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Getting Crafty with Cricut Joy

This year I have been getting really crafty and have been doing some fun little projects on my Cricut Joy, especially a few Christmas gifts for this year. Crafting is a great way to one save money on gifts and two do something personal to you. I have used my Cricut for custom clothing, keyrings, cards and much much more. This is just a run down of a couple of things which I have made, with a little how to for the Cricut Joy.

What Craft To Do
Before you start anything you need to know what you want to do, making a card for a special occasion, an iron on transfer for a plain tee or a cute key ring for your keys. The reason you need to know is one to get your materials together and two to know what Cricut products you need. Most of my projects I use the permanent vinyl, but for my iron on I use either the iron on paper from Cricut or thermal paper online. It is also a good idea to measure your projects especially ones such as keyrings so it can be made easier when inputting your design on Design Space. Also ensure that you have a weeding tool, bin, transfer tape  and a smoothing board (this can be Cricut or a plastic card).

Using Cricut Design Space
When you get a Cricut machine, it will inform you to download Cricut Design Space. You can download the program on both your phone/tablet and computer, where you can create any type of design you want. The Cricut Joy connects with Bluetooth, so you will need to use a device that is Bluetooth compatible. Getting to grips with Design Space can be a mind field, but my tips for setting it up is to ensure that the page is reading the correct measurements for you, I prefer working in inches. You can then start designing, for pictures/images it is easier to find your own image off of Google and inputting it into the system, it will the prompt you to clear the background allowing you to for a cut out of the image. Although, you can choose any image you want, avoid images with gradient lines and thin lines. This is because the image once shrunk may not give the same result and can be cut incorrectly, I prefer thick lined or silhouette art work or words for my projects. The best thing about the program and the Joy is that it tells you if the image is too big, allowing you to adjust the image accordingly. But remember you do have 2 lengths of cutting mat and you can use smart material which can be continuously fed into the machine (as long as you have the correct amount). This means that you can do longer images or longer words if you desire. There are a lot of fonts, templates and projects available in Design Space however, you may need to pay for them with a monthly fee of about £8. This will give you access to all the templates on Design Space which is great when you want a variety of fonts, though you can save your money by using your own. 

Once you have settled on your project and image it is time to make it. By asking the program to make your project it will connect with the machine itself, it will then ask you what mat you will be using and what material you will be using. It will then give you a sample of what it will look like on the mat and you can manoeuvre the images where you want them. It will then ask you to input either the blade or pen and the mat or smart material. Once in the machine will configure itself and check that the correct length of material is present. It will then tell you that it is ready and you can create your design, remember if this is an iron on image you need to select mirror on before you choose the material you are using.

Preparing the Image
Once the machine is finished it will ask you to eject the project and you can now begin the weeding. This can be time consuming depending on the project you chose, and you will need a weeding tool and bin for all the weeded bits. I prefer to cut off any large blank areas to reuse for smaller projects, I then start with larger blank areas around the images and remove those first. Take your time when weeding as you do not want to risk peeling off your image. Once the background is removed you can then begin the remove the inner parts of the image or wording, this is more delicate and these are a lot smaller. Once all removed you can evaluate your image, make into individual parts if words and images to place them on your project individually. If you are using iron on material this will already be on a transfer material which can be placed on the clothing you want to add the image. If you are working with vinyl you will need to cut yourself off some transfer tape.

Attaching your image to your Project
Place the transfer tape on top of your project and rub the transfer tap on with a smoothing board. Some material require a lot of rubbing especially smaller parts such as dots on the I's. When removing the tape upwards go slowly to ensure that the vinyl comes up in one piece and together. Once lifted you can now attach it to your project, once on smooth with the board again and lift the tape off. If using the permanent vinyl you will find it sticks straight away especially on flat surfaces. Once on your project is complete, with iron on transfer you will need to apply heat to ensure the transfer sticks. You can do this with either the Cricut Easy Press or a regular iron, you will need to adjust a normal iron to accommodate the temperature needed to fuse the material. I found having it on the highest setting and holing it on for 30 seconds helped, though I would recommend using a thermal mat between the iron and transfer. This does come with the material from Amazon and I would highly recommend it as it is cheaper and you get a lot for your money.

Once this is all done you are finished. You will now have a homemade project that you can keep yourself or pass on as a gift. I love these fun little projects and the fact that the Cricut Joy is so small and lightweight you can do it all on the go. I have so far made custom baby grows, jumpers, keyrings, coaters, stickers, cards and even tags. The ideas are endless and it has made things so much easier when customising gifts. I highly recommend getting crafty with gifts and it just adds that little bit of personalisation.

Stay Gorgeous

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