Cricut Explore Air and Maker Accessories

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, please see my disclosures here.

New Cricut owners often ask what accessories they need to get to go with their machines. It definitely depends on what kind of projects you plan to do and which machine you buy.

The Cricut Maker can cut a wider variety of materials than the Explore series and has more accessories. Here are some accessories that I like that can be used with both the Explore and Maker machines. If you have a Maker, you will need fabric, felt, or other materials if you want to use rotary wheel and materials to cut with the knife blade if you purchase it.

Basics to Get Started

Cricut Basic Tool Set – These are tools you’ll use all the time, and buying them as a set is by far the better deal.

Extra Mats – I keep three or four mats in rotation all the time. I load mats while one is cutting. I only use the standard grip mats, but for years, those were the only ones available, and I’m used to knowing which ones are less sticky and using those with certain materials. Many people do like the blue mats for lighter weight materials. You will need the fabric or strong grip mats if you are using the rotary or knife blades with the Maker. Cricut has a useful help article to tell you everything you need to know about mats. 

Mats can be cleaned with the scraper and baby wipes, but they will need to be replaced after prolonged use, usually several months. If you use your Cricut often, consider buying the bulk pack of 30 mats from Cricut when they go on sale. A discount code and a free shipping code will get them down to around $2.50 per mat. You can even split the package with a friend. 

X-acto Knife – I always have my retractable X-acto knife handy on my desk. It’s perfect for cardstock that didn’t quite cut all the way through or picking up and placing small pieces. 

Adhesives – Everyone has different preferences with adhesives to use with paper and cardstock, and it will take some experimenting to find the ones you like the best. Here are my favorites:

Scoring Stylus (Explore series) or Scoring Wheel (Maker) – A scoring tool creates a crisp fold line for a greeting card or other cardstock project. The scoring wheel uses to the added pressure of the Maker to score a wider variety of materials including cardboard and glitter cardstock.

Pens – One of the most exciting new features when the Explore came out several years ago was the Write then Cut feature. I love using it for writing card sentiments and adding drawn embellishments to cards. Cricut has a wide variety of pens now, including my favorites – glitter gel pens

Cutting Materials

Cardstock – I got my first Cricut for scrapbooking, and so cardstock was the natural place to start for me. Cardstock is also generally cheaper and easier to work with than vinyl. I love Cricut cardstock, and I like ordering it the bulk packs. If Cricut doesn’t have the color I need, I usually get ClearPath cardstock or American Crafts cardstock from Amazon. 

Vinyl – Cricut has variety packs of adhesive vinyl as well as HTV (Iron-on).
Expressions Vinyl has a huge variety of all types of vinyl. They also have a very helpful YouTube channel. If you’re doing adhesive vinyl, you’ll need transfer tape.

Things You Probably Already Have

Blue painter’s tape – This is very handy when you have a mat that isn’t very sticky or materials such as glitter cardstock that need help sticking to the mat. Also, painter’s tape can be used instead of transfer tape to transfer adhesive vinyl. I use it when transferring vinyl to cards since it doesn’t pull up the cardstock like transfer tape can.

Large recycling bin and/or trash can – I have a kitchen-size recycling can from IKEA in my craft room that is big enough that I only have to empty it once or twice a month. You can even practice using adhesive vinyl with it. 🙂 

Ruler – Any 12-inch ruler will work. I measure the area I want to cover with heat transfer vinyl on shirt, and I measure the size of scraps to see if they are big enough for the image I want to cut. 

Desk lamp – The Ott Lite is the gold standard in task lighting, and the craft stores often have sales on them. I have had my floor lamp Ott Lite for many years and have found it to be a worthwhile investment. However, some other brands have come along in recent years that have similar quality. It’s always a good idea to check online reviews before purchasing this important piece of equipment.   

These are a few of my favorite things! Share some of your favorite supplies and accessories in the comments!

The above post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.

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