Cricut Crafting Blogs Fantabulous Cricut Challenge Interview

Dana Hinders
Natural Beauty
Cricut scrapbook page by Lori Coughlin

If you're interested in learning how to make the most of your Cricut personal electronic cutter, there are plenty of great Cricut crafting blogs around to help. For example, the Fantabulous Cricut Challenge Blog offers daily posts featuring tips, ideas, and inspiration for scrapbookers, card makers, and paper crafters. From "Challenge Me Monday" to "Scrappin' Saturday," there's always something new to explore.

Cricut Crafting Blogs Interview

Lori Coughlin, senior design team member at the Fantabulous Cricut Challenge Blog, recently took some time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions about using the Cricut for all your scrapbooking and paper crafting needs.

Many crafters who are just getting interested in scrapbooking worry that they won't use a Cricut enough to justify the cost of such an expensive tool. What advice do you have regarding this concern?

The Cricut is a very versatile tool. Not only can you use it for scrapbooking, card making, and any kind of paper crafting project you can think of, you can also create school projects, business signs, home decor pieces, appliques for sewing and quilting and now even cake decorating! It was a large investment for me, but once I started using it, I realized how much more control I had over my layouts and now I don't create a layout without it! Go to a crop or spend time with someone that owns it and try it out before you buy it to make sure it's something you'll use. I bet once you try it, you won't want to scrapbook without it!

What are your thoughts regarding the Cricut Design Studio, Cricut Jukebox, and the Cricut Gypsy? Are these important accessories for the Cricut owner?

I think they are great accessories, but I don't think the average Cricut user has to have them in order to get the most out of their Cricut. They do add a lot of creative options, though, and I would highly recommend them to anyone considering purchasing them.

  • Cricut Jukebox: I love having the Jukebox...it allows me to keep my most used cartridges connected at all times without having to search through my stash to find each one. It's also convenient to take to crops. And, if you use Design Studio, it's easy to switch between cartridges during the design process.
  • Cricut Design Studio: I love DS! It allows you to modify and alter any image on your cartridges to fit your needs. And I love the ability to weld letters together for titles.
  • Cricut Gypsy: I don't own one yet, but would love to have the flexibility to design on the go. It's definitely on my wish list for Christmas!

With so many different Cricut cartridges available, it's hard to know what to purchase. Do you have any advice to offer on which cartridges are most useful for scrapbookers? What are some of your personal favorite cartridges?

The options are seemingly endless and Provo Craft keeps coming out with more awesome Cricut cartridges! To start out, I would recommend picking a versatile font cartridge you think you could use on a lot of different projects. Pick one that has different creative features such as different widths or styles of letters so that you can vary up your titles and journaling a bit. I would also choose an image cartridge that covers a variety of seasons or themes (Doodlecharms, Stretch Your Imagination), so that you can use it year round for all your layouts, and not be limited to one theme or type of image. Then just slowly add cartridges to your collection as you need them. My personal favorites are Opposites Attract and Storybook (font cartridges) and Doodlecharms, Accent Essentials and Home Accents (image cartridges).

What tips do you have for crafters who are interested in using their Cricut to cut more than just standard cardstock and patterned paper? Are there any special precautions you would recommend to avoid damaging your machine when cutting chipboard, vinyl, fabric, or other specialty materials?

It's so fun to experiment with different textures and materials when using the Cricut. But be careful to follow the user manual when doing so, because there are some things that could damage your machine. I love to cut chipboard, but some chipboard is too thick to use your machine on. I use cereal boxes and they are the perfect weight. You'll need a deep cut blade/housing and it's best to use the Multi Cut feature to get clean cuts. Different materials require different pressure, blade depth and speed settings, so again, make sure to follow the user manual.

Do you have any other comments that you wish to add?

One thing I hear a lot from people that haven't tried scrapbooking or paper crafting is that they are scared to try because they think they'll do it wrong. There is no wrong way to scrapbook! That is the one thing I make sure people know when I talk to them. Give it a try and let your inhibitions go. Everyone is different and everyone's pages are different. Have fun with it!

Cricut Project Ideas by Lori Coughlin

The following are examples are of some of the many wonderful Cricut projects designed by Lori Coughlin. You can see more examples of Lori's work on her personal blog at http://livingorganizedchaos.blogspot.com.

Watermelon Baby Scrapbook Layout Watermelon Baby Scrapbook Layout
Love Mini Album Love Mini Album
Delight Tag Book Delight Tag Book
Snail Greeting Card Snail Greeting Card
Butterfly Greeting Card Butterfly Greeting Card
Flower Topiary Flower Topiary
Cricut Crafting Blogs Fantabulous Cricut Challenge Interview