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5 Things I love about my Cricut Explore Air 2 + Fabric cutting tutorial

Learn how to make a super cute rolled pencil case using the Cricut Explore Air 2 and also learn why I am so in love with this machine!

cricut machine

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mines.

 

It’s no surprise that I love crafting and creating, after all, that’s why I started this blog and my business.

One of my first introductions to big projects was while papercutting and flower making when crafting the projects for our DIY wedding back in 2010.

I wanted to make paper and fabric flowers because I could re-use them after the wedding and it was also a way to save money for our celebration.

BUT It took me for.e.ver!!

I cut and folded so many flowers! SO MANY (with the help of my family of-course)

Around that time, I had only heard about cutting machines, it sounded like something from a different world.

Then a couple of years after I *FINALLY* purchased my first machine, and with that my creative world was forever changed.

Since then, cutting machines have evolved and now they can do so much more than when I first started playing with one.

So now I want to share with you 5 reasons why I love my Cricut Explore Air 2.

 

Wide variety of materials to use

This was the main reason I converted to Cricut, with more than 100 materials to cut, the sky's the limit!

Before we were limited to only cutting paper and vinyl, now the game is different.

With the Cricut Explore Air 2, you can cut everything from cardstock, vinyl, and iron-on to specialty materials like glitter paper, cork, and bonded fabric.

If you want to read more about the Cricut machines, check out my post about what a Cricut machine is and why you might need one.

Here is a small list of materials you can use to work on a project with the Cricut Explore Air 2.

  • 3M Post It Notes
  • Adhesive Magnetic Sheets
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Aluminum Metal
  • Canvas
  • Cardstock
  • Chipboard
  • Construction Paper
  • Cork Board, Adhesive Backed
  • Craft Foam
  • Cutting Mat Protector
  • Duck Tape
  • Fabric
  • Felt
  • Foam
  • Foil, Adhesive Backed
  • Iron-On Material
  • Leather
  • Magnet Sheets
  • Paint Chips
  • Paper
  • Watercolor Paper
  • Photo Paper
  • Poster Board
  • Premium Outdoor Vinyl
  • Printable Tattoo Paper
  • Stencil Vinyl
  • Sticker Paper
  • Transparency
  • Vellum
  • Vinyl
  • Washi Sheets
  • Washi Tape
  • Wax Paper
  • Window Cling
  • Wood (thin)
  • Wrapping Paper

cutting fabric

 

Cutting Speed

Time is money, right?

And there is nothing more annoying than having to wait for 20 minutes for your machine to cut a project?

Yeah, I can think of more annoying things too, BUT we don't need to waste our time when it's no necessary, right? 

I am an impatient person when it comes to creating.

When I start a project I want to do it as fast as possible, and you are probably there with me, as moms we already don't have much time to spare for fun crafts, so I am SOO happy this new generation of machines considered how important speed is and made the Cricut Explore Air 2 able to cut and write up to 2X faster than previous Cricut Explore models.

Now finally, that awful wait is something of the past!

cut smart

 

Easy to use

I know that we all learn things differently and what might be easy for some, can be ready hard for others. Some people get so overwhelmed with the machine and the steps that just close themselves to even trying.

But we are not like that anymore, right?

I honestly think that the folks at Cricut have done such a great job at making the machine and software as easy to use as possible.

The SmartCut dial makes the selection of the material so easy.

Design space is so easy to use (some don't like how basic the editing is, but for beginners, I think It’s the best) And the machine has a very user-friendly interface.

Plus, all machines come with a simple first project to help you break the overwhelm and give you confidence by completing your first project.

cricut and tools

 

Flexibility – Design on the go

I love not having to be attached to only one device in order to create projects with Design Space. You can use the desk version, the online version or the app in any device:

  • iPhone
  • iPad
  • Laptop
  • Desktop

And it’s perfect for anyone that doesn’t have a dedicated crafting space, they can create on-the-go and just cut when they are with the machine.

ipad design space

 

Specialized tools to make crafting easier 

While I already talked about the wide variety of materials that you are able to cut with the Cricut Explore Air 2, one thing that sets Cricut apart is how specialized the range of tools, blades, and mats are.

cricut machine blades

The Cricut Explore Air 2 has 3 blades compatible with the Smart Cut 2 system

  • Premium Fine-Point Blade: (GOLD or SILVER) this one was formerly the silver blade, and it's the default blade that comes with your machine. It’s perfect for thin to medium weight projects and allows very intricate work. It’s made from German Carbide Steel and extremely durable. 
    Recommended or cutting paper, cardstock, poster board, vinyl, iron-on, etc.
  • Deep-point blade: (BLACK) this blade was the GAME-CHANGER for all of us crafters. It has a steeper blade angle (60 degrees vs. the 45 degrees of the fine-point blade), and it’s made from German Carbide Steel. Recommended for intricate cuts using materials like chipboard, magnet, stamp material, stiffened felt, foam sheets, cardboard, and some fabrics.
  • Bonded-Fabric blade: (PINK) this blade is pink in color to match the FabricGrip machine mat. It’s perfect to use with fabrics that have a stabilizer or backer iron-on. Just like we keep scissors that are only for fabric so we can prolong their life and quality. Cricut offers this blade so you can keep it I only for your fabric projects.

So now let's practice some fabric cutting!

 

 

ROLLED PENCIL CASE TUTORIAL

 

keep it together case

My idea for this pencil case was to be able to store some of my Tombow dual brush, rolled them out and in easily and to have full access by being able to look at the colors once played down.

So, of course, the rolled version was the best option! 

Look at it in action below!

animated rolled

make a case with tombow

 

THE MATERIALS

(ps. If you want to read more about what an EasyPress machine is, read this post where I explain it all! )

full list of materials

The process of making the pencil case was so much easier than cutting all single by using the Cricut Explore Air 2 machine.

The only thing I wish I would have done differently is probably using felt for one of the sides, that way I would have not to need to fold over and sew, to then turn inside out in order to have a nice edge seam.

So I think I will make another version of this same pencil case that will hopefully be a lot easier than this one.

For a full tutorial and instructions for the pencil case, just scroll to the bottom of the post!

 

full rolled pencil caserolled case with bowtombow rolled case

 

 

keep it together

Rolled up pencil case

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Active Time: 40 minutes
Additional Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Difficulty: Intermediate

Learn how to make a rolled pencil case using your Cricut Explore Air 2 to cut the pattern.

Instructions

  1. materials to add bonding The first thing to do, before starting to cut the fabric with the Cricut Explore 2 machine. Is to add Heat and bond to the back of the fabric.
  2. adding more heat and bond I cut a similar size of Heat and bond, then used my EasyPress att 200 Fahrenheit to fuse them together.
  3. adding heat and bond I did the same thing to both of the fabrics I used for the pencil case.
  4. cutting fabric I used the brayer to make sure the fabric was flat and without any bubbles to have a clean cut.
  5. cutting fabric I loaded the design from Design Space. Loaded my fabric and let the machine do the magic.
  6. cutting the pencilcase I used the Polkadot fabric under the "keep it together" lap and on the front pockets.
  7. cutting with cricut When peeling the fabric, I found that the fabric itself peeled super easy, but the paper was a little trickier to peel off.
  8. top lap I fused the front and the back fabric for the top flap together.
  9. bottom separation For the front of the pockets I left a 1/2 inch longer than the Polkadot piece, that way I could fold it and make a cleaner edge.
  10. iron-on lap I cut my "keep it together" out of gold iron-on and placed it in my lap. I used the EasyPress to attach it to my front lap.
  11. sewing the lap I used a fancy stitch for the edge using a matching thread color.
  12. top cover To make the front of the pencil case more interesting, I used plain purple fabric and the same floral pattern I used for the front, but just in a small area, I also cut the initial of my last name to make it a little more personalized. I only ironed the letter, but I should have sewed around it to keep it in place, I know!
  13. sweing the deparation Once the front pocket was ready, I pinned it and sewed 3 different lines to make 4 pockets. After that, I turned both pieces facing each other right sides toward the inside and sewed the edges leaving one opening on the side.
  14. tombow case tutorial I sewed a ribbon piece on the edge to close it together. Overall I loved the way it looks, but I think next time, along with making it with felt to make it easier to construct, I will make a video so you guys can see it better =]
  15. make a case with tombow I wrapped a simple bow with the ribbon that gave it the final touch!

Recommended Products

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Did you make this project?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

 

I hope you guys like the tutorial and stay tuned for the felt option that I think will be a little easier to make in case you are not too advanced with the sewing machine =]

If you liked the project just pin it for later!

rolled pencil case
pencil case

Keep creating!

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