Welcome back! So happy to have you here to talk about the tools and accessories that make using your Cricut worlds easier.

I don’t know about you, but anytime I try to do something without the right tools I always regret it. It never comes out like I want it to and it is always harder than it needs to be. More effort for a less desirable outcome. You would think I would learn! Today I want to introduce you to some products you absolutely need to use your Explore, and some that are just fun add-ons.


Your machine comes with the 12x12 standard grip green mat. There are also two other strengths of mats available- a blue light grip and a purple strong grip. Each of the three strengths also come in the larger size of 12x24 and there are even multipacks available.

Blue light grip is great for lighter weight materials like light cardstock, regular office paper, vellum, etc. The green standard grip mat is recommended for cardstock, iron on, vinyl, window cling and washi tape. The purple strong grip mat is for items like glitter cardstock, thick cardstock, fabric and poster board.

You will find that there is some overlap as far as what works for each type of material but keep in mind that if the material is thin, a light grip mat is going to make it easier to remove from the mat without tearing. If your material is thicker like a glitter cardstock, you need that extra strong grip to hold it tight in place so it doesn’t move during the cutting process. 

Want a reference guide to keep near your machine to remind you of what mat to use for each material? Click here to download our guide!


Your machine comes with a German carbide blade. This type of blade is better than the original blades that were used with previous machines. While a regular Cricut blade will work in your machine, a German Carbide Blade is the recommended blade. They cost slightly more but are well worth it since they cut better and last longer.

Another blade you may want to consider getting is the deep-cut blade. The first time you purchase a deep cut blade you will need to purchase the deep cut housing. (Make sure it is the deep cut housing for the EXPLORE, not the previous version that has the dial with numbers on it that was for previous models.) 

The deep cut blade is recommended when cutting materials like magnet sheets, chipboard, foam, fabric, felt, etc. It is made of a stronger steel and is angled at 60 degrees instead of 45 degrees like the regular blade.


After mats and blades, the tools you need really depend on what type of projects you are going to be making with your machine. 

I would recommend purchasing one of two tool kits for new users and then adding on from there.

One option is the basic tool kit. It includes five essential diy tools with interchangeable end caps to match your machine color.
It has:
Scissors micro tip blade precision point
Spatula lift images from mat- angled head of spatula to life under
Tweezers-reverse Grip feature lift and secure in one step. Squeeze handle to open and release pressure to clamp together use to pick. Up small embellishments and to secure projects as adhesive dries
Scraper- scrape materials and clean mat
Weeder kiss cut tip of Weeder to remove negative pieces and can even use the curved section to keep intricate cuts in place

The second option is the Essentials Tool Kit. Is has the five tools included in the basic tool kit, but also has the Cricut 12” trimmer and the scoring tool.

Let's look at tools that are recommended for two (very broad) categories of projects: vinyl and papercrafting.

Vinyl Projects
If you are wanting to use your machine for vinyl or iron on vinyl (also called HTV- heat transfer vinyl) there are some tools and accessories that you will need.

There are a few types of vinyl to choose from. Cricut vinyl and Cricut outdoor vinyl, Oracle vinyl: 631 and 651 are the most common.
Heat transfer vinyl- Cricut and Siser

Weeding tool kit
Transfer tape
Large scraper
Iron or heat press

Papercrafting Projects

Scoring tool
Paper crafting set
Pens (One will need the adapter)
(Link to pens that will work in the Cricut Explore)