Cricut

Cricut™ Buyers Guide

Cricut™ is one of the most popular home cutting machines in the market. A handy companion for creating all things bright and beautiful–yes, crafting! Quilters, paper crafters, scrapbookers, and card makers swear by them. But there are different types of machines out there; which one is right for you?

Whether you are new to crafting, serious about upgrading your arsenal or trying to catch-up on the Cricut phenomenon, we are here to help you make an informed decision about which device is right for your needs.

What is a Cricut and why do you need one?

Cricut is actually the brand name of a range of electronic die-cutting machines made by Provo Craft & Novelty, Inc. The 16-year-old company was founded in December 2003 and is currently based in Spanish Fork, Utah.

At first glance, a Cricut machine looks like a portable printer. You can connect it to your computer or smartphone–where you can create an image or design–but instead of printing your image on paper, it cuts it out of any material you can think of. Pretty neat, huh?

So, if you are a dedicated crafter or a DIY enthusiast who loves creating decorative or functional pieces using paper, fabrics, leather, and tons of other materials, you will be impressed by Cricut’s functionality.

Likewise, if you love quilting but is not so happy with the tedious process of cutting fabric shapes, a die-cutting machine will do the job for you.

These machines aren’t cheap. If you only need a cutter for a one-time project, take your business elsewhere. A manual cutter can do the job, but sans the handy features from a digital machine, of course.

Things you can do with a Cricut:

  • Wedding and party decorations
  • Customized apparel
  • Vinyl projects
  • Greeting cards and invitations
  • Scrapbook stickers
  • Fashion accessories
  • Costume pieces
  • Iron-on projects
  • Home ornaments
  • Stenciled wood projects

Die-cutting with Cricut

Do you really need a fancy machine just to make cutouts? What’s wrong with scissors and stencils?

In the world of crafting, die-cutting refers to a more precise and efficient way of making identical cuts from a material using dies. Both manual and digital machines cut designs based on dies, just like cookie cutters

Manual machines use steel rule or thin metal as dies, while digital machines use patterns in a form of digital files that tell the machine what to cut.

Now, imagine if you need to cut shapes with intricate designs that are too detailed to cut by hand. What if you need to produce them in large quantities? It’s not only time consuming, but also difficult to ensure that all pieces have the exact shape and dimensions.

If you are serious about crafting, a die-cutting machine can change your life.

Computerized die-cutting machines like Cricut can be a bit pricey, but they make precise custom cutouts in leather, wood, corrugated board, vinyl, and even delicate materials like crepe paper. They have loads of features and more crafting tools are being created to bring your DIY projects to a new level.

Cricut FAQ

Q: Can I use my old cartridges on Cricut Maker?
A: Physical cartridges are no longer compatible with newer models. But you can access the digital version of the images from your cartridges by linking them to Cricut Design Space.

Q: What image file types does Cricut support?
A: You can upload basic images like jpeg, gif, and png for free. Design Space also supports BMP, SVG, and Dxf files.

Q: What Cricut blade should I use for fabric?
A: The fine-point blade and rotary blade can cut through any fabric such as lace, denim, sequined fabric, canvas, tulle, and many others.

Q: What comes in the Cricut Maker box?
A: Your purchase will include the Cricut Maker machine, power cord, USB cord, rotary blade + drive housing, fine point blade + housing, fine point pen, welcome book, 1 FabricGrip mat, 1 LightGrip mat, and sample materials.

Q: Can I use other brands of materials in a Cricut?
A: Yes, you can use any off-brand materials from your favorite craft shop. You can also get thousands of compatible materials from Amazon and other online stores.

Our full list of Cricut for 2019

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Our full list of Cricut for 2019

#1 Cricut Explore Air 2 Mint

Overview

Pros

  • Compatible with many devices including iOS and Android
  • Comes with access to a library of projects and pre-made designs
  • Make all your custom-designed stickers, decor, greeting cards and more

Cons

  • Demands that you pay a subscription fee, otherwise you can't use it 
  • Needs an internet connection to link to the library

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The Cricut Explore Air 2 - Mint gives us many hours of fun arts and crafts that is simply unmatched in the industry. However, it also comes with its downsides since it's not compatible with any other software apart from its own, which is rendered useless unless you're subscribed to it for an extra charge every month, which leads people to wonder if they're taking more than they give. For a $277 machine, you would hope that you get a product that has everything you could need, even the software that it's supposed to come with.

 

But with those problems aside and focusing entirely on performance, the Cricut Explore Air 2 - Mint has more than enough features to create anything and everything you could ever need for your home decor, scrapbooking, arts and crafts, gift making and other DIY needs. It is jam-packed with so much that we can't tell if they missed out on anything, because there are just thousands of things it can do, so the possibilities are endless! If you're willing to go through the monthly payments, then you're in for a treat with the Cricut Explore Air 2 - Mint.

#2 Cricut Maker, Champagne

Overview

Pros

  • Comes with 50 free ready-to-make projects including 25 sewing patterns
  • Includes materials to get you started with your first project 
  • Comes with two 12" x 12" cutting mats

Cons

  • Does not come with a manual making it difficult for first-timers to figure it out 
  • May not be able to cut wood as it advertises 

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The Cricut Maker - Champagne is a powerful machine that can make all our crafting dreams come true. It not only helps us to create, cut, and turn a few materials into masterpieces, but it does more than that. And even though it encounters a few stumbles on the way to producing beautiful art, it is still one of the best DIY cutting machines out in the market now. 

 

In the end, the Cricut Maker - Champagne is a versatile and highly advanced machine that is capable of delivering high-quality results, no matter how hard the task. So if you're feeling creative and want to get started with arts and crafts or you are already a pro, the Cricut Maker - Champagne can help you make beautiful designs, exciting crafts, and endless possibilities. 

#3 Cricut EasyPress 2 Raspberry, 12″ x 10″

Overview

Pros

  • 12" x 10" size makes it ideal for large projects - sweatshirts, banners, blankets and more
  • Quickly heats up with adjustable settings up to 400°F
  • Easy to learn and simple to use

Cons

  • May have problems going up to the desired temperature   
  • May not always effectively stick materials onto t-shirts

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The Cricut EasyPress 2 Raspberry, 12" x 10" gives us a high-quality product for all our pressing needs and performs well for the most part. While it does have its moments of failure to stick certain adhesives, I don't think that's enough to say that the product isn't worth its price. It offers many positives such as it's suitability for bigger sized projects, the portability that allows you to bring it anywhere, and its adjustable temperature settings. 

 

Overall, the Cricut EasyPress 2 Raspberry, 12" x 10" is rightfully amongst the top of the ranks as one of the best products produced by Cricut. While some consumers argue that it's quite pricey, we like to think of it as an investment we'll surely enjoy for years to come. So be sure to grab one of these excellent presses to get started with your t-shirt projects and everything else in between! 

#4 Cricut , Raspberry Easypress Mini

Overview

Pros

  • Compact size ideal for small and delicate projects 
  • Comes with three different heating settings 
  • Can customize shoes, hats and stuffed animals

Cons

  • No apparent flaws

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The Cricut Easypress Mini - Raspberry is small enough to do that most delicate of tasks, giving you the flexibility to tackle any project — it allows you to create stuffed animals, work on clothing, or move seamlessly through any object. And with its excellent safety features, you can rest assured that there is nothing to worry about. 

 

In the end, the Cricut Easypress Mini - Raspberry has delivered an excellent performance so far. Even if it is quite a new entry into the Cricut team, it has already established itself as a reliable tool that you can depend on for all your pressing needs. With its compact design, yet powerful heating, you won't need to look for an iron or any other press as long as you're using this Cricut EasyPress Mini. 

#5 Cricut EasyPress 2 – Mint 9″ x 9″

Overview

Pros

  • Comes in a 9" x 9" size, making it more portable and compact  
  • Delivers iron-on results in 60 seconds  
  • Has different temperature settings

Cons

  • The screen may have display problems
  • The temperature may not hold out as long as desired and may fluctuate

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The Cricut EasyPress 2 - Mint 9" x 9" would've been an excellent product if the company had taken the time to correct some system errors before being released. One unit can be excused as an anomaly, but multiple units that have the same problems is not good enough. These are the reasons why this model misses out entirely on being the best Cricut model there is. 

 

However, we're not taking it out of the running altogether. After all, the units that do work produce fantastic results and deliver on all its promises. At it's best, the Cricut EasyPress 2 - Mint 9" x 9" is perfectly capable of giving us the t-shirts, blankets, pillows and other materials we want to be pressed. In the end, the Cricut EasyPress 2 - Mint 9" x 9" is still worth the investment.