New to the Cricut Explore Air 2? Join us as we learn how to use the Explore Air 2 as a beginner!
I am so crazy excited to be introducing Cricut to you! We do quite a bit of crafting and I have been side-eyeing a cutting machine for years. In fact, my husband bought me a cutting machine years ago when they first came out. I tried forever to figure out how to work the thing. The computer program was confusing and I just could not figure it out. I ended up giving it away.
For the last few years, I’ve been watching as Cricut introduced the Express Air and Air 2. But I was afraid to spend the money on yet another craft item I wouldn’t use. You know how that goes! When Cricut asked if they could send me a machine and supplies to try it out, I had to say yes.
Since this post was first written in January 2020, Cricut has released the Explore 3 machine. Check out this Christmas sign tutorial to see the differences between the Explore 2 and Explore 3 machines. You can also check out the Cricut Joy and see how much we love it in this Father’s Day tutorial.
If like me, you are nervous about using a cutting machine – then keep on reading. I am thrilled with how easy it has been to literally plug in the Explore Air 2 and start crafting within minutes.
What’s in the Box?
We have the Cricut Express Air 2. It comes in lots of pretty colors. In order to be able to start right off crafting, I suggest getting a bundle like the Everything Bundle. It comes with Cricut Explore Air™ 2 plus a variety of blades, mats, tools, and materials galore. At the bare minimum, you will need the Cricut Explore Air™ 2 machine, a fine point blade, a mat, weeding tool, and vinyl to get started.
How Do I Get Started Using the Cricut Explore Air 2?
It is so super easy to get set up! You will want to follow the very easy instructions that come with the machine. Basically, you plug it in, download the Cricut Design Space software, register your machine and start crafting. It is that easy. It was so easy that my 13-year-old daughter was able to jump in and start cutting in a matter of minutes.
What Should I Make First?
Cricut has done a stellar job of offering ready-to-make projects in Cricut Design Space. I suggest starting there. Search under “Projects” or “Images” to find a simple design you like. You could also try our Joy Wood Slice Christmas Ornament with Cricut for using vinyl or How to Make A Christmas Apron with Cricut for iron-on vinyl.
If you have a teen who is into crafting, then you really need a Cricut machine. My daughter is 13 and is completely obsessed. She has been cutting and adding cute designs to everything she can think of.
Our first try at cutting vinyl was with a mermaid design for my daughter’s water bottle. This is the very first project we made and look at how great it looks! Plus it only took us about 20 minutes to do it as total beginners. So easy.
How Does It Work?
You work in the Cricut Design Space on your computer to create designs to cut. The program is very easy to use. You can see in the photo above on the far left are different icons. For this project above, I wanted to add a design to a coffee mug I’d received at Christmas. So I added a mug template to estimate sizing for the cut needed. You don’t need to use a template. They are just handy to determine how big to make your design.
The Images icon is where the fun starts. There are thousands of different kinds of images in this tab. I did a search for “coffee” for a cute design to add to the mug.
When you find a design, you just click a button to add to insert the image into the workspace. You can adjust the size of the image. Again, the mug is just for guidance in estimating a size.
When you are happy with the image, you click “Make It”. The program will tell you exactly what you need to make the image.
Then you add the vinyl to a cutting mat and load it into the machine. There is a tutorial when you set up your machine that walks you through how to do this.
You set the knob on the machine to the type of material you are cutting. The C button will blink when everything is ready to go. You press that button and the machine cut the material.
Once the design is cut, you will need to “weed” the vinyl. My daughter loves doing this part! You remove the parts of the image that are not needed. Cricut’s weeding tools are a must for easy weeding!
When the weeding is finished, you use Transfer Tape to easily transfer the vinyl to wherever it goes. In this case, we put the heart on a mug.
We realized that we had incorrectly weeded the heart. The vinyl we used is removable. As I was peeling it off, I liked the way the heart looked on the mug so I left it. I love crafts that are easy to “fix”!
We will continue to perfect our vinyl technique. Our next project was iron-on vinyl when we made a DIY Teacher Beach Bag!