Top Three Cricut Expore Air Machine Accessories and Why

Top Three Cricut Expore Air Machine Accessories and Why

Whitney
Whitney

Curious to know the top three Cricut accessories? It can be confusing to really know what you need for the Cricut Explore Air when it can do so much! I was really overwhelmed when I discovered this amazing machine myself.

Don’t know the difference between Cricut machines?

Check out my Cricut Explore Air Review: A Complete Beginner’s Guide.

Top Three Cricut Explore Air Accessories

  1. A regular green cutting mat
  2. Cricut basic tool kit
  3. Materials to start
Paper mix
Photo by Alessandra Espinoza / Unsplash

Why Are There 3 Different Mat Types For The Cricut?

There are 3 different mat types for the Cricut because each mat is designed for a specific material thickness.

The mat contains an adhesive that will keep the material in place while cutting and allows for easy removal of the material.

Materials that are thicker will need more adhesive to stay in place while cutting.

Lighter materials will need less adhesive so the material won’t wrinkle when pulling it off.

I recommend the green mat for the top three Cricut Explore Air Accessories because it’s a good mat for most starter projects.

I rarely use the purple or blue mat, but I mainly work with iron-on and vinyl projects. So if you don’t know what you will be using the Cricut for, then the green mat would be a good choice to start out.

If you know exactly what you would like to create you can get a better idea of which Cricut mats to purchase by looking at each mat’s material preferences.

If you plan to use the Cricut mostly for paper crafts, then I would recommend purchasing all three mats. As the blue mat works for light cardstock, the green mat works for regular cardstock and the purple for thick cardstock.

The green mat will not work with construction paper or thin materials. Believe me! I tried it and ruined my green mat by trying to save money. The paper stuck to the adhesive and was no longer usable.

*This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

What Materials Does the LightGrip Adhesive Mat Cut? (Blue Mat)

  • Office paper
  • Light cardstock
  • Construction paper
  • Vellum
  • All light weight materials *hint LightGrip 😉

What Materials Does the StandardGrip Adhesive Mat Cut? (Green Mat)

  • Cardstock
  • Pattern paper
  • Embossed cardstock
  • Iron-on
  • Vinyl

What Materials Does the StrongGrip Adhesive Mat Cut? (Purple Mat)

  • Thick cardstock
  • Glitter cardstock
  • Magnet material
  • Chipboard
  • Poster board
  • Fabric with stiffener

3 Tips on Saving Money on Cricut Mats

To start out, only purchase the Cricut mat that will work with most of your design projects.

When I bought my Cricut Explore Air machine I didn’t know what projects I would create. I bought a bundle package that came with a purple mat (StrongGrip) and green mat (StandardGrip).

I have made one Cardstock project for Mother’s day, and the green mat worked great with it. Since I don’t do a lot of paper projects I still have not purchased the blue mat (LightGrip). Once you know more of what you like to create you will have a better idea of the Cricut accessories you will need.

#Cricut Mother's Day Cards

2. Buy the 12″ x 24″ Cricut mats and cut them in half.

I am in love with wood vinyl signs! My first Cricut project was an iron-on T-shirt design. Then I started making my own vinyl wood signs.

But, what I didn’t know is that Cricut made these 12″ x 24″ mats!

Not only did I see an opportunity for bigger designs I could create (without messing up the spacing of my design), but I found a way to save money! If you aren’t making big projects you can cut these mats in half and have two 12″x12″ mats.

Not only did I see an opportunity for bigger designs I could create (without messing up the spacing of my design), but I found a way to save money! If you aren’t making big projects you can cut these mats in half and have two 12″x12″ mats. *Hint: the 12″x 12″ bundle of 3 Cricut mats are the same price as the 12″x24″!

Cricut® 12″ x 24″ StandardGrip Adhesive Cutting Mat, 2-pack – $17.99
from: Cricut

3. Repurpose your Cricut mat with your own adhesive.

Yes, my friends, these mats will need replacing eventually. The bummer part of having an awesome cutting machine and being a budget-friendly person. But, there’s good news!

There are a few tips and tricks on getting Cricut mats sticky again. You can use a lint roller to clean it up and get it sticky.

Or, you can use a Zig 2 way glue pen (chisel tip) that Amanda from Imperfectly Beautiful suggests.

I haven’t had to try this Cricut hack yet, but I will keep you updated when I do! Another way you can re-stick your Cricut mat is by using easy-tack spray.

Here are the steps on how to make your Cricut mat sticky again with easy-tack spray.

*This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

What Tools Do You Need for the Cricut?

Is it best to purchase the Cricut basic tool kit, or purchase the tools separately?

Another tough decision for the person with a saving mentality. There are two bundle sets you can purchase. One comes with tweezers, a weeder, scissors, a spatula, and a scraper.

Then there’s the Cricut Essential toolset that comes with tweezers, a weeder, scissors, a spatula, a scraper, scoring stylists, and a 12″ trimmer with a replacement blade.

I recommend the Cricut basic tool kit as the top three accessories for the Cricut because I have used all of these tools when crafting with the Cricut.

If you want to save money it’s better to buy one of these two bundle packages rather than purchasing each Cricut accessory separately.

*If the Cricut essential tool set is on sale I would recommend spending the extra money on this bundle.

The 12″ trimmer and the scoring tool accessories from the Cricut essential set are not required tools to do crafting with the Cricut machine.

That’s why I am recommending the Cricut Basic set as  “top needed Cricut accessory.”

The trimmer and scoring tool are just fun tools to play with. But, you will save money, in the long run, by buying this bundle if it’s on sale.

You can never have too many Cricut tools to play with!

What Materials Do You Need to Get Started with the Cricut Machine?

When buying any Cricut machine you will get a starter project to try.

But, I recommend buying materials to start with because you will want to start creating projects. Why? Because it’s just fun!

First, before purchasing bundles of materials, figure out what kind of projects you want to try.

Do you want to create a beautiful pillow for your couch or a birthday card for your special loved one?

Are you more drawn to vinyl projects, iron on’s, or paper crafting?

Maybe you want to try all three!

To get a better idea of what projects you want to start with, check out Cricut Design Space and browse their designs.

I Recommend These 3 Materials To Get Started With Crafting With The Cricut Machine.

  1. Black or white vinyl: Why so basic? It’s best to start out with neutral colors because you can try more projects with them. Or you could always try a sample pack to get a variety of different colors to play with.

I like this Cricut Vinyl Sampler Pack, Home. Sometimes the Cricut shop will have sales on bundles and that’s when you can really save some money!

2. Black or white iron-on: I’m not a designer. That’s why I purchased the Cricut Explore Air! So starting out with black and white gives you more designer options that won’t turn out “gone wrong.”

Or if you love glitter like me, start out with a glitter iron-on that will look good with a few colors. I love the gold glitter!

3. Regular cardstock: Regular cardstock will give you an idea if you like doing paper projects. And you can use the green mat (StandardGrip) with regular cardstock, so you don’t have to go into the expense of buying the blue mat (LightGrip) just to try out a paper project.

*This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Cricut® 12″ x 12″ Cardstock, Wildflowers – $9.99
from: Cricut

Check out this amazing paper crafter I had an honor of speaking with on the Passion Brewing Momma Podcast!