If you’re an avid Pinner, you know the idea platform is ripe with DIY inspiration to help take those special moments in your life to the next level.
But for someone like me who’s pretty short on time, but big on dreams (I have close to 15,000 pins at last check), Cricut’s line of Smart Cutting Machines and related accessories just blew my world of DIY possibilities wide open.
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While I’m a self-admitted newbie when it comes to Cricut, and there is a learning curve to the system and its Cricut Design Space application where you make your designs, it comes with multi-layered support and resources to make crafting accessible even to those who typically don’t consider themselves the super-creative DIY types.
Case in point: for my wedding back in 2019, I resorted to ordering many customized wedding accents off of Etsy, but with a little effort, I realize in hindsight I could have made these items myself; from my personalized cake topper, to bridal shower and wedding invites and place cards, to welcome signs, bachelorette favours and so (SO!) much more.
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In fact, I’ve come across many examples of many DIYers taking their hobby to launch businesses that create many such items.
I wanted to try out some of the many fan-favourite uses for this do-it-all Cricut tool, and here are my honest thoughts on the brand’s latest:
Cricut Maker 3 Smart Cutting Machine, Amazon, $500.
Note: Many of the Cricut materials noted below are only used partially, so while prices reflect the cost of the full item, you’ll have plenty left over for future projects.
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Making custom greeting cards:
Additional Materials: Cricut 2×2 Card Mat, Insert Cards (these come in a pack of 12)
Total Cost: About $35 for all Cricut materials (Insert cards are good for 12 special occasion cards and the card mat is reusable)
Total Time: 10 minutes, but I suspect it would take me less time the more experienced I get
This was my first time not just goofing around in Cricut’s Design Space application, but actually applying my learnings to a project I would get to hold in my hands (and gift someone else!). As it was my first card, I worked off of a relatively simple template for a birthday, though you can absolutely create something entirely your own and opt to skip the template.
The results yielded a beautiful, high-quality card I easily would have had to pay for upwards of $6 or more, and I still have 11 more cards to work for less than the cost of two such cards. Next time, I will try a more elaborate template with greater detail and, eventually, I’ll try my own ideas (just take a look at some of the pop-up card examples out there – they are stunning!).
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Welcome sign for a special occasion:
Additional Materials: 24×36″ acrylic plexiglass, dish sponge, acrylic paint, Removable Vinyl (I opted for gold), Vinyl Transfer Tape, Cricut 12×24 StandardGrip Mat
Total Cost: $60 for the acrylic plexiglass and other craft materials, and $45 for the Cricut materials (but as noted, you have plenty left over for other projects)
Total Time: About 3.5 hours (again, I’m sure it took me longer because it was my first time working at this scale or on this type of project)
For a project I’d otherwise have to pay upwards of $250 for on Etsy, I have to say there was satisfaction in taking this on myself. After looking up how to create these signs on YouTube (and rewatching the how-tos about 358 times), it took me a casual Saturday afternoon to sponge on the acrylic paint, let it dry and create the wording for the sign in Design Space. It took me another hour or so to print, cut, weed and carefully apply the vinyl to achieve my desired look (note: I used temporary vinyl because I hope to reuse the board for future events, but feel free to work with permanent vinyl too – it just takes a bit more elbow grease to get it off, I hear). I also left the date unapplied, as there was a slight chance it would shift, but wanted to gage the general area where I’d like it to fit.
All in all, I was very happy with my results, and can only see myself getting better from here (and, needless to say, my bank account was happy). The sign is a nice touch to add a bit of oomph to a backyard baby shower. Pro tip: cut and keep the scrap vinyl for future smaller-sized projects to make most of your materials.
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Additional Materials: Reusable plastic wine glasses, Smart Vinyl or regular Removable or Permanent Vinyl in whatever colour you like, StandardGrip Mat
Total Cost: About $100 for the pack of 48 wine glasses, about $30 for the Cricut materials, with plenty to spare for future projects
Total Time: About 1.5 hours to design the names, print and apply the decals
Because I wasn’t renting tableware for my upcoming event, but I still wanted a reusable option I can gift my guests, I opted for plastic stemless wine glasses for a backyard soiree. With it being the pandemic, and not wanting to see guests simply losing, mixing up or worse (i.e. tossing these in the garbage), I wanted to personalize each glass with all my guests’ names to help minimize any waste and to give them a keepsake if they wanted one. The detail also provides a nice, personal touch for each guest.
Once I settled on my font and the general look I was going for, copying and pasting in my guests’ names and printing was a relatively quick process. I liked working with Smart Vinyl for this one, because I had the option to print all the names at once on one long sheet of vinyl, without needing any sort of grip mat. The smart vinyl allows you to cut upwards of 12-feet long (this is also super useful for any long, continuous cuts, such as for wall decals). Overall, while it did take some time to complete 40+ glasses, the end result was worth the time.
Related: How to make your own gold tumbler & glasses for your next entertaining gig.
Before working with the Cricut Maker 3, I found the DIY space to have a high barrier to entry so in the past, I’ve shied away from executing projects I otherwise always wanted to try (and, instead often ended up paying someone else to make them for me). I absolutely love the versatility of the Maker 3, which has opened up access to this space for me, lowering that barrier to entry and empowering me to create what I envision.
It’s worth noting is that I am still very much a beginner, but I love the open-ended nature of Cricut, with my imagination being the only limiting factor to project ideas here. This said, Cricut’s systems are easy to scale to suit beginners who want simplicity and guided projects, but it’s also abundantly clear that if you invest the time and the resources to learn all the tips and tricks (just check the #CricutMaker3 on socials), there is no limit to just what you can create – from upcycling your old clothing, customising it and styling it up, to making cute doggie DIYs, to even creating a small business for personalized items to fuel that side-hustle.
Another pro-tip: watch for Cricut’s mega-sales to stock up on materials – it’s a great moment to plan out your future projects.
As for me, my inspiration boards may only be getting longer at this point but I can finally start ticking off some of those ideas I’ve always wanted to try myself.
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