Originally Published Spring 2014 with the Original Explore
Note: When this was originally published, the Pilot Precise Pens worked perfectly in all of the Explore machines. Since then, I have gotten more and more feedback that they do not work in the newer machines. I am left to guess that Cricut has made some type of change to the design or manufacture of their machines with regard to the pen holder. I continue to be able to use those pens unaided in my machine and all of my friends who got their machines then do as well. If you are looking for a solution to your Pilot Precise pen not working, please look to the comments as one reader found a solution that he shares. I am no longer adding to or removing pens from this list. 2/21/2016
Pens for Writing and Drawing with the Explore:
There are several pens on the market that fit into the Explore. Aside from Cricut brand, these will also fit into the pen housing and draw in the Explore. To make the list, pens have to fit without being assisted with tape or rubber bands, the points of the pens have to touch the paper, and the pens have to stay in place while writing.
- American Crafts Chalk Markers (See note below -BOLD does not work. Only the smaller tips work)
- American Crafts Galaxy Marker (medium tip)
- American Crafts Slick Writers (fine or medium)
- American Crafts Precision Pens (fine)
- American Crafts Metallic Marker Fine or Medium Point
- Amy Tangerine Slick Writer - fine tip
- Bic Round Stic Ballpoint (See picture above. I had great results for my envelopes using Cricut handwriting fonts but not the best results for drawing fonts -system fonts- with lots of penwork.)
- Crayola Fine Line (Use care not to push the barrel down too far in the housing otherwise the tip will drag on your paper!)
- Marvy LePlume II (for ultra fine tip) I used these pens for the 3/4" tags that I put on the bottoms of Hershey kisses. They write very tiny text! They are available in 108 colors! (photo below)
- Pilot Precise V5 pens Extra Fine .5mm Rolling Ball. My VERY FAVORITE pens! (Get the kind with a cap, not a clicker! See photo below.) I am told the V7s with the cap also fit, but I have not tried them myself!
- Project Life pens (by American Crafts)
- Recollections Fine and Medium Point (bold does not work in the Explore)
- Recollections Photo Marker Set (Fine and Medium)
- The Write Dudes Infinity Neon and Accent Pens (These Infinities work; the metallics do not. Take care not to push them down too far. Great, bright colors!) See photo below!
|Marvy LePlume II|
|Crayola Fine Line. These will not click into place. Take care not to insert them too far or they will drag on your paper.|
|Pilot Precise V5 Extra Fine .5mm. Font is http://www.dafont.com/kingthings-xstitch.font|
Click on the drop-down arrow next to All Fonts will give you the option for 'Has a Writing Style'. These are special, one-stroke fonts found on Cricut cartridges. I have noticed that those from Creative Memories are not listed but once you link those carts, the writing style font magically appears. Below is a sampling of writing style fonts.
Any image can be changed from cut to draw by changing the scissor icon to a pen icon. Aside from Writing Style Fonts however, text and images will be outlined.
|Artwork from Word Collage (Cricut Cartridge) that was changed from cut to draw.|
The machine cannot fill them in; this includes system fonts. The exception to this is that there are fonts that have a drawn-in fill as part of their design! There are many fonts of this type to download!
Click below to see my post on these additional Explore font tutorials (including links to fonts):
How to install a font on your computer and how to draw the font with your Explore (also includes info about using the Explore to write chalkboard-style fonts, pen nib comparison, and attaching font to a cut)
Edited 12-1-14 to add: since I have created this post, Amy Chomas created pen and marker holders that allow for the use of other pens. To see my post about the Chomas Creations pen holders that allow for the use of gel pens, and links to buy her adapters, click here. The marker holders will allow for the use of fine Sharpies and glitter pens. The only way to use gel pens, glitter pens, and Sharpies is with the use of an auxiliary method, like her pen and marker holders.
Edited 7-12-15 to add: The Provo Craft company now sells a Cricut Explore without a Cricut pen holder at all, call an Explore ONE. No matter what, to use a pen or embossing tool in any Explore, you will need the Cricut pen holder. I have the original Cricut Explore and that is what is pictured here. In order to use the aftermarket Chomas adapters or any adapter for use of additional pens not on my list, you will first need to be sure that your Explore has a Cricut pen holder.