All About my Cricut Explore Air 2 & Animal Coloring Valentine’s Day Cards Tutorial
January 8, 2020
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.
My first Cricut machine I remember the first time I ever saw a Cricut machine. My mom and I were dropping my younger brother off at a friends house and we caught sight of a scrapbooking store. We had never scrapbooked in our life but being the crafters at heart that we just had to stop. After a few weeks of making trips to the scrapbooking store we realized we lacked the time and wanted the comfort of crafting in our home which is when our….drum roll please… Cricut Expression made it’s way into our home!
Cartridges before and now
The Cricut Expression was a dream to us and we began to build our cartridge collection. I used my Cricut Expression until about two weeks ago when my Cricut Explore Air™ 2 machine arrived! I thought I was in heaven before- I HAD NO IDEA of all the new features of the newer Cricut machines. The app and web-based Cricut Design Space™ program has left me speechless and breaking out of my comfort zone. You see, I only ever worked with card stock with my old Cricut. Maybe it was a bit of fear in doing things wrong or the lack of knowledge I had on how to make the most out of my machine.
Now with Design Space I have instructions, pre-made designs, and the ability to access just about any images and texts I want. There are 3 different subscription options to Cricut Access; Cricut Access Standard paying monthly or yearly, and Cricut Access Premium which gives you a discount off all other texts and images not included plus any of your Cricut shopping. WHAT A DEAL! Not to mention you are able to share your designs with others on Design Space as well!
My favorite features of the Cricut Explore Air 2
The machine has so many cool features that I had been missing out on! One of my favorite things other than Cricut Design Space™ is the ability to use multiple tools. I can now use pens to write and draw in different colors and fonts as well as scoring projects on top of cutting! You will see how the drawing came in handy on my first project! In addition to the cool tools, the design of the machine is so slick and even has a dial to make it easy to select the material you will be using to automatically adjust the pressure of your blade as well as a little holder in the design for your tools.
BUT…ready for something that made my heart smile…IT HAS A SPOT FOR YOUR CARTRIDGES! I was so excited to get started on my machine but was sad at the thought of loosing all the images and fonts I had with my collection of cartridges. Cartridges like dinosaur ones, Disney® Toy Story Cartridges , and many more! YAY!
Now if that wasn’t cool enough I can connect to my machine via Bluetooth. Which means, I can create from my bed, my couch, the play room, and while I’m sitting on the floor during tummy time with the twins! Insert giggles here!
Using my Cricut Explore Air 2
After learning about all the new features I set my machine up, followed some tutorials to learn to use it, and began to think of my first projects. I started off with something familiar…card stock…but don’t worry I will share some vinyl and iron on work later too! I’m telling you the possibilities are endless.
So what did I make? VALENTINE’S DAY CARDS for Lia!!!
I wanted a card that was unique and would be fun for Lia’s preschool friends to receive. What is more fun for a preschooler than coloring? Not much if you ask my 3 year old! You can go ahead and use my design HERE !
I went ahead and found a scalloped edge card as the main shape to give it a pretty shape. Once I sized it accordingly I went ahead and had Lia choose a theme for her cards. She wanted animal cards so animal cards she got!
I found a few different animals that were simple enough to color but still very cute! I added a sweet Valentine’s Day message to each card design and then added the crayon holder image. This part I had to tweak a bit. Originally I made the crayon holder smaller only to find out my crayons did not fit. I recommend leaving the crayon holder the size it comes it- it is a perfect fit! Something new to me was the ability to attach the items and create one whole card so it cut and drew on one piece vs cutting it in pieces. I already did that for you in the link to my design! Boom design done!
One thing I loved is the step by step guidance Design Space provides you with when creating. I added the white card stock to the Standard Grip Mat (the green one) first. You can see the mat with direction as to which corner to place it on. The machine will let you know when to load your mat and allow you to select your materials (or you can use the dial) and even let you know what tools to load. For this particular project I had to load my pen into clamp A in order to get the drawings on as well.
3.Remove from mat
One tip I learned with removing anything from my mats has been to turn it face down and peel the mat upward and away from the material to help avoid the curling that the paper wants to automatically do. If you still get some curl just place a heavy book on top- that should help! I removed the excess paper this way and then used the spatula to remove my cards and the leftover material from the crayon holder cutouts as well.
4.Piece cards together
After the cards were all removed from I wrote Lia’s name in the From: section. I did not include a To: area in the design because I have found it easier for my kids to just pass out the cards and not have to stress about giving the cards to the wrong child or having to sit there and decide who gets what design…life is stressful enough am I right? Once Lia’s name was on the card then I grabbed two crayons per card and inserted them into the holders and voila!
I have one very excited toddler counting the days to give her friends her Valentine’s Day Cards!