Learn everything there is to know about Cricut hand tools and how to use them to create stunning creative projects.
This blog article will teach you about the many types of Cricut tools, including weeding tools, scraper tools, and more, as well as help you decide which ones you’ll need for your project.
If you’re a Cricut beginner, you may be overwhelmed by the variety of special Cricut tools on the market. It can be hard to figure out exactly which tools you need to get started.
But don’t worry – you don’t need to buy every tool on the shelf to make beautiful crafts with Cricut.
After reading this article, you’ll know more about each type of Cricut hand tool, what they do, and how to use them. You’ll learn which Cricut tools you really need, and how to choose the right tool for the job.
Guide to Cricut Hand Tools
I’m sure you’ve noticed that there are a lot of different Cricut hand tools. These include weeding tools, scrapers, tweezers, spatulas, and more.
- Weeding tools to remove excess material from your design
- Scraper tools to remove scrap pieces from the cutting ma, or burnish material onto your project
- Brayer to adhere the material to the cutting mat
- Spatula for lifting material from the mat
- Tweezers for removing or placing small pieces
- Scoring tools to add fold lines to a project
- Craft knife for trimming materials or finishing cuts
- Paper trimmer for cutting large sheets of material down to size
- Rotary tool
- Extra Cutting Mats, including machine mats and self-healing mats.
After reading that list, you might feel overwhelmed! But don’t worry – you don’t need to go out and buy every single tool on this list.
You can start out with just a few basic tools – like a weeder tool and a scraper tool – and add to your collection as needed.
Consider the types of projects you like to make.
When you’re deciding which Cricut tools to buy, think about the types of projects you make most often.
For instance, if you find out that you love making vinyl projects, then you might want to get some additional vinyl weeding tools and a Cricut EasyPress.
Or, if you discover that you making cardstock and paper projects, you might want to get a scoring tool and one of the XL scraper tools.
Note: This article will cover hand-held tools only. To read more about the machine tools – including all blades and scoring tools – click here: Ultimate Guide to Cricut Blades for Beginners
What tools does your Cricut come with?
Your Cricut machine will come with a few supplies, including a machine blade. But, you likely need to purchase a few additional tools to make the most of your Cricut.
Here’s what comes in the box when you buy a Cricut:
- The Cricut Maker 3 and Cricut Explore 3 machines come with a Premium Fine-Point blade and enough materials to make your first practice cut. These newer machines do not ship with a cutting mat.
- The older machines, like the original Cricut Maker and the Cricut Explore Air 2, came with blades and cutting mats.
- The Machine + Materials Bundle packages come with a set of hand tools and a selection of materials.
As always, check the item description details for the full list of included items.
Keep in mind that most tools and accessories – like the True Control Knife, extra cutting mats, spatulas, and scraper tools – are sold separately.
Which tools do you really need?
Like I mentioned above, you only need a few extra hand tools to get started. At the very least, you’ll need a scraper tool and a weeding tool (if you plan to work with vinyl.)
If you can, I suggest you pick up the Basic Toolset, a craft knife, and a few extra cutting mats to make your crafting experience a whole lot easier and more fun.
When you’re just starting out, these are the tools I’d recommend.
- Basic Tool Set, which includes a weeding tool, spatula, tweezers, small scraper tool, and scissors
- A craft knife, such as the True Control Knife or an X-Acto blade.
- LightGrip and StandardGrip cutting mats, if your machine didn’t come with them.
As you do more projects, you may decide to invest in a few more tools.
- Brayer tool, which is great for adhering materials to the mats
- XL Scraper tool, which is much faster and effective than the smaller scraper.
- Additional weeding tools. You may find you prefer different shaped tools for different materials.
- Rotary Tool and self-healing mat, which are great for trimming larger pieces of paper, vinyl, or fabric.
- EasyPress 2 to help apply iron-on vinyl (also called heat transfer vinyl) and Infusible Ink.
What about the different blades?
Both the Cricut Maker 3 and the Cricut Explore 3 come with one blade: the Premium Fine-Point blade. All other machine blades are purchased separately.
If you have the Cricut Explore 3, I recommend getting the Deep-Point blade so that you can cut thicker materials. Similarly, if you have the Cricut Maker 3, I recommend purchasing either the Deep-Point blade or the Knife Blade.
For more information about the different machine blades, click here: Ultimate Guide to Cricut Blades for Beginners
What about scoring tools?
If you have the Cricut Explore 3, I recommend purchasing the Scoring Stylus so that you can make score lines in your projects. Similarly, if you have the Cricut Maker, I recommend purchasing either the Scoring Stylus or the Scoring Wheel.
Where to Buy Cricut Hand Tools
If you don’t have any of these tools yet, I recommend starting with the Basic Tool Set or the slightly larger Essential Tool Set from Cricut. Either of those kits has enough tools so that you can get started crafting with your machine right away.
The three places I like to look for Cricut supplies are:
- Cricut.com – Cricut very often has sales on their tools, accessories, and materials on Cricut.com. If you have a Cricut Access subscription, you’ll also get a discount on purchases you make on Cricut.com.
- Amazon – If your item is out of stock on Circut.com, check Amazon. They’ll usually have what you’re looking for – and will often have more color options, as well.
- 143Vinyl – This store has a great selection of vinyl and crafting tools. They carry some of the non-Cricut brand weeding tools, like the Siser EasyWeeder and the Pin Pen Weeding Tool.
Detailed Guide to Cricut Tools
Now that you’ve gotten an overview of the Cricut hand tools, let’s go through each of them in more detail.
Weeding tools are used to remove excess material from your design after unloading it from the Cricut machine.
You’ll most often see weeding tools used with adhesive and iron-on vinyl. Although, they can still be helpful for intricate paper and Infusible Ink projects.
Weeding tools come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The basic Cricut weeding tool, for example, has a hook-shaped metal tip with a sharp point.
Other weeding tools have slightly different shapes tips. Cricut offers a pack of 5 weeding tools, including Fine Tweezers, Hook Tweezers, Weeder, Piercing Tool, and Hook Weeder.
Scraper tools are used for a few different crafting tasks.
- removing small material scraps from cutting mats
- burnishing transfer tape onto materials
- burnishing a design onto the project surface
Cricut offers two sizes of scraper tools. The smaller size is available in the toolsets, and the XL scraper is available separately.
I particularly like the XL scraper for applying vinyl to large surfaces and clearing large areas of the mat.
Other non-Cricut scraper tools include the squeegee-style scraper tools with soft vinyl edges. The squeegee-style scrapers have thinner, more flexible edges that are really nice for burnishing vinyl on curved surfaces.
A brayer is a roller tool that you can use to adhere materials to your cutting mats firmly. You can use the brayer to press down all sorts of material, including fabric, paper, adhesive vinyl, iron-on, and wood sheets.
It’s a great tool for ensuring that the material is firmly and evenly stuck down to your mat, so it doesn’t move around while you cut it. It’s also great for smoothing out wrinkles and bubbles that could interfere with a clean cut.
Spatulas help you lift designs off the cutting mat quickly and effectively. I often use the spatula to help loosen small paper pieces from the mat to remove them without bending them.
You can use tweezers to pull up an edge, remove small pieces of material, or even place small pieces of material in a tight spot.
You can find a few different styles of craft tweezers.
- Reverse Tweezers (in the Basic Toolset)
- Fine Tweezers (in the Weeding Toolset)
- Hook Tweezers (in the Weeding Toolset)
- Broad Tip Tweezers (in the Applicator/Remover Set with the Brayer tool)
The Reverse Tweezers take some getting used to, but I really like them. The default position is closed, and you actually squeeze to open them. This saves your hand muscles from having to pinch the whole time.
Don’t feel like you have to purchase any specific tweezers for your craft projects. Any tweezers will work, as long as they’re comfortable to use.
There are a few different scoring tools that you can use with your Cricut to make fold lines on your projects.
The first scoring tool is the Scoring Stylus, which is compatible with both the Cricut Explore and Maker machines.
The Scoring Stylus fits into Clamp A, just like a pen. The nice thing about using the scoring stylus is that your Cricut can hold both the stylus and a blade at the same time. That way, you can score and cut the project without stopping to switch out a blade.
You can purchase the Scoring Stylus separately or as part of the Essential Tool Set.
Scoring Wheel and Double Scoring Wheel
The Scoring Wheel and the Double Scoring Wheel are part of the QuickSwap tool system, which is only compatible with the Cricut Maker and Cricut Maker 3.
The cool thing about these scoring wheels is that they use up to 10x the pressure of the Scoring Stylus, so that you can make better fold lines in thicker materials.
To use the Scoring Wheels, you’ll need to purchase a QuickSwap housing and the Scoring Wheel tips. (You only need to buy a single QuickSwap housing because all of the QuickSwap tips are interchangeable.)
To learn more about the different scoring wheels, click here.
A craft knife, such as an X-Acto blade or the Cricut True Control knife, is a handy tool to keep around your craft room.
If you already have a craft knife you like, you don’t need to run out and buy a new one. But, if you’re in the market for a new knife, I definitely recommend the Cricut brand craft knife. I particularly like its soft, cushioned grip and how the cap prevents the blade from rolling off the table.
A paper trimmer comes in handy for trimming large sheets of material down to size. If you have trouble cutting pieces of vinyl off the roll, a paper trimmer can help you make precise, straight cuts.
A rotary cutter is a hand tool that you can use to cut fabric and other materials on a self-healing cutting mat.
If you’re a quilter or a sewer, you’re likely familiar with rotary cutting tools. They look like a pizza cutter, with a round blade that rotates to slice through layers of fabric.
If you have trouble using scissors or a craft knife for extended amounts of time, a rotary tool might be more comfortable for you to use.
A ruler is an essential tool to keep in your craft room. I like to have a few different rulers around, depending on what type of project I’m making.
Acrylic rulers, often called quilting rulers, are made from transparent plastic. You can see your material through the ruler, so it’s easy to line up precise cuts.
I really love using the Cricut metal ruler to make cuts with my craft knife. This ruler, in particular, has a non-slip grip on the bottom and a raised guard edge to protect your fingers from cutting tools.
And, of course, you’ll want a few cutting mats to protect your work surface.
Cricut machine cutting mats
You’ll need a couple of machine cutting mats to use with your Cricut machine. The Cricut mats come in 4 different grip strengths and a few different sizes.
I recommend starting out with a blue LightGrip mat for paper projects and a green StandardGrip mat for most other materials.
Read this post for more information about Cricut cutting mats and how to use them.
You may also want a separate self-healing cutting mat to use with your cutting hand tools. A standard size self-healing mat is 18″ by 24″, but you can also find them in larger sizes.
This type of mat doesn’t go in your machine. Instead, it protects your tabletop when you’re cutting paper with the craft knife or when you’re cutting fabric with the rotary cutter.
Larger Cricut Accessories
Here are some of the larger Cricut accessories that you can consider adding to your craft room.
If you like to make projects with iron-on vinyl, consider purchasing a Cricut EasyPress 2. The EasyPress 2 is a heat press that’s super easy to use and gives you professional-looking results. It’s available in three sizes: 12×10, 9×9, and the EasyPress Mini.
While you can use a household iron for iron-on projects, I prefer to use the EasyPress. I love how quickly the EasyPress heats up, and how it holds a consistent and accurate temperature.
You’ll also want to pick up an EasyPress mat, which will protect your tabletop and give you a firm, even surface for pressing.
Note: If you want to do Infusible Ink projects, you’ll need to use an EasyPress or commercial heat press. Here’s some more information about how to use Infusible Ink.
The Cricut Mug Press is a curved heat press for mugs. It’s the tool you’ll need to make custom mugs with Infusible Ink.
The Cricut BrightPad is a slim LED lightbox that you can use to light up your projects and make tricky tasks like weeding and tracing easier.
More Cricut Guides and Tutorials
To learn more about how to craft with Cricut, check out these related articles.
- How to Cut Vinyl with Cricut: A Step by Step Guide for Beginners
- Cricut for Beginners: A Complete Guide to Your New Machine
- How to Cut Paper and Cardstock on Cricut: A Beginner’s Guide
- Guide to Cricut Mats: Different Types and Sizes
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Sarah Stearns has helped thousands of makers find their next craft project with free patterns and step-by-step tutorials on her blog, sarahmaker.com. Read more.
Her work has been featured in The New York Times, Scientific American, Good Housekeeping, Vox, Apartment Therapy, Lifehacker, and more.