Cricut Basics

Cricut Basics

cricut cartridge

The heart of the Cricut system is the Cricut cartridge, each machine comes with a George and Basic shapes cartridge binder, which includes a cartridge, a keypad overlay, and a handbook. Other cartridge systems are sold separately.

basics overlay

There are 2 types of Cricut cartridges, fonts, and shapes. Font cartridges contain complete alphabets plus a variety of words and phrases. Shape cartridges contain complete shape sets, and on some cartridges there are bonus words and phrases.

Every cartridge is paired with an overlay that fits over the Cricuts built in keypad, allowing the Cricut keypad functions to change with the cartridge. This is the cutting mat, it is used to hold paper in place while the Cricut is cutting a design, and its tacky surface keeps the paper from slipping. Of course there’s a power adapter; it has 6 feet of cord. This is the connection for the power adapter, and this is the universal serial bus, or USB port. The USB port is not used in normal operation.


To use the Cricut, select a hard, flat location within 6 feet or 1.8 meters of an electrical outlet. Plug the adapter into the Cricut and the wall outlet. Be sure to allow at least 12 inches or 31 centimeters of space around the Cricut for paper movement.

The quick start guide is an extremely useful tool in helping to get started with Cricut. Along with the quick start guide, the user manual contains instructions and valuable tips for using the Cricut.

The Cricut is activated by pressing the on/off button, located on the right front panel of the machine.  Pressing the on/off button activates the Cricut and allows the feeder door and LCD panel to open. Occasionally gentle pressure may be required to completely open the Cricut.


Next place the keypad overlay over the top of the Cricuts built in keypad.


Then insert the cartridge, name label facing out in the cartridge slot in the front of the Cricut.

Be sure to match the name on the cartridge label with the name printed on the keypad overlay. Cartridges and keypad overlays must match for the Cricut to function properly. Cricut can cut printed papers and basal weight card stock in sizes 6 x 12 inches or 15.2 x 30.5 cm.


To cut with the Cricut, the paper must first be mounted on the cutting mat. If you are using the mat for the first time you will need to remove the protected covering. Simply align the corner of the paper with the align paper corner here icon, and press the paper onto the mat.

cricut maintenance