Tools for ProvoCraft’s Cricut Explore Air – A Better Geek

I’m a reasonably artistic individual. I all the time have been, and my maternal family history consists of lots of creative-minded individuals. One in every of my cousins is a bona fide skilled artist, my mother is musically gifted in addition to an amazing seamstress, my grandmother was an completed seamstress, quilter, and needlepointer…and the listing simply goes on.

I’ve discovered that I’m not notably skilled at creating imagery and designs out of skinny air (or my creativeness), but I actually take pleasure in creating. I first came upon concerning the existence of computerized craft cutters several years in the past and didn’t really know a lot about them – all I learn was that ProvoCraft had this line of Cricut-branded craft cutters that used very costly cartridges, and when a company reverse-engineered the software used to regulate the machine so as to launch a product that allowed using any pictures or fonts you needed, ProvoCraft sued the pants off of them and gained. Thank Invoice Clinton and the DMCA for that one.

In 2015, I happened upon a blog submit speaking about an all-new Cricut machine that was supposed to deal with customers’ number-one grievance: the lack to create your personal designs, separate from expensive cartridges, to be minimize on a Cricut machine. The more research I did, the extra I needed one among these new machines. Lo and behold, Santa purchased me a Cricut Explore Air for Christmas that same yr!

Santa seems an awful lot like my fiance Jay, by the best way. Think about that!

I acquired proper to work as quickly as I opened the field. True to my nature, I had to find methods to make this machine do greater than what your average crafter would do. Sharing is caring, so I decided other individuals is perhaps interested what I’ve discovered by way of my Cricut adventures.

Tools You May (Not) Want

Cricut provides a line of branded tools, in fact. Some of them are pretty good, and some of them are pretty terrible. I subscribed to Cricut’s promotional emails and picked up their primary device package once they have been having a 40% off sale on equipment. For the worth it’s okay, but at full worth it’s not value it.

Right here’s why – and I’ve given you some concepts on options to the Cricut tools.

Micro-tipped scissors

These scissors have a very sharp, very small blade, which does make them helpful for trimming tiny bits of cardstock and material. Nevertheless. a great pair of embroidery scissors can accomplish the same factor, and for trimming paper, nothing beats a very good set of interest knives. I’ve a set that Jay had laying round from working on model practice stuff, and I really like them – the handles are ergonomic and really straightforward to regulate, and the set comes with quite a lot of blades in a secure plastic case. Yow will discover the set I bought on Amazon for a bit underneath $18, however any quality interest knife set can be your greatest good friend.


That is considered one of two tools from the package that I exploit recurrently. The spatula has a very thin metallic blade, which makes it indispensable when making an attempt to take away cardstock and paper out of your chopping mats. Cricut makes a set that features just the spatula and scraper (and typically bundles these two tools with the machine relying on what specific product and SKU you’re shopping for), so that’s in all probability a greater guess general than the costlier package I purchased.


Like the spatula, the scraper is pretty indispensable. You should use it to knock bits of cardstock off your slicing mat shortly and easily. Cricut also makes an extra giant scraper which is perhaps higher bang for your buck.

That being stated, there are lot of different scraper options you will get for a bit cheaper – a small plastic pan and pot scraper will do the identical because the Cricut scraper.


The weeder software is an oversized dental decide – and it turns out that, at the very least with the work I’ve carried out with vinyl, window clings, and cardstock, the Cricut-branded weeder is method, approach too huge. I began using a DenTek-branded dental decide that came with our electrical toothbrush and WaterPik set, and it’s worked a lot better than the Cricut weeder. I’d highly advocate choosing up a dental tartar decide (there are a ton on Amazon) over this Cricut device.

One really useful tip – you should use a weeder and a puddle of glue to piece collectively tiny cardstock bits. Dip the tip of the weeder in the glue to use tiny drops of glue to your items.


These tweezers are so freaking terrible. They’re 100% ineffective. They’re very imprecise, and the squeeze-to-open design is tough to make use of with my (considerably abnormal) tiny palms. I think they’re downright unusable in case you have arthritis or some other nice motor talent or mobility problems. There are a wide variety of precision tweezer choices out there which are a lot better – look in craft and pharmacy departments at your native massive box store. I additionally advocate Harbor Freight, if there’s one in your space – they’re principally the Aldi of hardware stores and sell a whole lot of cheap, private-label stuff, they usually have lots of hobbyist instruments and kit. You can too find options on Amazon.

Scoring Device

The Explore and Explore Air can minimize and score in a single cross (in other phrases, with out having to cease and alter instruments – the Explore One requires switching instruments between slicing and scoring). This is implausible for making envelopes, packing containers, and pop-up playing cards. The scoring device is certainly well worth the cash.

Further Tools and Provides

cutting matChopping Mat

Once I first started creating stuff with my Cricut, I used to be working with my interest knives immediately on my desktop. My craft space is about up with an previous IKEA Jerker desk I’ve had since school, and the desktop floor is well-worn, so including little cuts to it didn’t hassle me. I decided to select up a chopping mat anyhow, as a result of it makes for a better work floor. I ended up getting this Alvin mat on Amazon, as a result of I have Amazon Prime and pretty much all the time decide stuff with same-day delivery each time attainable. Any chopping mat will work, but I undoubtedly advocate getting a slicing mat in case you’re going to do plenty of effective, detailed work.

brayerBrayer Roller

A brayer curler is absolutely just a roller. I don’t know why it’s referred to as “brayer”, however that’s what you need to look for. I obtained this Speedball set on Amazon and have been really proud of it. I exploit the arduous rubber and acrylic rollers to flatten out cardstock and clean bubbles in vinyl sheets. These rollers are also nice for applying supplies smoothly onto your slicing mats.

Protip – on the set I purchased, the acrylic roller didn’t transfer in any respect in the handle. I utilized a bit of mineral oil to the pins on the ends of the curler, and that fastened it right up. Don’t use petroleum-based lubricants like WD-40, since those will trigger the acrylic to deteriorate.

tombow glueGlue and Adhesives

Glue is tremendous necessary for pretty much any cardstock or paper Cricut venture. Thus far, I’ve simply been utilizing Aileen’s Cheesy Glue. As I mentioned earlier on this article, a dental tartar decide works rather well for dabbing on tiny drops of glue for piecing collectively a challenge. It’s not optimum, though – I have to maintain some scrap cardboard available to hold puddles of glue, and the glue starts drying out method too shortly. Not solely that, however Cheesy Glue has an annoying habit of wrinkling each paper and cardstock if even a tiny bit too much is used.

I’m still looking for the most effective adhesive options. I picked up a number of Tombow merchandise from Amazon this week and am going to attempt them out – I’m notably enthusiastic about this ballpoint glue pen! It seems to be like it can work great for placing everlasting glue on tiny strips and bits of cardstock when piecing together a challenge – and it might be no less than slightly less tedious.

rulerRulers and Straightedges

One other very useful gizmo is a top quality ruler. I’ve tried totally different ones and located that I really like metallic rulers out there pretty much anyplace – so long as you shield them from getting bent! A right-angle ruler or triangle can also be very, very useful for those who’re slicing out smaller items of fabric for slicing out a challenge. I don’t have any recommendations on this one – no matter you favor when it comes to measurement and material will work simply advantageous!

mini canTiny Trashcan

I’m lifeless critical about this one – you’ll have so many tiny pieces of cardstock, paper, vinyl, and material from working with a craft cutter! I acquired a tiny garbage can from my local Daiso retailer for $1.50 and added some vinyl to it to show it into Jake the Canine from Journey Time. Amazon doesn’t have many choices on this entrance. I found one at The Container Store for $5, but I feel you’ll be able to in all probability find a cheaper one at your local dollar retailer. It sits on my desk, and I exploit it each time I work on a challenge.

Markers and Pens

Writing with the Cricut is pretty candy. In case you have the Cricut Explore or the Cricut Explore Air, it comes with an adjunct holder that is used for the scoring device in addition to writing utensils. When you’ve got the Cricut Explore One, you want a unique accessory holder. You can even use this adapter within the blade holder on the Explore and Explore Air to do some hackier stuff (extra on that later).

Cricut has designed its holder to work with its personal pens, in fact, however there are different choices out there! I’m not going to go over all the things, as a result of this awesome weblog submit covers pretty much the whole lot you could be questioning about using non-Cricut pens with the Cricut Explore and Explore Air. A couple notes, although…

Pilot Precise V5 Rollerball Pens

Pilot V5 fine-point pens click on into the adapter properly, however it appears that ProvoCraft added something to the firmware to stop the pens from truly touching the paper in the event you attempt to use them. I found a simple workaround – for any shapes or strains you want drawn, set them to score as an alternative in Design Area. This can decrease the accessory adapter simply far enough for the pen to put in writing reliably on your materials.

Crayola High quality-Level Markers

I’ve found that using a dime and a nickle stacked provides the right shim for these markers (and anything that doesn’t snap into place) so that the height is good.

Software program

Okay, so this one is going to be a separate article. Cricut’s web-based Design Area device is pretty terrible. It’s required for sending your tasks to your Explore machine, but you undoubtedly don’t have to use it for creating issues. i exploit Adobe Illustrator CS6, however there are undoubtedly cheaper options out there – and I’m going to research them for you so you don’t should!

More to return…

About the author