5 tips for using felt on the new Cricut FabricGrip Mat

The Cricut Maker has a rotary blade that offers a whole new cutting experience for fabric materials. As soon as I unboxed my machine I started cutting felt to make a floral wreath. This blade cuts like buttah! And the cuts! I've been amazed so far.

However, you'll notice that felt remnants start fuzzing up the mat almost immediately. This didn't bother me at first. I'm not terribly picky about how clean my mats are as long as the adhesive is still doing its work. And that's when the fuzz started worrying me. It decreased the adhesion enough that firmer felt started to pull away from the mat during cuts. And since I've been hearing from product experts that the fabric mat shouldn't be cleaned, I wondered how long it would be before the mat was unusable. Thankfully, I have yet to reach that point.

I have yet to receive or find Cricut instructions for cleaning up the lint. But in the meantime, here are a few tips to help minimize the Fuzz Problem.

Why I use the FabricGrip mat for felt

I asked a few of my fellow Cricuters about this problem and got a few different suggestions. Why use the FabricGrip mat if felt makes it linty? Some feedback was if you don't like a linty fabric mat, don't use the fabric mat (you know, the whole “if it hurts when you do that, don't do that” thing). A couple suggested using different mat because felt isn't fabric. I don't happen to agree—I've always thought of felt as a type of fabric. Plus, felt is usually soft and pliable like fabric, and that pliability is exactly what the pink fabric mat is supposed to work best on.

But more importantly in my mind? When you begin your cut in Design Space, the default setting for felt calls for the rotary blade. So, Design Space tells you to use the rotary blade, and since according to the Cricut web site you should only use the rotary blade on the fabric mat, the logical conclusion is that felt should be cut on a fabric mat.

Tips for using felt on your FabricGrip Mat

  1. Try not to touch the adhesive area with your hands. The oils on our skin reduce the effectiveness of the adhesive. Cricut recommends using the broad-tipped tweezers to pull up fabric. So far I've found that if I'm careful when I apply the fabric, I can just use my fingernail to pluck up enough fabric to peel off the cut.
  2. Use a dedicated mat for felt, and a separate mat for other fabrics. This will keep a mat more pristine for other fabrics.
  3. Consider using a higher quality felt. The cheaper felt I bought at Hobby Lobby glopped up my mat MUCH more than the felt I used from the Cricut shop. I also found that the felt I purchased at Joann didn't deposit as much lint.
  4. If there's a fuzzier side to the felt, make sure it's fuzzy side up on the mat. I noticed that some of the felt I had on hand has a slightly stiffer, almost waxy, side. When I put that side down on the mat, it transferred less fuzz.
  5. My last tip is one I haven't tried personally yet, but in one of the Facebook groups I'm a member of, a person identifying themselves as a Cricut product manager also suggested that you put transfer tape on the mat. So you'd put the transfer tape in the 12×12 cutting space and remove the backing so you could use the transfer tape as your sticky surface. Then it's the tape getting gunky with lint, not your mat. Just remove the tape when it's lost its stick.

Some other FabricGrip mat tips

  • It's designed for use with the rotary blade, but can also be used with the bonded fabric blade. Note that the rotary blade should be used only on the pink FabricGrip mat. It's made of a thicker plastic that's designed to stand up to the pressure of the rotary cuts.
  • Is your fabric bigger than the adhesive area? Just use a rotary cutter to trim it! After all, this mat is designed to be cut on!
  • Make sure your fabric is smoothed down on the mat with not lumps or bubbles. The Cricut help page suggests using a brayer, rolling pin, or cardboard tube to help smooth the fabric onto the adhesive. If I'm working on a relatively clean surface, I flip the mat over and press it down so I can rub the material without getting my hands on the adhesive.
  • If using the fabric pen, put your fabric pattern side down to make it easier to see fabric pen markings.

Check out these current Cricut deals:

The new Cricut Maker is here! First look

It's here! The moment we Cricut fans have been waiting for since their announcement a couple of weeks ago. The new Cricut Maker is available to order!

I'll be hitting your inbox a little more frequently because this release has be so bleepin' excited!

Pardon me while I go a little fan girl…

Okay, back to our regularly scheduled programming…

New Cricut Maker features

The new Cricut Maker adds a couple of fairly significant new features over the Explore Air.

One of the biggest is the new rotary blade that, along with a new fabric mat, allows cutting non-bonded fabric. In other words, you don't need to put a fusible backing on fabric anymore to cut it! Cricut has also partnered with Simplicity and Riley Blake to provide digital sewing patterns in Design Space. There will also be a handy new washable fabric pen to help with those patterns.

Another is that it has a new optical print and cut scanner. This means you can print on colored and patterned paper! This is huge if you're a big print and cut fan.

There's a built-in ledge for your tablet or smartphone, which is great if you like to use the Design Space app. There's also a USB port on the side so you can charge said device while you're working.

The blade drive is also capable of using a lot more pressure, which means you can print thicker materials. There will be a new knife blade that releases sometime this fall/winter.

Here's a handy comparison table from the good folks at Cricut. (click on the image to zoom)

New supplies & tools

There are a slew of new supplies and tools that come with this release. Here's a sampling of what will be on offer from Cricut. See the full list of what's new at CricutNote: These are affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. For more details, visit my Disclosures page. 



Check out these current Cricut deals:

My Favorite Catch project – featuring slice and weld in Design Space

Take 5–learn a Design Space technique in under 5 minutes! This project includes slicing and welding existing Design Space images to create a custom design.

My sister and her husband are still newlyweds, and they’re both big baseball fans, so I wanted to make them a matching set of shirts. Tweak a baseball and a heart, add text, and get a great baseball themed design.

Design Space file

Here's a link to my Design Space file if you'd like to use it as a starting point for your own project. Be sure to save any changes you make to your own projects account!

Supplies


Celebrate 4th of July with a dog (or cat) flag

Disclaimer: This page contains affiliate links. You can read more about how I use affiliate links on my disclosure page. 

I'm a sucker for dog-themed gifts, mostly because I have quite possibly the most adorable Yellow Lab in the world. (No bias here, I swear.) His name is Tex. He has his own Facebook page, and he's even had a cameo in my alter-ego's romance novel (A Crazy Reunion by Cate Baylor). But I digress… 🙂

In my latest Pinterest Made Me Do It installment, I created a 4th of July shirt for dog and cat lovers. A friend showed me a shirt on Pinterest and after we all oohed and aahed over it, I decided I could totally make that with Cricut. And to celebrate the upcoming 4th of July holiday, I'm providing my readers with a Design Space project file for this design. It uses free and Cricut Access images. Enjoy!

Here's the shirt I made using iron-on foil:

Project file

In the project file, you'll find a few options—just hide or delete the items you don't want to cut. And if you're using heat transfer vinyl like I did, don't forget to mirror the design with you go to cut! I've also included both positive and reverse options for the paw “stars.”

Supplies




Check out these current Cricut deals:

Card making toolbox

Disclaimer: This page contains affiliate links. You can read more about how I use affiliate links on my disclosure page. 

Once a month or so, I pack up my craft goodies and head to a crop across town. I've been doing this for a couple of years now and I've learned that now productive I am depends entirely on 1) if I've planned my projects ahead of time and 2) how well I've packed my supplies.

Well, anyway, I'm more of a “fly by the seat of my pants” kind of gal, so planning my projects ahead doesn't always (okay, usually) happen. But I've found a way to help solve the second problem.

I've created a box with all the basics for card making, since that's what I do most often. I love these medium organizer boxes from Close to My Heart. They're easy to stack on shelves or stick in a bag for traveling, and with their adjustable dividers, perfect for what I needed. If you don't have a CTMH advisor, I've linked to mine. (If you order from her, tell her that Becca sent ya!) 🙂

Here's what I've put in mine:

  • Card blanks in white, vanilla, and kraft colors, and corresponding envelopes
  • Foam for adding dimension to card panels
  • Basic adhesives (including my Stampin' Up Snail tape, dimensionals, and glue dots)
  • Embellishments like rhinestones, pearls, sequins, and candy dots
  • Anti-static powder for heat embossing and deactivating adhesives (an Embossing Buddy or similar)
  • Some of my favorite ribbons
  • Sponge daubers
  • Nuvo dots (if you haven't tried these, they are amazeballs)
  • Small scissors

Now, whether I'm at home or on the go, all I need to do to get a card project started is pull out my card toolbox!

Do you have a similar toolbox? What's in yours?

Supplies

Pull tab card in Design Space

Disclaimer: This page contains affiliate links. You can read more about how I use affiliate links on my disclosure page. 

The February Paper Pumpkin kit was a totally adorable birthday pull tab card. There's so much to love about this set—the colors, the glitter paper, the versatility (there are slots to affix a gift card, too!). I liked it so much I decided to recreate the card using my Cricut Explore. I'll even share the link to my Design Space file later on in the post.

My attempt to recreate the pull tub card turned out better than I hoped! Here are 2 versions I made using my Cricut and stamp sets. One without the shape at the top of the card (like the candle flame in the Paper Pumpkin original) and one with.

Card without shape

As I mentioned in my Lift Me Up hot air balloons stamp post, I'm a little obsessed to the Lift Me Up bundle. Plus, I have a friend who needed a little pick-me-up, so I reached for the Carried Away Designer Series Paper from Sale-a-bration.

Card with shape

I've also been playing with another of the Occasions stamp sets called Everyday Hero.

This is a photopolymer set that lets you build some really cute comic book-inspired images. I stamped and cut the cape from Sweet Sugarplum and rolled the edge to get some dimension.

Design Space project

As promised, here's a link to the Design Space canvas: Pull tab card by MasterProcraftinator.com.

Supplies


Here’s the deal: for every $50 USD/$60 CAD you spend (before tax and shipping), you get a FREE Sale-A-Bration product. That means it’s the perfect time to purchase those products you’ve had your eye on while earning more products for free.

Earn rewards when you shop! Use hostess code W3PB3QPJ when you check out at my online store. If you opt-in to receiving mail from me and drop me a note, I'll also send you a free catalog.

It’s the best time of year to join Stampin’ Up! During Sale-A-Bration, you can become a demonstrator for just $99 USD/$135 CAD and choose TWO additional stamp sets for your Starter Kit—any stamp set, any price! (Excludes Sale-A-Bration sets and bundles.) Plus, the kit ships for free!


Check out these current Cricut deals:

Review: New storage and travel totes from Cricut

I just got my new tweed totes from Cricut! I was so excited to get them that I drove almost an hour to my old neighborhood because this dingbat forgot to update her shipping profile on Cricut.com. 😉 Before I dive in, let's get the disclaimers out of the way: this review is in no way solicited by Cricut. I bought these myself and this is my unvarnished opinion. Also, I do use affiliate links, which you can learn more about via my disclosure link above. On to the fun stuff!

First impressions

My first impression? Wow, these puppies are sturdy. Like, really sturdy. I've had so many different craft totes over the years and these are the first I've owned that make me confident that they'll protect my gear, not just haul it. The sides are rigid, so it's like you've got a pretty tweed box on wheels.

With that sturdiness comes weight, though. If you're looking for really light-weight storage, these are not for you. Once this rolling tote is loaded up, I'm a little worried about hefting it in and out of my car. But maybe I'm just a weakling. Time will tell!

You can buy the totes separately or in a bundle, which is discounted. And, if you have Cricut Access membership, you get 10% off! PLUS, check the end of my post to see if there's an additional discount or free shipping coupon.

Bottom line: I'm really glad I splurged on these! Two thumbs up. And I can't wait for my next crop so I can test them in a travel-crafting situation.

Machine tote

I've been lucky enough to find a group of women that I really enjoy crafting with. The only problem is that they're 45 minutes away. So on crop days, I need to schlep all my things across town. And I'm not the best about planning ahead, which means I usually end up scurrying around the same morning and tossing stuff in the back of my car. With this Machine Tote, I now have no doubt my beloved Explore will arrive safe and sound.

The machine is surrounded on all sides by thick padding. It's not going anywhere in this tote. Snug as a bug in a rug.

My only beef with the external pockets is that they aren't large enough for the power cable. I'm sure I could've crammed it in the pocket and forced the zipper shut, but I didn't want my pretty new tote all bulgy. You could separate the cable and they'd fit better, but then your cable would be in two pieces. So I stashed mine inside with the Explore.

The tote is designed to be stacked on the Rolling Tote like luggage. The strap that secures the tote to the roller handle is elastic. This is nice because I don't need two hands to unfasten and refasten a strap around it; but I worry that the elastic may lose its stretch over time. Again, time will tell.

Rolling tote

This big guy comes with the same rigid sides as the Machine Tote, which is great for supporting the Machine Tote when you stack them together.

The second thing I noticed was the wheels. These things are big! Almost as big as my palm. Having worked in a luggage store for several years, I appreciate well-made wheels. A rolling tote that doesn't roll is just a pain-in-the-neck fancy box.

I was so excited about the wheels that I tried snapping them on the tote without really paying attention. Cue a few minutes of Three Stooge comedy and my wheels still weren't attached. Until I looked closer and noticed I was almost literally trying to cram a square peg in a round hole. Once you've got the pegs lined up, they snap on easy as pie.

This one has a lot of pockets–several on the outside and a couple of removable pockets on the inside. The removable pockets are perfect for pens, tools, scissors, and the like. The compartments are attached, so you won't be able to change up the configuration. However, the size and shape of each offer a fair bit of flexibility.

There's the padded pouch for a laptop (my 13″ Mac fits with room to spare). There's a 12″+ slot that's perfect for paper and mats. If you're a Close To My Heart fan, the small organization box fits in the smaller compartment and the medium box fits in the larger one. My ArtBin 12×12 paper box also fits in the compartment.

The side compartments are perfect for vinyl rolls. You fit about 5 in the small compartment, many more in the larger side compartment.

I noticed this little pouch on the lid and thought, “Now what the heck is this for?”

But when I realized it's to hold the tote open by hooking over the handle, I was, like, OMG! How clever!

Find pleasure in the little things, right? 🙂 Speaking of pleasure, I had to laugh when I pulled this image into the post—didn't realize I'd captured one of my favorite craft room TV shows in the background. I <3 Dean!

Do you have the totes? Let us know what you think of them! Or if you're thinking about getting them, I hoped this helped.

Links



Check out these current Cricut deals:

Life Me Up hot air balloon stamps

I grew up in New Mexico, where hot air balloons dance across the sky every autumn for the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. So the “Lift Me Up” suite from the Stampin' Up! 2017 Occasions Catalog was the first one on my wishlist.

I'm on a monochromatic kick. Since I tend toward simpler designs, these two-color combinations offer just the right blend of simple and striking. Plus, choose dark neutrals or gem tones and pair them with kraft or vanilla paper, you've got designs suitable for the men in your life.

Sometimes with these intricate dies, adhering them can be a messy prospect, even with a fine-tip glue. So I've discovered the magic of double-sided adhesive tape (several types listed in Supplies section). Just apply it to the back of your cardstock, then run the paper through your Big Shot with your die of choice. It's SO much cleaner than running it through a Xyron sticker maker. No goopy edges to clean up!

And if you ink the edges of your top layer, you can skip an extra mat layer to save some time or just to keep the card (you guessed it) simple.

And don't forget to make the inside of your card pretty, too!

In direct opposition to my “keep it simple” aesthetic, I also adore shaker cards. What can I say? I'm complicated like that.

With smaller dies like this, you can stretch the typical shaker design to feature more than one window. And overlaying other die-cut pieces adds extra dimension.

Happy stampin'!

Supplies



Here’s the deal: for every $50 USD/$60 CAD you spend (before tax and shipping), you get a FREE Sale-A-Bration product. That means it’s the perfect time to purchase those products you’ve had your eye on while earning more products for free.

Earn rewards when you shop! Use hostess code W3PB3QPJ when you check out at my online store. If you opt-in to receiving mail from me and drop me a note, I'll also send you a free catalog.

It’s the best time of year to join Stampin’ Up! During Sale-A-Bration, you can become a demonstrator for just $99 USD/$135 CAD and choose TWO additional stamp sets for your Starter Kit—any stamp set, any price! (Excludes Sale-A-Bration sets and bundles.) Plus, the kit ships for free!

Best. Wrapping paper. Ever.

Disclaimer: This page contains affiliate links. You can read more about how I use affiliate links on my disclosure page. 

This is a post I hadn't planned on writing but holy smokes, I just had a freakin' religious moment. With wrapping paper.

Some time ago, I saw this video on Becky Higgins's YouTube channel after seeing a flurry of social media posts about her new HOME brand. “Cute paper,” I thought. “But how could it possibly be that much different than any other wrapping paper I've tried?”

First, this post is in no way solicited. I had a genuine happy moment with this product. 🙂

Second, there's something you ought to know about me. My very first paying job (and part of several retail jobs after) was wrapping gifts. I have so many fond memories of working in an old-fashioned family-run department store, but that's a whole ‘nuther blog post. 😉 Anyway, for better or worse (depends on whether you ask me or my husband), I walked away from those gift-wrapping jobs as a bit of a gift-wrap snob.

So imagine my surprise when I finally relented to my curiosity and purchased a few rolls, and discovered that THIS PAPER IS DA BOMB!

That part in the video when she slices in a weaving motion? So totally not an exaggeration or trick of the eye. This paper cuts like butter. LIKE BUTT-AH, I tell ya. It feels so good in the hand—so smooth to cut and fold. I mean, LOOK at the crisp folds!

It even felt good to crumple! *swoon*

So, needless to say, I am totally sold on this whole Stone Wrap concept. I can't wait for more patterns! And dare I hope, matching ribbons and embellishments. 🙂

Links



Here’s the deal: for every $50 USD/$60 CAD you spend (before tax and shipping), you get a FREE Sale-A-Bration product. That means it’s the perfect time to purchase those products you’ve had your eye on while earning more products for free.

Earn rewards when you shop! Use hostess code W3PB3QPJ when you check out at my online store. If you opt-in to receiving mail from me and drop me a note, I'll also send you a free catalog.

It’s the best time of year to join Stampin’ Up! During Sale-A-Bration, you can become a demonstrator for just $99 USD/$135 CAD and choose TWO additional stamp sets for your Starter Kit—any stamp set, any price! (Excludes Sale-A-Bration sets and bundles.) Plus, the kit ships for free!

Fiesta like there’s no manana birthday cards

Disclaimer: This page contains affiliate links. You can read more about how I use affiliate links on my disclosure page. 

When I first looked at this year's Stampin' Up catalog in June, I thought I wouldn't want this Birthday Fiesta set. But I went out on a limb and bought it. And now I love it. I <3 it so much.

Annual16_p010_a-27 Birthday Fiesta bundle

Why do I love it?

The LLAMA! Oh, the whimsical adorableness (is that a real word?) that is the llama! He's so stinkin' cute.

And the banner pieces are just downright adorable stamped and die-cut. It's a real eye-catcher, especially since there are endless ways to customize the look.

Card 1: Shaker

What says a fiesta better than confetti? I used the Sprinkles Punch to create shaker material, and the new Layering Squares Framelits dies to create a window. Combined with the bright colors, you get a super cheerful card. And I love how the tone-on-tone ink and paper look.

Card 2: Smiling Llama

I have to admit. This one is my favorite. 🙂 First, I spun a sponge in place using So Saffron to create the sun. Then, using a sponge along the edges, I used Sahara Sand to create a sandy color at the bottom and Soft Sky to create a sky color at the top.

I chose Smoky Slate for the llama body because I wanted it to pop off the page–but (and I'm not joking) I googled “what colors are llamas” so I didn't venture TOO far out of the realm of reality. 🙂 Funny things we crafters fixate on…

The pink flower is kinda tiny, so the Fine-Tip Glue Pen is perfect to adhere it to the cactus. I fussy cut the blanket and used a dimensional to give it some more oomph.

I liked this one so much, and had so much fun working on it, that I cut a dozen or so pieces to keep on hand. I just stuffed 'em all in an envelope and stashed it in the case so I can build new cards whenever I want to.

I had a ton of fun working with this set. And it makes everyone to whom I've shown these cards happy.

Supplies




Here’s the deal: for every $50 USD/$60 CAD you spend (before tax and shipping), you get a FREE Sale-A-Bration product. That means it’s the perfect time to purchase those products you’ve had your eye on while earning more products for free.

Earn rewards when you shop! Use hostess code W3PB3QPJ when you check out at my online store. If you opt-in to receiving mail from me and drop me a note, I'll also send you a free catalog.

It’s the best time of year to join Stampin’ Up! During Sale-A-Bration, you can become a demonstrator for just $99 USD/$135 CAD and choose TWO additional stamp sets for your Starter Kit—any stamp set, any price! (Excludes Sale-A-Bration sets and bundles.) Plus, the kit ships for free!

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