Which Cricut Cutting Machine Is Right For You?
The Basics About The Cricut Electronic Cutting Machines
Provo Craft is the manufacturer and distributor of the Cricut line of electronic cutting machine. You have multiple options no matter what kind of crafts that you want to create.
You can design your own crafts or use the Cricut Design Space that provides you with everything you need to create greeting cards, paper crafts, scrapbook pages. And now, with the Cricut Maker, you can even create sewing projects.
You can also import projects from other platforms that will work with your personal cutting machine.
You have different options depending on the type of crafts that you want to make and the amount of money that you would like to invest. The choice is yours.
What All Machines Have In Common
- All machines are designed and use the Cricut Design Space to create projects and run the machine. Cricut Design Space in basic form is free to use. It is available for desktops computers, tablets and smart phones
- All machines connect to your computer or other device via Bluetooth for wireless cutting (an adapter may be needed )
- All machines need a power cord to operate
- All machines cut (with a blade) and writes (with pens)
- All machines are compatable with vinyl, paper, iron on and infusible ink
Who Is The Machine Best For
Cricut Explore One
Cuts, writes and scores, 100 materials
Crafters who want a simple machine to cut and write
Cricut Explore Air
Cuts, writes, and scores 100 materials. Bluetooth wireless technology, Double tool holder
Crafters who want additional options. Also who have old Cricut cartridges and want to load them on
Cricut Explore Air 2
Cuts, writes and scores 100 materials. Bluetooth wireless technology. Double tool holder, Two times faster cutting and writing.
Crafters who want a better speed and more options. Ease of use machine leaves you lots of options at a reasonable price.
Cuts and scores hundreds of different products including fabric . More tools includinga deep scoring tool, rotary blade, muktiple cutting blades and more
This machine is for serious crafters. This machine offers tool options unavailable on any other machine
The smallest cutting machine in the Cricut line. It draws and writes most of the designs in the Design Space program. It uses smart materials that are designed to be used without a mat. It also uses specially designed card makes that make greeting cards in minutes.
This machine is the perfect answer for anyone with a limited amount of space. Also good for anyone who likes making labels and organization materials. Also good for anyone who wants to make crafts simply and easily
Which Is The Right Cricut For You?
The 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.
Features Of The Cricut Explore
- Requires mats for cutting. Two different files are available at the present time. The mats are 12" by 12" and 12" by 24".
- Cuts over 100 materials including vinyl, paper, card stock , iron- ons, and glitter paper.
- Includes a double clamp system. Clamp A holds the fine point, deep cut and bonded fabric blades. Clamp B holds the Cricut pens and the scoring stylus.
While it does cut a lot of materials, it does not cut thicker materials like chipboard, wood or leather.
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.
The Cricut Maker
The Cricut Maker is the newest design in the Cricut family of products. It will cut paper of course, but it goes way beyond that. It will cut hundreds of materials including leather and fabric. It will also cut the lightest materials like crepe paper. It has ten times the cutting power of the other machines in the same family.
It can do more functions than the other machines including debossing, engraving, scoring, and more.
Cricut Maker Features
- The machine has multiple options. There are two cutting blades. There are also available a rotary blade that helps you cut detailed patterns. Simplicity patterns are available in Cricut Design Space.. A scoring wheel is also available that will help you make the perfect fold and score every time.
- The adaptive tool system is unique to this model. The machine knows which tool you are using and applies the right pressure to use that tool. The tool system will grow as time goes on. In this clamp, the tools that are available include the fine point blade, deep cut blade, rotary blade, bonded fabric blade, knife blade, scoring wheel, engraving tip, embossing tip, debossing tip, wave blade and perforation blade.
- Left sided clamp holds the pens
- The Cricut Maker can cut thicker materials including balsa wood and chipboard. It can cut over 300 materials
- There is a space on the machine to hold your i phone or i pad. You can plug it into the machine and charge it while you are cutting.
- It features two cutting mats like the Explore. One mat is 12" by 12". The other mat is 12" by 24
The Cricut Adaptable Tool System
The Cricut Joy
The Cricut Joy is the smallest of the Cricut line( 5" by 5" by 8"). It can cut and draw most of the designs in Cricut Design Space.
Cricut Joy Features
- The unique part of the Cricut Joy is it's ability to use Smart Materials. These materials include paper, vinyl and iron on material that is designed to be used without a mat.
- It also has a specialized card mat that does greeting cards within minutes.
- Because of it's size it can cut materials that are 4.5" wide and up to 48" long. This is the only machine able to do this. You can make banners in one step.
- It has a single clamp. It has a fine point blade and it's own collection of pens. (you cannot use other Cricut pens with this machine because of its size.
Cricut Accessories - Some Basic Tools You Will Need
There are just a few tools that you will need to enhance your Cricut 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 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.
Cricut Design Space
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 dÃ©cor, party dÃ©cor, 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 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 ToolClick thumbnail to view full-size
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?
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
- Cricut Explore Free App For Make It Now -Click Here Free App
Make it Now™ with Cricut Explore™ is a free companion app for wireless cutting with your Cricut Explore™ machine. Just download the app to your iPadÂ®* from the App store and connect the Wireless BluetoothÂ® Adapter** to your Cricut Explore™ machine.
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 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
My Favorite Groups And Blogs On The Cricut Explore
- Cricut Explore And Design Space
Cricut Explore & Design Space has 30,229 members. This group is to allow us to share ideas, ask questions and learn all about or Cricut Explores and...
- Official Cricut Facebook Group
Cricut - The Official Page! 1.7M likes. Whether you're newbie or a DIY pro, Cricut™ helps you cut and create personalized quality projects with ease....
Cricut Explore, Maker and More has 60,766 members. Look for the pop up entry questions. To speed up approval, BOTH must be answered if you wish to join...
- Let's Learn Cricut Explore
A really great Facebook group where everyone shares information
Want More Inspiration?
- Paper Craft Workshop Facebook Group
Paper Craft Workshop -.A Community for everyone who loves to craft and make projects with paper, We invite you to join the conversation.
The Bottom Line
So, if you have the Cricut Explore and are considering adding the Cricut Maker to your craft space, the question is would you use the features on the Maker enough to justify the additional cost?
If you are in the position of starting out with Cricut, how much is in your budget to spend? Would you use the features on the Maker or do you want to just make simpler projects.
That is the question that only you can answer!
© 2014 Linda F Correa