A year after it was released, the Cricut knife blade is still intimidating to some users. However, this Cricut Maker blade is easier than you think! Read on to learn more about how to use the knife blade. This guide will answer all of your questions on how to use Cricut knife blade.
First of all, some background info: I am an avid knife blade fan. I was lucky enough to be invited to Cricut’s headquarters to receive training before the knife blade launch. I also taught the knife blade class at Cricut’s Mountain Make-a-Thon this past summer. So I have a fair bit of experience with this blade and am very excited to share more of it with you.
Let’s start with the basics. If you missed my introduction post to the Cricut knife blade last year, you will want to start there. This will give you an introduction to the latest blade including specifications and capabilities.
Today, I’m going to share some tips and tricks that will answer the biggest question I receive from readers: “How do I use Cricut knife blade?”
What Does Cricut Knife Blade Cut?
As mentioned in the introductory article, the Cricut knife blade can cut many materials that are too thick for the fine tip or deep cut blade. Many people have asked which materials I like to cut the most, so here are my favourites, along with some tips for cutting them:
- Genuine leather: I have had the most success with leathers up to 5 oz. The knife blade is qualified for up to 7 oz but I find this too stiff and my blade will sometimes get stuck. I try to stick with 5-6 oz leather when possible. (My friend Lindsay, from seeLINDSAY shared a great article that really breaks down how to cut leather with Cricut’s knife blade.)
- Basswood: The knife blade is qualified for up to 1/16″, but I have successfully cut 3/32″ with no problem. I use the 3/32″ balsa setting, and just have it complete extra passes. I used this material to create my Welcome wreath last spring!
- Mat board: I didn’t think I would use mat board much, but I was pleasantly surprised to be wrong. Mat board is a perfect material for making thicker, sturdier items like props or centrepieces. You can also use it create dimension with party decorations.
- Chipboard: As explained in the introductory post, Cricut brand chipboard will yield the best results. I love using chipboard because of how sturdy it is, along with the endless options for creating with it. I made these leather and chipboard keychains (which also used iron on and adhesive vinyl), and I love the cake toppers and tool holders that have also been created using Cricut’s knife blade.
Why does the Knife Blade cuts through my mat?
I have seen and heard this question a lot. This usually seems to happen when cutting chipboard, which actually requires quite a bit of tending. When you tell the Maker you are cutting chipboard, it will set for 20 passes. However, it will rarely take 20. Why? Because chipboard is a little bit finicky. It depends on temperature, climate, and other variables which makes each piece a little different. What does that mean exactly? It means the composition of my chipboard may be different than yours, resulting in a different cut requirements.
So Cricut set the cut passes for 20, however I always start checking the cut around 10 passes. To do this, pause your machine when the mat is mostly extended from the machine. Use a weeding tool to lift the cut piece of the mat. If there is resistance, or it isn’t cut all the way through, continue the cut. If it releases easily, cancel the cut and remove the mat. I like to start checking my chipboard cuts around pass 10. Then I check it regularly (every 1-3 passes, depending on how much was left to cut on the last check.)
Can I use a knife blade with my Explore Air 2?
If I had a nickel for every time I heard this question… let’s just say I would be sipping a pina colada somewhere much warmer right about now. The knife blade only works with the Maker machine, because of the Adaptive Tool System, which you can read more about in my Cricut Maker FAQ post.
Why are my cuts breaking or tearing?
While the fine tip blade can make small and intricate cuts, the knife blade isn’t capable of such small cuts. In order to properly cut the thicker materials, the cuts must be at least 3/4″ thick. If your cuts start to break down (wood may snap, or chipboard may pull apart at the layers), make sure your cuts are over that threshold. Next, make sure you calibrated your knife blade before using it – that will make sure your cuts are in the same place for each pass.
My Maker isn’t detecting my knife blade – what gives?
The biggest reason this happens is when someone tries to use the knife blade from a mobile device. The knife blade can only be used with a laptop or desktop computer. When the user tries to select the knife blade, it won’t appear as a choice. So make sure you are using a computer, and preferably one that is connected to the Maker with a cord rather than through wifi. Next, make sure your blade is calibrated. Finally, and this is one that actually happens more than you would guess. Make sure the clear cap is off of the blade! After all of that, a call to customer service may be your best option.
Do you have any other burning questions about how to use Cricut knife blade? If so, leave them in the comments below, and I would be more than happy to answer them. Lastly, if you’ve created a knife blade project, I would love to see it! Tag me on instagram (@simplycraftedlife) and check back in next week when I share my latest knife blade project with you.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.