Cricut Explore

A wide range of materials can be cut with the Cricut Explore machine. The Smart Set™ Dial has seven pre-loaded material setting and options. The settings include paper, vinyl, iron-on, light cardstock, cardstock, fabric, and poster board.

  • The "paper" setting is used for text weight papers, such as vellum, common computer paper and wrapping paper.
  • The "vinyl" setting is used for wall decor vinyl (Cricut® Vinyl).
  • The "iron-on" setting is used for heat transfer vinyl (Cricut® Iron-on).
  • The "light cardstock" setting is used for paper with a weight of 60-65 pounds—or paper that’s a little heavier than text weight papers. This may include patterned, printed, or decorative papers.
  • The "cardstock" setting is used for true cardstock, with a weight of 80-90 pounds. Cardstock is comparable to the weight of playing cards, business cards or most solid colored crafting papers.
  • The "poster board" setting is used for poster board and other heavy materials, including display board for signs or school projects.
  • There is also a "custom" setting which allows you to save your own material settings in Cricut Design Space.

You can also cut heavier materials with the Deep Cut Housing and Blade, which was designed specifically for use with the Cricut Explore™ machine. For best results, we recommend using the Deep Cut Blade when cutting thicker materials such as heavy fabric, poster board, chipboard, magnet board, and faux leather. The Cricut Deep Cut Blade can cut most materials up to 1mm in thickness using the multi-cut feature.

Follow this link to find a list of custom materials already pre-programmed for the Cricut Explore™:

http://us.cricut.com/home/learn/machines/explore/cut-list

The Cricut Design Space plugin supports critical software functions, including uploading your own images, using system fonts, and communicating with your Cricut Explore machine. You’ll need to download and install the software that allows Cricut Design Space to communicate with your Cricut Explore.

There is one difference between Explore and Explore Air: The Explore Air comes with built in Bluetooth and does not require the Bluetooth Adapter. The Explore requires the Bluetooth Adapter to connect via Bluetooth.

For PC:
  1. Ensure your PC is within 10 to 15 feet of your Cricut Explore machine.
  2. Detect if your PC is Bluetooth enabled by opening the Device Manager and looking for a Bluetooth Radios section.
  3. Access the Devices and Printer window in the Control Panel.
  4. Ensure your PC is within 10 to 15 feet of your Cricut Explore machine. Click "Add a device" (or "Add a Bluetooth device").
  5. Allow the PC to detect your Wireless Bluetooth® Adapter.
  6. Select the adapter name and double-click it to open pairing options. (The name of your Wireless Bluetooth® Adapter is included in your packaging materials.)

    Select "Enter the device’s pairing code" and type 0000 into the box. Click "Next".
  7. Pairing is now complete between your PC and Cricut adapter. Click "Close" to close the window.

For Mac:
  1. Ensure your Mac is within 10 to 15 feet of your Cricut Explore machine.
  2. Detect if your Mac is Bluetooth® enabled by opening System Preferences and looking for the Bluetooth® option.
  3. Open the Bluetooth® window.
  4. Select the Wireless Bluetooth® Adapter from the list of devices. (The name of your Wireless Bluetooth® Adapter is included in your packaging materials.)
  5. Click "Pair" to initiate the pairing operation.
  6. When prompted, type the Code 0000 and click "Pair."
  7. Click "Pair" to initiate the pairing operation.
  8. When prompted, type the Code 0000 and click "Pair."
For iPad:
  1. Open Settings from the iPad dashboard.
  2. If your Bluetooth® communication is off, tap it to turn it on.
  3. With Bluetooth® on, your Wireless Bluetooth® Adapter will display in the list. Tap the adapter name
  4. The device will initiate the pairing process, as indicated by the progress spinner.
  5. Type 0000 for the pin and then tap "Done".
  6. Pairing is now complete between your iPad the Wireless Bluetooth® Adapter.

To get the Explore machine to write, you will need to change the line type of the image or text that you wish to write to a "write" line.

Step 1: To change the line type of a layer, click the thumbnail image in the Layers panel. The current line type will be bold.

Step 2: Click the line type icon to make a change. The image in the design screen will change to reflect your choice.

Tip: If there are multiple layers to your project and the line type is a write or a score, the image will need to be attached to another layer. (See section 9H of the user manual, "Attach Tool", for more details.

To get the Explore machine to score, you will need to change the line type of the image or text that you wish to score to a “score” line.

Step 1: To change the line type of a layer, click the thumbnail image in the Layers panel. The current line type will be bold.

Step 2: Click the line type icon to make a change. The image in the design screen will change to reflect your choice.

To access the Print then Cut feature, the images you design will need to be changed to a printable image. We will go over this here. There are two types of images you can print then cut: standard images and enhanced printable images.

Standard images are designed with solid colors. If a standard image has multiple layers, the different layers of the image are shown individually in the Layers panel. Each layer has a scissor, pen nib, or scoring tool icon as the line type, indicating each layer will cut, write, or score.

Enhanced printable images are designed with decorative patterns. They show up in the Layers panel as a single layer and have a printer icon as the line type, indicating the image will be printed on your home printer then cut on the Cricut Explore® machine.

You can turn any standard image into a Print then Cut image.

Step 1: Click the Insert Image button. Select any standard image from the Cricut® Library and insert it into your project.

Step 2: Select the standard image and then click "Flatten" at the top of the Layers panel. The Flatten tool not only turns your image into a printable image, but also flattens it into a single layer.


You'll know the image is flattened when all the layers of the standard image become a single image with a printer icon as the line type, indicating it will print then cut.


Step 3: We also provide an entire library of enhanced printable images. Just open the filters menu and check the Printables filter to browse only the images that are especially prepared for the Print then Cut feature.


Tip: A printer icon found in the bottom left corner of the image preview also distinguishes enhanced printable images from standard images. This same printer will show up next to the layer thumbnail in the Layers panel once you’ve inserted the image.

Step 4: When you images are ready to print, click "Go."


Step 5: The printable images appear in the mat preview with cut sensor marks placed around them. These sensor marks will be scanned by your Cricut Explore® machine to help it determine where to cut.


Click the Print and Go button to begin the process. If you don’t own the images you have designed with, the green button will say "Purchase" and take you through the checkout process before beginning to Print then Cut your project.

To view your free images in Design Space, click on Insert Images, then click on the Filter funnel to open the filters menu and select "Free" and/or "My Images" to view all of the images that you either own or can use for free.

To find your free projects, Sign In to Design Space to get to the home page of Design Space. Then click on the project filter drop-down menu in the upper right area of the screen and scroll down to find and select "Free".

The Cricut Explore® machine was designed to work with Cricut Design Space online software. You can still use cartridges you’ve purchased by linking them to your Cricut account through the port on your Cricut Explore® machine. If you have already linked your cartridges to the Cricut Craft Room® design software, or linked your cartridges to your Cricut Gypsy device and then linked your Gypsy to your Cricut.com account, you have permanent digital access to those images. Haven’t linked yet? Here’s how.

Step 1: Open your web browser to www.cricut.com/design. Click on the green account button and sign in to Cricut Design Space using your Cricut.com account.

Step 2: Once you’ve logged in, click again on the green account button and select "Link Cartridges" from the drop-down menu.

Step 3: Connect your Cricut Explore® machine to your computer via the USB cable. Turn on the machine.

Step 4: Insert the Cricut® cartridge firmly into the port on the Cricut Explore® machine.

Step 5: Once the cartridge is detected by the machine, you will be prompted to link the cartridge to your Cricut.com account. Click "Link Cartridge."

Step 6: Messaging on screen will indicate once cartridge has been successfully linked. Once your cartridge is linked, you are free to remove it from the machine.

Tip: Repeat the process to link additional cartridges.

Step 7: Locate your images by clicking on "Insert Images" from the design screen.

Step 8 Select "My Images" from the drop-down filter menu. All of the images that are yours to use without charge will be displayed.



  1. Machine

    1. Cricut Explore® what’s in the box
      PDF
    2. Cricut Explore® Overview
      PDF
    3. Cricut Explore Air what's in the box
      Watch Video PDF
    4. Cricut Explore Air Overview
      PDF
    5. Recommended minimum system requirements
      PDF
    6. Cricut Explore One: what’s in the box
      PDF
  2. Plugging in the machine

    1. Plugging in the machine
      Watch Video PDF
  3. Load/Unload mat

    1. Load/Unload mat
      Watch Video PDF
  4. Load/Unload pen

    1. Cricut Explore® and Cricut Explore Air Load/Unload pen
      Watch Video PDF
    2. Cricut Explore One Load/Unload pen
      PDF
  5. Access the set up website

    1. Access the set up website
      Watch Video
    2. Google Chrome®
      PDF
    3. Internet Explorer®
      PDF
    4. Mozilla Firefox®
      PDF
    5. Safari®
      PDF
  6. Installing Adobe Flash®

    1. Installing Adobe Flash®
      Watch Video PDF
  7. Install Cricut Plug in

    1. Updating the Cricut plugin on a PC with Google Chrome®
      PDF
    2. Updating the Cricut plugin on a PC with Internet Explorer®
      PDF
    3. Updating the Cricut plugin on a PC with Mozilla® Firefox®
      PDF
    4. Updating the Cricut plugin on a Mac with Google Chrome®
      PDF
    5. Updating the Cricut plugin on a Mac with Mozilla® Firefox®
      PDF
    6. Updating the Cricut plugin on a Mac with Safari®
      PDF
  8. Cricut ID
    1. Creating a Cricut ID
      Watch Video PDF
    2. Sign in with your Cricut ID
      PDF
    3. Editing your Cricut ID
      PDF
  9. First project
    1. Cricut Explore®
      Watch Video PDF
    2. Cricut Explore Air
      Watch Video PDF
    3. Cricut Explore One first project
      PDF
  10. Firmware Update
    1. Required Firmware Update
      PDF
    2. Manual Firmware Update
      PDF
  11. Bluetooth
    1. Determine if your PC has Bluetooth®
      PDF
    2. Cricut Explore Air Bluetooth® pairing, PC
      PDF
    3. Cricut Explore Air Bluetooth® pairing, Mac
      PDF
    4. Cricut Explore Air Bluetooth® pairing, iPad
      PDF
    5. Cricut Explore Bluetooth® Adapter pairing, PC
      PDF
    6. Cricut Explore Bluetooth® Adapter pairing, Mac
      PDF
    7. Cricut Explore Bluetooth® Adapter pairing, iPad
      PDF
  12. Download iPad App

    1. Download iPad App
      PDF
  13. Smart Set® Dial
    1. Using Smart Set Dial Settings
      Watch Video PDF
    2. Preview custom material settings
      PDF
    3. Using preset custom settings
      PDF
    4. Create your own custom setting - Updated
      PDF
    5. Adjusting custom settings - Updated
      PDF
    6. Deleting custom settings - Updated
      PDF
  14. Using Cartridges
    1. Cartridge linking
      PDF
    2. Finding a linked cartridge in Design Space
      PDF
  15. Calibration for Print then Cut

    1. Calibration for Print then Cut
      Watch VideoPDF
  16. Accessories
    1. Cutting mats
      PDF
    2. Cricut Cutting Blades
      PDF
    3. Pens
      PDF
    4. Scoring stylus
      PDF
    5. Tool Basic Set
      PDF
    6. Carry bag
      PDF