You may have heard some of us in the crafting community talking about the extreme versatility of Cricut cutting machines. But how do they work? Well the versatility we speak of comes with the Cricut's use of special cartridges. These cartridges contain patterns and fonts which the Cricut then translates onto you chosen material. The machines each come with a specific cartridges but additional cartridges can be bought separately. The more you have the more uses you will have for your Cricut machine. Owning a large set will obviously expand the versatility of your Cricut machine.

The 5 Categories of CartridgesJubilee Font Cartridge

There are essentially five different categories of Cricut cartridges. There are the standard font cartridges and shape cartridges, and more specifically the licensed cartridges, the Classmate cartridge range and the cheaper Solutions cartridge range. With any of these ranges, crafters are sure to discover cartridges that evolve their use of the Cricut machines and add variety to their crafting experience.

Cricut font cartridges contain text designs. Each Cricut cartridge contains a font, or typeface. Basically this means that it holds an entire alphabet of specifically designed letters, the building blocks to create words and phrases as you wish, in exactly the same way as you would create words in a certain font on your computer. In addition, some cartridges might contain more than one typeface and a few images to use alongside them. Fonts range from cute and whimsical to basic and practical. The most popular of these cartridges are the Calligraphy Collection, All Mixed Up, and the brilliant Opposites Attract cartridge.
Doodlecharms Shape Cricut Cartridge
Shape cartridges, on the other hand, contain shapes and images. One example of this is the Wild Card cartridge, which contains shapes useful in creating cards and envelopes. These cartridges have wide reaching appeal and a variety of themes.

More specific themes can be found in the Licensed Cricut cartridge range. Unlike other cartridges these might not necessarily contain only a font or only shapes. It is common for them to contain a mixture of both, often focused around a central theme. These themes include popular T.V characters like Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. Images relating to these themes can be harder to find than most because of the copyrights attached to them.

For teachers there is the Classmate cartridge range. The people at Cricut recognize that teachers often have unique crafting needs of their own and have created this range accordingly. It is especially good for creating bulletin boards and wall displays.
Geography teachers will find the 50 States cartridge useful, whilst elementary school would prefer the Cursive 101 cartridge.
Indie Art Solutions Cartridge
Last, but by no means least, is the Solutions range, this has been specifically designed for crafters on a budget. Solutions cartridges do not offer as many designs as other, more expensive ranges, but the wide variety of styles is still a feature. Themes are in abundance and at a lower cost than you would be otherwise expected to pay. Most cartridges carry a recommended retail price of around $90. Solutions cartridges on the other hand are available for around the $50 mark, depending on where you buy. The Solutions range is a great way to create a varied collection of cartridges without breaking the bank.

The huge number of Cricut cartridges available create an almost limitless abundance of design capabilities. New cartridges are being created continuously, creating yet more possibilities for users to enjoy. So now you know just what it is we mean when we say that the Cricut offers extreme versatility. What's even better is the new Gypsy Cricut is compatible with all cartridges, from the first one, all the way through the newest one.