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How to use the Cricut Explore Air 2

Unboxing your new Cricut Explore Air 2 Machine can be both exciting and overwhelming! There are so many fun projects you can tackle with this device but starting out can be a bit tricky. I put together an easy step by step guide on how to get started.

Cricut Roadmap: Getting to know your New Cricut Explore Air 2

Tool cup – holds pens, scissors, etc.

Accessory clamp A. - where the pre-installed accessory adapter is and can also be used to insert a pen for drawing when you’re not cutting.Also great for holding scoring blades.

Blade clamp B. - Comes pre-installed. Look here if you ever have to replace or remove some of the vinyl.

Accessory storage compartments. There are two. The smaller compartment on the left holds more blades, as well as the accessory adapter. It also has a magnetic strip which keeps additional blades protected. The larger compartment is great for storing longer tools/pens.

Smart Set Dial. Rotate the dial to select the material you’ll be cutting. It will indicate which materials you can cut with 2x fast mode.

Cutting Mat.- How you will load most material into our Cricut machine. It’s sticky on one side for holding our material securely in place.

First, Let’s begin with setting up your machine and connecting it to your device (PC/MAC/iPad). Please note that although this machine can be used wirelessly, it will help to start by connecting it with a USB cable. Once connecting make sure you have at least 10 inches of space available behind the machine as the cutting mat will move back and forth inside of the machine. Now, it’s time to connect:

1. Plug the machine in by connecting the power adapter and the USB cable.

2. Turn on both your Explore Air 2 and the device you connected it to.

3. Head to the Cricut website and register a user account so you can download the most recent plugin software.

4. Run the installer and visit design.cricut.com.

5. Click the menu icon in the top left corner and select New Machine Setup. They will guide you through the installation project and help you through an example project as well!

 Some materials to keep nearby when preparing to use the machine are: The included sample cardstock, paper, cutting mat, and your silver pen. You should also keep the protective film to protect the surface of your machine when it is not being used.

Here’s a Step by Step sample project you can try using the materials that came with your machine.

1. With the textured side facing up, load the grey cardstock onto the cutting mat. on to the cutting mat. Make sure it is lined vertically with the mat and that it is correctly lined up on the top left corner under the Cricut logo.

2. Now, load the mat into the machine and make sure to insert the mat in line with the mat guides. Make sure the mat is pressed firmly against the rollers while pressing load/unload which you can find at the top right of the machine.

3. After inserting the silver pen, open the accessory clamp and take off the pen cap and place it tip down inside the housing and wait for the arrow on the pen to disappear.

4. Once you’ve checked the design on the mat preview screen you can press go!

5. Be sure to set the dia on your machine to cardstock.

6. Once the C button on the machine begins to flash, press it to start the design and the vision will start to come to life!

7. Take out the mat. Once the project finishes press the load/unload button and remove the pen.

8. Facing down, place the cutting mat on the surface and begin curling the edge up towards you. Once the material starts peeling away continue to curl the mat up to make the process even easier.

9. Crease the card in half by simply folding it over. Feel free to do this again with the blue paper so you can place it inside the grey card. Gluing it in place may make it easier as well.

Must-Have accessories

The Cutting Mat

Most important accessory

How you load most material into the machine

Stickiness on one side is for the security of materials while they are being cut

Light grip (blue)

 construction paper

 Light cardstock

 printer + scrapbook paper


Standard grip (green)

regular + embossed cardstock

heat transfer (iron-on) + regular vinyl

window clings


Strong grip (purple)

 backed fabric


 corrugated cardboard

 leather + suede


magnetic material


wood (including balsa)

**Cricut: Which Machine Should I Buy?
Cricut Explore Air 2 Machine Bundle Iron On Vinyl Pack Tools Pen Design Beginner Guide


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