You are either thinking about purchasing your first die cutting machine or you purchased one already. It might be a Cricut Maker, another Cricut model, or another brand entirely. In every case, there are a few hand tools that will make your crafting life easier.
- Weeding tool – What on earth is a weeding tool? The idea is that you are removing or ‘weeding’ out the unwanted parts of your cut design. It looks like a dental pick and it is used to remove the cut pieces of material from the mat, from the machine or anywhere your fingers can’t reach. It is particularly useful for removing pieces of vinyl and iron-on from a backing sheet. The more intricate the cut, the more you will appreciate a weeding tool.
You don’t need to buy a weeding tool, you probably have a number of items around the house that will work just as well. A dental pick, an open safety pin, a needle, or a straight pin equally effective. You might also consider trying the point of a sewing seam ripper or even a fine pair of tweezers. You need something with a small tip that allows you to pull the corner of the material away from the mat or backing material.
- Tweezers – A pair of tweezers works similarly to a weeding tool with the additional benefit of being able to hold the material more securely. Not only can the tweezers remove material, but they can also be helpful if you need precision with alignment during gluing or positioning iron on.
- A squeegee, brayer or spatula – Cricut sells both a large and a small scraper, as well as a special brayer. The purpose is to apply the material evenly and smoothly to the cutting mat. I like to use an old credit card, a spatula with the handle broken off, or a bone folder. I’ve even used my hands to smooth the material, but I recommend using a tissue or piece of fabric to keep from getting fingerprints on the material. I do not recommend using the squeegee, brayer or spatula to remove the paper. instead, use the weeding tool to gently separate the material from the mat.
- Scissors or a paper cutter – A basic pair of scissors work well. there is no need to buy a new pair. If you have one, a paper cutter is handy because a measurement tool is built in and allows you to make quick straight cuts.
- Glue, tape, or adhesive – Even the simplest project you make likely requires some sort of adhesive to hold the materials together. Keep in mind that materials respond differently to different products. Glue can warp paper, tape might not be strong enough to hold plastics together, or the adhesive might not hold up to heavy use. Craft stores and dollar stores are good resources for supplies.
- Inexpensive paper for test cuts – One of the easiest ways to save money crafting is to always make a test cut before making a final cut in your expensive materials. This is especially true if you are starting off on your die-cutting journey. You can use plain paper, but consider reusing scrap paper too. Repurposed envelopes, scrap fabric, and cereal boxes make great test materials. Try to use materials of similar weight and flexibility as your final material to help identify the right blade and cut settings.
Do you have an idea for another need-to-have accessory that makes it easier to use your Cricut Maker? Leave a comment or ask a question.