This is a tutorial for how to remove the Cricut pen holder and use your own DIY pen adapter for non-Cricut branded pens and pencils.
I know I know, the Cricut pen hack is an old one. I just haven’t gotten around to it yet because I wasn’t really inspired to do so. The Cricut pens and markers are not that expensive and they covered most of my Cricut writing needs. I didn’t feel the need to save a buck on markers and tear up by existing adapter.
That was until now. The idea of painting with my Cricut has been brewing for some time in the back of my mind. I’ve been on a bit of watercolor kick lately so I finally took the plunge and decided to try that Cricut pen adapter hack in an attempt to explore new crafting frontiers with my Cricut.
I’d say the results weren’t bad!
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So there are many ways to do use your own Cricut pen adapter. I will show you a few of my recommendations.
Before I go into the plus and minuses of various pen adapter hacks, I want to go over how to remove the existing pen adapter on the Cricut A clamp.
The tube that is holding the pen is held in place by a tiny nub around where the clamp closes. You just sort of wiggle it out. I found the easiest way is to pot it up with your middle finger and thumb. If it is really stuck, you can apply some counterforce using your thumb on the outside of the clamp brace.
After you’ve removed the Cricut pen holder, place a Cricut branded pen inside as a point of reference. We will come back to this in a little bit.
Premade Cricut Pen Adapter
I highly recommend just buying one of these Cricut Pen Adapter sets like the one I have featured in the photos. It will make self calibration much easier.
Most of these Adapter sets cover all the standard pens and markers people want to use with the Cricut. All except the ones I wanted to use which were pencils and watercolor brush pens.
To expand the reach of your adapter set, you can do a few things. For which ever writing device you want to use that doesn’t have a standard adapter, just pick the next one up. You want to make sure the tip reaches at least where the existing Cricut pen reaches with the holder if not more.
Here with the pencil, the holder was slightly bigger than the pencil circumference. I just wrapped a rubber band a couple of times around the tip and shoved it into the adapter. That created enough grip to hold it in place.
Cricut pencil holder
Another popular method is to use these pencil sleeves. I find this method isn’t that much cheaper and it’s harder to calibrate the depth. If you are going to use this pencil grip sleeve, you might as well just use a rubber band is which free.
How to Paint Watercolors with your Cricut
There are many ways to use watercolors in general so naturally there are many ways to paint watercolors with the Cricut.
I found two techniques there were more Cricut friendly.
The first is to make a lined drawing with a pen and paint around these lines. It creates a certain drawing/painting aesthetic that works will some some these.
To do this, first use a waterproof pen. Here I used just the Cricut branded fine point black pen. It was semi waterproof.
The second technique is to have your Cricut do a sketch using a pencil. Then you can “color” in the pencil sketch with watercolors as you please.
This was my favorite way to painting. I’m not particularly skilled at watercolor painting and my no means know all the techniques but this one was so easy, especially with watercolor pens, I think anyone could do it. I usually start with the lightest color and just paint a few strokes. Then I dilute the color with the water pen. I add to this other shades and continue blending with the water pen. Pretty simple!
Finally, you can just have your Cricut draw with the watercolor brush itself. This takes a little bit of trial and error in terms of color and line thickness. This is great for hand lettering and other more “line” oriented projects.
I’ve created an SVG templates pack for this project that includes the drawings you see featured in these photos along with my single line flourishes and sentiments. These are all free and available in my resource library.