Friday, September 14, 2012

How to use your Cricut die cut machine

I was looking through the Doodlecharms handbook and I noticed that the introduction section was extra lengthy so I looked a little closer.  What I found were detailed instructions on how to use a Cricut.  I thought I would share this information with you and add a little commentary.

 As you can see in the photo below, this "Introduction to the Cricut" handbook section is designed around the Cricut Personal Cutter, A.K.A. - the Bug.  It references the rubber overlay which you use with both the Bug and the Expression to make selections for cutting.  The Expression 2 and Imagine have digital overlays so you can put your rubber overlay in storage.  The same is true if you use Gypsy, Design Studio or Cricut Craft Room as they provide virtual overlays to work with.

If you are using any of the machines released after the Personal Cutting Machine, you will use a 12 x 12 inch mat rather than the 6 x 12 inch mat referenced above.

The next handbook page directs you to use a dial to select the size.  This is the case for the both the Bug and the Expression as well, but the when using machines/ tools with a digital/ virtual overlay you adjust the size on the screen rather than on the machine.

Once you have configured all of your image sizes, select Cut and let Cricut do its magic.  Once completed, you may need to select "remove mat"  depending on your machine.  This will tell the machine that you are not going to make another cut and it will release its grip on the mat.

Next you will remove your die cuts from the mat as shown in the page below.  If you are using a new mat, it may be very sticky so take great care in removing scrapbook paper cuts so they do not tear.  I usually arch my mat a little so that the paper or card stock edges lift from the mat, then I use a spatula to lift the rest of the image.  I highly recommend purchasing a spatula.  I did not realize its importance when I first started using my cricut and I ruined a lot of cuts trying to remove them with my fingers.  Be sure to remove all of the little bits and pieces left on your mat after each cut.  A clean mat can make a big difference in achieving clean edged cuts.


The keys above apply to the Bug and the Expression. When using Cricut machines/ programs with a digital/ virtual overlay you control the above functions on the screen rather than on the overlay.




The Creative Features on Doodlecharms are: Tag, Card, Charm, Border, Shadow and Blackout. Note that Creative Features differ from cartridge to cartridge.  Some of the Creative Features you will find on other cartridges include:
  • font
  • title
  • phrase
  • frames
  • mats
  • silhouette
  • puzzle
  • notebook
  • bookmark
To learn more about using your Cricut check out one of the many videos on You Tube.  I have listed a few below, but there are many, many other tutorials available for free.  I also recommend purchasing an Above Rubies Studio CD's.  I found them to be extraordinarily helpful.

Cricut Baby Bug and Expression
Cricut  Expression 2

 Cricut Imagine


  1. Thanks so much for these links! They proved very helpful and I've subscribed to your blog.

  2. I am using the mickey and friends cart. and there are some of the pictures has NOT AVAILABLE. Like Goofy's hat and Minnie's hair bow so is there a trick to this? I have made the base shape a little smaller then tried to cut it to fit but what a pain. I need help please!!


  3. Hi Tyra,
    Which machine are you using? What size are you making your cuts? I know how frustrating this predicaments can be. I'm happy to help. Fill me in on the details and I'll do my best! :o)