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Cricut Maker tools explained! One of the best things about the Cricut Maker is that there are a lot of fun tools available for creating amazing projects. This guide walks you through each tool and what it’s used for.
One of the biggest advantages the Cricut Maker has over the Explore is the expanded set of tools. If you’re upgrading to the Maker from the Explore, trying to figure out which tool does what can feel a little overwhelming. With the Explore you really only had tools for cutting and scoring. But the Cricut Maker tools can be used for so much more than cutting vinyl or paper!
If you’re reading this post because you’re considering upgrading to the Maker or if you’re ready to purchase your first Cricut machine and aren’t sure which one to get, please check out my Cricut Maker Overview. I take a deeper dive into the machine itself to give you the best idea of what to expect.
Table of Contents
Cricut Maker Tools Explained
You may hear the terms “Cricut Maker Tools” and “Cricut Maker Blades” used interchangeably.
Is there a difference? Kind of but not really. This confused me a little when I first started with my Maker so I figured I’d call it out.
Blades really refer to the actual blades that are used for cutting materials, like the fine-point blade or the deep point blade. Tools, on the other hand, could include the new QuickSwap tips used in the Maker which can be used for engraving, debossing, and more. But some of the QuickSwap tips also cut, like the wavy or perforation blades.
It’s just semantics really. To me, anything that goes into my machine and does something, whether it’s cutting or something else, is a tool.
All blades can be tools, but not all tools are blades. And dang, that sounds like a logic problem from high school. I hated those!
Let’s just say that when I talk about tools in this post, I’m including the different blades as well. Whew!
Cricut Tools Overview
Cricut tools and blades are used to cut different types of materials for your projects. The Design Space software will let you know which tool you should load based on the material selected. But it’s important to understand what each tool is designed for so that you can make sure you have the perfect tool for your project.
There are over 300 materials you can cut with the Maker and the expanded tools. That’s a whole lot of projects you can make. Yay for creativity!
Cricut has a really helpful materials guide on their site that has a huge list of materials that can be cut with the Explore or Maker and also which tool to use for each. This can be helpful if you have a project in mind but aren’t sure if you have the right tool available.
And also, the Cricut Maker was designed to be compatible with the tools and blades for all Cricut machines. This is great if you’re upgrading from the Explore because you can still use those tools in your Maker!
Cricut has plans to add even more tools for the Maker in the future so this is definitely a machine you’ll be able to use for the long-haul.
These are the tools available for the Maker right now:
- Fine point blades – Explore and Maker
- Deep point blades – Explore and Maker
- Bonded fabric blade – Explore and Maker
- Foil transfer kit – Explore and Maker
- Scoring stylus – Explore and Maker
- Pens – Explore and Maker
- Rotary blade – Maker only
- Knife blade – Maker only
- QuickSwap tools – Maker only – easily swap tips into the QuickSwap housing
Quick Reference Guide
Here is a handy reference guide to which tools work in the Explore and Maker.
|Tool||Cricut Explore||Cricut Maker Tools|
|Fine Point Blade||x||x|
|Deep Point Blade||x||x|
|Bonded Fabric Blade||x||x|
|Foil Transfer Kit||x||x|
|Cricut Pens & Markers||x||x|
|Scoring Wheel/Double Scoring Wheel||x|
Cricut Tools for both the Explore and Maker
It was really smart of Cricut to design the Maker to be compatible with tools that can be used in the Explore. This allows them to introduce new tools for both machines so users feel like they’re still getting value from their machines.
These are the tools that can be used in both the Explore and the Cricut Maker.
Fine Point blade
The fine point blade is the real workhorse of all the Cricut tools. This blade is designed to cut thin and medium-weight materials like vinyl, cardstock, bonded fabric, and iron-on. For me, this is most of the projects I make so I get a lot of use from my fine point blade!
There are actually 3 blades in the fine point blade series. Each blade has a different color housing so you know exactly which one you’re grabbing to load into your machine. Nice!
Premium fine point blade
The premium fine point blade is the blade to use for cardstock, paper, vinyl, iron-on, or any other lightweight materials.
The premium blade housing is gold (although I’m using the blade from my Explore and it’s silver).
The bonded-fabric blade is really just a fine point blade that’s used exclusively for cutting bonded fabric. Having a blade that’s dedicated to cutting fabric only will help make the blade last even longer.
The bonded-fabric housing is pink to match the pink fabric cutting mat so you can easily tell which to use for fabric. How cute!
Deep point blade
The deep point blade is used for cutting slightly thicker or denser materials like chipboard, cardboard, thick cardstock, or even magnet sheets!
The deep point blade has an angle of 60 degrees, which is a little steeper than the fine point blade’s angle of 45 degrees. The steeper angle allows the blade to make those intricate cuts on thicker materials.
The deep point blade housing is black so it’s easy to tell the difference between it and the premium fine point blade.
Foil Transfer Kit
The most recent tool they’ve released for both Explore and Maker is the foil transfer kit. This is a really cool new tool that allows you to add foil effects to different types of materials.
The foil transfer kit is used with Cricut’s foil transfer sheets and comes with 3 tips that you can change out – fine, medium, and bold.
The housing and the tips for the foil transfer kit are blue. The tips are magnetic so you can store them on the magnetic section of the tool storage in the machine and never lose them!
The scoring stylus is used for creating score lines in paper projects like cards and envelopes to get a nice, clean fold line.
The scoring stylus is loaded into Clamp A, where the pens are loaded, so you can load your cutting tool and the stylus at the same time to cut and score in one step.
My scoring stylus is lilac but I think I’ve seen them available in other colors too.
Cricut Pens & Markers
Cricut pens and markers are a fun way to embellish your projects with writing effects! You can use pens to make cards, coloring pages, tags, labels, and a lot more.
There are so many different styles and colors of pens and markers available. Just to name a few:
- Fine Point
- Extra Fine Point
- Glitter Gel
- Metallic Gel
- Every color of the rainbow!
Cricut has even introduced a set of Infusible Ink markers that can be used to create transfers for compatible Infusible Ink blanks.
Cricut Maker Tools Only
We’ve already talked about so many fantastic tools that can be used with the Cricut Maker, it seems hard to believe there are more, right? But there are!
One of the improvements that came with the Cricut Maker is increased cutting power. The Maker has 10 times the cutting power of the Explore because of the new Adaptive Tool System.
The Adaptive Tool System is commercial-level tech that controls the speed and pressure of the blade for precise cuts every single time. If you’re a nerd like me, you’ll find it fascinating to watch the tool spin and cut.
You can tell it’s an Adaptive Tool System tool if there’s a little gear at the top.
The gear on the tool is lined up with the gear in the tool clamp on the machine. And that’s about as technical as I can get on how that works. 🤣
There are 2 tools that require their own housing and can’t be swapped out for other tips.
The Rotary Blade is used for cutting fabric. This is a real game-changer because you don’t need backing material!
If you sew or quilt, this blade will make cutting patterns or quilting blocks so much easier than cutting by hand.
I’m thrilled because I can finally cut felt. I just never had good luck cutting felt with my Explore. But the Rotary Blade cuts through felt like it’s butter.
Use the Rotary Blade with the pink FabricGrip cutting mat.
The Knife Blade was the first tool I purchased after getting my Maker. I was so excited to play around with this blade to see what I could cut!
The Knife Blade is much deeper than the deep point blade so you’re able to cut thicker and denser materials. I’ve cut leather, balsa wood, chipboard, and magnetic sheets with the Knife Blade and it’s worked wonderfully.
The Adaptive Tool System also works with the QuickSwap housing and tips.
The QuickSwap housing allows you to swap between different tips. This is a really nice feature because you don’t need to buy the housing for every tip. You only need one QuickSwap housing and you can use all of the tips with it!
And it’s super easy to swap out tips. You just push the button on the top of the housing and the tip will pop out. To put a new tip on, push the button on the top again and slide the new tip on. Easy!
Scoring Wheel/Double Scoring Wheel
The Scoring Wheel is used for creating deep score lines for cards, envelopes, and other paper projects. If you find that the scoring stylus doesn’t make a deep enough line for clean fold lines, the scoring wheel might be the answer.
For one thing, it’s part of the Adaptive Tool System so there’s more power behind it. And for another, it’s a wheel so the lines it makes are much crisper and defined.
The double-scoring wheel makes 2 parallel score lines which you need for thicker materials like coated poster board or cardboard.
The Debossing Tip can be used to create decorative impressions on materials like paper, cardstock, and even faux leather.
Debossing can really add some depth and interest to your paper projects!
And just to be clear, debossing is not the same as embossing. It’s actually the opposite of embossing. Embossing happens when pressure is applied to the back of the material to create a raised effect. Debossing, on the other hand, applies pressure from the top which creates an impression on the material.
The engraving tip is my absolute favorite of the Cricut Maker tools (for now, lol)!
When I first got the engraving tip, I really thought I’d just be able to engrave some cool designs into metal for jewelry. Once I got into it though, I was excited to find there are actually a LOT of things you can engrave with this tip.
- Faux leather
- Genuine leather
- Thin gauge metal
- Glitter cardstock
- Heavy paper
- Vinyl records
The thing I love most about my Cricut Maker is discovering all the things it can be used to make. And it’s a constant learning process which is part of the fun!
Cricut really does have a tool for every conceivable project. No matter what you’re trying to accomplish, there’s probably a tool for it!
The Perforation Blade is used for creating even, perforated cuts for a perfectly clean tear. Use this blade to create your own raffle tickets, coupons, or booklets.
The Wavy Blade can be used to create a fun and decorative wavy edge to your designs.
This would be so cute for homemade gift tags, cards, labels, or a fun art project! And it doesn’t have to only be a paper project. You can use the wavy blade to cut felt, thin faux leather, vinyl, iron-on, and thin materials like cotton. Imagine the possibilities!
Where Can I Buy Cricut Maker Tools?
All the major craft retailers like Joann, Michaels, and Hobby Lobby sell Cricut products. Be aware though, that storewide sales and coupons do not apply to Cricut products. There will be separate promotions for Cricut products when they go on sale. Check the details on any coupons you have to see if Cricut is included or not. It’s usually listed in the exclusions when it’s not.
You can also purchase tools, accessories, and machines from Cricut’s shop directly. There are some great deals to be had when buying from Cricut so keep an eye out for sales and promotions!
Amazon also offers a wide selection of Cricut products in the Cricut store. The prices usually match whatever Cricut has in their store but the benefit to Amazon is the fast and free shipping for Prime members.
I will mention that lately I’ve noticed on Amazon there are companies selling products for Cricut that aren’t actually Cricut-branded products. Their packaging very closely resembles the Cricut packaging so it’s easy to mistake it for the real thing. The only difference is that the Cricut logo is missing. If you’re shopping on Amazon, be sure to read the description and find out who the seller is. If it’s not Cricut, it’s probably one of these companies.
It’s not that you can’t use products other than official Cricut products in your machine. But it could possibly void your warranty if using a third-party product damages your machine. Always read the fine print and make a decision that you’re comfortable with!
How Long Do Tools Last?
It’s hard to say definitively how long a blade or will last for you. It all depends on how often you’re using your Cricut Maker and what types of materials you’re cutting. A good rule of thumb is to change your blades every three to six months.
Of course, if your cuts aren’t quite as crisp then it’s probably time to change your blade or tip.
Keep in mind too that the thicker the material you’re cutting, the less time you’ll have between blades. Paper and cardstock can be hard on blades so you might find you need to change these more often if you do a lot of papercrafts.
Tool Maintenance and Care Instructions
The number one tip for caring for your Cricut Maker tools is to use the right tool for the correct material. This is especially true when it comes to cutting thicker materials. Using the fine point blade to cut a material that’s better suited to the deep point blade or the knife blade will cause your fine point blade to wear out fast. Plus, it’s possible you won’t get the precise and clean cut you were looking for.
Storing your tools and tips so they’re not exposed to dust and other materials will also help extend the life of your tools. The Cricut machines all have built-in storage for your tools and accessories. You could also use a small box or container with a lid.
Did you know you can use a common household item to sharpen your blades? Yes! Take some aluminum foil and wad it into a ball. Press the top of the housing so the tip of the blade is visible and poke it into the foil ball for a minute or so. This won’t make your blades last forever but you can get some extra mileage from it before you have to swap it for a new one.
More Cricut Tools Posts
If you’re looking for more information, check out my other Cricut Tools posts: