Do You Need a Computer to Use a Cricut? Six Top Questions Every Beginner Wants to Know

If you are new to the magical world of Cricut Makers, you probably have a number of questions. You have heard you can use them to personalize everything from t-shirts to picture frames and coffee mugs to car decals, and it probably sounds too good to be true…., right? Those who are not naturally “tech-savvy” probably think, “well, I would never even be able to figure out how to turn the machine on, much less make a decal with it.”

But this is not true! Almost anyone can use a Cricut Maker with a little practice, and I hope we can convince you that it is not out of your reach by answering some common questions. A Cricut Maker is a fantastic tool for everyone, from experienced crafters to novice newbies.

Let me walk you through some of the most commonly asked questions about Cricut Makers, starting with…what is it?

What is a Cricut Maker?

First things first: a Cricut Maker machine is a gift from the crafting gods. Kidding aside, it is, by its most simple definition, a cutting machine. But think of a Cricut Maker as your scissors on steroids. This is a cutting machine that can tackle almost any crafting material imaginable, from faux leather to cardstock and everything in between. The Cricut Maker cuts your designs with absolute precision.

Anyone who has ever tried to cut an intricate design with a regular pair of scissors knows just how difficult it can achieve anything near precision. Human hands simply cannot cut the same way a machine can, whether it’s because those hands are arthritic or perhaps the eyes that are guiding them desperately need reading glasses to see small items but are in denial about said need (ahem. Looking at you, fortysomethings!) A Cricut machine is an indispensable cutting tool, and you will wonder how you ever got by without it!

women designer making paper cutouts

Do I Need a Computer to Use a Cricut Maker?

This is one of the first things people want to know when considering the purchase of a Cricut Maker. And let’s face it: the majority of households have a computer of some sort these days, so the question for most is, “will my computer work with the Cricut Maker, or can I use my smartphone?”

So here is what you need to know upfront: you can use a Cricut Maker with your smartphone. But you will not be getting everything you possibly can out of the machine unless you connect it to your computer. There are just some features that function better with a computer versus a phone.

Your machine will come with software called Cricut Design Space and – good news! – it works with both Windows and Mac operating systems. So, you can access that software via your personal computer, laptop, iPad, etc.

close up of women using laptop

What Can I Cut with My Cricut Maker?

This is, of course, everyone’s favorite part, and nothing excites a crafter more than being presented with so many different options. It’s like finding out your favorite glitter stick is now available in every shade of the rainbow!

The Cricut Maker is designed to cut almost any material a crafter could possibly want to use. Want to incorporate a soda can into your project? The Cricut Maker can help with that.

While this list is by no means exhaustive, here is a sampling of the materials a Cricut Maker can cut:

  • Cardstock
  • Chipboard
  • Corrugated Cardboard
  • Posterboard
  • Photographs
  • Adhesive Vinyl
  • Outdoor Vinyl
  • Metallic Iron-On
  • Faux Leather
  • Faux Suede
  • Oilcloth
  • Wool felt
  • Duct Tape

person holding yellow and white cupcakes

What Projects Can I Make with It?

The real question here is, what can you NOT make with a Cricut Maker? The possibilities are as endless as your imagination, and all you need to do is spend a little time on Etsy to see that crafters have found thousands of ways to use Cricut Makers in their projects.

Before Cricut Makers were available, every bachelorette party or family reunion looking for a custom t-shirt was at the mercy of businesses that charged high prices to print messaging on what often turned out to be cheap shirts, and people would spend a fortune on shipping alone to get them in time for events.

Now it is easy to make these kinds of personalized items at home, and along with t-shirts, people are using Cricut Makers for:

  • Greeting Cards
  • Vinyl decals
  • Felt dolls or flowers
  • Placecards
  • Coasters
  • Jigsaw Puzzles
  • Jewelry
  • Wall Art
  • Magnets

And so much more!

scrapbook on white textile

What Do I Need to Get Started?

Getting started is easy: you will need a Cricut Maker, a computer/device to connect to, and a small supply of materials to cut.

It would be easy to go overboard at the craft store, buying every color of faux suede imaginable. But I would caution you to start slowly and allow yourself to get the hang of the machine with some trial and error. Buy a small supply of different materials to use, such as various cardstocks, felt, and vinyl. Give yourself some leeway to make mistakes and avoid buying the priciest materials in the beginning.

Once you have gotten the hang of using your Cricut Maker, you will get a better sense of the materials you need the most and can stock up on them.

pink papers with colored pencils

Where Can I Get Designs?

The good news here is that your Cricut Maker will come with several free patterns, designs, and fonts that will automatically appear in your Cricut Design Space software. Use these in your trial and error phase: don’t get overwhelmed adding new designs until you get the hang of the machine.

Once you have mastered the Cricut Maker, there is a world of other designs available online. Sites like Etsy have tens of thousands of Cricut designs, including “bundled” packages where you can buy things relevant to your interests (whether it’s sports or holidays or margaritas – “there’s a Cricut design for that.”)

Do I Need to Be a Computer Whiz to Use a Cricut Maker?

No! You do not need to be a tech genius to use a Cricut Maker machine, but I am not saying it is as easy as finger painting.

Anyone who can navigate a smartphone and follow instructions can pull it off, and there are also plenty of video tutorials online.