The Cricut Knife Blade is finally available! This post will answer your most burning questions about this new tool, including how to use, what materials it can cut, and where to get your hands on one.
Oh my gosh, you guys! The day is finally here. We have been waiting so long for Cricut to release it’s knife blade. It’s been the most frequently asked question ever since the Maker launched last summer. Cricut took it’s time perfecting and exacting the tool, and it’s finally ready for us all to play with. But… where do we start?
I was one of the lucky few who got to try the Cricut knife blade in May, when I travelled to their headquarters. We were able to create several projects with the blade, and received a full day of education, all dedicated to this new tool. And today, I am here to answer your most pressing questions about the cricut knife blade, and give you some important info before you start using it.
The Cricut Knife Blade requires patience.
Think about the materials you would use the knife blade to cut. These are often thicker materials that will require the knife blade to make multiple cut passes. Projects using the knife blade are not last minute, quick projects that we have come to expect from our Cricut. But, to hand cut these materials would also take a long time and a lot of patience. It is a bit of a mindset shift for most Cricut users, myself included, but trust me – the time is well worth it. After the first pass, Design Space will let you know how many passes are required and an estimated time.
The Cricut Knife Blade can only be used on a desktop or laptop.
The Cricut Design Space app is amazing and I love how it lets me design projects on the go. However, the knife blade is not the tool for that. As discussed, knife blade projects involve thicker materials that require several cut passes, and wi-fi is not always the most reliable option for that. Imagine cutting expensive leather for 20 minutes, with only a few passes left to go, and your wifi cuts out for a few moments. Your machine will error out, and you will have to start over, wasting valuable time and material. For that reason, Cricut has designed the knife blade for use only with a desktop or laptop computer, and strongly recommends using the cord instead of a bluetooth connection.
The Cricut Knife Blade requires some machine prep before starting.
The first time you receive your knife blade, you will need to calibrate the blade to your machine. This is a very easy process done in Design Space. In the sandwich menu (top left corner), choose calibration and follow the on screen prompts. Once calibrated, you will need to move the little white star wheels that are on your Cricut roller. These normally act to press the material down, but since the knife blade will be cutting thicker materials, we don’t want to leave an indent. If you switch back to a fine tip blade or rotary wheel, just move the wheels back, spacing apart equally (around 2.2″, but they don’t need to be exact).
The Cricut Knife Blade cuts up to 10.5″ x 23.5″ and as small as 0.75″.
The traditional cut size on the Cricut Maker is 11.5″ (12″ mat with a 0.25″ cut border), but because we have to move the star wheels, that narrows the cutting width by an inch to 10.5″. It can still use the 12″ and the 24″ mats, so the length can be up to 23.5″.
The Cricut Knife Blade cuts materials up to 3/32″ thick.
What will the Cricut knife Blade cut is the other big question, and I am so happy to tell you that it cuts a lot! During our training session at Cricut, we cut leather (both garment and tooling leather), Cricut chipboard*, and balsa and bass wood. We were able to view stunning projects that the Cricut designers had created using the knife blade. It blew our minds. As with the Maker, they are still qualifying materials and settings and constantly adding them to the cut settings in Design Space, but as of release, the Cricut Knife Blade can cut:
- Cricut chipboard* (2mm thick)
- craft foam (up to 3mm thick)
- leather, garment and tooling (up to 5-6 oz)
- balsa wood (up to 3/32″ thick)
- basswood (up to 1/16″ thick)
- matboard (2 ply and 4 ply)
*The Cricut Knife Blade will only cut Cricut brand chipboard. (And I know what you are thinking, this is a marketing tactic, but it actually isn’t.) Chipboard is made with recycled materials, which means it is not a solid material. Most chipboards are more “pulpy” than the Cricut brand. (Is pulpy even a word? I don’t know how else to describe it.) Cricut’s chipboard was designed specifically for the knife blade and is made of a more homeogenous material (but still recycled!) that holds up better to the strong pressure exerted by the knife blade.
The Cricut Knife Blade uses the purple, StrongGrip mat.
Remember when the Maker launched, and Cricut talked about it’s pressure capabilities, and people like myself thought “yeh, I don’t care about the technical stuff, just cut my paper and fabric and iron on?” Well that’s where this pressure capability comes into play. To cut materials like balsa wood and mat board, the machine exerts a large amount of force on the material itself.
Make sure your material is stuck really well to your mat to avoid shifting, using a StrongGrip mat that is new(ish) and still has a strong adhesive. Run a brayer over your mat to make sure it is stuck down as well as possible. Then, use a low tack tape (like masking or painters tape) and stick it around all four edges of your mat for extra security. (If you are afraid of it peeling the front of your material, place your material face down and mirror your cut.)
The Cricut Knife Blade is available now!
Perhaps the one nagging question you have throughout this post is “Where can I get my hands on one?!” While Cricut is expecting the knife blade to sell out fast, you can try to grab one at one of these places:
Good luck, and here’s to happy crafting!