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. My husband bought me a cutting machine when they first came out years ago. I tried forever to figure out how to work the thing. The computer program was confusing, and I could not figure it out. I ended up giving it away.
For the last few years, I’ve watched 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.
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If, like me, you are nervous about using a cutting machine, keep reading. I am thrilled with how easy it has been to 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. 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 various 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, a 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. 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 could jump in and start cutting in 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 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 searched 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, 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. A tutorial when you set up your machine 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 cuts the material.
Once the design is cut, you 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 transfer the vinyl to wherever it goes easily. 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 how 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!
Does the explore 2 have Bluetooth ?
Yes it does!
Recently bought my cricut explorer 2. I’m not using a computer, just my iPhone. The design space app doesn’t have the option for different templates. I’ve basically been making up my own designs. My question is, should I look into buying a laptop to have more options? Help me!! Thank you in advance 🙂
Hi Hannah! The Design Space app is more limited than Design Space on a laptop. I don’t use the app so I’m not very familiar with it, but I do know that they are different.
I am having a brain fog. I downloaded a valentines heart image, cut it (it’s on shiny red HTV), tried to weed it but it didn’t cut through. What did I do wrong?
Hi Jennifer! Could be a lot of different issues. I often find that if something doesn’t cut through then I may need a stickier mat.
Carol burton says
Hello Gals well l am 67 in a month can you teach an old cat new tricks l certainly hope so.l am not by any means tech head so when l put my laptop on one side and the circuit on the other I am hoping for great crafts and easy ones. I have been crafting and sewing for over 40 years my hands and eyes and brain did all of it . Machines can only replace so much of us lol. Wish me luck girls. Carol
Good for you, Carol!! I can’t wait to see what you make.
I received a second hand Air 2..a mat. I was reluctant to start..finally made hearts..a friend gave me a weeding tool and brayer..I went to design space but there’s a price tag for certain designs..I need help 😇
So fun! I just learned what a brayer is and now I really want one! I highly suggest a Premium Cricut Access Membership. It will give you access to all the fonts in the Design Space, 10% all purchases on Cricut.com, 20% off all materials, free shipping with a $50 purchase plus more. You can stack those discounts on top of any sales Cricut runs. It is a great way to save money and get access to all the goodies in Design Space. Happy crafting!
Could you explain in more detail how to use the transfer tape after weeding the vinyl? I have never cut vinyl before. Just received my Air Explore 2 for Christmas. My previous Cricut experience is with the old Personal Cutter with cartridges, and I was limited to mostly cardstock. Thanks.
Sure! After you weed the vinyl, you need to make it like a sticker. So you will put the transfer tape on the top of your vinyl cut out. You’ll need to use a scraper or other tool to rub/press the vinyl and attach it to the sticky side of the transfer tape. It may take a little muscle and a lot of rubbing to get it to stick depending on the type of vinyl. Then turn it over and rub it again. When you are ready to put the vinyl on your surface, peel the vinyl layer away from the transfer tape. You are removing the “back” of the sticker – the white part. Place the transfer tape with the vinyl on the surface. Repeat the rubbing process to transfer the viny to your surface.
Lisa Alley says
I am a die hard crafter, furniture redoer and also One who swore off cutting machines after I got one and had issues with it connecting to my Bluetooth (took it back to store) and figured it was all something I just couldn’t learn. Fast forward to now I just got a cricut Explore Air 2 and haven’t opened it yet haha scared to death to try again but your post has given me a little confidence to try again. Wish me luck haha
It is so easy to use! I had another cutting machine years ago and it was so hard to learn. But we love our Cricut!
Natasha glass says
I am so scared, I have tried a couple things and was doing it from a tablet now I got a laptop and I’m scared to even open that. I need confidence
I think that Design Space is easier to use on the laptop! Go for it!
Thank you, you are really helping me learn about Cricut! Your easy to follow. I wish you would use more art work when describing what to do. More pictures, please! Lol
Thank you for the feedback, Terry! This was our first ever Cricut post! I hope we’ve gotten better with photos. 🙂
Thank you for this page! Right now my question is.
We don’t have internet at our trailer park where we spend the whole summer May to October. If I buy an external hard drive can I go to my daughters house, downloads fonts or designs to the hard drive so I can use my cricut express air2 at the trailer?
Camille Gabel says
You can use the Design Space without the internet, but some features may not work. I’ve never tried it!