Cricut has a variety of machines available for personal use that each have its own distinct uses. The Cricut Maker is the most expensive of the current models available but has the ability to cut more materials and has a variety of interchangeable tools that are only compatible with this machine. The Explore Air is a diverse powerhouse that is perfect for the DIY crafter. It can cut up to 100+ materials and can handle most projects effortlessly. The Cricut Joy is the most compact of the machines but can cut up to 4 feet in a single shot, and can be used without a mat. The new Cricut Maker 3 and Explore Air 3 machines can also be used without a mat, like the Joy, if using Cricut Smart Materials. I have a Cricut Explore Air and it is the perfect machine for my crafting projects, so I would like to share with you 25 crafting projects that you can make with your Cricut Explore Air 2 or Explore 3.
Easy Cricut Explore Air 2 project ideas for beginners
- The difference between a Cricut Explore Air 2 and Explore 3
- DIY project ideas
- Gift ideas
- Vinyl craft ideas
- Party project ideas
- Printable project ideas
- Kids project ideas
- More Cricut Explore Air 2 design ideas and inspiration
The difference between a Cricut Explore Air 2 and Explore 3
Cricut released their all-new Explore 3 model in June 2021, nearly 5 years after the Cricut Explore Air 2. Many of the features are the same, but there are some key differences between the models. The 2021 model can use Cricut Smart Materials, which allows a continuous cut up to 13″ wide and 12 feet long without the use of a mat. Its predecessor requires a mat for nearly every material, and can only cut 11.5″ x 23.5″ max. The second significance of the newer machine is the ability to cut 2x faster than the Explore Air 2. Cricut has a great comparison of their machines here. If you are new to Cricut machines, check out these quick tutorials to familiarize yourself with this versatile machine:
Cricut Explore Air 2 for Beginners
Getting Started with your Cricut Explore Air 2
How to use your Cricut Explore Air 2
Like I mentioned before, I have a Cricut Explore Air 2 machine that I use for crafting, and it meets all of my needs and then some! I have compiled a comprehensive list of over 25 fun and simple projects that you can make, whether you are a novice or expert crafter.
DIY Project Ideas
You can use printable vinyl and the print and cut feature on your Cricut machine to create colorful labels, stickers, or decals in a variety of shapes and sizes, like the floral watercolor decal. It is such a fun way to spruce up your old appliances. I’m thinking that my coffee pot needs a quippy saying on it.
I love how the creator of this pillow turned a funny saying into a pillow. I always enjoy projects that make me laugh, and you could even create your own saying using a custom font. This is an easy single-layered HTV project with minimal weeding, so I think this is a great beginner project for using heat transfer vinyl.
Using vinyl or heat transfer vinyl on wood is one of my favorite ways to use my Cricut Explore Air 2. I love taking something older and giving it new life, like the wooden serving tray in this tutorial.
Reusable stencils are great for projects with a repeating pattern (like painting a feature wall) but what I use this technique for is to make letter and number stencils for my toddler to practice writing. I even made one for his name (Rylan) that he can trace over and over to practice writing his name before Kindergarten.
This is going to be one of the next projects that I try! I love the use of the Cricut machine to cut out printable magnet sheets. This can be such a great idea for gift-giving, promoting your business, even chore charts.
I’ve made paper flowers, but omgee, these felt flowers look so soft and perfect. Did you know that your machine can cut felt? It is time to try this project! I also love the idea of making cards with 3D felt flowers on top of the cardstock for a unique touch to a handmade card.
I’ve mentioned this before, but making personalized wine glasses for wedding gifts to the Bride and Groom is one of my favorite things to make. Etching is super easy, looks completely professional, and can be done at any glass surface, including stemware, glass plates or bowls, and even baking dishes. Imagine Grandma’s face when she gets a custom-made baking dish from you with her name on it? Creative Fabrica has lots of great free fonts and crafts you can use to create your own!
Another material that your machine can cut is tooling leather, and that’s what is used to make these custom name necklaces. It will require a deep-cut housing and blade, which is an additional tool you can purchase for your Cricut Explore machine.
Why spend $5 on a gift bag that gets tossed out after a single-use, when you can personalize a gift bag that the recipient can use again and again (plus, it is so much cuter)? For a few dollars worth of materials, you can make a truly special gift to put your gift in.
Candles are a great gift and this tutorial will walk you through how to personalize mason jars with HTV. It’s a simple project that creates a big wow factor.
Tumblers are such a great gift and you can truly customize them to your recipient’s personal taste. For some great images to add to your tumbler, there are some great options available here.
This is such a clever gift idea for a wedding or the hard-to-shop-for person in your life. Who doesn’t love money? This tutorial is a wonderful guide to the design and assembly of this unique gift.
Vinyl Craft Ideas
Making hot cocoa mugs was the very first craft I made when I unboxed my Cricut Explore Air 2. I chose it as my first project because I had several blank mugs available to use, wanted to try a single-colored design, and was able to practice using vinyl on a curved surface. It was also Fall, and hot cocoa is a big hit in our house that time of the year!
Blank koozies can be found online and make a great gift or party favor. They can be personalized and are very simple to make.
From Calvin and Hobbs images, to stick figures, to sports logos, car window decals are everywhere. The first thing I made when I bought the new 2022 Kia Carnival MPV was a car window decal for it using the tutorial from The Crafty Blog Stalker.
Party Project Ideas
The reason I wanted a Cricut machine was that I wanted to amp up my kids’ birthday party decor from a 5 to a 10! This party design is so simple but such an eye-catching display! I love the bright colors and simple theme.
Next to weddings, Baby’s First Birthday parties are the largest celebration in my family. It’s the event of the year and deserves custom, hand-made decorations sure to put your cousin’s party to shame.
Using the writing pens from Cricut and an envelope, you can use your machine to create perfectly hand-lettered envelopes. I love doing this for birthday and thank you cards, too.
This is a great project you can adapt for any holiday using a Cricut Explore Air 2 and candy sticks or toothpicks. I love how you can take any image and make it into the perfect cupcake topper. For more holiday design ideas, look here.
There are some fun craft ideas for Easter in this article that are great for the beginner crafter. Check here as well for over 500 Easter crafts and designs.
Printable Project Ideas
Printable HTV is so versatile and easy to use, especially when you follow Jennifer Maker’s video tutorial on how to use it, with great tips and tricks.
Letters to Santa are a tradition with my kids and we do it every year. It’s fun to see how their requests change every year and get ideas of what they really want. I love that there is a free template you can print and use also.
This is a beautiful craft made by Lindsay from Artsy Fartsy Mama. I love the step-by-step guide on how to cut and apply dozens of flowers to create this paper flower wreath.
Following the previous project idea, but on a much smaller scale, these 3D paper flower magnets are so beautiful and I love that they were put on magnets for added versatility. I think it would be great to try to make these 3D paper flowers and attach them to push-pins for a corkboard too! You can also find lots of beautiful 3D projects here.
I have to admit that I am a planner, and although I love my iPhone for almost everything in my life, I prefer to have a paper planner that I keep in my purse. I have 4 kids and my planner is color-coordinated so that I know what is happening with each kids’ schedule (plus mine and my husbands’ schedule, too). These planner stickers are right up my alley because they can be personalized for your family, lifestyle, specific events or appointments, and more!
Kids Project Ideas
If you are having a big family soiree, chances are that kids will be there and this craft is such a cool way to use your Cricut Explore Air 2 to draw and cut coloring cards for your tiny guests.
Piggybacking off the same idea as above, this design is geared towards Valentine’s Day and you can add paint, crayons, markers, or pens to this card.
I have made this project for my 11-year-old step-daughter and she loved it. I added her name to it as well using bubble letters so that she can color her name in also. What a fun gift for kids (or adults!).
More Cricut Explore Air 2 Design Ideas and Inspiration
- Projects Ideas from Creative Fabrica
- Beginner-Friendly DIY Projects for Cricut Explore Air 2:
- Cricut Explore Air 2 Projects for Beginners:
Hope you got some inspiration from the many projects listed and you are able to get your creative juices flowing with your Cricut Explore Air 2 or Explore 3 machine.