Cricut Explore

Cute Pony Vest with the Cricut Explore and Iron-on-Vinyl!

Hello everyone!

We had a lovely half-term holiday last week, including spending a few days in Bath catching up with some friends. But before that me and Little Miss had some fun decorating a vest top for her to wear:

Cute Pony Vest by Jennifer Grace using the Cricut Explore

My daughter (aged 6) was very involved with the process from start to finish! She’s been getting quite interested in designing clothes lately, and now she knows what Mummy’s machine can do there will be no stopping her!

We began by talking about the design. She wanted lots of animals around a heart. I pointed out that this would mean the animals would be quite small to fit on the vest top (which we’d bought at Matalan), so she decided to just have one big animal, maybe a horse or a pony. So we tried out a couple of images in the Design Space, it took her a while to decide between the larger horse or the foal, which she insists is a pony:

Cute Pony Vest in the Explore Design Space

Eventually she decided she liked the ‘pony’ (Foal image #M37E48), and she also decided she liked the smaller heart instead of the one with wings, because then it could go on his flank and be like a ‘cutie mark’ which the My Little Ponies have!

I helped her match the colours to the iron-on-vinyls I had, then I let her resize things and place them where she wanted in the design space, I just had to help a bit with the text. She wanted it to say ‘I’m lonely’ but I said that sounded a bit sad, why is the pony lonely? She said ‘he wants to make new friends’. So we changed it to ‘be my friend?’ using the ‘Cuttin Up – Serifs’ font:

Cute Pony Vest by Jennifer Grace using the Cricut Explore

We could have made the vest in the Design Space a lighter colour to match her vest, but she found it easier to see the shapes on a darker background.

Once we had it all planned out I told her to click ‘go’ and showed her how to stick the vinyl onto the mat (remembering to select ‘Mirror Image for Iron-On’ in the Design Space). At this point I realised it wanted to cut a whole pony in black just to have a black eye – it would be a black base layer, with the eye as a cut out hole in the teal top layer. I didn’t want to waste my black vinyl, so I went back and hid that layer, then added a little oval for an eye to go on top instead!

When it was ready to go Little Miss was allowed to press the buttons and turn the dial, under supervision of course:

Cute Pony Vest by Jennifer Grace using the Cricut Explore

I helped her peel the waste vinyl off slowly, she was really concentrating:

Cute Pony Vest by Jennifer Grace using the Cricut Explore

Then it was time to iron it on! We placed some greaseproof paper over the design whilst ironing. I helped my daughter arrange the shapes on the vest, but she ironed it – you have to iron each layer individually:

Cute Pony Vest by Jennifer Grace using the Cricut Explore

Remember to make sure the iron has steam turned off! I usually just use a medium heat setting.

Now, at this point it should have been finished, but I realised I didn’t like something about the design – the pony ended up with his mane over both ears instead of just the back ear:

Cute Pony Vest by Jennifer Grace using the Cricut Explore

I decided to cut another ear to go on top. I cut the pony’s head from the same iron-on vinyl – I just used enough vinyl for the head but covered the rest of my mat with scrap paper so the blade wasn’t wrecking my mat (while it cut the rest of the pony out):

Cute Pony Vest by Jennifer Grace using the Cricut Explore

Then I used my Cricut scissors to cut out just the ear:

Cute Pony Vest by Jennifer Grace using the Cricut Explore

And ironed it on top of the mane:

Cute Pony Vest by Jennifer Grace using the Cricut Explore

All done:

Cute Pony Vest by Jennifer Grace using the Cricut Explore

The vinyls we used were Black and Teal Cricut Iron-On Lite, and Pink Cricut Glitter Iron-On.

It certainly made someone happy:

Cute Pony Vest by Jennifer Grace using the Cricut Explore

She wore it on the train on the way to Bath and showed it off to anyone who’d listen!

She has pointed out some more clothes she can add things too, and told me I need to decorate some of my own too, so I think my machine will be getting a good workout! If you’ve been on the lookout for an Explore, they are now available HERE at, Create & Craft TV have it back in stock HERE, and you can pre-order it HERE at Hobbycraft – who are including a free tool kit.

Don’t forget my blog event is approaching this weekend, all the details are HERE, and the ‘Guess the Project’ contest will start soon in the Facebook Group HERE!

Bye for now, Jennifer x

DISCLOSURE: Cricut have provided me with a Cricut Explore Machine, some materials including iron-on-vinyl, 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.

Cricut Explore, Scrapbook Layouts

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.