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The Cricut Explore

Updated on March 8, 2018
linfcor profile image

Professional scrapbook artist, paper crafter, and author, I have taught people how to make family memories into legacies for 20 years.

Discovering The New Cricut Explore

The Cricut Explore has taken the craft world by storm. Everyone has been excited about the new innovations on this remarkable cutting machine. Why all the buzz? I was lucky to get one of the first machines when they came out and I have never looked back to my Cricut Expression since that first day ! Did Provo Craft answer what crafters really wanted in a new machine. Well in my book they did, but people are still weighing in on the pros and cons. Here are some facts for you to consider if you are contemplating a new cutting machine, especially the Cricut Explore. We are inviting all crafters to participate with their Explore experiences.

There are three versions of the Cricut Explore ! The version that is right for you is the one that fits your budget and needs.

Cricut Explore Options

 
 
 
Model
Features
Price
Cricut Explore One
Cuts, writes and scores, 100 materials
$149
Cricut Explore Air
Cuts, writes, and scores 100 materials. Bluetooth wireless technology, Double tool holder
$179
Cricut Explore Air 2
Cuts, writes and scores 100 materials. Bluetooth wireless technology. Double tool holder, Two times faster cutting and writing.
$249
Prices may vary, depending where you purchase your machine

The Cricut Explore Package - What Comes With The Explore?

What you get with the Explore may depend on where and what package you get. My Explore was ordered online. I received the Explore itself with all the connecting wires. I also received one cutting mat and one of the new writing pens. I also received one piece of cardstock, one piece if vinyl, and one piece of iron on.

Each package may be different, so make sure to look and see what is in yours before you purchase.There are many options and packages available. It is always smart to do some comparison shopping.

Cricut Explore Accessories - Some Basic Tools You Will Need

There are just a few tools that you will need to enhance your Cricut Explore Experience. If you have some of the older tools, they will work also. There are a few that are new to this machine and your investment in these tools will have a big payoff in experience,

The tools now come in a variety of colors which will match the color of your machine.

Some packages will include some tools. Always read the description in the package you are buying so that you will not be disappointed.

  • Scrapper- This tool helps you to clean mats and burnish materials
  • Weeder- Helps you remove small bits of paper from your design
  • Tweezer-Lifts and secures delicate materials
  • Spatula-Lifts cuts off the mat

The Cricut Smart Dial

One of the first thing that I noticed was the new cutting setting on the Cricut Explore. Oh, how I absolutely love that knob ! On the old Cricuts you really had to think about cutting settings ! I really found it cumbersome to operate. Provo Craft really listened to crafters and came up with a system that makes crafting a whole lot more fun ! Now all you have to do is set your cutting settings to the type of material you are cutting ! This alone would probably have caused me to purchase this unit !

Note the dial has the exact settings for the materials that you will be cutting !

There is one button that is really something special ! It's the custom button ! Why a custom button you ask? It allows you to cut special materials like vellum, felt, polyester, leather, aluminum sheets, magnetic sheets, washi tape, and glitter cardstock. It features a drop down menu to get all your jobs done

The other buttons are easy ! From left to right....Feed paper, cut and discontinue project...totally easy to remember !

Cricut Design Space

Cricut Design Space is the computer platform that communicates with your Cricut Explore. It takes an image or project and "tells" your machine how to cut, write or score it. Not only can you use the images in the Cricut Access Program, but you also can upload images and fonts from other sources.

You can search for images and projects that are organized by category. You can also search for a specific item. The more specific you are, the more likely you will find what you need.

Every week there are free images that you can use for the week.

One thing to note is that while there are more images in the Cricut Access program that you can ever use, some will have an additional fee over and above the cost of the membership fee. These are licensed images that are "leased" to cricut. These are often things like Disney images. You can purchase an image with a discount if you are in an Access image member. Once you purchase it you own it for life

Access Membership Levels

  • Cricut Access Fonts-370 fonts plus some that are exclusive. $6.99 monthly or$59.88 yearly
  • Cricut Access Standard-370 fonts plus over 30,000 images and projects.Ten percent off digital images and products. $9.99 billed monthly or $95.88 yearly.
  • Cricut Access Premium-370 fonts, over 30,000 plus images, 50 % off digital images,10 % off Cricut projects. $119.88 billed yearly.

Features Of My Cricut Explore - My Favorite Craft And Scrapbook Tool

Click thumbnail to view full-size
It's easy to set the stylus and the pens in the Cricut Explore.Storage area for tools on the lid that lowers when openAnother storage area on top of my Cricut-perfect for tools and pensStorage area for extra cutting blades on lower lidPort to load your cartridges
It's easy to set the stylus and the pens in the Cricut Explore.
It's easy to set the stylus and the pens in the Cricut Explore.
Storage area for tools on the lid that lowers when open
Storage area for tools on the lid that lowers when open
Another storage area on top of my Cricut-perfect for tools and pens
Another storage area on top of my Cricut-perfect for tools and pens
Storage area for extra cutting blades on lower lid
Storage area for extra cutting blades on lower lid
Port to load your cartridges
Port to load your cartridges

Loading Your Old Cricut Cartridges

I will bet that you are wondering what you will do with your old cartridges now that you have or are thinking about the Cricut Explore.

The good news, is that you can load your old cartridges into your Cricut Design Space. It is so very easy. All of your images will be in your program and easy to access when ever you need them.

Learn how to load your cartridges into the Cricut Explore Program. Click here.

Cricut Writing And Drawing Feature

One of the most exciting features of the Cricut Explore is it's ability to write and draw on projects with pens that attach in a special accessory holder. This makes the machine very versatile. Using this feature is easy as the pen slips into a special holder designed to hold them as well as the stylus. Most of the Explore packages include one pen so that you can get your feet wet with this innovative feature.

Pens come in a variety of colors and pen tips which increases your ability to do more than ever possible.

Other pens that can be used with the Cricut Explore include Pilot Precise Extra Fine Tip, Recollection Pens, Crazart Classic Markers, And American Craft Slick Writers

What Is Your Favorite Cricut Machine? - Everyone has a different thought so weigh in !

Which Cricut machine is your personal favorite?

See results

There are two storage areas that are super handy on the Explore. One little cubby is on the top of the machine. Then on the lid is another handy storage area with a cover-perfect for your accessories

New Make It Now App For IPads Or Bluetooth Compatible Computers - Free I Pad App From Cricut

Now you can get a free Make It Now App for your IPad from Provocraft. Combined with the wireless adapter, you can now crate completely wireless. This is the first cutting machine with this ability.There is a port on the side of your cricut machine for your wireless adapter. You can also use it with any computer or Mac that is Bluetooth compatible.

If you have a wireless Internet service installed on your computer then you will be Bluetooth-compatible. The Bluetooth option will automatically load if you have wireless Internet installed.One way to check if you have wireless Internet, is by right-clicking on "My Computer" and selecting "Properties > Device Manager > Network Adapters." If you have wireless Internet it will be listed under this category. Although wireless internet comes standard with most versions of laptops, they are not as common with PC's.

You will get about 50 Make It Now Projects to use. If you have a subscription of course you will have use of your projects

Now A Wireless Adapter

Now available and the newest feature of the Cricut Explore is the wireless adapter ! You don't have to plug your unit into the computer which means that you have options where and how you use your unit ! And you can get a free app for your IPad, or any computer with blue tooth

Cricut Explore Design Space

Projects, Instructions and Images

One of the things that Provo Craft offers is the Design Space software. Best of all, it's free to use for a limited period of time, usually with your explore package. There are over 25,000 images on Cricut Explore. After your trial period, you will have the option of either purchasing a monthly subscription, a yearly subscription or you can purchase individual images or sets. It's up to you ! You also have the option of importing svg files. It's not difficult to set up at all. In addition, one of my favorite things is that you can load your cartridges right into your craft room. You can also store your projects in a separate file for later use. One of the things that is exciting about the craft room is that you can select from a list of completed projects. The craft room will guide you along step by step. The projects include cards, complete scrapbook pages, home décor, party décor, and paper crafts. I personally took the yearly subscription with no hesitation. When I figured in the cards, the paper crafts and scrapbook pages that I could create, I was actually saving time and money.

Cricut Explore 3-D

Now You Can Make 3-D Projects With Cricut Explore And Autodesk

Recently released is the Cricut Explore 3-d projects. You can actually create 3-d projects with your Cricut Explore. To the best of my knowledge no other cutter can do this . So this makes Provo Craft at the cutting edge of the new projects that are available now in 3-D. You can find several available at the Make It Now Location on the Cricut Explore Craft Room. You get the Craft Rooom App free, but will need to take a subscription or purchase the individual projects.

Cricut Mat Basics

Which Mat To Use With Which Project

The Cricut Mats are the accessory that you must have for your Cricut Explore. The Explore is programed to use with the mats. A lot of times I see people who complain about the mats being too sticky. Most times it is because the wrong mat is being used with the wrong material !

Mats can be bought in variety packages which include one of each type. You can also purchase multi packs of a single type of mat.

There are three types of mats. These mats are in standard size of 12x 12 inches.They also come in 12 x 24 inches for larger projects

The Light Grip Mat -is for lighter papers like print paper, vellum, and light card stock.

The Standard Grip Mat- is what is included in most Explore packages. It is the mat that you will use most often with your machine. It's a general purpose mat for medium weight materials.

The Strong Grip Mat-The strong grip mat is for heavy weight materials, like heavier cardstock, glitter cardstock, and chipboard.

Using the right mat for the right project will cause a lot less frustration and your projects will turn out a lot better. If you have mats from your other Cricut machines, they can be used in the Explore if they are the 12 x 12

My Explore lets me use every shred of paper ! Once I cut out one image, I can then take the rest of the paper and keep cutting smaller images until I have nothing but little bits ! I never waste any paper !

More Cricut Explore Basics - A Library Of Cricut Explore Video Lessons

More On The Cricut Explore Experience

It has been so exciting being on the forefront of this new machine. Here are more folks weighing in on their Explore Experience

Well, if you haven't guessed by now, I am a huge Cricut Explore fan. I use my machine every day and haven't once looked back. My Cricut expression sits in a corner and is very lonely these days. So if you have the new Cricut Explore, we'd love to hear your experiences.

How Has Your Cricut Explore Experience Been? - We's Love To Hear From You

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    • Randall Guinn profile image

      Randall Guinn 

      3 years ago from Pinellas Park, Florida

      My wife has shown some interest in this before. I didn't realize that it could do so much. I think that I will get her one for Christmas. A great article, put together very well.

    • linfcor profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda F Correa 

      4 years ago from Spring Hill Florida

      It is easy to set up out of the box. Provocraft will send yoou directions how to get started via u-tube. There is so much help within the community-myself included. Wait till you see the scrapbook pages available to cut out. I will be posting a few of my pages done with this machine shortly.

    • profile image

      Ibidii 

      4 years ago

      I have wanted to get one of these machines. Good to see all the improvements over the years. I had a fried who had one and she taught us classes at church and we made cards. They were so cute and everyone loved the cards! She precut everything for us and for a small fee we made a dozen cards. I have 4 adult kids and want to make scrapbooks for them with all the memorabilia I have saved over the years. My youngest and I will probably want to get this set up. Great lens!

    • linfcor profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda F Correa 

      4 years ago from Spring Hill Florida

      @Craftymarie: I know how you feel, but when I bought this machine, I only had the small Cricut with the small mats. That one will probably go to my granddaughter

    • Craftymarie profile image

      Marie 

      4 years ago

      I don't need another cutting machine - but I would definitely love to have it all the same!

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 

      4 years ago from Arkansas USA

      I don't have one but wow, it's so cool!

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