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Are Cricut Cartridges Universal? A Simple Guide with Answers

Cricut cartridges contain thousands of themed designs ready for cutting. If you’ve ever owned or seen a Cricut cartridge, you’ll know that they can be gold for most crafters when it comes to designing.

But are Cricut cartridges universal across machines?

We have the answer to that question, and more about these discontinued Cricut cartridges, below.

Cricut cartridges are universal, but some machines will require the use of an adapter. These cartridges can only be linked once to an account and cannot be unlinked. While some may consider them to be outdated, Cricut cartridges can actually be a great starting point if your creativity is blocked.

If you’re interested in learning more about Cricut cartridges, how they work, and what all you can do with them, keep reading. These itty-bitty cartridges might be the inspiration you’re looking for.

What are Cricut Cartridges and How Do They Work?

Cricut 2002175 Winter Wonderland Cartridge

Cricut cartridges are the predecessors to the USB drive. They contain themed designs ready to cut out on any of the Cricut machines. Most will have a slot above the “Open” button to plug the Cricut cartridge in.

Many of the designs included on these cartridges are exclusive, such as Disney. Cartridges can also contain fonts. Recently, Cricut has opened up the playing field by offering digital cartridges, which can be purchased online and downloaded straight to your Cricut Design Space account. Though they don’t come in physical form, they are still chock-full of designs.

If you’d like to learn more about what’s available from Cricut when it comes to design cartridges, check out their all-inclusive list of options. Some are available on Cricut’s website, but you can also find them on Amazon and eBay as well.

Are Cricut Cartridges Universal?

Digital Cricut cartridges are universal as long as you’ve registered for a Cricut Design Space account. After all, this is where you’ll be able to make your designs and then send them to (a) your printer and then (b) your Cricut machine of choice.

Physical Cricut cartridges are not completely universal. The Cricut Maker and Explore 3 require the use of an adapter to plug in. However, every other Cricut machine includes a cartridge-ready slot between the built-in cubby and “Open” button on the left side of the machine.

Pros and Cons of Cricut Cartridges

If you’ve never used a Cricut cartridge, you might think they would be obsolete with the Design Space’s ability to upload your own images. However true that might be, these cartridges do offer benefits to all types of Cricut crafters.

For example, beginner Cricut crafters might feel overwhelmed by all the possibilities a Cricut machine can offer. What project should I choose? It’s a question we’ve all asked ourselves. But with the designs available on a cartridge, inspiration can take root.

If you do find Cricut cartridges for sale online, be sure they haven’t been linked to a Design Space account. Once the link’s been made, that particular cartridge is done.

How to Link a Cartridge to Design Space

If you’re in possession of a Cricut design cartridge, the following instructions are a step-by-step guide to linking it to your account and beginning a new design.

  • From a new Design Space project screen, navigate to the “Insert Images” tab.
  • Click the “Cartridges” option from the menu.
  • Choose the appropriate cartridge and start designing!

If you are using an adapter for the Cricut cartridge, your navigation will look a bit different. See the steps below for detailed instructions:

  • After opening a new Cricut Design Space project screen, select the “Account” menu and choose “Link Cartridges.”
  • Insert the cartridge into the adapter and wait until it pops up on the screen as an option.
  • Click the appropriate cartridge to open the available designs.

Cricut has not yet made the cartridges available to link through an iOS or Android device. You must be on a desktop or laptop computer to do so. However, once you do link a Cricut cartridge, you can remove it from the machine. You won’t need it every time you select those designs.

What to Do With Old Cricut Cartridges

Cricut stopped producing the physical design cartridges in 2017. However, you can still buy digital design packs online. But if you do happen to come across a Cricut cartridge, don’t be so quick to get rid of it.

In fact, Cricut cartridges are more valuable than they look. For those crafters looking to jumpstart their creativity, a design cartridge can be invaluable. Certain images only appeared on these cartridges, so they’re exclusive in that sense. Many Cricut fans also collect them as a way to enrich their experience as well.

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Joshua Garcia, Founder

Hi, I'm Joshua. I created Maker Industry to share my passion for maker tools and help others learn about 3D printing, CNC systems, laser cutting and more. Learn More