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When it comes to what we have in our craft room, without a doubt, my favorite equipment, is my Cricut setup. I know that I have posted about my Cricut machine before, about why I love the Cricut so much, So I thought it was about time I did a more detailed post. I have received a lot of questions about buying a Cricut recently, So I am going to include everything I possibly can in this post! I’m creating this post as a 2 part series, as I will be posting again soon, on what to know once you’ve brought your Cricut.
What actually is a Cricut?
Well other than one of the best crafting tools ever… Ok Jokes aside, the chances are if you are already considering making a purchase and buying a Cricut machine, then you already know a bit about what a Cricut is… Don’t worry if you don’t I am going to tell you anyway!
The Cricut is essentially a cutting machine, with the ability to cut a large variety of materials (some depending on the type of machine that you have). The machine is able to cut images by using the Cricut design space which is the software that is compatible.
Is the Cricut actually worth it?
Honestly! my answer to this question is always going to be yes! because the Cricut machines give you the ability to expand on what it is you are making.
You are either considering buying a Cricut as a Hobbyist, or a business investment.
What machine is best?
There is literally no right or wrong answer when it comes to what the best Cricut machine is. It is all down to your own user needs what would be the best machine for what you want to be able to create.
The question is less of which machine is best, more which machine is going to suit my user needs best?
Cricut Explore Air 2
The Cricut Explore Air 2 is the machine that I currently own. I have been using this version of the Cricut for over 2 years now! and oh my goodness, I absolutely love this machine! To be honest, I would say that the Explore is the middle-sized machine of them all.
The Cricut Explore Air is perfect for anyone who will be working with Paper/card-stock, or the various types of vinyl.
The Cricut Maker is the largest machine in the family. One that I hope to own in the future. The Cricut maker has the ability to cut even more materials, such as wood leather, fabric, and way more. As well as being able to be adapted with other blades, and an engraving tool that looks badass! As I don’t personally have a maker at the moment, this machine Is something I won’t be speaking about too much as I only write from my experience! so hopefully one day I will be able to afford and talk about the Maker as well.
The Cricut Joy is the baby cutting machine of the family! and honestly, it is such a cute little device! perfect for small and fiddly projects or anyone who is wanting to make labels etc.
The Joy machine cuts the same kind of materials as the Explore, however, the particular difference of this machine is smaller in size. The mat size for this machine is 6x12inches. Therefore, if you’re looking to cut bigger projects, I would say you need to at least look at getting the Explore Air 2.
Is buying a Cricut worth the expense? and how expensive is it in the long run?
So let’s be real about the cost of the Cricut, and what comes after.
Depending on what machine it is you are thinking and what your purpose is for wanting to invest in this beauty, expense is always something you. No, the Cricut is not a cheap machine to buy at first, however I would always say that the decision to purchase should be based on your personal passion and user requirements.
Once you have brought your Cricut, there is an optional subscription cost that allows you access to the wide variety of images in there library as well as a few other perks.
The only other cost is your materials, to be able to create, and any upkeep of the machine, such as replacing mats and blades, however if you are not using your Cricut machine every day, then this will not effect you too much.
Where can I buy the Cricut machines?
The Cricut may have originated in the US, however, it is becoming increasingly more easy to purchase here in the UK. I would always suggest that you search for deals and bundle options, as these change all of the time.
I personally purchased my Cricut through Hobbycraft, however, since then, I buy most of my supplies for using with Cricut from Amazon.
What is this Cricut subscription stuff about?
There is one more expense you should consider before you purchase your machine.
Cricut have a subscription for their design studio, which costs £7.49 (converted from dollars) called Cricut Access.
The Cricut access subscription gives you access to 1000’s of cut & print and cut images to use from their library!
What is Design Space and do I need it?
The Cricut Design Space is the software that you will be using to create your projects. So basically yes, you do need it! and it is something you will learn to love to be able to create with your Cricut machine.
This is what Design Space looks like…
Design space pretty much looks the same wether you are on a Mac/Windows, a Phone or Tablet.
What is included when buying a Cricut?
So this is what to expect when you open your box, obviously, I am basing this on opening the Cricut Explore Air 2. The box includes your Cricut Explore Air 2 machine, Design Space software (app and details), German carbide premium blade, USB cord, and power cord, an accessory adapter, 100+ free images, 50+ free project ideas, a guide to getting started, a pen and cardstock sample and a 12 x 12 inch Light Grip cutting mat.
The card stock you receive in the box will help you create a cute little card that helps get you used to use your machine!
What else do I need to be able to use my cricut?
There are a variety of things you may, or may not need when it comes to Cricut projects. So when you are buying your Cricut there are a few other things you may want to have a look at as well. Again it does depend on the type of crafting that you are planning to do, I mean If you are a paper crafter already! the chances are you have a ton on card stock and paper stock that you can dive in with, but if you are planning on expanding what you can create with vinyl projects, you will need to consider a few little buys.
The Cricut has the ability to draw with pens for you as well, there are pens that are compatible with your machine like these.
Why not check out my post on how to make 3D flowers with Cricut, here.
If you are planning to use Vinyl or HTV (heat transfer vinyl) you will need some weeding tools. (tools for removing the excess vinyl from your project). I highly recommend using the Cricut basic toolset. Or a toolset similar to this. You will also need some transfer tape, to be able to apply your adhesive vinyl to your canvas, (you won’t need this for HTV projects) Unless you have a lot of patience for attempting to apply without this! Not having transfer tape isn’t something that I would recommend.
Another accessory I 100% recommend having if you don’t already own one is a craft cutting mat. I use mine to weed my projects on as I tend to use a craft knife and tweezers a lot to take away the excess viynl, this protects my desk from taking a beating too!
Speaking of Craft knives, I thought I would mention that the Cricut knife particularly this one, has been my favorite craft knife that I have owned throughout the years. Cuts so nicely and smoothly. and the blades seem to be really durable.
What can I make with a Cricut?
The question is, what can’t you? Since owning the Cricut machine I have expanded my crafting capabilities majorly! Personally, I use my Cricut Explore Air 2 to cut a variety of card stock, stick paper as well as a mixture of Vinyl projects.
When buying a Cricut machine there are a few bits that come with the Cricut to help you get started. This is a small project to test your machine out on.
What does the Cricut actually cut?
The Cricut machines can cut a large variety of different materials. From paper and card stock to vinyl, foam… All sorts, honestly!
The Cricut Maker can cut materials up to 2.4mm thick. So definitely a tougher machine if your planning to be doing a lot of cutting with thicker materials!
Can the Cricut machine print?
The Cricut machine is not a machine that can be used to physically print. However, if you own a printer then you will be able to create things with the print and cut option. This would involve printing your image with a printer, then placing it on your Cricut mat to be cut out.
Do I need a computer or can I use a tablet?
You do not have to have a computer system to be able to run a Cricut machine. In fact you can use your Cricut machine with any phone or tablet device. I tend to use both my laptop and my iPad to create with Cricut. However, it is mainly down to user preference.
There are some features I find easier to use from a laptop, but it definitely isn’t the end of the world if you do not have a computer system.
Any money-saving tips?
Firstly, it is always good to make sure you do some reasearch and shop around before making any kind of purchase, but when it comes to Cricut, I would always suggest, to ensure you are purchasing your machine from official Cricut stockists.
There are some brands that provide Cricut compatible tools, such as mats, pens, blades, etc. One brand particularly that I have noticed being used with Cricut, is Nicapa, Their resources are very reasonable and work perfectly!
By taking some time to learn some ‘Cricut hacks’ as well will also help you along your Cricutting journey. I often see videos on TikTok and YouTube showing really cool hacks on how to keep mats clean, so they last longer, and how to sharpen your Cricut blades! Definitely have a search.
Still have questions?
If you are thinking of starting your Cricut journey but you still have a few I am always happy to help! Leave a comment in below, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org