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- When I was just starting out with my Cricut machine, there were a lot of things I wished I knew.
- As a sticker maker, there are a lot of must-have products I need.
- Some of my favorites you might not think of are an XL Scraper and a Slice ceramic cutter.
One of my favorite purchases I made early in the COVID-19 pandemic was a Cricut Explore Air 2 electronic cutting machine. I had been thinking about it for a while, but being stuck at home with a lot of time on my hands seemed like the perfect time to finally try it out.
The Cricut Explore Air 2 is your personal DIY cutting machine. It will flawlessly cut over 100+ different types of materials including premium vinyl, iron-on and htv vinyl, cardstock, faux leather, adhesive foils, specialty paper, poster board and more.
Unleash your creativity with the power, versatility and speed of Cricut Maker 3, the ultimate smart cutting machine.
What I quickly realized was that there is a major learning curve. It's easy to get the machine up and running, but the various settings, supplies, and materials take some time to get an understanding of. I started with vinyl, cutting shapes and designs for tumblers, wine glasses, and water bottles.
Design Space, the app used to create and cut your designs, has a great feature where you can upload your own images, print them, and then use the Cricut to cut them out. I wanted to give sticker-making a shot, especially since I'd just invested in an iPad and the Procreate app.
It took a lot of trial and error to get a product I was happy with before I started selling my stickers, and even after that, they kept improving as I kept discovering products to make better quality stickers.
There are a lot of things I wish I knew when I was just starting out on the Cricut, like the best settings to use, or the fact that stickers come out better and last longer when you laminate them before cutting them. I have definitely seen an improvement in the projects I put out now that I've settled on a routine that helps me create really high-quality stickers.
Below, I've listed out my go-to products so that you can make great stickers without all of the experimentation.
My favorite products for making stickers with a Cricut Explore Air 2:
An iPad Air and the Procreate app
iPad Air, available from Apple and Procreate, available on the Apple app store
I design all of my stickers using the Procreate app on my iPad Air. I love the variety of brushes and the really simple interface of the app.
An Uppercase Designs NimbleGrip for my Apple pencil
Uppercase Designs NimbleGrip, $9.95, available on Amazon
The NimbleGrip is one of the things I discovered recently, but I wish I'd known about it from the day I got my Apple pencil. The silicone grip slides onto the pencil and makes it feel like you're holding a real pen.
The Bazaart app
Bazaart app, free on the Apple app store
There are a few ways to do this step, but since I discovered Bazaart, it's the only app I use to outline my stickers. In order for the Cricut to cut stickers with a solid background, you need to outline and fill your sticker design in with a solid color. Bazaart's outline feature makes it so easy to do this.
LUXOTON Premium Printable Vinyl Sticker Paper
LUXOTON Premium Printable Vinyl Sticker Paper (20-pack), $11.95, available on Amazon
I've tried a few brands of sticker paper since buying my Cricut, but this one is my favorite. It's great quality for the price, and the size of the pack typically lasts me about a month. On their own, the stickers are waterproof, but I also laminate mine.
A variety of laminating sheets
I use three different kinds of laminating sheets: Matte, glossy, and holographic. Laminating the stickers before cutting them makes the sticker a little thicker and sturdier, and it also changes the finish depending on the sheet I use. The holographic laminate is a fun way to make your stickers pop without needing to use specialty paper.
An XL Scraper
Cricut XL Scraper, from $5.18, available on Cricut and Amazon
A basic Cricut tools bundle will come with a small scraper, which works fine when smoothing out the laminate onto the printed stickers. The XL scraper covers a much larger surface area of the sticker paper and makes it easier to get the smoothest laminate possible with no air bubbles.
A Cricut deep point blade
Deep point blade + housing, $18.99, available on Cricut
One of the biggest Cricut lessons I wish I'd learned earlier was how necessary it is to replace your blades. They start to dull with heavy use, and you always want to get the smoothest cut possible. As a personal choice, I always use a deep point blade when I'm cutting stickers just due to the thickness and rigidity of the laminated paper. Play around with blades and settings to find the combination that works best.
A Slice ceramic cutter
Slice ceramic cutter, $9.80, available on Amazon
The last step of my sticker-making process is to score the back paper with a Slice ceramic cutter to make peeling the back paper from the sticker easier. The cutter is not very deep, so it's easy to cut through without destroying the sticker.
The bottom line
Once you get past the initial tutorials on how to use Design Space, it's not difficult to make high-quality stickers with an iPad and a Cricut.
Finding a process that works for you may take some trial and error, but these products can help you start out smoothly.
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