So, I'm brand new to Cricut - I've always looked at them and wanted one but I've never even tried one out. So when Cricut offered to send me a Cricut Maker to share some projects with you, I jumped at the chance. Here I've created the perfect Cricut for Beginners project to get you started.
I've called this Cricut for Beginners because I'm learning right along with you. What I've learned from joining some facebook groups and watching Youtube videos, it that Cricut is a complicated machine and I have no idea what anyone is talking about. They talk about HTV and weeding and layers, welding, attaching and flattening - it's a whole new world!
So, I decided to start simple and create some library bags for Tully and Mylo. To make them I used the heat transfer vinyl (aka HTV) and some $2 cotton bags from Spotlight. Here's are my step by step directions for you, plus some things I learned along the way.
Cricut for Beginners - Library Bags
You will need:
Heat Transfer Vinyl
Laptop / iPad / Phone
Cricut EasyPress Mat
Scrap of clean cloth/ tea towel/ pillow case
Steps to make your Cricut library bag
Open Design Space and create a new project.
Choose images and then search Book Square - you'll see the image I chose in the selection. Be aware that this image will cost 99c. Size it to what you want. I went to 9 for these bags.
Choose the T on the sidebar to create your Text. Type the words you want. For these I typed the name then underneath I typed books. I then chanced the text colour to white. I used the purchased text 'DJ Flirt' for Tully and the free text 'Cricut Sans' for Mylo's. There are loads of free fonts online you can save to your computer as well.
Stretch the writing to the size you want, making sure it doesn't go out of the space provided. You'll see that Books doesn't line up in the space yet and if you press return it goes down too low. I rectified this by using the line space button at the top to space out the two lines until they were in the right spot.
Once your picture and text are just the way you want them you need to select the whole project (click and drag or control/click) and click slice to the bottom of your screen at the right. If you can't click it then your whole project isn't selected. Try again.
This process makes sure that you are telling your Cricut to cut both the image and the text from the vinyl.
Make sure your Cricut is all plugged in and on then select 'Make It'. When you get to the screen where you see three mats, choose the second mat and make sure it's highlighted. Then (and this is crucial) make sure you click the button to Mirror the project!
Load up the project by using your blue mat and making sure your vinyl is shiny side down.
Load into the Cricut and let it cut!
Once it is printed it's time to weed! You are going to need that little tool that looks like the dentist should be using it to clean your teeth. Use this to scrape out the bits of vinyl left in the words and in the book cut out.
Once it is weeded trim the vinyl around the design (but don't cut the design!). and peel the outside bit of, leaving you with just the plastic everywhere except the design you'll be ironing on.
Heat up your EasyPress to 195 degrees celsius and prepare your bag. To do this, place the EasyPress matt inside the bag and place the EasyPress on the bag for 15 seconds to iron the place where you want the transfer to go.
When ready, place your design shiny side up on the bag. Place the cloth or pillowcase on top and then hold the EasyPress for 35 seconds on top, pushing quite firmly.
Once you have done that, take off the cloth and look at your design. Does it look like the vinyl has bonded? Check the corners carefully. If its not fully bonded then cover again and apply more pressure to the localised areas that need it.
Leave the design to cool then peel off the plastic covering it - and you should be done!
Some Notes on Cricut for Beginners
Here are some things I found that might help:
When attaching the vinyl to the matt I feed the matt in what looks like upside down (with the hanging hole at the bottom). I also take the vinyl right to the edge rather than to the edge of the measurements because I find that sometimes it cuts up higher than the measurements.
It's easier to buy fonts and images on the Cricut design space app that on the laptop. The laptop version doesn't support Australian credit cards but the app does. Hopefully they fix this soon.
Weeding is easier when done with the vinyl still on the board.
Be prepared to stuff up - I ruined 2 sheets making these. The first cut too high and lost the top and the second I forgot to mirror.
Start slow - some of the projects you see online are amazing but you'll just get overwhelmed if you try to do too much, too soon!
Contact your local Spotlight and see if they are running classes. I just discovered ours is so I'm signing up.
The Final Product
Here are my finished library bags! They aren't anything fancy and I'm still not up to doing more than one colour but I'm happy with them and the kids are excited!
Please make sure you share with me anything you make! Just tag me @Stuffmumslike and I'll see it!
I cant wait to see everyone's creations!
To find some of our favourite books to fill your library bags with check out our favourite books!