How To Use Cricut Explore Air 2: Beginner’s Guide

Learn How to Use Cricut Explore Air 2 with this beginner’s guide. Time to start crafting like a pro with this superior machine that can do it all.

How to Use Cricut Explore Air 2: Beginner's Guide

How to Use Cricut Explore Air 2: Beginner’s Guide

Getting started with the Cricut Explore Air 2 was a lot to take in, but I’ve been using it for a while now and love it!

It’s so fun to learn how it works and I’ve put together this beginner’s guide to help you learn it too.

I know when I started using mine, I had so many question and had to search to find all the answers. Hopefully I can answer any questions you have here.

What Can a Cricut Explore Air 2 Do?

The Cricut Explore Air 2 is a personal crafting tool. It can cut over 100 different materials including cardstock, vinyl, Iron-on Vinyl, Faux Leather, Fabric and so much more.

The Cricut Explore Air 2 has a Writing feature that I LOVE. Make fancy invitations or even a quote or saying to look like it was hand written.

Navigating Your Cricut Explore Air 2 Machine:

  • To Open the unit, simply click the open button.
  • On the bottom loading tray, there are 2 storage compartments. The first compartment is used to store your Cricut tools. The second compartment is for your extra blades and housing; kept in place by magnets.
  • The Cricut Explore Air 2 has a double tool holder so that your machine can both cut and either Draw or Score at the same time.
  • The right-hand tool holder is for your blade and the left-hand side is for either your Pen or Score tool.
  • An additional holder is located on the left side of your Cricut for easy access to tools or pens while working on a project.
  • If you have any original Cricut design cartridges, they can still be used. You just plug it in then Design Space program will recognize the cartridge and unlock the designs in your design space for you. You will never need to use the actual cartridge again. This will only work once per cartridge.
  • The Cricut Explore Air 2 has a simple to use materials dial. If your material is not listed on the dial, set to “Custom” and then select the specific material on your computer/tablet/phone’s screen.
  • On the right side of your Cricut, there is a Power button, Loading button (double arrow), the Cricut start button (cricut C) and a Pause botton.
  • Loading button flashes with the Cricut is ready for you to load or unload your mat.
  • Cricut start button flashes after your mat is loaded and it’s ready to start your project.
  • The power cord hooks into the back of your Cricut Unit.
  • Cricut Explore Air 2 has built-in Bluetooth, but if you need to use a USB cable to connect, it will plug in on the back next to the power cord.

Creating Your Project: Cricut Design Space

Use as a resource for everything you need. There are so many youtube videos and project tips available right on the website. If you are feeling like you need even more help search for tutorials on Pinterest or google and you will find a bunch.

Forget always needing those cartridges, The Cricut Explore Air 2 communicates with it’s app Cricut Design Space.

Cricut Design Space is an online design program that can access your designs from any computer, tablet or phone by signing into your account.

Create Your Design: Cricut Access

You can access over 1000 designs and fonts with a Cricut Access Subscription. It will cost a few dollars to use, but can be worth it.

Planning to use different fonts and like to work on a few projects a month? Consider subscribing to Cricut Access.

Find a font that you love and use all the time? Just buy that font and skip the subscription.

Don’t want to create your own image? Use the Cricut image library and find the perfect image for your project.  Cricut offers more than 60,000 images starting at just 99 cents.

You can upload your own design, font, and ideas right to your own design space. I love to use Picmonkey online because it is free and so easy to use.

First Project with a Cricut Explore Air 2: 10 Easy Steps

  1. Place your material carefully on your adhesive cutting mat making sure you are lining up the left corner. (That’s important to line up exact to the top left)
  2. Create your design. (see above for instructions)
  3. Once your design is ready you send it to your Cricut Device, select the correct material on the dial of your Cricut Explore Air 2 machine.
  4. The monitor on the Cricut will prompt you if you need to insert a pen or scoring tool before you start your project.
  5. Follow prompts as it will pause and walk you through it’s machine’s check list to make sure it’s ready to create.
  6. The Cricut loading button will flash to indicate the machine is ready for you to load your mat. Then press the flashing Cricut button to start.
  7. When loading your mat, make sure both sides are under the white tabs which keep the mat straight.
  8. The loading button will flash again to indicate when your project is done and ready for you to unload your mat.
  9. It’s not going to look like much when it comes out of the Cricut. Time to grab out your tools and start to peel.
  10. Leave your project on the mat and peel away materials that are NOT apart of your project.

Cricut Eplore Air 2 Mats

The Cricut Mat has adhesive on it so your material with stick to it while cutting, drawing and scoring.

You can cut with the standard 12x12in cutting mats or for larger projects, you can get 12x24in cutting mats.

Mats come in Light Grip, Standard Grip and Strong Grip. Each material you use will need a certain grip strength, so it’s important to be aware of that.

Make sure you are clearing your mat every time you use it and cover it with the plastic cover that comes with the mat.

If your mat is losing it’s adhesion, give it a little boost you can wash it with water and mild soap, leaving it out to dry. Another short cut for a mat that is no longer sticky is to use painters tap or washi tape to hold your project in place as the machine cuts.

Keep Your Blades Sharp

There are 2 kinds of blades for your Cricut Explore Air 2:  1) the Fine Point Blade and 2) the Deep Cut Blade which also comes with its own housing to use for thicker and harder to cut materials like magnet sheets.

It is a good idea to keep your blades separate and used for the materials they were intended to work with. A good idea might be to mark each blade by category using washi tape or fingernail polish.

Links for Supplies:

  • Cricut Explore Air 2 Machine Bundle Beginner Guide, Tool Kit, Vinyl Pack, Designs and Project Inspiration
  • Extra Mats-keep in mind what materials you would like to cut as there are different mats for different thicknesses and materials.
  • Cricut Tools Craft Basic Set – this set include everything you will need when using the basic functions of your Cricut. Scissors, spatula, pic, and. scoring tools.
  • Cricut Beginner Set- this set includes the Basic Tool Kit, Essential GripMats, Pen Set, Deep-Point Blade for posterboard and cardstock.
  • The Cricut Complete Starter Set– is the perfect way to go if you aren’t sure what you’ll need to start. This would make a perfect gift for the craft lover in your life too.

*This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.


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  • Melissa Peters

    Just ordered my bundle for a Cricut Air 2 online and I am holding onto this link because this is so useful!!!  THANK YOU!ReplyCancel


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