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
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.
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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 a harder, more durable steel blade.
It is perfect for cutting materials such as Magnets, 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 materials 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.
4. Cricut Pens
Cricut pens are used to draw shapes and 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.
Cricut makes a great range of pens for the Cricut Explore 3 that include:
- Glitter Gel Pens in Opaque, Neon and Rainbow
- Watercolor Marker & Brush (for making watercolor effect designs)
- Metallic Pens
- Extra Fine Ink Pens
- Washable Fabric Pens
- Infusible Ink Pens
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.
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
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.
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.
3. Cricut Brayer
The Cricut Brayer is essential to smooth out your material over your mat. Especially handy for 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 basics tool set here.
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.
6. Cricut EasyPress 3/AutoPress/EasyPress Mini
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 3 instead. The EasyPress 3 comes in two sizes, 9×9″ or 12×10″. I love my EasyPress and I am sure you will too!
You can set the temperature and time electronically or you can use Bluetooth connectivity and wirelessly connect to the Cricut Heat App. Once connected you simply select your materials and the app will set the time and temperature for your EasyPress.
Think that you will want a press that can handle a lot of pressing and large items with a professional end product. Then the Cricut AutoPress may just want you are looking for!
This is the latest press released by Cricut and really lives up to its name of being an AutoPress as it is so easy to use and does a lot of the hard work for you!
Here is a quick summary of the main features of the Cricut Autopress:
- Manually set both the time and temperature using the control pod.
- Automatically adjusts pressure for materials up to 2 in (5 cm) thick.
- Heats up to 400 °F (205 °C).
- Large heat plate 15 in x 12 in (38 cm x 30 cm).
- The heat press has an Auto-off safety feature to switch off when inactive for 13 minutes.
- It delivers professional results.
The only downside to this amazing heat press is the price! If you want to find out more about the Cricut Autopress that is making waves, then read our full and honest review here!
Now if you are going to be making small items that are not flat like t-shirts, cushion covers or totes, the Cricut EasyPress Mini is just what you need.
It is like a mini iron and is great for applying Iron-On to those awkwardly shaped items like shoes, stuffed toys, and more!
Not sure which size to get? Here is a helpful post about which Cricut Easypress 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.
8. Cricut Mug-Press
The Cricut Mug Press is one of the latest heat press machines 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.
9. Cricut Hat Press
Making customized hats using Iron-On or Infusible Ink has never been easier with the Cricut Hat Press. This is the heat press machine that has been missing from Cricut's range of presses and is a great must-have accessory!
The Hat Press has Bluetooth connectivity like EasyPress 3 which makes the process of applying Iron-On to hats so much easier.
It has a curved ceramic coated heat plate, with edge-to-edge heating to ensure that your design receives equal heat when pressing, resulting in professional designs.
It can be used on different hat types like caps, bucket hats, and visors as it comes with a Hat Pressing Mold to ensure you get the desired pressure when pressing.
If making hats is your thing, then you can grab your Cricut Hat Press 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
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!
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.
If you want to create some cool wall decals that light up at night then make sure to look at Cricut's Glow-In-the-Dark removable vinyl.
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.
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 specialty types. I really love the glitter range, but you can get foil, patterned, holographic, and more.
Cricut also has a great Glow-In-the-Dark Iron On vinyl – perfect for creating great effects when the lights are off!
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.
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.
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.
7. Cricut Infusible Ink Sheets & Markers
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.
>>> Read our Ultimate Beginners Guide to Cricut Infusible Ink to learn more about Infusible Ink!
If you love a great deal like us, you will be pleased to know that you can get this great material in an Infusible Ink Set so that you will have everything you need to get crafting with Infusible Ink.
7. Paper and Cardstocks
Lastly, is the essentials. Grab some Cricut Paper, cardstock, and specialty papers here.
Cricut Explore 3 Everything Materials Bundle
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
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.