut Explore Air 2. This incredible cutting machine can cut over 100 different types of material and is perfect for paper crafts, t-shirt design, vinyl decals and more!

The Cricut Explore does not have the Adaptive Tool System so you can’t use the rotary blade, knife blade, engraving tip and other speciality tools with it, but you can still cut a ton of materials.

You could honestly craft every single day for the rest of your life and never run out of projects to make with your Cricut Explore Air 2.

One of my very favorite things about the Cricut Explore Air 2 is how many fun colors it comes in! It really allows you to match your machine with your personality and your craft room decor. I LOVE my fuchsia Cricut Explore Air 2 and always consider buying another colorful machine to make my craft room extra bright and colorful.

You can see the full list of materials that the Cricut Explore Air 2 can cut here.

What is a Cricut Joy?

Cricut Joy set up in a craft room with a Cricut Cutie sitting on it's cutting tray.

The Cricut Joy is the newest addition to the Cricut family. It’s Cricut’s mini but mighty cutting machine. This little machine is perfect crafting on the go, or in homes with limited spaces. Plus it’s so darn cute!

The Cricut Joy can cut just over 50 materials and is the first of the Cricut cutting machines to have matless cutting technology which means that you can cut individual shapes up to 4 ft long or makes repeated cuts up to 20 ft long using Cricut Smart Materials.

Because it’s so tiny, you are limited to cutting materials that are 4.5 inches wide but there are a ton of projects you can make with your Cricut Joy. I think it’s a great starter machine to get your feet wet with Cricut. It’s also perfect for people with limited space, excellent for teens and tweens and a dream machine for people who want to take their crafts on the go!

It’s the perfect companion to the Cricut Maker and Cricut Explore Air. I love using my Cricut Joy as my card making machine. Cricut has an amazing Card Mat for the Cricut Joy along with Insert Cards in a variety of colors and patterns.

You can see the full list of materials that the Cricut Joy can cut here.

What is a Cricut EasyPress?

Cricut EasyPresses on a table with HTV next to it.

In addition to Cricut’s line of cutting machines, Cricut also has their own collection of heat presses called the Cricut EasyPress.

The Cricut EasyPress currently is being made in 3 sizes:

  • The EasyPress Mini which has a heat plate that is approximately 2 inches by 3 inches and is ideal for unusually small project or projects with a challenging surface like a hat or shoes.
  • 9X9 Cricut EasyPress with a heat plate of 9 inches by 9 inches this EasyPress is perfect for small to medium sized designs on t-shirts, tote bags, pillows and more.
  • 12X10 Cricut EasyPress (or as I like to call it the “Big Papa” EasyPress). This is Cricut’s largest EasyPress and is perfect for cutting oversided designs. I use this heat press for making most of my adult sized shirts, pillowcases with large designs, Infusible Ink projects and more.

Cricut EasyPresses make using iron-on and Infusible Ink a breeze. It has even heat all the way to the edges of the heat plate (unlike household irons). They also have adjustable heat up to 400F. They are lightweight, portable, easy to store, and compatible with most major brands of heat-transfer vinyl and all Infusible Ink products.

Read all about my experience using Infusible Ink on a variety of Infusible Ink blanks here.

I’ve been using a Cricut EasyPress since 2017 and it has made creating beautiful iron-on projects that stick wash after wash so much easier! No more peeling HTV when you use the Cricut EasyPress!

What devices can I use Cricut Design Space on?

Cricut Design Space Home Screen

Cricut Design Space is the free software that you pair with your Cricut to cut your projects. You can not use your Cricut cutting machine without Design Space so it’s a pretty good idea to know if the devices you have at home are compatible with Design Space before you purchase your machine. That being said, you’re in luck because if you have a computer, smartphone, or tablet chances are that you can use a Cricut.

Cricut Design Space is compatable with the following (check the links for specific information about each operating platform and device specifications):

Cricut also offers a subscription service called Cricut Access which gives you access to thousands of images and fonts that you can use with your Cricut cutting machine. Find my article “Cricut Access 101- Is Cricut Access Worth The Price?” here.

Sign up for Cricut Access Here

Ready to sign up for Cricut Access? Subscribe here!

What is a Cricut Cutie?

A pink Cricut Cutie stands in front of a fuchsia Cricut Explore Air 2 and a white brick wall with a felt pom pom garland. He stands next to a wine tumbler filled with pink liquid that has Sippin' Pretty etched in it. Project and cut file from the Book The Unofficial Book of Cricut Crafts

As you have read through this post you have probably noticed the adorable, pink, big eyed little little critter in some of my photos! He is a Cricut Cutie! Cricut Cuties are not available to purchase directly through Cricut, but instead are given as a secret gift with purchase. You can often find Cricut Cuties in Cricut Mystery Boxes and sometimes craft stores will have them available when you purchase a Cricut cutting machine.

They are highly coveted by die hard Cricut fans (I only have two but would love to add to my crew) and they are so fun to collect.

I’d love to know if you have Cricut Cuties and if so what colors are in your collection?

How do you say Cricut?

Cry-Cut or Cricket?

This is the question that I probably get asked the most often about Cricut when I meet crafters in real life. I can confidently say that it is pronounced “Cricket” just like the little green bugs, though if you wanted to put a bit more emphasis on the cut and pronounce it “cri-CUT” instead of “cric-KET” that’s probably the more technical way of saying it. It’s definitely not “CRY-CUT” though.

Free I’d Rather Be Crafting Cut File

Love Cricut? I do too! I'm sharing a free I'd Rather Be Crafting SVG that you can cut using your Cricut Maker, Cricut Explore Air 2 or Cricut Joy along with the 411 on "What is a Cricut?" You'll find everything you need to know in this Cricut Guide!

So now you know everything you need to know about Cricut! Are you excited to start crafting? Well you’re in luck! I’ve got a free cut file for you! Once you get a Cricut cutting machine there’s pretty much nothing that you would rather be doing than crafting. So I created an “I’d Rather Be Crafting” SVG!

Want to grab it?

Enter your name and email address below and I’ll send the cut file immediately straight to your inbox. Accessing this free cut file will register you up for my e-newsletter and you’ll be notified when I release new free SVG files. Don’t worry if you are already subscribed to our enewsletter. You will only be subscribed once.

  • This cut file is for personal use only. 
  • This file can be used in part or in whole for your personal projects.
  • Digital reselling, sharing, redistributing of the files is NOT allowed. If you would like to share, please direct friends to the original blog post where you found this cut file.

Need supplies to make all your amazing Cricut creations? Click here for the best prices on Cricut cutting machines, bundles, iron-On, vinyl, cardstock and more!

There you have it! That’s pretty much everything you could need to know about what a Cricut cutting machine is. I hope you found this post informative.

Make sure you also check out:

Here’s some more Cricut posts I think you might like:



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  1. I have put my email in 2x for the free file and haven’t gotten it. It is not in my spam folder either. Could you please send to my email? T hank You.

  2. WOW !
    I think this is the best written all about Cricut post out there.

    When I started there were not many choices but in this new world of machines abundant this is so helpful.

    I can see how someone new might get lost in all the info out there. You have made it so easy to compare and given such great info to decide the best fit and tools and what they do.

    I will definitely send anyone new or interested in buying here to learn all about Cricut !