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This is the ultimate guide to Cricut cartridges.
We’ve pooled together all of our knowledge — as well as that of our fellow crafters — to bring you this complete overview of everything you need to know about these craft cutting accessories.
We’ll cover exactly what cartridges are used for and how they’re used, where to find the best Cricut cartridges clearance sale, and a full Cricut cartridges list of every single product.
We hope you’re ready: let’s dive in.
If you’re new to the world of craft cutting, one of the first things you’re probably wondering is what on earth are these Cricut cartridges that all the forums are buzzing about?
As you probably know, Cricut produce a line of vinyl cutting machines. Here are a few of their most popular models:
Alongside the cutting machines themselves, Cricut also produce a huge selection of cartridges to be used with the machines.
These cartridges — which can be inserted into the machines — contain sets of images, fonts and other graphics. Each cartridge is themed — so for instance, you can buy winter, baseball, Hello Kitty and elephant themed cartridges if you so desire.
The idea is that you use the images on the cartridges to create the design that you want your Cricut machine to cut for you. While there are only a small number of images on each cartridge, there are a number of features which allow you to create hundreds of different designs from just one cartridge.
Before the Explore series came out, you could only create designs using the Cricut cartridges.
This was pretty annoying as it restricted what you could create with your Cricut cutter and proved to be expensive buying cartridges for new designs all the time.
Now, however, you’re able to import and create your own images using the Cricut Design Space software with the latest machines. They will also work with all Cricut cartridges if you prefer to use them as well.
Yay for choice!While it may sound restrictive on your creativity to use the Cricut cartridges, they’re a great option for crafters daunted at the thought of designing their own cuts.
Plus, you can use the Design Space software to combine and merge images from all the different cartridges you own, really opening up the creative potential of these accessories.
So now you know what these bad boy accessories are, you’re probably wondering how to use Cricut cartridges.
Don’t worry: they’re easy to get a hold of.
All cartridges will plug directly into your machine, usually in a small slot on the top.
Here’s what a cartridge looks like plugged into the Explore machine, for instance:
With the Explore, Explore Air and Explore Air 2 machines, you’ll need to link your Cricut cartridges to Design Space in order to work with them in the software.
This video explains how to do this:
- When you’re ready to create a new design, you’ll need to open a new project in Design Space.
- Click on the ‘insert images’ tab, and then select the ‘Cartridges’ option from the menu across the top of your project.
- Once your cartridges have been linked to the machine, following the steps in the above video, you’ll be able to view all of your cartridges from this tab and can select the one you want to use.
- You’ll be able to access your cartridges automatically via Design Space once they’re linked up, so there’s no need to carry the cartridges round with you nor plug them into the machine every time you want to use them.
- With the older machines, such as the Expression 2, you’ll need to find your Cricut cartridges in the Craft Room software. Craft Room is the predecessor to Design Space.
- This is just as easy with the Explore machines. You’ll need to plug them into the machine again, and link them to your craft room account.
- When you start a new project in Craft Room, a small menu should pop up in the bottom left corner of your machine. The first tab here is ‘Images/Cartridges’ and here you can select the cartridge you want to work with.
- The cartridges that are in bold font are the ones that have been successfully linked to your account. Any cartridges not in bold will require you to plug them into the machine or are simply ones that you haven’t purchased yet.
There are plenty of advantages to buying and using Cricut cartridges. Here’s a few of our favorite things about them:
Considering that each cartridge allows for over a hundred different designs and images, you’ve literally got tens of thousands of opportunities to create unique and individual designs.
Once you’ve linked up the Cricut cartridges to your Design Space account, you’ll be able to mix and match, and manipulate images across your library of cartridges.
Dreaming up something from scratch, converting it into a cuttable image and then having your Cricut cut it for you is immensely rewarding and fun.
But when we first started getting into craft cutting, we weren’t nearly as comfortable designing as we are now. The thought of staring at nothing but a black new project in Adobe Illustrator was enough to ramp up the anxiety quotient.
So cartridges were great.
Not only did they provide the bare bones images for our projects, but they provided inspiration and the ability to experiment with images and fonts in order to achieve the results we wanted. Once we had had plenty of cartridge experience, we were ready to start designing our own creations.
While each cartridge has a set number of graphics installed, the variety of creative features at your disposal allow you to create hundreds of different images and designs from each one. Some of our cartridges can create over 700 different designs from just the one cartridge!
If you’re finding yourself buying lots of Cricut cartridges on the regular and are feeling the financial pinch, reign in the spending and start experimenting more with the cartridges you already own.
If you’re making lots of cuts or are on a deadline and don’t have time to mess around with your own designs, they are the quick and easy solution you’ve been looking for.
Not only do they take away the pressure of designing, but they’re so easy to link to your machine and get started with that you can be cutting in a matter of minutes. It’s hard to argue with that kind of efficiency.
For instance you can buy Christmas, Thanksgiving and Halloween cartridges, wedding and birthday cartridges, and even ones devoted to particular styles of fonts and lettering.
Despite all the many advantages of using Cricut cartridges, some people simply don’t get on with them.
Here are a few of the complaints we hear about these accessories:
Not only did this dampen creativity, but it also seemed like a greedy move from Cricut. Essentially, after buying an expensive machine, you were then forced to buy cartridges in order to use it. Annoying.
Thankfully, with the newer machines, we’re able to both create and import our own images for our cutting designs — allowing much wider scope for creativity — while still being able to use all the cartridges that we have in our collection. We love that Cricut have given us the choice to craft as we please.
That means you can’t distribute them around your crafting friendship circle or sell them on eBay once you’re finished with them. Once you’ve got them, you’ve got them for life.
If you love Cricut cartridges but don’t want to be paying top dollar for them, you’re probably going to be interested where you can find the best Cricut cartridges clearance sales.
Like we’ve mentioned above, as you can’t recycle these cartridges between users, there’s no easy way to find them cheaply.
Having said that, Cricut routinely have amazing sales if you buy direct from their website, and you can often find some cracking deals if you look on Amazon too.
These deals change all the time, so we suggest heading straight to their selection of Cricut cartridges to see what’s on offer.
And now, the main event: a huge Cricut cartridges list.
That’s right: we’ve compiled all the hundreds of Cricut cartridges that you can buy either direct from the Cricut website or from Amazon.
We’ve organised them by category so you can check what you’ve got, and which ones you want.
Phew — now that’s one huuuuuge Cricut cartridges list!
By now, you should know everything you need to know about Cricut cartridges. Any questions? Let us know in the comments!
Looking to get inspired for your next craft project? Check out our Inspiration board packed full of freebies, cut files and craft deals for every occasion!