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Most Cricuts come with the George and Basic Shapes cartridge, unfortunately mine did not. I quickly found out that a lot of free patterns found online are created with the George cartridge, probably because most people have it.  Since you can’t buy George, other than on eBay for a ridiculous price (around $50 and up!), I decided to make my own.

It’s really quite simple, especially for a person who crafts. ;)  This will work on any Cricut and you can load it to your Gypsy (I don't own a Gypsy but people have posted at my blog that they were successful loading it).  The "George" cartridge is the only one that you can make because all Cricuts already have it pre-loaded into them, you are just connecting the right pins to activate it.

Disclaimer:  You do this at your own risk!  One person (out of hundreds) reported that her Cricut will only recognize the George cartridge, it’s possible that this problem could have happened even with the original George cartridge but I thought I’d let everyone know.

Step 1: Three Strips Tinfoil & Cardboard

I used two pieces of cardboard from a potato chip box because it makes it thicker to fit into the slot. One inch wide by about 2 inches long. At a forum I belong to someone said you could also use an old credit card because it’s thicker, I haven’t tried that method but it sounds good.

I cut three pieces of tinfoil. It doesn't matter about the size of the piece that goes across the two strips, you're only using it to connect the strips together so everything touches. You may have to double the two tinfoil strips (or even triple it) to make them slightly thicker so they can touch the pins in the Cricut, simply fold them in half, but do not put them on the backside of the cardboard. One strip will cover pins 2 & 3 together, and the other strip will cover pin 5. Make sure the tinfoil for pins 2 & 3 are a tad wider than the strip for pin 5. You can see in the picture where I've marked the pins.

Tape the two pieces of cardboard together and then glue down the tinfoil. Tape the top tinfoil that goes across the two strips so all three pieces of tinfoil connect. In the picture my George has been used quite a bit but is still working great. :)

Step 2: Insert Into Cricut

This is what your George cartridge looks like when it’s in the Cricut.  Make sure it lines up correctly and it has to be facing towards you.

Step 3: In the Cricut

"George" in my Cricut.  This will work in any Cricut but George is the only cartridge you can make, all the other cartridges have chips inside and will not work.

Step 4: George Handbook

Print out of George.  You can click here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kansasa/4305304073/.  Select “All sizes” and download the original size for a bigger image.  If you Google “George Cricut Handbook” you’ll come up with quite a few results.
<p>Works for my wife's Expression Thank you!!</p>
<p>Wow! It works! Thank you for posting this!</p>
<p>My wife found this idea and did it and it worked like a charm.</p>
I know I should have never tried it but it was just 2 tempting not to try.still my cricut is not working other than to print from the george and basics cart. hope I figure it out soon <br>
<p>Hi @evilredfairy have you figured out a way to fix this? I am having the same issue</p>
Can you borrow a real george cart? I'm thinking you might have had this problem even with the real thing. And if it still not working after using the real george I'd return the machine.
<p>Anything new on this. Just found it and wanted to try it out but kind of scared to ruin my cricut. Has anyone else had problems with this?</p>
Worked like a charm! Thanks!!!
did this today and now it reads all my cartridges as George and Basics -any idea how to fix this ?? I need to get my cricut expression back up and running for a birthday party next weekend .
Sorry evilredfairy, I posted a disclaimer saying that happened once out of hundreds of comments I've received. It was quite sometime ago and I googled the heck out of it and could not find a fix. Is there a way to reset the expression? Can you make sure there is nothing touching when you pull the cartridge out? Leftover bits? Possible you made your cartridge too thick and bent something? I'm just throwing out possibilities hoping something will work.
wow, bizarre! thanks for this hack
You're welcome j_l_larson. :)
You could also use foil tape instead of just aluminum foil. You can get copper or alum tape. You can get it at most craft stores in the stained glass section. It is used to wrap glass to solder pieces together.
Good idea mr.incredible if one doesn't have aluminum foil at home. :)

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