Congratulations! You are the proud owner of a Cricut Explore. A world of possibility lies in front of you. Maybe you have grand visions of the amazing parties you will decorate for, or all of the awesome shirts you will make. Home decor, cards, gifts for friends… are not short on project ideas I’m sure. 

But how do you get from that box sitting on your table to your friends saying, “Are you serious? You MADE that?!

First things first, take it out of the box.

I know, I know. I can hear you thinking, “Really lady? I don’t need you to tell me the obvious! I don’t need a tutorial to know I have to take it out of the box.” Just hear me out on this one.

I cannot tell you how many people I talk with that tell me that they have a Cricut Explore and really want to make (insert awesome project idea here), but they haven’t taken it out of the box. There are a long list of reasons why, but most of it comes down to the idea of learning how the machine works is overwhelming, intimidating even. 

Can I just take a minute to stand here and cheer you on? No matter what you are wanting to make with your machine, I promise, together we can figure it out! As with anything in life, you just have to hold your breath and jump in. Take it out of the box.

Will it be a breeze? No. Will you mess up? Yes. In the end I am sure you will agree with me that it was totally worth it and you will wish you had started sooner.  Are you convinced yet? 

What's in the box?

Let’s look at what you need to do to get your machine set up after you take it out of the box.

The items in the box depend on what model of Explore you purchased and whether it was a bundle or not. We will look at the basics that come with every machine. 

In the box you will find:

  • Machine and carry bag

  • Power cord

  • USBCord

  • Blade and housing (preinstalled)

  • Standard grip (green) 12x12 mat

  • Pen and pre-installed accessory adapter (all models except the Explore One)

  • Getting started guide

Decide where to set up your machine.

There are a few things to consider before deciding where to set up your machine. 

How will you use your machine? Will you store it and bring it out when you are going to use it, or will you leave it out and set up all the time?

If your machine is not bluetooth enabled or you plan to cut connected to your computer, obviously you will need to be close enough to be connected through the USB cord. 

You also need to make sure you have enough room behind the machine to allow the cutting mat to pass completely through to the back when cutting. While it may look nice on a bookshelf, it won’t work for when you are actually cutting. Make sure wherever you are working that it has an extra 10 to 12 inches or so behind the machine.

Let’s look at the anatomy of the Explore.

photo copyright of Cricut


Power up and let’s go!

Plug the round end of the power pack to the power port on the back of the machine. Plug it into the wall.

Next plug the square end of the USB cord into the USB port on the back of the machine with the USB symbol facing up. Next plug the rectangular end into a USB port on your computer.

Turn on your machine.


While there are apps available, you will need to do this step on your actual computer.

Go to

You will see a welcome screen. Click on the button that says “get started”.


Next you need to download the Cricut plugin. This allows the computer to communicate with your machine. Once it downloads you will need to open or run the plugin.

The Cricut installer will open on the screen. Select next to set up.

Accept the term of use and select ‘install’. Click ‘done’ on the installer and then continue on the screen.


If you already have a Cricut ID from the website or a previous machine, go ahead and enter it here. Your Cricut ID stays with you across all devices.

If you don’t have one already, select ‘Create A Cricut ID’. Enter the information asked. The email address will be your ID. Add a password, accept the terms of use, and select ‘Create Cricut ID’ to finish the process.

Your machine will have a trial to Cricut Access included with the purchase. When you accept the free gifts on the screen the trial and any additional images or projects that came with your machine will be available. (Want to know what Access includes? See the details here.)

Now you are ready to get started. 


Do you want to use your machine wirelessly? To do so you need to find the settings on your computer and make sure that bluetooth is turned ON. On my Mac I go to system preferences and select bluetooth.

If you have the original Cricut Explore or the Explore One you will need to purchase the bluetooth adapter separately. The Cricut Explore Air and Air 2 have bluetooth built in.

Now you can play!

If your machine came with some extra materials for a sample project and you want to give it a try, go ahead. Hop over to the Facebook group and let us celebrate with you!

Watch your inbox tomorrow for lesson number two where we cover the tools and accessories that make your Cricut experience a whole lot easier. See you then!


Welcome back for day two of your Getting Started with Cricut Explore email course. So happy to see you here!

Now that we have our machine set up and Design Space loaded on our computers, let's take a look at the Design Space 3 program.

Since it is web based, your projects will sync across all of your devices and apps. I love to sit on the couch while my husband watches TV (and I pretend to!) and explore new images or design for future projects. 

Let's go over the basics of Design Space 3 and what you will see on your screen.

Cricut Design Space 3
Cricut Design Space 3