I just bought a Cricut Maker! Now what?!

athena-with-ipad-3-01 My husband loves stickers! When my purchases are packed with stickers, they go right in the garbage with the rest of the packing materials… Unless my husband sees them. Even if he doesn’t like the brand or care about whatever message is being touted, he saves all the stickers. He has them on his snowboards and on his electronics. He hoards them because he never knows when he might need a sticker. He used to work in a shop that made vinyl stickers, and so for years, I’ve had “vinyl cutter & plotter” on my running list of gift ideas for him. A vinyl cutter & plotter is basically an electronic cutting machine and is what a lot of professional shops use to make stickers. We have a relatively small home, so it never seemed like a good time to buy a big stand-version of a plotter for my husband. When I would search for what vinyl cutter to buy, Cricut and Silhouette machines often showed up. I was always a little interested, but my card making and scrap booking supplies have been packed away in a closet for 10 years now. In 2017, I heard about the Cricut Maker, and I instantly wanted one. I’m not sure why the hype finally got to me, but I watched videos of random internet people unboxing their machines and envied them so much. I needed one! So my husband’s birthday rolls around in 2018, and I have nothing good on my list of things to buy him, except this vinyl cutter & plotter. I floated the idea by him– what if we went in halvsies on the Cricut Maker for each other’s birthdays (only 2 months apart!) and both got something we could enjoy? The Cricut Maker could make all the stickers he could ever want, and I could use it for all the sewing and crafty things I want to do. We went to JoAnn Fabric and we came home with $600 in purchases, including our beloved Cricut Maker. We were back at JoAnn within hours of getting the Cricut Maker home, and we both had Amazon carts full of purchases for things we couldn’t find at JoAnn Fabric. It was awesome! It was also expensive– in that first month, we probably spend about $2,000 including the Cricut Maker and all the supplies we bought for it. We watched so many YouTube videos of different things that could be done and different ways to achieve what we wanted to do. We bought some vinyl and transfer tape, but the transfer tape stuck to the vinyl more than the vinyl would stick to anything else. The vinyl didn’t weed very well, and it was hard to see the lines where the vinyl was cut. A quick Google search revealed that these were common issues with the brands we purchased. We bought Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV), but it melted in spots under my iron and tore in others as I attempted to remove the cover sheet. Neither of us had any idea how to use the Cricut Design Space, so our first projects were fun, but not very polished. We wondered, “Do we need Photoshop?” We found a free program called Inkscape, and after spending hours on YouTube, we learned just enough to know that it was more complex than what we wanted. We wanted to make things– not spend days designing things on a computer that might not even work out once we got them on the cutting mat. We bought a full year of Cricut Design Space Access just to realize that for a lot of the things we wanted, we still had to shell out $3-$15 per project. We are the people that never buy apps or make in-app purchases, so it’s hard to get used to the idea of shelling out a few bucks every time we use the Cricut Maker. If you’re just starting out with your Cricut or haven’t done all the projects you wish you had, try some of the easier projects available on Design Space. I learned so much just by doing a few pre-made projects and then searching for how to put my own special spin on them. We’ve had our Cricut Maker for a few weeks now, and we’ve really got our stock up to par now. On this blog, I’ll share what we’ve learned and what we wish we knew when we bought our Machine!  
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