Hooray! A layout using the Cricut Explore!

You may have seen my post about Discovering the Cricut Explore, when I went to London to check out Cricut’s latest die-cutting machine. Well, the lovely people at Cricut have sent me an Explore machine of my own to review and play with! You can imagine I was a tad excited when it arrived, I hopped up and down a lot, my daughter looked at me like I was mad!

If you’re in the UK and you want to see more of what the Cricut Explore can do then don’t miss Create and Craft TV tomorrow (Friday 16th May), the Explore will be launched at 8am and 7pm. The channel numbers are Sky 671; Freeview 36; and Freesat 813! Plus there will be an @CricutEU twitter party tomorrow night from 6pm-8pm just tweet with #ExcitedtoExplore to join in the fun and maybe win some prizes!

I’ve been experimenting with my Explore as much as I can, and I decided the first post I do using it should really be a scrapbook page, because, you know, that’s my main thing! So here’s the page…

Hooray! She’s the champion!

Hooray! She's The Champion! layout using the Cricut Explore by Jennifer Grace

This photo is from My Belated Hen Party. My ‘hens’ all had tasks to complete, and I had stickers to give out for good behaviour, so they all collected points during the weekend. My friend Lucy was the winner, and here she is holding up her trophy and shouting ‘hooray!’

I took some screen shots as I put this page together, to show you around the Design Space a bit. Remember you need to be connected to the internet the whole time you are designing and using the machine, but I think it’s worth it!

If you click on ‘Set Canvas’ you can choose what kind of project you are making, to help you envision it as you choose your shapes. 12×12″ and other plain canvas sizes can be found under ‘Basic Shapes’:

Cricut Explore Design Space

Once you click ‘Done’ you can then adjust the canvas properties if you need to, including the shape, dimensions, and colour:

Cricut Explore Design Space

Then can click on ‘Insert Images’ to start finding some shapes you like. Shapes can be bought individually or you can subscribe to have access to over 25,000 shapes – this costs £7.49 a month {EDITED TO ADD: The monthly subscription IS NOT currently available in the UK} or £79.99 a year.

This background lattice style was found by clicking ‘filter’ and then ‘Backgrounds & Textures’, the one I’ve used is the ‘Simple Fancy Pattern Overlay’ from the Edge to Edge image set (#M473BE). You click on it to bring a green check mark up, and then click ‘Insert Images’ – you can insert several images at a time if you want to by adding more green check marks. Then you can alter the colour of the shape to match the material you will be cutting from, by clicking on the icon of the shape in the ‘Layers’ panel:

Cricut Explore Design Space

You can resize the shape by clicking on one of the corners or size handles and then dragging them. A small black box appears with the width and height dimensions of your shape, so you can adjust it to the size you’d like. I made mine just under 11″. NB: I couldn’t get this to cut as a 12×12 background, it seemed to only allow up to 11.5″ square – I need to try this out for other shapes but I feel it will be the same and not cut true 12×12:

Cricut Explore Design Space

Then keep adding shapes to plan your page! I added a 5×7″ rectangle as my photo so I could work out how pieces would fit around it. Then I found a trophy – make sure you’ve un-ticked previous searches before doing another, I couldn’t find any trophies at first then I realised it was because ‘Backgrounds & Textures’ was still selected! The trophy I used is from the Something to Celebrate image set (#M45989). If you need to re-order the shapes at any time to see a different one on top, then can either right click your mouse button on the shape, or choose ‘Arrange’ from the top menu to move it forward:

Cricut Explore Design Space

One of the features of the Explore is that it can write at the same time as cutting, if you put a pen into the pen holder. You get a pen included with the machine!

I chose to write on this label (‘Ribbon Label’ from The First Few Years Image Set #M4664C). Click on ‘Add Text’ and type something. Set the text to a ‘Draw Image’ rather than a ‘Cut Image’, by clicking on the little scissors icon by the shape on the layers panel and changing it to the pen icon for ‘Write’. To find a font which will write as a single line, rather than as outlined letters, then you can change the top selection from ‘All Fonts’ to ‘Has a Writing Style’ to choose a font you like. The style should be ‘Writing’ rather than ‘Regular’ too. I chose the ‘Birthday Bash’ font:

Cricut Explore Design Space

When you are happy with how your text looks you need to attach it to the shape it will be writing on. Because the label was layered I first had to right-click and ungroup the label, so I could move the top (yellow) part away. Then you drag a box over the text and the shape it will be writing on, and click ‘Attach’ in the layers panel to join them together:

Cricut Explore Design Space

Keep adding and layering shapes until you are happy. I also added a ‘Celebrate Tag’ (Tie The Knot Image Set, #M47649), a ‘Label’ which I made quite large for the background (The First Few Years Image Set #M47215), and a ‘Heart Accent’ (Ribbons & Rosettes Image Set #M474E5):

Cricut Explore Design Space

Once I was satisfied with my design I hid the lattice background (because I’d cut this earlier) and the rectangle (which represented my photo) so they wouldn’t cut – you can hide them by clicking the little eye icon so it has a line through it. You can also delete them if you prefer. I also made sure the items which I wanted to cut from the same paper (eg. the trophy yellow layer and the label yellow layer) were the exact same shade – other wise they won’t go on the same mat:

Cricut Explore Design Space

Then I just clicked ‘Go’ and followed the instructions for which mat to load when. Make sure you remember to add the pen in too if you are writing something as it doesn’t prompt you to do this. And you also need to turn the dial if you are swapping between different materials for different shapes!

Here’s a close up of my trophy and ‘Celebrate’ tag, I sprinkled some gems spilling out from the trophy:

  Trophy and a Tag cut with the Cricut Explore

Here’s the title, written by the Explore with the Cricut Metallic Silver pen which came with my machine:

'Hooray' Title made using Write and Cut feature of Cricut Explore

The word ‘Celebrate’ came out so cleanly that I used that on my page too, I was so impressed with how neat it looked – this blade is so good:

Celebrate Word and a Heart cut with the Cricut Explore

You can see I’m having lots of fun with my machine so far! There will be more posts to come, I have plans for decorating my house, and for altering a whole outfit… plus more layouts and some cards… it’s going to keep me busy. (Though don’t worry if you don’t own a Cricut, this isn’t going to become a Cricut only blog!)

Don’t forget to check out Create and Craft TV and the Twitter party tomorrow!

Plus I’ll be back tomorrow with details of my next blog event. See you then!

Jennifer x

DISCLOSURE: Cricut have provided me with a Cricut Explore Machine, some materials, and access to the Image Library, to help me write this post. However ALL opinions in this post are my own and not governed or controlled by Cricut in any way.

12 Comments
  • You lucky duck, what a fun toy! Enjoy – I see you are off to a great start.

    May 15, 2014 at 7:37 pm
  • What a thorough tutorial, and I love the finished result I only wish I was more crafty!

    Helen X
    www.allthebeautifulthings.co.uk

    May 15, 2014 at 8:58 pm
  • Ooo, I’m so jealous of your Cricut Explore Machine! Do you think they’ll give one away at their Twitter oarty? If so, I’m definitely there 😉

    Love what you made. You’re so creative.

    Louise x

    http://www.confessionsofasecretshopper.com

    May 15, 2014 at 9:28 pm
  • Oh I love this!

    May 15, 2014 at 9:35 pm
  • How exciting and what a wonderful layout you created with it!!!! 🙂 🙂

    May 16, 2014 at 12:10 am
  • Lisa Swift
    Reply

    I’m glad you’re having such fun with this machine. Love how your layout turned out!

    May 16, 2014 at 12:48 am
  • I don’t have a Cricut, but the possibilities sound awesome ! Beautiful layout.

    May 16, 2014 at 7:15 am
  • Great to hear an unbiased view on this. I have a Cricut Expression and Gypsy which I love. I don’t have any intention in upgrading any time soon and am not sure I would want to be online all the time, but never say never! I shall look forward to reading more about how you are getting on with this 🙂

    May 16, 2014 at 7:31 am
  • Forgot to say that I just love the layout!

    May 16, 2014 at 7:32 am
  • It all looks wonderful.

    May 16, 2014 at 7:56 am
  • How lovely to be given one to play with…and you’ve doing amazing designs with it to. I love the whole idea and the images you can create from this machine..still….it looks a little too techy for me 🙁 x x

    May 16, 2014 at 12:55 pm
  • Love the layout, just sums up a fun time.

    May 17, 2014 at 4:24 pm

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