Lesson 6: Find the Best Projects for Your Cricut
Time to watch/read: 12 minutes
Time to apply: Two hours
Total: 2.5 hours
When I got my first Cricut, I just wanted to make fun projects that were easy and looked amazing. I got lucky and found some, but not everyone is so fortunate. Far too many people take on hard Cricut projects at the very start not realizing everything that goes into them, then they get frustrated when they have problems. So I’ve gathered up SEVEN easy starter projects that are perfect projects for Cricut beginners!
Each one of the these Cricut projects you see here can be created in under two hours OR LESS and uses simple materials and basic skills to create. I also have step-by-step tutorials and videos for EVERY project listed here, so I can walk you through the entire process from start to finish. You can just craft alongside me. Plus, all of the design files for these projects are totally free over on my blog at JenniferMaker.com
Let’s take a closer look at each one of these beginner Cricut projects so you can decide which one would work best for you!
(MUG) One of the easiest projects you can do is simply cut some vinyl and stick it on a mug. For example, this is my Cute Face Mug. It’s adorable, don’t you think? And it’s nothing more than some self-adhesive vinyl that I cut on my Cricut and then transferred to this mug. You can put vinyl like this on LOTS of things with a smooth surface — glass, metal, wood, ceramic, plastic, and even canvas! To learn how to make this cute face mug step-by-step with me, go to jennifermaker.com/easymug
(SHIRT 1) Now, many people get Cricut cutting machines so they can make fun T-shirts, like this “Craft” shirt — and the good news is that T-shirts are really quite easy to make! Instead of using self-adhesive vinyl like we did with the mug, for our shirt we want to use iron on vinyl — also called heat transfer vinyl, or HTV. You just cut out your vinyl design on your Cricut and apply it to your T-shirt. And this craft heart design is a great project to learn on! I teach you how to put the vinyl on your cutting mat the right way, cut it out, weed away the excess vinyl, and apply it to your shirt in my step-by-step video at jennifermaker.com/easyshirt
How about a nice and easy PAPER project? These simple layered peek-a-boo cards were inspired by the starter card project that comes with new Cricut machines, taking the concept just one step further. For this easy project, all you need to do is cut two different colors of cardstock, fold one sheet in half, and then put them together — you don’t even need glue! There are 24 different designs in total, so there’s a card for every occasion. These also make a great gifts — many of my fellow makers have made the whole greeting card set and given it to someone who loves to send cards. Or just make it for yourself and you’ll always have a card on hand. This is probably one of the EASIEST Cricut project for beginners! To learn how to make these cards step-by-step, go to jennifermaker.com/easycards
Here’s another paper-based project that is a big hit with all of my beginner crafters — a paper butterfly heart. What’s so fun about this butterfly project is that while it looks stunning, it’s super easy to make! It’s nothing more than paper butterflies folded and glued onto a simple white canvas. The butterflies are easy to cut out thanks to your Cricut, then you just fold the wings in half and glue the butterflies on in a heart shape or whatever shape you want! You can even add a saying on the canvas using self-adhesive vinyl, which is also simple to do. This is really the perfect beginner project and everyone will be just amazed that you made this yourself. You can make this project alongside me in my step-by-step video at jennifermaker.com/easyheart
I’m a big fan of paper projects for beginners as I find them very easy to cut and assemble. In fact, I only did paper projects for the first month after getting my Cricut. Here’s another paper-based project that turns plain cardstock into gorgeous luminaries. For this project, you just need to cut a sheet of cardstock on your Cricut using my pretty filigree design. Then just fold it, glue or tape it, and add a ribbon to keep it closed. Now just pop in an LED tealight into it and watch it light up. This is a super easy project with a big wow factor! You can learn how to make this filigree luminary at jennifermaker.com/easyluminary
Now, did you know you could cut and make earrings with your Cricut? These faux leather earrings are super easy and fun to make! The cool thing about faux leather is that it’s actually super thin, which makes it really easy to cut on your Cricut. And you can make easy earrings or fancy earrings easily thanks to your Cricut’s ability to cut out just about any design you tell it to. You can even get it to cut the little hole at the top of the earring, so all you have to do is just cut and put in the wire finding. So easy!! And if you feel up to it, you can add an iron-on metallic vinyl on top of your faux leather as I’ve done in the earrings here. It’s not difficult to do at all! Learn how to make these pretty earrings at jennifermaker.com/easyearrings
Finally, you can learn how to make a simple personalized T-shirt using Cricut Infusible Ink transfer sheets. Infusible Ink is easy to work with and it creates really vibrant designs that last as long as your shirt. And it’s not difficult at all to personalize with a name as I’ve done here. I teach you how to add your own name to any image like this to create a fun and personalized T-shirt that’ll last for a LONG time. I think Infusible Ink is one of the easiest Cricut projects for beginners because of the fun patterns you can get the transfer sheets in. Learn how to make a personalized Infusible Ink T-shirt with me at jennifermaker.com/
So what if you want to make something beyond what you see here? Maybe you spotted some really amazing project and you’re just not sure if it’s a good project for a beginner or not. It’s so hard to know what is going to work or not work when everything is brand new to you. So let’s talk about what makes for a good beginner Cricut project. I consider four things — instructions, materials, techniques, and time to complete.
First, the Instructions: Are clear instructions available for the project? Avoid projects without obvious directions, or ones that seem too simple. You want everything spelled out for you, step by step, so you know what to do when you get stuck. The best Cricut projects for beginners have super clear instructions that are broken down step by step by step, from start to finish..
Next, take a close look at the Materials: How many different materials are needed to make the project? The easiest Cricut projects use no more than three different kinds of materials: the surface material such as a mug or shirt, plus whatever you put on it, like vinyl. And the super easy ones are no more than one material, like the cardstock for the layered cards.
The third thing to consider are Techniques: How many techniques are required to make the project? The simplest Cricut projects are just a single technique, like applying one layer of iron-on vinyl to a shirt, one layer of adhesive vinyl to a mug, or just attaching two pieces of cardstock together.
And the Fourth Consideration is Time to Complete: How long will it take to finish the project? The best Cricut projects for beginners are quick to make and take less than two hours total from start to finish. You can even find ones that are faster, like the paper luminary or the cute face mugs. If you have to spend too long on a project, you can lose focus or get distracted before you complete it, and that’s not fun or satisfying. Plus, if you encounter any issues — which is normal when you’re new — a shorter project means you can start over and finish successfully.
Now before I send you off to make fun things with your Cricut, I want you to keep a few important things in mind:
Pay close attention to the directions and read and/or watch everything through once first before you start. Most of my projects have both written directions and a video so you can pick the way that works best for you. The best Cricut projects for beginners will have thorough instructions.
Get your materials, supplies, and tools ready in advance. My projects always come with a list of materials and supplies needed in a gold box on my blog. Check the gold box to find out exactly what you need to do a project.
Be careful with substitutions. They may work, or they may create a huge craft fail. It’s easier to substitute when you’re experienced, but it can be a recipe for disaster when you’re new.
When in doubt, always test first! Just cut out a little heart in the corner of a piece of paper or vinyl to make sure you’ve got your settings and everything is right.
Expect some mistakes. We all make mistakes — it’s a part of the learning process. Don’t get frustrated. Just start again or even keep going, depending on how big the mistake is. I have plenty of projects I’ve goofed up but I finished them anyway — now it’s just part of their charm.
And finally, I want you to aim for progress over perfection. Your early projects are not likely to be perfect, if that is even possible when it comes to crafting. Be kind to yourself. You’ll be your biggest critic. If you doubt that, come post a photo of your project in my Cricut Facebook group and ask what folks think of it — you’ll be amazed at how others see the beauty even when you just see the mistakes. You can join my Facebook group at JenniferMaker.com/
Now I know you can do this and make amazing things with your Cricut! And I can’t wait to see what you make! I hope you’ll share your photos with me!
Class Exercise: Pick one of these beginner-friendly Cricut projects — or find one somewhere else — make it and share a photo of it in our Facebook group.
Next: Lesson 7