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A Beginner Guide to Crafting with the Cricut Explore Air 2

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New to the Cricut Explore Air 2? Join us as we learn how to use the Explore Air 2 as a beginner!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.


Cricut Explore Air 2 machine

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 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. 

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  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 a done a stellar job of offering ready to make projects in Cricut Access. There are 50 projects ready to go. We started with simple vinyl cuts. They are easy and quick to make. 

Let me also say that if you have a teen who is in to crafting, then you really need a Cricut machine. My daughter is 13 and is completely obsessed and we haven’t even touched iron on vinyl yet. She has been cutting and adding cute designs to everything she can think of. 

Pink water bottle with mermaid

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. 

Cricut Design Space Mug Template

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. 

Cricut Design Space images

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. 

Cricut design space mug template with heart image

When you find a design, you just click a button to add to insert the image to the workspace. You can adjust the size of the image. Again, the mug is just for guidance in estimating a size. 

Cricut design space heart image cutting


When you are happy with the image, you click “Make It”. The program will tell you exactly what you need to make the image.

Cricut Air 2 with vinyl to cut on table

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. 

Cricut Air 2 knob

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.

Cricut weeding tool with heart sticker

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 weeding tools with heart sticker

When the weeding is finished, you use a Transfer Paper to easily transfer the vinyl to wherever it goes. In this case, we put the heart on a mug.

Pink mug with green heart sticker

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. Next up, we are learning how to use iron on vinyl! 

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  • Lynne
    December 30, 2020

    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
      January 4, 2021

      You can use the Design Space without the internet, but some features may not work. I’ve never tried it!