11 Tips and Tricks for Cricut Explore Air 2 and Design Space!

11 Tips and Tricks for Cricut Explore Air 2 and Design Space!

Diving in head first to the world of Cricut can be daunting at first. With so many intricate designs, tools, materials, and variables to juggle it can be easy to quickly become overwhelmed. The Design Space software is not especially difficult to use- its just completely new and unfamiliar, especially for first time users and non-technical people. There is light at the end of the tunnel however. Once you roll out your first project you will quickly become addicted to the beauty and reward of bringing your projects to life- and each and every time you do, you will get better and better. We are going to dive in to a few amazing tips for Design Space that will help elevate your game as a Cricut user.

  1. Move your Design Around the Mat Virtually! Save time and vinyl by virtually moving your design in Design Space. The software will automatically place your images on the mat based on their orientation, however you can intervene and use your best judgement as to where you want the design to ultimately be placed. This is a great way to save material and time by customizing the location of your designs. Simply drag and drop the images around on the mat, rotate them, or even shrink/increase their size! This can all be done in the Prepare stage on Design space. Be sure to use the grid lines to help you figure out how to orientate your designs to fit the material as you see fit.
  2. Use the Half Settings on Your Cricut Dial! A lot of Cricut users don’t bother to understand the Dial Settings on a deeper level which is a shame! On the dial itself, there are multiple settings for each material type. For example on the vinyl setting you can set the dial directly on vinyl for standard adhesive vinyl to perform a kiss cut (Cutting only the top layer of vinyl and not touching the adhesive backing). But did you know that you can click the dial one unit to the left or right to adjust the cutting pressure? This will allow for slightly different material types and thicknesses so that your material can be cut more effectively. The half settings for ABOVE fabric and poster board work slightly differently, however. Adjusting for more pressure on these settings will perform a multi-cut, meaning it will cut twice in the same spot.
cricut cutting mat types
 

3. Use the Right Cricut Mat! Get to know each level of reusable Cricut mat: LightGrip, StandardGrip, and StrongGrip. This will make sure the proper amount of stickiness is applied to your craft and will prevent tearing. Make sure to use the LightGrip Mat for regular paper, light card stock, as well as vellum. StandardGrip is used for heavy card stock, iron-on htv, and adhesive vinyl. For specialty cardstock, backed fabric, mat board and more: use Strong Grip.

4. Adjust Cutting Pressure Like a Pro! Rotating the dial on your Cricut is easy, but sometimes you need to adjust the pressure more finely. This is where adjusting the pressure in Design Space comes in. After you select the material type on the final cut screen, you have the option (in a drop-down menu) to adjust the pressure by selecting More, Default, or Less. 9 times out of 10 you will be able to get away without using this technique, but for that 1 time you don’t it could cost you your blade and or Cricut mat and that definitely isn’t worth the risk!

5. Use the Mirror Option on the Cut Screen! When you are working with iron-on projects or putting bumper sticker in the front of your car (that you want to be seen through rear view mirrors) be sure to quickly toggle on the “Mirror” option. This is MUCH quicker than horizontally flipping your deign in the design canvas. Save time by being aware of this one easy trick!

 

 

6. Use the Shortcuts on your Keyboard! Get to know your laptop shortcuts- they work on Design Space too! The most useful of these are copy (control + C), paste (Control + V), Delete (delete button) and undo (control + Z). If you’re on a Mac, replace the control button with the command button and you’re good to go!

7. Learn to Write With You Cricut! Did you know that you DON’T have to exclusively use Cricut pens in your machine? As long as the pens are around 0.5 inches in diameter- you’re good to go! Just a few different brands that you can work with include: American Crafts, Recollections, Pilot, and Crayola! So if you already have some different brands laying around the house and don’t have access to Cricut pens, give them a shot!

8. Learn to Print Then Cut Your own Custom Stickers! Print then cut is very commonly used to print on a variety materials- but did you know you can print stickers from your inkjet or laser printer- then use them in Print Then Cut with your Cricut? The Cricut Maker has a better scanner for this- however the best material to print then cut with on your Explore Air 2 is matte white printable vinyl. Not only is it extremely durable, its also completely waterproof and dishwasher safe, how cool is that!

9. Clear Your Cutting Mat Fast and Easy! The Cricut cutting mats accumulate debris very quickly when in use. Remove the large debris with tweezers, but avoid scraping the mat (this will cause the mat to lose its tackiness). Wash your mat with lukewarm water in the sink while using a hard bristle brush to remove tougher debris. Let the mat AIR DRY- don’t rub a towel on it otherwise the fiber will stick to the mat and you’ll have to start all over again.

10. Hang Cricut Mats and Tools on The Wall! Not enough space at your crafting table? No problem! Your circuit mats have holes in them that allow you to place them on hooks and stick them on your wall for quick access. For quick access to your Cricut tools- hang them on a peg board on the wall.

11. Use Trash Bag Holders to Store Vinyl Rolls! You can pick up a trash bag holder for a few dollars and mount it on the wall for easily storing vinyl rolls. That way your rolls stay safe and easily accessible without taking up a ton of space on your desk. 

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