Home » Ultimate Guide to Cricut Explore 3 Accessories, Tools & Supplies

Ultimate Guide to Cricut Explore 3 Accessories, Tools & Supplies


Understanding what tools, accessories, and supplies you need for your Cricut Explore 3 is a great next step after purchasing. If you are doing some research before you buy one, make sure to read our Cricut Explore 3 review as well. 

Knowing what else you should buy for your new machine so that you get the most out of it can be a little confusing and overwhelming. There are so many additional Cricut Explore 3 accessories and tools that you can buy so knowing which is the right one for you is crucial.

I will share my list of tools, accessories, and supplies with you that I think are the must-haves for the Cricut Explore 3.

To avoid spending money on items that you may not need or want, it is good to know what type of projects you will be making with your cutting machine.

That way you will buy the Cricut tools and accessories that suit your interests. I've tried to make it very clear when tools are only required for a very specific type of project – such as working with vinyl etc.

What Comes with the Cricut Explore 3

Cricut Explore 3

Let's look at what you will get in your box with the Cricut Explore 3 to understand what else you might need or want:

  • Cricut Explore 3 machine
  • Premium Fine-Point Blade + Housing
  • Welcome card
  • USB cable
  • Power adapter
  • Free trial subscription to Cricut Access™ (for new subscribers)
  • 100 ready-to-make projects online
  • Material for a practice cut

Now, let's have a look at which tools I would highly recommend you purchase to be able to enjoy a variety of project crafts.

Must-Have Cricut Explore 3 Tools

Below you will find a list of the tools that I recommend you purchase with your Cricut Explore 3. I will discuss what each tool will be used for.

As I mentioned earlier, have a think about the type of crafts you would like to make – so that you can only purchase the tools that will support your crafting type.

* BONUS FOR WHEN YOU SHOP AT CRICUT.COM: Use this code: CRICUTSAVER at checkout to receive 10% off your order of $50+ and receive FREE shipping too!

1. Additional Cricut Blades

You will receive the Fine Point Blade in your box. The Fine Point blade is used to cut most ‘normal' materials that most people cut, such as paper, cardstock and vinyl. It is the one you will use most of the time.

Now, if you want to work with thick material, you will need to purchase the Cricut Deep Point Blade.

This blade has a steeper blade angle (60 degrees vs 45) and harder, more durable steel blade. 

It is perfect for cutting material such as Magnet, Chipboard, Thick cardstock, Stiffened felt & Cardboard.

If you want to cut fabric with your Explore 3 there is also the Cricut Bonded Fabric Blade that you will need to cut bonded fabric.

2. Cricut Mats

The Explore 3 does not come with any mats as it is designed to cut Cricut Smart Materials (Vinyl, Iron-On, and Cardstock) without the use of a mat.

If you wish to work with other brands of materials or materials that are not Smart Materials then you will need to purchase mats suitable for the material you will be cutting.

To cut most materials like adhesive vinyl, HTV (Iron-On), or infusible ink sheets you will need to use the StandardGrip Cricut Mat. This is the mat that you are likely to use most often so is definitely worth investing in.

If you are purchasing the Bonded Fabric blade because you will be using your Explore 3 to cut bonded fabric, then you will also need to purchase the pink FabricGrip Cricut Mat.

If you intend to cut thicker materials with your machine, you will need to purchase the StrongGrip Cricut Mat as this mat has a stronger adhesive to keep the materials in place when cutting.

I also highly recommend that you purchase the LightGrip mat, which you will use to cut thin material such as copy paper, lightly patterned paper, and cardstock. I can't live without this mat, you will use it for sure!!

You can read more about the different Cricut mats here.

3. Scoring Stylus 

Scoring is brilliant if you love creating things that need to be folded, such as cards, envelopes, boxes and other 3D paper crafts.

The Scoring Stylus is a tool that you place in your machine Clamp A to create your fold lines on your project.

Grab the Scoring Stylus from here.

4. Cricut Pens

Cricut pens are used to draw shapes and to embellish projects with beautiful text. You can also create coloring pages with pens as well, or use them to create beautiful cards.

These pens are acid-free, non-toxic, and permanent after 24 hours of drying time.

If you do not think you will use pens often, I would suggest you buy a small pack to see if you will use them before investing in the variety of pens available. Although I do not use my pens in every project, I do find that they are valuable to have in my stash.

You can browse through the range of Cricut Pens here.

5. 12 x 24″ Mat

The standard Cricut mat size is 12 x 12″, but this can be very limited to work with.

I LOVE the longer 12 x 24″ Cricut Mat, so that I can create larger vinyl decals and cut larger sewing panels for my projects.

If you think you will be creating large-scale projects then I would suggest purchasing the mat type for the material that you will be cutting for larger projects.

However, if you will be using Cricut Smart Materials to create your large-scale projects then purchasing these mats will not be necessary as the machine can cut up to 12 feet in length without a mat.

Grab this beautiful large mat from Amazon here.

Must-Have Cricut Explore 3 Accessories

Now that we have had a look at the best tools to buy for the Cricut Explore 3 machine, let's look at some of the best Cricut Explore 3 accessories.

1. Optional Roll Holder

roll holder

As the Cricut Explore 3 can cut projects up to 12 feet in length when using Smart Materials there is an optional roll holder for the machine.

You do not need to purchase the roll holder to use the new rolls of Smart Vinyl however we think that it definitely helps in making sure that vinyl remains steady when cutting. So if you plan on using the rolls of Smart Vinyl this is probably a great addition.

The roll holder also comes with a built-in trimming blade so that you can quickly cut your vinyl project before removing it from the machine.

Get the Roll Holder here.

2. Cricut Trimmer

A Cricut Trimmer is really handy if you are a scrapbooker or cardmaker. You can quickly and professionally trim down your paper or cardstock on this fabulous trimmer.

Grab your Cricut Trimmer here.

3. Cricut Brayer

The Cricut Brayer is essential to smooth out your material over your mat. Especially handy for the thin and flimsy materials.

The tweezers are great to help you lift off thin material from your mat. 

You can grab the Brayer and Tweezer Set here.

4. Cricut Basic Tool Set

The Cricut Basic Tool Set is a must-have. You will definitely use these tools.

The Scraper & Spatula are used to aid you in lifting projects off your Cricut mats, which helps to preserve the adhesive on your mat.  They are definitely a necessity.

The weeder and tweezers are great for your vinyl projects. And we all know what scissors are used for.

You can grab the essentials tool set here.

If you prefer you could purchase the weeder tool set (for vinyl projects) or the paper tool set (for scrapbookers and cardmakers) instead.

5. XL Scraper

I love my XL Cricut Scraper. Whilst you can use it to clean up your mats, I love using mine when I'm applying adhesive vinyl.

It just helps to ensure that the adhesive sticks really well to my product.

Grab your Cricut XL Scraper here.

6. EasyPress 2

Planning on working with iron-on transfers or HTV (heat transfer vinyl)? An iron can be very unreliable because you have to guess how hot it is, as well as guess how long you are applying it for.

Take the guesswork out and get an EasyPress 2 instead. You can set the temperature and set the timer electronically. I love my EasyPress.

Grab your EasyPress 2 here.

Not sure which size to get? Here is a helpful post about which Cricut Easypress 2 size to buy.

7. EasyPress Mat

Whilst a heat mat is not essential (you can use a folded towel as well), it really does help to simply your heat press process.

The heat mat helps to eliminate moisture and also directs heat to the iron-on design. It also shields your work surface from damaging heat and moisture.

The Cricut mat is available in three sizes, pick one that is larger than your press.

Click here to grab one of these handy heat mats.

8. Cricut Mug-Press

Cricut Mug Press

The Cricut Mug Press is Cricut's latest machine added to their range of presses. If you think that you will be creating sublimation mugs then this is definitely a machine that you should consider.

You can use the press with mugs or tumblers that are suitable for sublimation printing, and if you do not have a sublimation printer then you can use Cricut Infusible Ink sheets (you can read more about infusible ink sheets further down).

If the Cricut Mug Press is for you, you can get yours here.

Must-Have Cricut Supplies for the Explore 3

Now, you might have just purchased all the Cricut Explore 3 tools and accessories that you will need, but what about the actual supplies that you will need to purchase.

Here is a list of some of my favorite crafting supplies:

1. Smart Materials

Smart Vinyl

Cricut's Smart Materials range is what you can use when you want to use your cutting machine without a cutting mat.

All you have to do when using these materials is load the material directly into your Cricut Explore 3 and press go! 

Smart Materials come in a variety of material types. The most popular materials include Cricut Smart VinylCricut Smart Iron-On, and Cricut Smart Cardstock.

2. Adhesive Vinyl

Adhesive Vinyl is a fabulous product to have on hand. You will use this vinyl for things such as sign making, decorating glassware, home decor projects and so much more.

Adhesive vinyl comes in a large variety of colors, as well as specialty types. You can also purchase the adhesive vinyl in Cricut's range of Smart Materials.

Whilst you can buy the vinyl from Cricut, I prefer to buy the bundle packs from Amazon. It works out much cheaper and I find it just as easy to cut, weed, transfer and apply.

Here is my favorite bundle of Adhesive Vinyl on Amazon that is perfect for beginners.

3. Transfer Tape

If you are working with adhesive vinyl, you will also need some special transfer tape for vinyl decals.

Transfer tape is ideal for transferring your adhesive vinyl from the mat to the surface that you wish to apply the vinyl decal to.

Again whilst I do have Cricut transfer tape, I absolutely love this bulk roll transfer tape from Amazon (and it is so much cheaper too!).

4. Heat Transfer Vinyl or Cricut Iron-On

Iron-On Vinyl (or HTV) is my favorite product, you can apply this to fabric such as t-shirts, tote bags, aprons, etc. You can also apply it to wood and metal as well.

Again, you can find it in a variety of colors and speciality types. I really love the glitter range, but you can get foil, patterned, holographic and more.

You can also purchase Cricut Iron-On in the Smart Materials range of products.

This bulk pack from Amazon is a great buy for beginners. The vinyl is easy to cut, weed and apply. You will love it.

5. Felt

Felt is ideal for kids' crafts, stuffed animal toys, textured baby decor and more. You can easily cut felt (that has a backing on it – so stiffened felt) with the Deep Point Blade. Find a list of Cricut felt projects here.

Grab some Cricut Felt here.

6. Chipboard

If you want to try out the Cricut Deep Point Blade, you might want to grab some Chipboard.

You can use chipboard to create some puzzles, photo frames, or to design some 3D models.

Grab some Cricut Chipboard here.

7. Cricut Infusible Ink Sheets & Markers

Cricut Infusible Ink

Cricut's infusible ink sheets are great to work with. You can use them with Cricut's range of infusible blanks like baby onesies, t-shirts, mugs, coasters and so much more.

The great thing about Infusible Ink Sheets is that you can also use them on any other sublimation blank because the sheets are essentially pre-printed sublimation sheets.

Cricut also has a great range of infusible ink markers.

7. Paper and Cardstocks

Cricut Paper

Lastly, is the essentials. Grab some Cricut Paper, cardstock, and specialty papers here.

Cricut Explore 3 Everything Materials Bundle

Cricut Maker 3 Everything Materials Bundle Sale

And lastly, we also recommend Cricut Explore 3 bundles as they offer such fabulous dollar-saving value. Not only that but it includes a lot of the tools and supplies that I spoke about above, and you can buy it with one single purchase – nice!

If you haven't purchased your Cricut Explore 3 yet, you can grab a machine and supplies bundle.

This Cricut Explore 3 Everything Materials Bundle above contains everything you usually get when you buy the machine only as well as the following:

  • Smart Vinyl – 3′ Removable Sampler – Red, White, Black
  • Smart Vinyl – 3′ Removable Sampler – Grass, Ocean, Maize Yellow
  • Smart Vinyl – 3′ Permanent Sampler – Red, White, Black
  • Smart Vinyl – Permanent Matte Metallic, Champagne – 3 ft
  • Smart Vinyl – Permanent Matte Metallic, Silver – 3 ft
  • Transfer Tape (21 ft)
  • Smart Iron-On – Holographic, Blue – 3 ft
  • Smart Iron-On – Glitter, Gold – 3 ft
  • Smart Iron-On – Glitter, Silver – 3 ft
  • Smart Paper™ Sticker Cardstock, Bright Bow
  • Multi-Pen Set, Black (5 ct.)
  • Essential Tool Set
  • Basic Tool Set

You can check out this awesome bundle on Cricut.

There are so many more things you could purchase to compliment your Cricut Explore 3, but these are the ones that I pick up most often and that I have found to be valuable for my crafting process.

If you have any tools that you love, please leave us a comment below.

Where to next? Now that you have your machine, tools, and supplies, it is time to get the machine set up. Here is our beginner's guide on how to use Cricut Explore 3.

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