Cricut Maker 3: How to Use

The craft world has been buzzing, and the time is finally here. The Cricut Maker 3 was released in May of 2021, and it’s the beast of all the Cricut machines. It was also just in time as the world set in for another Summer in quarantine.

With it cutting 2x faster and its compatibility with Smart Materials, the Cricut Maker 3 is the cutting machine for any craft maker. Unlike its counterparts, the Cricut Maker 3 is really a cutting machine. It can cut over 300 different materials, including paper, leather, and basswood.

Don’t Back Down from the Cricut Maker 3

A lot of crafters are intimidated by the Cricut brand, which can be understandable—all the lingo, the tools, and the materials can be daunting. Trying to navigate vinyl is a journey all on its own. I mean, the possibilities are unlimited.

But don’t stress. This is a simple yet informative guide to help you navigate your new Cricut Maker 3. Below, we are going to cover all the basic information you’ll need to conquer your new cutting machine. 

Setting Up Your New Machine

You’ve finally got your Cricut Maker 3, and you’re ready to craft. Setting up is really the easiest part. Before you break open that bad boy, make sure you have a designated space for it.

The Cricut cutting machines are actually bigger than they appear in a photo. You’ll need to include space behind the machine as the material runs back and forth through the machine to cut your designs efficiently. You’ll also need to be able to access your computer closer to the machine as well (you’ll learn why shortly).

Once you’ve found the perfect workspace for your Cricut Maker 3, plug it in and power it on. Inside the box, there should be a USB cord. Use this to connect your Cricut Maker 3 to your computer. You could even connect it via Bluetooth. How cool is that!

Bluetooth pairing can be very convenient, especially when you don’t have a large workspace. You’re probably wondering why your Cricut machine needs to be hooked up to your computer, don’t worry. You’ll learn why in the next steps.

Using Design Space

Don’t worry; you don’t have to be a tech genius to get through the Design Space platform. It’s really simple and well explained. There are also pictures and videos on the Cricut help site if you get stuck. 

  • Once you have your Cricut Maker 3 connected to your computer, open your web browser and go to design.cricut.com/setup.
  • Here you will follow the instructions to download and install Design Space for Desktop.
  • Next, you’ll create your Cricut ID and continue the computer portion of setting up your new machine.

Once you’re done, you’ll be prompted to do a test cut. Don’t worry about not having materials, there should be some sample materials included in the box your machine came in. 

Why You Need Design Space

You’re probably wondering, “What is design space, and why do I need it”? Design Space is your best friend when it comes to all things Cricut. You can browse pages and pages of predesigned projects, templates, and designs with access to Design Space. Some of these are free with your Design Space account, while others may cost a few dollars.

Cricut Design Space has over 75,000 images, 400 fonts, and more than 800 predesigned projects. Your possibilities are endless here. You’ll never run out of inspiration. Design Space is also the place where you can arrange and cut your designs. You can download designs from the web that aren’t already in their archives into the database or even create your own.

Tools and Accessories 

Your Cricut Maker 3 already comes with a few accessories. The Cricut Maker 3 comes with a premium fine-point blade with blade housing pre-installed for you. 

Before starting any project, you’ll want to make sure you have at least the basic Cricut toolset to start. You can find a bundle deal for these online or in just about any craft store. Most of these kits come with tweezers, a weeder, scissors, a spatula, and a scraper. You will also need a cutting mat. This is a very important tool to have, as you will need to lay your materials on it before putting them into the machine for cutting. 

Smart Materials

Here’s a fun new accessory that was specially designed for the Cricut Maker 3 and the Cricut Explore 3, Smart Materials. What’s so great about these? You don’t need a cutting mat to work. Smart Materials are designed to go straight into the cutting machine. This is a game-changer for those who have worked with a cutting mat. Although the cutting mat is a great accessory to have, it’s also one you actually need if you aren’t using Smart Materials—otherwise, it can be a hassle.

The cutting mat can easily get dirty. It requires constant cleaning, especially if you use it often. It can also be hard to use a cutting mat when cutting larger designs. Being able to simply put the material into the machine won’t just save you time. It will save you a headache too. The designers at Cricut have also made Smart Materials versatile. You can purchase them as vinyl, iron-on, or cardstock. 

We know that Smart Materials are the way to go, but you might be curious about how they work. The Smart Materials have a special backing that allows them to go through without a cutting mat. Simply put, they have a built-in cutting mat.

Making the Cut with Cricut Maker 3

Not only that, the Cricut Maker 3 measures the material to ensure you have enough. How many times have you measured and measured, just to still end up off a few inches? No more of that with the Cricut Maker 3 and Smart Materials. It even calculates the amount of trim space you need for the tools inside to grip the materials. Talk about amazing! There is no prep necessary when using Smart Materials, and that’s the beauty of it all.