A few years ago, pencil, ruler, and scissors are the main tools for creating crafts and designs that you might use for a birthday party decorations, home decors and designs, and even sewing. Now, with the combination of advanced technology and great minds filled with curiosity, crafting is now easier than ever.
What is a Cricut machine?
For real crafting enthusiast, Cricut is but a common word.
Made by Provo Craft & Novelty Inc., Cricut is the brand name of home die-cutting machines which can be used for scrapbooking and other projects.
Die-cutting is the process of using a die (a specialized tool used to shape or cut materials using a press) to shear webs of low-strength materials like sheet metal, foam, plastics, paperboard, corrugated fiberboard, paper, cloth, foil, fiber, and rubber.
Cricut machines are mainly used for cutting fabric vinyl, felt, paper and other crafting products.
The Evolution of Cricut Models
The very first Cricut machine has 6 inches by 12 inches cutting mat. The images can be cut in a range from 1 inch to 5 ½ inches tall. This original Cricut is compatible with all first Cricut cartridges. However, it does not possess the ability of newer models of Cricut which can cut a wider variety of materials. The original Cricut, however, can make Deep Cut Housing and Blade, which allows a user to cut materials that are 1.55mm thick like stamp materials, chipboards, and magnets.
When compared to the previous model, Cricut Expression offers more advantages. First, it allows its users to cut fonts and shapes in a range from ¼ inch to 23 ½ inches. It comes with 12 inches by 12 inches cutting mat with adjustable slides that eliminate the hassle of trimming the media to 6 inches by 12 inches.
Cricut Expression can cut a wider variety of materials such as thin foils, vinyl, chipboard, fabric, and vellum. In order to preview the work, an LCD screen is added with features such as Auto-Fill and Quantity. They also added a mode called “Paper Saver” and choice between Landscape or Portrait Orientation. It includes 2 cartridges: Accent Essentials and Plantin Schoolbook.
Cricut Expression 2
An update of Cricut Expression, Cricut Expression 2 shows off an all-new exterior. Like the Cricut Expression, it has 12 inches by 12 inches cutting mat. However, this particular machine does not have a keyboard like the original and Cricut Expression have. Instead, it boasts an LCD touch screen in full color.
Its LCD touch screen allows you to see where your image will be on the mat prior to cutting and displays the keyboard on the screen. Also, it has an added feature of image rotation and independent image sizing directly on the LCD screen.
It is a small electronic cutting machine for personal use. It has a unique mat size of 8.5 inches by 12 inches and can cut images in a range of ¼ inch to 11 ½ inches. Not like the previous Cricut machines, the Cricut Mini only works with the use of a computer. Standing alone, it cannot cut an image. You will need to use the Cricut Craft Room software.
It contains more than 500 images which are unlocked automatically when it is connected to the Cricut Gypsy device or Cricut Craft Room. The Cricut Mini does not have a port for cartridges which is compatible with all Cricut cartridges except for one: the Cricut imagine cartridge.
Cricut Explore Air
The Cricut Explore Air is an electronic die cutting machine with embedded Bluetooth for wireless cutting of materials from fabric to paper and more.
Cricut Explore Air 2
An updated version of Cricut Explore Air, the Cricut Explore Air 2 works much faster. With an added feature called “Fast Mode”, it makes writing and cutting 2x faster. “Precision Mode” perfectly makes the most intricate cuts.
Cricut Explore Air 2 can cut over a hundred materials from specialty materials such as bonded fabric, cork, and glitter papers to iron-on, vinyl and cardstock. It has a double tool holder which keeps the pen and blade at hand and seamlessly shifts between embellishing with a written note or cutting a shape.
Control your Cricut Explore Air 2 without any wires with its embedded Bluetooth technology that helps you connect to your mobile device or computer. It comes with Design Space software for Window, iOs, and Android devices. It has an Offline Mode which allows you to download projects and images to use when offline. The Cricut Explore Air 2 has 50 ready-to-make projects with projects that demonstrated what it can do. It is compatible with all Cricut Cartridges.
The newest addition to the Cricut family, Cricut Maker can cut thicker materials like Basswood and Balsawood and also non-bonded felt, leather, and fabric. It has a digital sewing pattern library with hundreds of the pattern from brands like Riley Blake and Simplicity which you can access.
The Cricut Maker comes with an expandable suite of tools— powerful scoring tool, pens, and blades— which scores, writes and cuts more material faster and with greater control and precision than ever before.
- Washable Fabric Pen – a pen that automatically marks pattern pieces for you to always know how they fit together.
- Knife Blade – an extra-deep blade which slices through thicker materials like a 2.4 mm matboard or balsawood with ease.
- Rotary Blade – This sharp blade cuts through any fabric accurately and quickly without any backing materials because of its rolling and gliding action.
It also features an Adaptive Tool System which intelligently controls the blade’s direction and adds 10x cutting force. It is fully equipped with advanced features like Offline Mode, SnapMat and Print Then Cut. It also includes 50 ready-to-make-projects, with 25 patterns for digital sewing and other projects for demonstrations of what this machine can do.
Cricut Essentials are other equipment and accessories that help add the finishing touch to your projects. Cricut Essentials have what you need to finish details, handle delicate pieces and prep materials.
a) Cricut EasyPress
Just finished cutting an iron-on project? What’s left to do is to stick it to your clothes, pillows, and others.
Cricut EasyPress finishes the job in just a minute or less. With its simple controls, huge heating surface and safety features, you will have a professional iron-on result that will last for a very, very long time.
b) Cricut BrightPad
Cricut BrightPad has an ultraslim profile and adjustable LED light that allows you to see every detail as you are tracing, weeding, jewelry-making, or paper-piercing quilt patterns.
The Cricut BrightPad is essentially suited for lighting up hard to see cut lines in iron-on and vinyl.
c) Cricut Accessories
Whether you need to cut something down to size, grab a teeny edge, or smooth things out, these accessories that are carefully engineered and designed will guarantee that you have the right tool for each and every crafting tasks.
d) Cricut Materials
Cricut also has their own collection of high-quality materials you will need for crafting such as iron-ons, vinyl, paper and more that are all designed to be perfectly cut by the Cricut machine. With different finishes ranging from sassy, flashy and fun to refined, rich and polished, these materials will surely provide you with the exact look you are after.
e) Cricut Cases
Cricut has premium cases for storage, protection, and organization of machine and supplies. You can use it for everything you might need on the road or organize things at home. Functional, sturdy and stylish these cases are built to last a very long time of crafting nights and DIY days.
How do you use it?
The simplest explanation is that Cricut is a cutting machine that looks like your typical printer. Except that instead of printing, Cricut cuts a design on whatever materials you choose using a very precise blade and a series of rollers. Amazing right? Cricut can also “print”. With the use of Cricut Pen, you can draw out your design. You can also score or emboss your design if you want. It all depends on what accessory or tool you mount in the dual cartridge head of Cricut.
Here are the 3 simple steps on how you use a Cricut Machine for your crafting needs:
1. Create your Design
In order to create a design, you will need a free web app available for Mac and PC called “Cricut Design Space”. If you want to use your iPad or iPhone to design, you can use the app Design Space for iOS, or if you are using Android, there is beta-version of Design Space for Android available now.
Design Space is a software that helps connects your computer or device to the Cricut Machine. There are thousands of pre-designed projects in the Cricut Design Space library that you can create yourself or download.
You can either customize the design or make the project exactly as it is. When clicking a project from the library, you will see options to “Make It Now” where you can recreate it exactly as the original design or “Customize It” where you can change the text, resize it and more.
Or if you are feeling the creativity, using the design tools within the Design Space, you can create a brand new design from scratch. You have the freedom to add or upload your own images and text, resize modify colors and shapes and more in order for you to create the perfect design you will love.
2. Prepare your Cricut Machine
Once you have the design that you want, it is time for the Cricut Machine to shine.
This step is really, really simple! All you have to do is turn the machine on.
In case, this is your first time to use a Cricut Machine, then you might need to pair your computer or device with the Cricut machine first via Bluetooth Technology. After the first time, you do not need to pair the machine every time you open your Cricut machine since it will automatically remember the pairing and will always be ready for action.
3. Send your design to the Cricut Machine
The last step is for you to send your project to the Cricut machine. If you really are happy with your design and is now ready to create it with your Cricut machine powered on, you just need to press the “Make it” button at the Cricut Design Space’s top right corner.
The software will start previewing all different mats. For each mat is a 1 sheet of material. In case you have 3 different colors for your projects then you will need 3 different mats. If you are using a fabric and paper for your project, you will need 1 mat for each material.
The first thing you need to do on this screen is to set the quantity that you need to cut. For instance: If you are making 2 cards, you can tell the software to create 2 project copies from the top left. The standard size for most materials you will be cutting is 12 inches by 12 inches. However, if you want a different size, you can change it from the Material Size drop down. And if you are creating an iron-on design, then click on the “Mirror” to flip your design so that it appears correctly on the finished project.
If you have set all desired settings and are now ready to send your design to the Cricut machine, click “Continue” from the bottom right corner. It will then walk you through the loading of materials and setting the dials.
The machine will start with Mat 1 and moves on. You need to choose the material that you are going o use for the 1st mat and then set the dial for the particular material. The Cricut machine will adjust the blade’s speed, pressure, and depth automatically in order to ensure that your project will come out automatically.
Put the material you will use on the Cricut cutting mat and load it into the Cricut machine. In case you are using 2 or more materials for your project, then you do not need to worry since the software will help you through loading multiple materials.
Once you have cut out every mat you can now assemble all cut-out pieces and you are done.
What can it do?
If you want me to list everything that a Cricut Machine can do then it will be a very, very long list to read. I know you don’t want that. So here is a short list of general projects you can create with Cricut machine:
From jars and coffee mugs to framed arts and wall graphics, vinyl is the one material to create an easy and quick statement. You only need to choose a design from thousands of selection, place your vinyl in the machine and press the Go button. Vinyl designed from Cricut machine will always deliver perfect results.
Watch this tutorial video for a Vinyl “Welcome” Sign here:
2. Sewing Project
With hundreds of digital patterns available from top brands like Simplicity, Cricut machine revolutionizes the traditional sewing craft projects. With just a few clicks and the strong cutting power of Cricut machine, you can immediately create your own stuffed animal or doll.
Iron-on is possible with Cricut machine with a wide range of effects, finishes, and colors which are perfect for customizing pillows, bags, scarves, t-shirts and so much more. Just cut a design and use the Cricut EasyPress, or an iron if needed, in order to apply it to your desired project.
Check a hands-on tutorial for creating an Iron-On T-shirt here:
The Cricut Knife Blade is now better and reliable than ever! You can now cut matboard, chipboard, balsa wood of up to 2.3 mm thick. Create wall art, architectural models, skeletons, puzzles and so much more!
5. Paper Crafts
Paper has been the original crafting material ever since. It comes with a wide range of finishes, weights, textures, sizes, and colors. You can use it for so many things such as notes, cards, paper flowers, table settings, or party decorations. Your imagination is the limit!
Learn how to create beautiful and amazing scrapbooking materials for a memory-filled scrapbook page:
Save more time for creating a great gift. With Cricut machine, cutting quilt blocks is now easier, faster and more accurate than ever. You can start with your own digital design or find one design from Rile Blake. You can skip all the hassle and time-consuming cutting of all block with your own hands and let the Cricut machine do the job in a minute.
A birthday party? An anniversary? There is nothing more beautiful than giving a customized card in order to show some efforts and that you really care. You can use the Cricut Pens to create beautiful “handwritten” envelopes or pens. Or you can bring a wide range of materials together such as fabric, foil, corrugated cardboard, decorative papers, crepe papers or cardstock to create a unique, connecting composition. Cards are very easy to design and make and are perfect for any occasion.
Learn how to make a “handwritten” card with Cricut Machine:
Stencils add an amazing flair to a wide range of projects, big or small. It is very easy to create with the help of Cricut Machine. Cricut Machine helps deliver sharp masks for a detailed etching on metal jewelry or glassware and even large stencils that are up to 12 inches by 24 inches for decorating large surfaces like furniture and walls.
Always in trend, Leather is a must-have accessory for most people. With the help of Cricut machine, leather crafts can be more accessible than ever. You can use Cricut Knife Blade in order to cut a wide range of grains that includes extra thick, split and full grain. You can find the best leather project at Cricut leather collection library.
Printables are the perfect way to show your own personality. You can create customized printed iron-on, decals, and stickers in just a minute. Just use the Cricut printer to print designs you want on the material of choice. After that, use the “Print then Cut” feature from Design Space for a perfect cut out. You can print on iron-on, vinyl, sticker paper as well as a magnetic sheet.
Check out this video on how to create a fridge photo magnet using your own photos:
11. Bringing awesomeness to furniture
Furniture— what you see is what you get. It is really hard to find furniture that suits your style and taste. However, with Cricut Machine, you can do something about it and add your own style and design. You can add texture or color to a table, add a vinyl motif to a dresser or dress up a chair. With Cricut machine, it does not take much to turn boring furniture into something so awesome!
Cricut is not just an innovative electronic machine that can create crafts easier and faster. It is also a great machine that offers thousands to probably millions of design and style possibilities that can awaken every crafter’s imagination and creativity to create endless craft ideas and innovation.