Why use a Cricut? A Q&A

Do you need a Cricut machine?

As professional crafters, we love to get our hands on any type of tool or machine and the Cricut is no exception, but the next natural question is, do YOU need the machine. And the answer depends on what you’re trying to use it for. 

One of the main reasons we love using our Cricut is the ability to design AND cut our own projects. Cricut has a library of thousands and thousands of templates and patterns in their Design Library, which is amazing, BUT we love doing our own thing. And I suspect that you might as well? I’ve had a number of designers reach out over the years about this topic and I think if you like to design in Illustrator, it’s totally worth it. You can take any design you make and have it cut in the machine. Then the magic is up to you!

To handcut or to Cricut

Of course, we also love to cut things by hand. There’s a quality that you just don’t get with a machine. If you’re going for perfection and quantity, I’d recommend the machine, but if it’s a hand-cut quality, it might be best to stick with your scissors.

Now, HOW to use the Cricut. I demonstrated how to do our paper flower cake topper as a Live a few weeks ago. You can see it here

How to Make Crafts with Cricut

  1. Plug in your Cricut and place it on a flat surface (if you don’t have a designated craft room, your kitchen table works, too!).
  2. Make sure you have a laptop or phone nearby so you can load the design into the Cricut via Bluetooth (oh, and turn your Bluetooth on whatever device you’re using).
  3. Connect your device to the Cricut machine via Bluetooth.
  4. Set up Cricut Design Space if you haven’t already by going here.
  5. Get your design ready! For Cricut, you will need SVG files. Cricut has a library of designs in Cricut Design Space, which is included with your machine, or you can use one of ours
  6. Choose a material. If you have the Cricut Explore Air 2, you can use the Smart Set Dial, which adjusts the cut settings according to the material you’re using. Nifty! Options include iron-on material, cardstock (both light and heavyweight), fabric, poster board, and more. If you’re using the Cricut Maker, there is no dial, but the machine will adjust the blade settings for you–just select the material you’re using in Design Space.
  7. DesignSpace actually runs through a beginner project with you after you set it up. Don’t worry if it isn’t perfect—this is just practice, after all!
  8. You can create your own designs in Design Space or upload them. Once you do that, the rest is quite intuitive. Design Space will show you what to do as far as measuring and cutting a piece of material, and from there, you simply load your material (cut according to Design Space’s measurements) onto the sticky mat, and then load it into the Cricut much like you would a printer. 
  9. If you are using the Cricut Explore Air 2, make sure the dial is set to whichever material you’re using (if it’s not listed on the dial, hit “Custom”). The Cricut Maker will automatically adjust to the material you’ve chosen in Design Space.
  10. Hit the start button (the Cricut logo button, which will flash when it’s ready to go). 
  11. That’s it! 

Which Cricut machine do I need?

That depends on what you’re trying to achieve and how often you think you’ll use it. Let’s look at the options:

Cricut Joy

If you like making small projects or greeting cards, they just came out with the new Cricut Joy. Admittedly, I haven’t tried it out myself so I can’t speak to it, but I just saw that it’s sold in stores at Target so it’s accessible and looks like a great option for quick projects.

Here’s what you would need with the Cricut Joy:

Cricut Joy
Replacement blade
Cricut Joy Lightgrip Mat or Standard mat
And some fun materials like vinyl and such to experiment with

Cricut Maker

This is the most expensive option, but it’s also the most versatile machine so personally, I like using this the most. The interface is easy, it cuts a variety of materials, and it’s just so great.

It comes in a variety of color options, but they’re basically all the same!

Cricut Maker

Here’s what you would need with the Cricut Maker:

Cricut Maker
Cricut basic tool set
Cricut standard mat or the variety pack

Cricut Explore Air 2

That said, as much as we use our Maker, we mostly just cut paper so we’d be fine using the Explore. And it comes in a few options like the Explore Air 2, which doesn’t require cords.

Here’s what you would need with the Cricut Explore Air 2:

Cricut Explore Air 2
Cricut basic tool set
Cricut standard mat or the variety pack

What Can I Make with A Cricut?

The real question is what can’t you make? No really, the possibilities are seemingly endless, and with the number of materials you can use, you could be crafting forever (and that’s not a bad thing). Some of our favorite things we’ve made with a Cricut are:

DIY stuffed whale with free templates

iron on your costumes with vinyl decals for Halloween

This is the Easy Press from Cricut, which allows you to iron on vinyl!

Green house Halloween costume

Other Supplies to Use with Your Cricut

Besides an outlet, a flat surface, and a good internet connection, you will need a few other things to create, print, and finish your design.

As you can tell, we love using our Cricut and I’m betting most of us need a good creative distraction from all the stuff that’s happened this year! Try one of our fun crafts with Cricut to start, and we promise you’ll be hooked.

We’d love to see how YOU use your machine. Tag us in your projects!

This post is not sponsored by Cricut, we just really love our machine. This post does contain affiliate links. 

DIY Dried Flower Pumpkins

Today we’re bringing you a DIY fall project with dried flowers, but this one is a little different than our DIY Rainbow Pumpkins we posted last month. However, both projects could be left up year-round to add a little charm and cheer to your front porch.

I love our pumpkin projects because they involve no carving. That’s right, no scraping the inside of a pumpkin for hours until your arm gets numb. No sifting through pumpkin goop to get out the seeds for roasting. And no more planning out an elaborate design, only to accidentally cut off a huge piece of pumpkin and ruining the whole thing! I’m really making a case for a no-carving Halloween, aren’t I? Well it turns out, there are other ways to dress up pumpkins, and I’d argue they let you be even more creative than a carving set!

Unlike our colorful painted gourds, this pumpkin DIY relies on natural adornmentspreserved flowers, to be precise! You don’t need a perfectly round pumpkin for this DIY fall project with dried flowers. In fact, you could even dress up some acorn or butternut squash if that’s what you have on hand. How gorgeous would these pumpkins be as a Thanksgiving table centerpiece?

Even though we’re using preserved flowers for this project, that doesn’t mean the colors have to be tone down. You know which blog this is, right? Bring on the brightness! Choose jewel toned flowers that hold onto their hues after drying, like dried globe amaranth or strawflowers. How perfect is the name “strawflower”?! It evokes those beautiful red berries we all know and love and the “straw” makes me think of fall harvest.

Here are some of our favorite preserved and dried flowers from around the web!

DIY Fall project with dried flowers and pumpkins!

Materials:

See above!

Instructions:

  1. Pick out your flowers (we got ours from Terrain) and pumpkins. We went with a monochromatic scheme because…elegance!
  2. Plan your pattern.
  3. Start gluing! Use extra glue to make sure they stay on!

That’s it!

It’s really an easy project, but you can get super intricate with the design and style of the pumpkin. Again, how lovely would it be as a wedding centerpiece. I’m definitely showing these off ASAP!

Yes, summer is over, and it’s taking the beautiful flowers with it, but don’t fret! This DIY will help you preserve the colorful blooms all through the fall season.

Thank you Terrain for providing the beautiful preserved flowers! You can shop their collection here

Paris-Inspired Design: A Bastille Day Bash

How to visit Paris without leaving home

Bastille Day is akin to the USA’s Independence Day in that it marks an important historical turn towards democracy. The bastille building itself was an armory that citizens of Paris stormed and set political prisoners free on July 14, 1789. Modernly, people celebrate in different ways all over the country! My favorite tradition takes place each year in the gardens of the President’s residence, the Palais de l’Elysee. The President hosts a picnic!! Isn’t that amazing? Take your own trip to France tomorrow by celebrating Bastille Day!

Cue the inspiration for my Bastille Day celebration: I’m throwing myself a picnic. Make your picnic simple and clever with these printable placemats!

Our Paris cake toppers from illustrator Jessie Kenelos Weiner, author of Paris in Stride are available for FREE! Download your own and make breakfast extra sweet tomorrow morning. Plus, you can count this as tomorrow’s homeschool geography lesson 😉

How to celebrate like a Parisienne

Lars girls love garden parties and all things French, so this particular celebration is downright delightful. I whole-heartedly suggest you decorate with some adorable France printables, as they are an easy way to play with the stylish theme: Paris-inspired design. Take color cues from there! The tricolore of red, white, and blue is simple and classic – just like French design. Don your best Breton striped top (blue and white of course), chic trousers/skirt, and a pop of color in the form of red lipstick. Stay up late and light off fireworks to celebrate the end of the day. 

Print off our Paris crown and invitation suite here for your next party. Whether you are celebrating Bastille Day, a garden party, a birthday party, or anything else – this party is sure to be tres chic.

How to decorate and dress like a Parisienne

I can’t write about Paris without mentioning how much I adore the style and design identity of this city. With each encounter, I feel creatively inspired. You got your first taste of this with our tips on how to recreate the iconic style of Monet’s French home. And everyone knows Paris has the best fashion. They even have a best baby’s clothes! As I figured when I visited while pregnant with Jasper. Here are a few of my favorite tips and tricks for incorporating Paris-inspired design in your home and wardrobe. 

1. Don’t overdo it

You’ve probably heard this quote from Coco Chanel: “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take at least one thing off.” I’m pretty sure she is talking about accessories here…  Still, the advice stands – Paris-inspired design/fashion tends to be somewhat minimal. The pieces themselves can be extravagant and ornate, but use a light hand when decorating and accessorizing. 

2. Mix the classic with the eclectic

Part of what makes Paris so magical is its history. There’s just so much that has happened in that ancient city, and all of it feels magical. Select pieces that reflect the growth of the city! Ornate mirrors and crown moldings look fantastic juxtaposed with chic European modernism. Picture a chunky strand of gems or pearls atop a simple black suit jacket. Or fabulous shoes beneath a pair of pleated shorts. Invest in a few significant Paris-inspired pieces, then really showcase them. 

3. Embrace romance

The feel of Paris is really worth celebrating and if you’ve been, you know that feeling is one of romance. It’s almost as if some city official found a way to transform Edith Piaf’s La Vie en Rose into a scent and then pipe it through every vent in the city. If you’ll take a moment to recall the romantic moments of your life, I’m sure you’ll discover what I have: it’s all about the details. The same idea goes for creating a romantic feel for a space or look! Pick one romantic touch, like long-stemmed candles, your grandmother’s hand-embroidered pillows, ornate frames surrounding photographs from memories you love, sheer curtains, or a touch of crystal. Little details like these can make even the coldest rooms come alive. 

Paris-inspired Decor

 

France-inspired art prints to hang on your walls

We firmly believe anyone can pull off a beret, and this print from Monica Dorazewski agrees! Or for a more subtle reference to the city of love, transport your self to the Palais-Royal with this Stripes is Rhythm print from Jaqueline Diedam.

Fill your home with the art of French artist Julie Marabelle. We carry some of her stunning papercut art in the Lars Print Shop and they have added a touch of a French garden to my bedroom. You can read more about her life in France here.

Other fun French items

Everything you need for Paris-inspired design filling your home. If you are planning a trip to France, our favorite guides are Paris in Stride which you can read more about here. As well as Paris by Design by my good friend Eva Jorgensen. You can also find our guide to small shops in Paris here. As well as our itinerary from our last visit to France, here!

 

Enjoy! 

DIY geometric cardboard piece tower

How to make a 3D geometric cardboard structure

The fun with this game/art piece is to go wild making shapes and put them together. First, we took the existing pieces from this mobile:

bauhaus inspired tablescape

Then, we added in some cardboard pieces that we painted solid colors with house paint. And then we added slits into them with scissors.

Then got to stacking them in this way or that.

To learn about how we painted the original pieces, you can read the original post here.

We’d love to see how you make your own cardboard structures. Tag us with #LarsMakes so we can see them!

Last Minute Easter Printables

Easter gift tags and cards

For the final touch even the Easter bunny himself would approve of, print off these cards and add them to baskets and gifts. You can make it simple, and add a punny carrot tag. Or add a handmade touch with our Danish Easter letters template.

carrot easter gift tagsFunny and sweet compliment cardsEaster gift cards to pair with hair clipsDanish Easter Letters template

Add a hair clip to these printable “Here’s to a good hare day” cards. Or sprinkle in happy compliments for an easter basket for a friend!

Sugar-free Easter egg fillers

Printable Easter Gift coupons to put in sugar-free easter eggs

During social distancing, I have been doing my best to fill Jasper’s easter basket with fun activities to keep his little hands busy. The last thing I need is a sugar frenzy! (for him, or for me when I sneak his cadbury eggs.) These coupons above were made to be printed off, and take the place of candy filling your eggs for the hunt. Your kids will be extra surprised this year when they find coupons to cash in for a movie night of their choice, family karaoke, and more fun! There are blank coupons provided you can fill in with your own activity ideas too! It’s truly the Easter gift that keeps on giving, to the whole family!

Easter coloring pages

Easter Bunny coloring page

Easter egg hunt coloring pageChocolate bunny and Easter Candy coloring page

Print off copies of our exclusive Easter coloring pages for the whole family to enjoy!

Easter activities

Bunny and chick paper dolls

We could not be more excited about the addition of these whimsical Easter bunny and chick paper dolls to our shop this year! You can print off multiple outfits, and even a tablescape scene for the dolls to enjoy. Available in a colorful option OR a blank one to color in and make the fun last even longer!

Easter paper dolls and coloring pages activity pack

The set above includes all our paper dolls sets and Easter coloring pages. Complete your fun-filled Easter basket with this activity set!

Explore our full Easter shop here and get all ready for Sunday!

 

 

 

A trend we love “cherry” much!

Trend Alert: Cherries!

Some of our favorite cherry inspired projects from Lars past are our paper cherry wreath and our tootsie pop cherry gifts! So of course now that cherries are majorly on trend WE ARE HERE FOR IT.

Click here to learn how to make your very own cherry wreath!

Very Cherry Statement Pieces

Cherries can make a statement in literally any area of your life, as you’ll see below! We found cherry inspired fashion, decor, stationery, art, and more! As the weather warms up, usher in spring and summer with some fun nods to this current trend.

Imagine a cherry 🍒 themed party?! Hang this garland, lay out these napkins, and you’re on your way! These cherry gift balls from Meri Meri are hiding fun party favors, and these clips from Ban.do make perfect party gifts too! Here are some of our favorite unique ice cream sundae flavors that will literally be the cherry on top of your party.

Cherry pillows are such a fun statement item! Find the grown up version here for your living room, or the kid’s version here!

Lars Exclusive

Our newest design in our exclusive wrapping paper line features this trend! And it is on sale right now!

Originally made to be valentines, our tootsie pop cherries can be given as gifts all year round! Think birthdays, teacher appreciation, and random acts of kindness to brighten someone’s day!

Friendsgiving Printables

Friendsgiving Printables

Friendsgiving Printables

Friendsgiving Printables

Although throwing a dinner party can seem daunting, let alone Thanksgiving, we’re making it easy for you this year! With our Friendsgiving Printables, you can (1) Send out invitations, (2) Set the table with placemats, (3) Set the table with place cards or invite guests to bring a dish to share and label it, and  (4), Send them away with leftover boxes. The key here is going potluck style: you be in charge of the turkey and perhaps a dessert, and then delegate the rest. This allows guests to contribute and bring a taste of their home to the party. Easy as apple pie!

Friendsgiving Printables

Friendsgiving Printables

Leftover boxes are a genius addition to any Thanksgiving feast because there is always so much food! And let’s be honest, those turkey cranberry sandwiches you make the day after are one of the best parts of the holiday!

Friendsgiving Printables

Friendsgiving Printables

Friendsgiving Printables

Friendsgiving Printables

What’s better than adorable and disposable placemats? These will make such a lovely and festive tablescape without breaking the bank!

Friendsgiving Printables

Friendsgiving Printables

And if you’re looking for a different style, try this one from two years ago! 

Photography by Clara Jones | Illustrations by Ashley Isenhour