Trick to Use Any Brand Pen with your Cricut

There is a trick to use any brand pen in your Cricut.  Cricut pens are wonderful, don’t get me wrong.  And you can buy them from Cricut.  They are  expensive and the variety is getting better but it is still bleak.  You can buy cheaper pens and markers, especially around back to school time at Walmart.  And the variety out there for pens and markers is amazing.

But the non Cricut pens don’t fit in your Cricut pen holder.  You can find adapters on eBay.  They are expensive and only work with one type of pen.  I bought a couple and two out of three of them didn’t work.  At least I couldn’t get them to work. 


My Solution

I found something that does work though.  If you buy the foam pencil grips at the dollar store you can fit them around pens and they work in your Cricut.  You get lots of them in a pack and all you have to do is take a craft knife and slit them down the side lengthwise so you can wrap the around the pens. Now they aren’t quite big enough to go all the way around most pens so slit two and cut one in half, then fit the half in the gap left by one pencil grip, completing the grip all the way around.  This makes sure that the pen is centered.

 To use this trick to use any brand pen in your cricut, you need to remove the pen holder insert on your Cricut.  You can do this by pressing up from the bottom.  I would try it the first few times with the Cricut turned off.  It will make some grinding sounds with the Cricut on.  This is normal.  The holder should just snap out.

Putting in the new pen

First wrap the pencil holder around the pen.  Then insert it into the pen holder side of your Cricut.  If there is a gap in the foam add the piece from another grip as described above.

Adjust the height of the pen by putting a scrap piece of paper between your project and the pen.  Then adjust the pen until it touches the scrap paper. Pull it back up just a smidgen.  The first few times you try this, you may have to adjust it slightly but it will work.

Putting the pen holder back

When you are done you will want to put the Cricut pen holder insert back in.  First remove the other pen with the pencil grip. Then grab the Cricut pen holder insert with the small opening down.  Next put it back in the holder on the Cricut and push until it clicks.  You may have to press fairly hard.  Once it is in close the latch and insert the scoring tool just to make sure everything is in right.  

Actually, in my maker I was doing this so often that I just leave the Cricut pen holder insert off and install it just when I need to use the scoring stylus or cricut pens.

Special Exceptions

Sometimes you have a pen that is too skinny even for the pencil grip.  I have a beautiful set of glitter gel pens that are extra slim.  To use those pens, I just have to wrap a few layers of painters tape around the pen and it works just fine.  After I am done I take the tape off and stick the tape to my table to use again later.

Also, just as the pen can be too small, it can be too big.  Some larger markers are wide enough to fit in the pen holder without the pencil grip.  When I get one of these markers I usually just add a little tape for some friction and grip so that the marker will stay put while writing.

In Conclusion

You are done.  Now you know the trick to use any brand pen you want in your Cricut and it only cost less than a dollar for the pencil grips.  This opens up a whole world of variety and color you can add to your projects. 

5 thoughts on “Trick to Use Any Brand Pen with your Cricut

  1. I use an adapter for the cricut pens and markers that I have to use them in the JOY machine. There is one on Etsy that works like a charm, and you can even use your scoring stylus in you Joy. What a game changer that is! There was an adapter to use the foil tips, but now Cricut has their own foil tool for the Joy. Wonder how long it will be until they come out with a scoring stylus for the Joy? I know in my testing I had to do multiple scores to get it to score deep enough to work best, but I made a cute top folding card with a few adjustments and a longer Joy mat.

  2. I cant get my pen holder out of my Explore3. I have tried pushing it up with quite some force.
    Any ideas?

    Kind regards

    1. I have this problem often. The lip of the pen holder catches on the machine. When you push up make sure you press the pen holder a little forward.

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