If you are just beginning your journey with your Cricut Maker, you might not realize there are a few items that are required beyond what is included in the box. Even if you purchase the Everything Materials and Tools Bundle, you still don’t have everything you need to make your first project. The Cricut Cuttlebug did not have the following requirements, so if it is your only experience with a Cricut product, prepare to be surprised.
I bet you are saying, “What!?!” and possibly included a few of your favorite curse words. Yes, I’m sorry to say that you still need the following items:
- A reliable internet connection
You don’t need an optical fiber line with a 2000 Mbps download speed, though I won’t discourage you if you can get it. But you need some kind of internet connection. If your internet connection is slow or intermittent, you might have problems using Design Space, which is the software that controls the Cricut Maker. I don’t recommend a dial-up connection. Those aren’t as common these days, but they are still in use. In a pinch, I have used my mobile phone’s hotspot, but I have experienced timeouts when I don’t have a strong signal.
- A computer, tablet, or smartphone
You need some sort of device to run Design Space. My recommendation is to use a laptop with a mouse and a physical USB connection. It doesn’t matter if the laptop or PC is Windows, Chromebook, Mac, or even Linux. The Design Space software runs as a plug-in on a browser on your computer, so the operating system is not important. I recommend a laptop because it is easier to move around. I recommend a mouse because designing with a mouse is much easier than using your finger. I recommend a physical USB connection because my experience using Bluetooth with a Cricut Maker has not given me consistent results.
Why don’t I recommend a tablet or smartphone? Because Design Space doesn’t include the same functionality as what is available with a browser. Tablets and smartphones require an app from the app store. The apps are not equivalent from device to device and won’t give you as much functionality as you can get from a browser. A tablet or smartphone is ok if you just want to get going, but if you want to do anything other than the simplest pre-configured cuts, you want a laptop.
Your computer needs a USB port, so keep that in mind if you use an older model of computer. The correct USB cable is included with the basic Cricut Maker.
- Chrome as your browser
Sorry Microsoft, neither Edge or Internet Explorer works well with Design Space. Neither does Safari or Firefox. I’d love to give you another choice, but for now, make your life simpler and use Chrome. At least Google Chrome is free.
I have had plenty of conversations with parents and potential Cricut owners who don’t realize there are these additional requirements. It is something to keep in mind as you create a budget to purchase a Cricut Maker.
Do you have any questions about using a Cricut Maker? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will feature your questions in a future post.