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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Cricut Tuesdays with The McSmitty Girl

Hi Everyone and welcome to another edition of Cricut Tuesdays!

Over the past couple of days I've been helping a friend get to know more about the Cricut Create machine. She does not own one... yet. My friend had a couple of dilemmas. What is the maximum size of coordinating envelopes and cards? What cartridges do I recommend getting first as a start to her Cricut library (she adores flourishes, florals, likes to make gift boxes and loves cute lettering)?

Although I do not own this machine, this did not stop me in helping out my friend. And how did I help her without owning a Cricut Create? I used my Original Cutter Machine. Why? Because the Original Cutter Machine and the Cricut Create are basically the same machine but the Create has the functionality of the Expression (another topic for a future blog post).

Here are my tips, tricks and how-to's so that you can save time and start making wonderful cards today.

Tip: Using the Beyond Birthdays cartridge the following cuts were used as my benchmark. Universally the cards and envelopes suit any occasion and are pretty much the standard size to the cardmaking world.

Tip: Try mixing and matching images from other cartridges onto the foundational cards and/or envelopes for a more custom and unique card design.


  • Load Paper as usual already placed onto a 6x12" cutting mat

  • Start your size dial at the maximum height which is 5-1/2" (this would be the same for the Cricut Create and Original Cutter machines)

  • Select your image, starting with the envelopes first (i.e. 'squr-1' and 'rect-1' images which are actually the foundation keys* on this cartridge)

  • For use on your Original Cutter Machine, once you press 'cut' the machine will automatically beep if the image is too large for the cutting mat. The actual maximum size for the square envelope and card is 4", while the rectangle shape is 3 x 3-1/2".

  • For use on your Create machine, press the 'Fit to Page' cutting function as it will automatically calculate the maximum size for you (which will end up to be the same as with the above).

*Foundation Keys are an added creative features which have already set images. This allows you to layer the images, phrases, words or letters found on the cartridge onto the card/envelope. IMHO this is added value to the cartridge itself, saving you time and energy to ensure you coordinate your card/envelope design elements together.

Tip: Always start cutting out your envelope first. I cannot stress this enough... Not only will you save time but you will know what size to cut your card next hence saving you more time and energy trying to figure out fit and size if you were to cut the card image out first.

Tip: If you want to ensure your envelope and card will fit together; do not press the 'Real Dial Size' button on. In doing so the envelopes will not be able to cut because the cutting mat is too small for the image size in this cutting mode. No worries... I have a work around that creative block. Just read on.


As you can see from my samples in the picture, these make really cute cards that can be made in a flash! But actually we are not done with this dilemma yet. As I just mentioned using the 'Real Dial Size' cutting function does that; the machine will literally cut out your image to what the size dial is set at. The how-to is really simple and follows the basic steps as discussed earlier.

  • Load paper as usual after it is placed onto your cutting mat

  • Select your image

  • Select your size

  • Press the 'Real Dial Size' button on

  • Press cut

As a result you will have an end product of a 5-1/2" square card and a 4-1/4" x 5-1/2" rectangle card when folded. The picture of all of these examples shows you the envelopes (folds shown) and cards both done in the set maximum size and with the Real Dial Size cutting mode on.

So how do you create the coordinating envelope. Easy! There are many tools out there such as the Crafter's Companion The Enveloper, which allows you to custom create your own size envelopes for all types and sizes of cards. And like using your patterned or solid colored papers or cardstock to create these envelopes; this is no different.

I also gave my friend lots of cartridge recommendations to start her Cricut library. Now remember she adores flourishes, florals and cute lettering. These are my top picks and personal choices for me to help her decide (and yes if you are wondering I do own all the cartridges that have been released to date):

Fabulous Finds:
To create your bookplates, tabs, paper clips, etc... Layer several pieces of cardboard or paper for added dimension.

Tags, Bags, Boxes and More:
I have created boxes for gift cards, cake slice boxes, jewellery boxes, tags, goodie bags, you name it, this is an essential for sure.

Accent Essentials:
This has great and funky shapes plus a great label image I use all the time!

Home Accents:
For the swirls, flourishes plus all the other pretty images

Home Decor:
For additional images that are all around cute, pretty and contemporary

Opposites Attract:
This has an upright and script font plus others making this cartridge worth every penny.

One of the latest releases which also has a great alphabet font plus the images are so darn pretty. I have used this cart to even make photo mats for my LO pages.

Wild Card:
Goes without saying... This cart is jammed packed with phrases, an alphabet, different card and envelope images that are not your standard. I recently posted about this cart when I made my MIL birthday cards from Cole and Us.

Hello Kitty Greetings:
This is a stinkin' cute cart with the ability to make cards out of phrases and images available.

Hello Kitty Font:
Like above, the lettering is so darn cute and there are at least 3 different alphabet fonts.

For more cute lettering fonts... I think that maybe Don Juan (with the Create), Doodletype, Printing Press and maybe for a more basic font you can look into Plantin Schoolbook (with the Expression) or Base Camp.

Well I hope I've help you crafters out there who have the Original Cutter Machine determine what size of cards and envelopes you can make. Plus I hope that I have given you some cartridge ideas to put on your wish list in case you do not own them yet.

Until next week, have a good one and take care!

1 comment:

  1. Awesome post, thanks for the advice on the different cartridges!



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