Cricut

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.

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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. 



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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




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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!


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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



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Simple 3D Fall cards

3d-fall-cards-group-shot

I wanted to make some simple 3D cards to send out at Thanksgiving. As you might know, finding 3D cards that are both 3D and simple can be difficult. But these Linus' 3D Fall Cards from SVGcuts.com are the perfect solution!

3d-fall-cards-closeup-pumpkin-leaf

Each design has small 3D elements to give the card depth and texture, but they don't require hours of assembly like many 3D projects. If you mount the panels with foam dots, you'll get even more depth and shadow the design.

3d-fall-cards-closeup-maple-sunflower

The SVG designs don't come with any wording or anything, but jazzing them up with stamps or embellishments is easy enough. But they're pretty as plain cuts.

3d-fall-cards-oak-leaves

3d-fall-cards-pumpkin

3d-fall-cards-sunflower

Check out the SVGcuts.com site and try the Linus 3D Fall cards for yourself!

Rock awesome OCD thrills: aka custom vinyl pantry labels

Pantry labels on printable vinyl by MasterProcraftinator.com

Some things make an OCD heart go pitter patter. And some things make an OCD heart gallop! Well-organized and labeled baking supplies falls into the latter category, I'm sure. It's super easy to do with your Cricut Explore and printable vinyl.

So this just happened

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via GIPHY

Me: (happy clap then mutter) I gotta take pictures… (shuffle down the hall and fetch my phone, and shuffle back to the kitchen)

Hubby: (peers over the bar counter from the living room couch) Hooooooooney… why are you photographing baking supplies?

Me: (doing a Vanna move to show off my masterpiece) Babe, this is a little slice of heaven. I mean, just LOOK. Awesome custom labels!

Hubby: (looks at containers, then me, then containers, then me) Hmph. (sarcastic glint lights up his eyes) Yeah, but then where do you store the extra labels?

Me: Ah ha! But they're CUSTOM labels, so you only make as many as you need!

Hubby: And in which container do you store your smug self satisfaction?

Touché.

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via GIPHY

😀

Pantry labels on printable vinyl

But seriously, y'all. LABELS!!

Pantry labels displayed in cabinet by MasterProcraftinator.com

They're super simple to make. And depending on how much you care about font selection and alignment, they may or may not take very long to design. 😉 Once you choose your shape and font, you just print and cut! It maybe took me 10 minutes from print to completed install.

Pantry labels after printing

I chose to use Cricut printable vinyl for a couple of reasons. First, there are a couple of specialty items I don't use all that often and that have special instructions I don't trust myself to remember. It's easier to make a lot of small text on printable vinyl, as opposed to cut vinyl. Second, I think it's easier to remove vinyl than it is sticker paper.

Closeup of the cut on printed vinyl on MasterProcraftinator.com

Also, I love these Sistema containers. They have an indented end that's just right for grabbing the container off a shelf. Very ergonomic. I live in the Houston area, where the humidity can kill just about anything, including dry goods. So I love that these seal tightly but the lid still comes completely off for easy access with measuring cups.

Supplies

In case you to use my file as a starting point, here's a link to my Cricut Design Space project:

Pantry Labels by MasterProcraftinator.com

Depending on whether you're a Cricut Access subscriber, you may or may not have to pay for the shape and font. The great thing about Cricut is that you can find a free substitute if you want to.


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Adhesive foil designs on water bottles

I found these cute glass water bottles and wanted to spice them up with custom designs. It was the perfect opportunity to try out the new Cricut Adhesive Foil. They turned out great!

Preview

In the Make It Now catalog, there's a project called Water Bottles with Sass. Here's the preview image from the Cricut project catalog:

Cricut Water Bottles With Sass Preview

And here are my finished bottles:

Water bottles with adhesive foil design
And here's a closeup of the adhesive foil. It's SO pretty!

Closeup of the foil adhesive

Water bottles with sass project

I've never worked with the adhesive foil and discovered that the material has some quirks, especially if you're used to working with vinyl. It's not rigid but it doesn't have as much give as vinyl. Because it's got more firmness, you'll want to use the StrongGrip mat to keep it secure during cutting. I also used the scraper to burnish the foil onto the mat so there weren't any bumps.

Cutting tips

I wanted to create a few bottles, all using the purple adhesive foil. So I needed to make all of the designs cut at the same time. When I do that, or when I'm cutting smallish designs, I like to add a cut line between the designs to make it easier to weed. When you're ready to cut, be sure to use the Custom setting on your Explore and select the “Foil, adhesive” setting.

Have fun making your water bottles with sass!

Supplies


My happy place vinyl Kindle cover

Happy place Kindle cover from MasterProcraftinatorcom

I'm a big fan of the Cricut Make It Now projects. There's a wide range of choices that suit any occasion. I'm also a big fan of books (the only thing I collect more compulsively than paper ;)). So when I stumbled upon the “This is my happy place” e-reader cover project, I knew I had to try it.

Kindle extreme closeup

Tips

  • Find a cover with a smooth surface. Any fuzzy or sueded cover likely won't hold the vinyl adhesive. If you're set on using a cover that doesn't hold the vinyl well, I suspect you could use HTV (heat transfer vinyl). But i haven't tried it, so can't say it'll work without damaging your cover.
  • You can use this for any size e-reader, or other device, for that matter. When you open the Make It Now file, click Customize. Then you can adjust the size of the image in Design Space.

This is my happy place Kindle cover: https://us.cricut.com/design/#/landing/project-detail/9228

Have you tried this project? I'd love to see how your projects turned out.

 


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