I recently got a Cricut Explore Air machine, and I’ve been experimenting with it a lot lately and getting to know it. I’ve always been curious about a Cricut – I’ve heard so many good things about them, and how they can totally open up a whole new world in DIY projects! Today I’m sharing with you a sweet gold foil heart plate and Mr & Mrs mugs project just in time for Valentine’s Day, plus I’m giving you some step-by-step instructions on how to make vinyl decals with the Cricut Explore Air. Ready to wow yourself?! I think you’ll be surprised at how easy and versatile a Cricut machine is!

DIY Gold Foil Heart Plate and Mr & Mrs Mugs with the Cricut Explore Air

Before I had a Cricut of my own, my perception of the machine was limited. I knew that it cut vinyl and paper, but I always thought you had to have cartidges or dyes to make anything, and that you were really limited with design. As a graphic designer, it’s important to me to be able to customize my designs as much as possible.

DIY Gold Foil Heart Plate and Mr & Mrs Mugs with the Cricut Explore Air

When I received the Cricut Explore Air, I was SO pleasantly surprised! YES, there are a TON of pre-designed projects you can find on Cricut’s Design Space (an online hub where you can find designs, fonts and save your own designs), but you can also make your own projects in a program of your choosing and import it into the Design Space.

DIY Gold Foil Heart Plate and Mr & Mrs Mugs with the Cricut Explore Air

I love to use Adobe Illustrator to create my own graphics, so I can create something completely custom there and export it as an SVG file to use with my Cricut.

DIY Gold Foil Heart Plate and Mr & Mrs Mugs with the Cricut Explore Air

This sweet heart plate and mugs design was made right in Cricut Design Space, however! I found their editor to be extremely easy to use and quite versatile.

Are you like me and new to a Cricut Explore Air machine? Let me show you how to make this gorgeous Valentine plate and mug set in a detailed step-by-step tutorial.

DIY Gold Foil Heart Plate and Mr & Mrs Mugs with the Cricut Explore Air

You’ll Need:

DIY Gold Foil Heart Plate and Mr & Mrs Mugs with the Cricut Explore Air

To begin, open up the design I made on Cricut Design Space on your computer. Make sure your computer is connected to your Cricut Explore Air via Bluetooth. You can find out how to do that here.

DIY Gold Foil Heart Plate and Mr & Mrs Mugs with the Cricut Explore Air

Smooth a piece of adhesive gold foil onto a StandardGrip Adhesive Cutting Mat. You’ll need at least a 6″ x 12″ piece of gold foil for this project. Line up the foil with the grid on the mat as best you can.

DIY Gold Foil Heart Plate and Mr & Mrs Mugs with the Cricut Explore Air

Load your mat with the foil into your Cricut Machine, set the machine to the “Vinyl” setting, and send your design to the machine to start cutting. I find the program quite user-friendly, but if you’re having troubles sending your design from your computer to your Cricut, you can visit their Help site here.

DIY Gold Foil Heart Plate and Mr & Mrs Mugs with the Cricut Explore Air

It’s so neat to watch the machine cut the foil with the design! My girls love to watch the process too. Once the design is cut onto your foil, it will unload from the Cricut and it will look like this.

DIY Gold Foil Heart Plate and Mr & Mrs Mugs with the Cricut Explore Air

The next part is called “weeding”. This is where you take all of the excess foil off of your design that you don’t want on your final product. I pull the majority off carefully with my fingers….

DIY Gold Foil Heart Plate and Mr & Mrs Mugs with the Cricut Explore Air

… and then I use Cricut’s small, pointy weeding tool to remove the rest.

DIY Gold Foil Heart Plate and Mr & Mrs Mugs with the Cricut Explore Air

This next part’s really neat! Use this stuff called “Transfer Tape”, and cut it to about the same size as your foil / vinyl design.

DIY Gold Foil Heart Plate and Mr & Mrs Mugs with the Cricut Explore Air

Then, peel the backing off of the transfer tape, lay it carefully over your foil design, and smooth it down firmly with the Cricut scraper tool.

DIY Gold Foil Heart Plate and Mr & Mrs Mugs with the Cricut Explore Air

Carefully lift the foil design off of its backing by gently pulling the tape up and over, then transfer the tape + the design to your mug or plate. It works well to position the center of the design onto your product, and then gently spread it out from there.

DIY Gold Foil Heart Plate and Mr & Mrs Mugs with the Cricut Explore Air

Once the design is lightly placed on your item, smooth it down firmly with the scraper.

DIY Gold Foil Heart Plate and Mr & Mrs Mugs with the Cricut Explore Air

Finally, gently peel off the transfer tape, making sure that your foil / vinyl stays in place on  your mug.

DIY Gold Foil Heart Plate and Mr & Mrs Mugs with the Cricut Explore Air

Smooth any stray or bumpy pieces as needed with the scraper tool, and you have a gorgeous new mug! I used this same process for the heart plate and the other “Mr” mug.

Aren’t these sweet, and doesn’t the Cricut Explore Air make this project super-duper easy?!

DIY Gold Foil Heart Plate and Mr & Mrs Mugs with the Cricut Explore Air

I can’t WAIT to continue experimenting with my machine and to come up with more exciting projects to share with you.

DIY Gold Foil Heart Plate and Mr & Mrs Mugs with the Cricut Explore Air

(P.S. I’ve made a few adhesive gold foil decorated mugs over the past few months, and so far they hold up well when either hand washed or washed in the top rack of my dishwasher.)

Tell me: Have YOU ever tried a Cricut machine? If not, would you like to and why?   

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.