Cricut pens are expensive but today, I’m going to show you how you can use any pen on the Cricut Maker for any project. This free tutorial is perfect for your next beautiful idea.
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I absolutely love my Cricut Maker but I’m not a fan of how expensive the Cricut brand pens are. The only time it’s worth buying them is when they go on sale at your favorite craft store, but even then, Cricut doesn’t go on sale very often.
My mother-in-law and husband surprised me with a Cricut for Christmas (you can grab some awesome tips to eliminate overwhelm on your Cricut and read all about the surprise HERE). I soon found out how pricey projects can quickly become if you don’t already have the crafts on hand.
And expensive when you have little children isn’t in our family’s vocabulary.
So my husband decided to take on a project for me and found a way where anyone can use any pen on the Cricut Maker.
And today, we are going to show you how!
How To Use Any Pen on the Cricut Maker (A DIY Tutorial)
- Handsaw (this one would be great if you don’t have one at your house already).
- Measuring tape
- Permanent marker
- You’ll need 1-inch and 5/16th exact measurement of a 1/2-inch SDR 11 CPVC Tubing (you can easily find this in your local hardware store. We spend less than $3 on 10 feet. Unfortunately they didn’t sell smaller sizes in our store).
- Sandpaper (my husband used medium grit for this project and it worked like a charm).
- A drill with drill bit size 11/64″
- Thumb screw #10 – 24 x 1/2-inch
I’m a visual person and need to see things to better understand what in the world is happening. With that in mind, this is what the long piping looks like for when you go shopping at the hardware store.
We spent less than $3 for about 10 feet.
You’ll first want to measure exactly 1-inch and 5/16th in length for the pen guard you’ll be making. Mark your measurement with a permanent marker and safely saw your piece off.
This piece alone will become your new best friend for your Cricut machine and will save you a ton of money.
This is what your final pipe piece should look like. Don’t worry if the line you sawed isn’t straight.
If you saw from the end of the pipe then the tip of your smaller piece will be straight and will become your base on your Cricut machine.
Get out your drill with an 11/64-inch drill bit size and one thumb screw (#10 – 24 x 1/2-inch.)
As a side note, the thumb screws can easily be found at your local hardware store and are significantly cheaper versus shopping online – just F.Y.I.
You’ll want to drill a small hole for the thumb screw to securely fit (about 1/8-1/4-inch of the way down the pipe piece – you can see in the picture where we drilled our hole). Remember to put the flattest end of the pipe facing towards the bottom.
Place the thumb screw in the pipe and turn clockwise a few turns to make sure this piece is secure.
You want the feel to be “snug” not “oh-my-goodness-this-is-crazy-tight-I’ll-never-use-this-in-my-life.”
Now is the time to get out a sheet of sandpaper.
(Just to let you know you’re nearly done. Yay!)
Sand the opposite side of pipe from the thumb screw all the way down. (You can see the pattern and thickness of how our pipe was sanded).
DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP!
If you don’t sand the pipe then your project will not work on your Cricut Maker. The smooth portion of the pipe will be placed securely and snuggly against your Cricut machine. This will allow the Cricut to move the pipe safely and smoothly up and down when using your pens.
When you’re done with the sanding, feel free to decorate your new piece with some cute washi tape. I love my “Happily Ever After” with gold trim. It makes me smile.
Now For The Pen Test
How do you know what pens work best and how to effectively use this new Cricut tool you created?
Carefully remove the standard Cricut pen case from your machine and place your new pen case with the sanded side facing the back of the machine (your thumb screw should be facing towards you).
Place a colored pencil below your machine for measurement purposes. The thickness of your pencil is the height that you want the tip of your pen to rest on. (See picture above for a closer look).
Securely tighten your pen in your pen case (have the pen rest on the colored pencil). You want your pen to be snug, not death gripped.
Select the design you want to create (whether it’s from the Cricut Design Space or one you created) and let your imagination go crazy.
As a word of caution towards your pens…if you put the pen too tightly into your DIY pen holder, you’ll notice some marks and possibly cracks in plastic pen cases.
This doesn’t damage the pen at all, it just makes the pen look a bit scruffy.
With that in mind, please use this tutorial at your own risk. If you do everything properly as described in this post, you should be able to use any pen on your Cricut machine.
I have some adorable washi tape I can decorate your pipe with, including the one I use on my machine.
Don’t forget to share this article with someone who has a Cricut machine and wants to learn how to use more pens for their crafts.
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