I’ve written before that I have the amazing machine Cricut Explore Air 2 to help me with paper crafts. It’s an electronic paper cutting machine where you can select shapes digitally in the software. You could say, it’s like my mini version of a CNC bench.
What files does Cricut support? In the screenshot below, you will see the official instructions from the software. While this list is generally familiar, DFX and SVG were completely new terms for me. As I found out in Wikipedia, DFX is a term used in engineering and refers to Design for all desirable attributes (X). Although I was joking about my “CNC bench”, I haven’t had success with this file format. I tried to import a few, but they were too large and resizing them didn’t have usable results. When looking for good quality files for Cricut, the SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) extension comes up very often and that is what you should loo out for. This suggests that the image can be resized without losing quality. Where can you easily find good files?
The easiest option is Cricut’s own software – Cricut Design Space. Creating an account and the software are prerequisites for setting up and using the machine. In order to be able to use it immediately, Design Space offers free basic designs, fonts, images and even some projects. Some files can be purchased for a one-time fee, and if you are more curious, you can also purchase the Cricut Access subscription, where additional files are available for a fixed monthly fee. A new user can join a 30-day trial period to try out the paid content.
Jennifer Maker has been a great help on Youtube. She has so many useful videos about various tricks for the Cricut user that I initially considered her to be an official representative of the brand. I made the connection also due to the fact that Cricut’s newer model is called Maker. In reality, she is an independent crafter who works a lot with Cricut and has turned it into a successful business for herself. By subscribing to her newsletter, you get free access to many of the projects she has created for Cricut – both cut files and video tutorials. I was afraid of that at first because I generally don’t put myself on mailing lists to avoid spam. She usually sends emails once a week – for some upcoming campaigns, emails increase temporarily due to reminders. Among other content, she has also a specific video about finding and uploading SVG cut files.
While searching for cut files, I came across Dreaming Tree at some point. Dreaming Tree in itself is an online design store, but they also offer exciting projects for free. I think that joining the mailing list is a prerequisite for receiving gifts there as well. I’m currently looking at my inbox and I get a message from them a few times a month. The good thing is that they also send you a notification when a new free design is available. The picture of this post is my version of their Sun, Sand and Sea Card – since I used Mintay Suntastic papers for the cut, I simplified the design. Dreaming Tree is also hosting my current favourite Facebook group for paper cutting machine designs. Of course it is all about their designs, but the posts are very friendly and informative.
If you want to create your own projects and are just looking for images, then you might be interested in Creative Fabrica, which I read about in Cricut Facebook forums. I downloaded a few files to see how they work and they are very versatile – you get different file formats in good quality, also available in multi-colour.
I will probably update this post, when I discover more exciting resources. Feel free to help out in the comments. As with design papers, there are whole Cricut communities in Facebook, who are sharing information. At this point I don’t have a specific recommendation, as I haven’t discovered a favourite one yet. There are many groups (mainly in Cricut’s homeland USA) with a different focus. I have left a few groups, because the posts often take such a dramatic direction, that the technical part gets completely lost and sometimes the whole thread even gets deleted.