Cricut Explore Air 2 vs. Silhouette Cameo 3

With the advent of technology, it is easy for most of us to print designs onto vinyl substrates. Before, heat pressing was the only way you can transfer designs to banners or other displays. Graphics back then were not durable and did not last long. Furthermore, complex designs cannot be fully displayed so ideas are being limited.

However, digital printing brought a significant change in all these. Transferring designs to a vinyl substrate have never been faster, easier, and of better value. There are so many vinyl-cutting machines on the market, and Cricut and Silhouette are two of the leading household names in the industry.

Today, we will take a look at the latest versions of these brands — Cricut Explore Air 2 Machine and Silhouette Cameo 3.

Let us find out which will work best for you.

 


Cricut Explore Air 2

 

The Cricut Explore Air 2 machine offers a lot of functions to its users. It can cut sophisticated details with utmost precision. You name it. Whether that is some lace stationary design or fine snowflakes, the machine can handle them well. It also writes using Cricut Pens. This makes your cards appear as if they were handwritten. It has more than 370 fonts to choose from. And thanks to its scoring stylus, this machine can make perfect fold lines from cards to acetate pinwheels or 3D paper crafts.

Cricut boasts that this new and hit die cutting machine is two times faster than any other. It can work wirelessly via Bluetooth too. The manufacturer claims it makes life beautiful as it can work with more than 100 different materials. These include the usual cardstock, fabric, paper, and vinyl as well as specialist media such as metals, leather, and foam.

This DIY, smart cutting machine can also be run using an app. The app contains predesigned projects that you can quickly cut. The Explore Air 2 has the size of 24 by 9.5 by 9.5 and weighs 16.84 pounds.

Personally, Cricut Explore Air 2 is my machine of choice for cutting any projects. It is the easiest to use, and the cuts are nice and clean. Its smart dial technology ultimately won my heart. This feature lets you choose the type of material you will be working with, and then the machine will adjust the pressure.

 

 

Features:

  • Includes 3,000 test projects with materials for you to try hands-on
  • Comes in different colors and has one of the sleekest designs you can ever see in a cutter
  • Highly accurate scoring stylus with more than 350 fonts
  • Fast Mode feature allows you to work on your crafts twice as fast


Pros:

  • Easy installation and use of the software – The Cricut Design space is very user-friendly. It comes with online instructional videos, making it ideal even for beginners.
  • Has a Bluetooth feature for wireless cutting – You must have a Bluetooth connection from your computer or iOS mobile device. It is good to note that this machine was the easiest to connect to Bluetooth.
  • Does not have mat slipping issues
  • Can cut designs made in Adobe suite
  • Uploading images is free
  • Different formats like .svg, .jpg., .png, .bmp, .gif, .dxf are accepted

Cons:

  • Design software lacks advanced features
  • Software does not work offline – It requires broadband internet connection and internet browsers. It is not a stand-alone machine.
  • No android app available yet (manufacturer says it is coming soon)
  • Minimum system requirement updates are necessary to update the software – Updating and meeting these requirements may require upgrading your entire computer system.

 


Silhouette Cameo 3

Silhouette’s latest cutting machine is quite similar to its predecessor but with a few key upgrades and brand new features. It has been making waves among enthusiasts so reviewing this is a bit exciting.

The Cameo 3 can cut more than 100 different materials up to 12 inches wide and 10 feet long. It comes with a built-in AutoBlade. The powerful blade can easily and quickly cut grips. Do take note though that the AutoBlade only auto-adjusts. It does not figure your settings for you. You still need to set all of the materials, while the Autoblade fine-tunes. You can also cut materials without using a mat following the introduction of the matless cutting.

The Cameo 3 has a very sleek design. Many say it resembles like your home printer, to which I strongly agree. The machine flaunts a modernized touchscreen design. It has incorporated wireless connectivity via Bluetooth. This means you do not have to deal with a lot of tangled cables and wires. It can be a bit bulky though measuring 22.5 by 8.5 by 6 inches and weighs about 12 pounds.

The dual-carriage feature is Cameo 3’s notable upgrade. Such feature allows the machine to carry out two different functions in one operation. Yes, you can cut and sketch all at the same time. And what does this mean? Of course, more work is done within a period of time.

Broadband internet is only necessary to download and update the software. It is also needed for downloading fonts and images from the store. Other than that, this is a stand-alone tool.

It cannot be denied that the Cameo 3 cuts well with all images. However, there are times when the machine experiences paper jamming, compromising small cuts. It does not have a smart dial, so you are responsible for setting the material and for testing if the pressure is correct. It can be tedious especially for beginners. You can find some cheat sheets though.

Features:

  • 12-inch cutting and drawing width
  • Responsive and user-friendly LCD touchscreen
  • Recognizes Pixscan Technology
  • Works with both Windows PC and Mac
  • Has wireless Bluetooth connectivity
  • Has three different types of blades (standard blade, deep cut blade, and AutoBlade)


Pros:

  • AutoBlade setting automatically calibrates the blade based on the materials you are working
  • The Deep Cut Blade setting lets you effectively work on thicker materials
  • Cutting clearance has been increased from 0.8 mm to 2 mm to cut more materials
  • Dual carriages for non-stop cutting and printing
  • Matless cutting ability to cut lined media to up to 10 feet long

Cons:

  • Cutting force not improved with the same 221 g/s just like the last model
  • Design program is very advanced and requires previous knowledge
  • Requires payment to use SVG or your own fonts

 


Comparison of Cricut Explore Air 2 and Silhouette Cameo 3

 

Software

Both machines are equipped with good software, but each has different learning curves. The Silhouette Cameo 3 is more sophisticated. It allows you to make and personalize images and make it your own. It has some toolbars and layer panels too that work just like Photoshop. But its complexity is not for everyone. Some find it not user-friendly. The application needs to run on a computer too. This means you will need to download and set it up, and of course, it will take some space on your hard drive. However, you will not be dependent on Wi-Fi to use.

Meanwhile, Cricut calls its software Design space. It is the exact opposite of Silhouette’s as this is very easy to learn. You can easily navigate through the application, and everything is visually there. You do not need to hover over the icons. The only drawback is that it needs the Internet to work. Its speed and performance highly rely on the strength and stability of your Internet connection. You will also be required to log into your account. But on the brighter side, it will not take any space on your hard drive.

 

Performance

Each machine has its own strengths and weaknesses. In terms of cutting abilities, Cricut Explore Air 2 works best on different materials, particularly the thick ones. But Silhouette Cameo 3 has a better precision even on intricate designs. It can beat previous Silhouette machines.

For the print-then-cut feature, Cricut Design Space limits the sizes of images you can cut. Printing quality is low too. Images do not appear sharp, while the colors are not as vibrant. The only advantage it has is its simplicity. The process of uploading images is very short.  Meanwhile, Silhouette Studio can be a bit challenging to work with, but its outputs are impressive. Both images and colors are of high quality, even with very large pictures.

The pen feature of Cricut Explore Air 2 allows you draw and write anything. It still has the dual head technology, single line fonts, and a place for fine tip pens just like the original Cricut Explore. However, one downside for this machine is that the pen leaves a dark dot on the spaces you started and ended drawing or writing with.

On the other hand, Silhouette Cameo 3 allows you to make any cut sketch similar to Cricut. You can also purchase and download sketch items from the online store. While you can use different fonts, the Cameo 3 does not employ handwritten or single line fonts. But there is more room for creativity in this machine. It offers fill sketch for texts and more edit features for fonts.

When handling materials, both are compatible with several different materials. Cricut is capable of a deep cut. A head-to-head study found that Cricut is better than Silhouette when it comes to the ability and preciseness.

 

Mats and Tools

The mats from Cricut are sturdier than Silhouette’s. It comes in three different strengths too – light, medium, and strong. Silhouette’s mats feel so delicate. Its light sticking mat makes it difficult to cut heavier materials. However, this might not be a major issue at all with Silhouette matless cutting ability. The machine allows you to conveniently cut vinyl without a map and up to 10 feet long. You can easily work on very large projects without the need of loading and uploading the mats.

 

Design and Appearance

Both machines have sleek designs. But I love the available fun colors of Cricut. Silhouette only comes in white. The Cricut machine is more portable as it is much smaller in size too. Silhouette can eat up a large amount of space as it requires a taller and wider clearance.

Both devices have onboard tool storage. Cricut’s is a bit larger and can hold more tools. And like I said earlier, the Silhouette Storage tray looks like the typical printer tray that you pulled out. The area is small too, and the paper guides easily fold out.

The two machines are equipped with double tool holders. The one tool holder goes for the blade, while the other for pens or the scoring tool. The Silhouette boasts a touchscreen LCD. You can find here tutorials such as how to insert blades or mats on the machine. Cricut, on the other hand, does not leave any room for error. Its smart dial feature will ensure that there are no guess works.

 


Conclusion

Both brands have been rivaling to be the best cutting machine maker. Although they have lots of differences, they also share some similarities. Both machines can handle and cut intricate designs. They are compatible with a variety of materials too. They are capable of wireless connectivity via Bluetooth and are installed with different software incorporated into a design store. You can work on a cloud too, permitting you to work on other devices such as iPads and laptops. I particularly love both their sleek appearance and dainty designs.

I say beginners should choose the Cricut Explore Air 2. It is very easy to work, and you do not need a day to learn everything. It is great for home decorations and scrapbooking. Pick the Silhouette Cameo 3  if you work with larger images. It is not only intended for home decorations but also for mug or T-shirt printing.

Overall, both cutting machines have flaunted their advantages and disadvantages. Each has its own unique feature to boast. It is really difficult to pick which is which. It is either you get the fast cutting or the stable, multi-featured cutting. But at the end of the day, it all boils down to what purposes you want these machines to serve.

 

10 Creative Cricut Project Ideas

Crafting is never easy, but if you really love what you do, then you will only see the fun side of everything you make. Especially the overwhelming feeling of excitement when an idea hits you and you just can’t wait to start it.

Cricut machines are heaven sent for most crafting enthusiast. Not only does it make crafting easier and faster, but it also brings out their creative side due to the infinite ideas you can create with a Cricut Machine.

What is a Cricut machine and how do you use it?

Cricut Machines are home die-cutting machines made by Provo Craft & Novelty Inc., for crafting and scrapbooking projects. These DIY machines look like a typical printer. Not only does it print on materials, it also has a set of sharp blades and precise rollers in order to cut designs.

Depending on what type of tool or accessory you add to your Cricut machine, you can emboss, score, cut, print, and more to create amazing DIY crafts. You only need to create a design on their free web app called “Cricut Design Space” and send it to your Cricut Machine for cutting or printing.

10 Creative Cricut Project Ideas

Cricut machines can do anything from papercrafts and printables to creating models, sewing projects, and even quilting or leatherworks. It literally creates any crafts you can think of. So, if you are lacking ideas or just want to create something different with your Cricut machine, here are 10 creative Cricut project ideas you can try!

 


1. Leather Cut Out Wallets

Ladies, forget about rummaging through the department store for your next fashionista wallet and going home pretty disappointed since all the wallets displayed do not suit your fashion style. If you have Cricut Machine, create one for yourself now. This could give you the freedom to design your own wallet, add the necessary pockets to it and gives you uniqueness.

Watch this tutorial on how to create your own leather wallet:


2. Chalkboard Calendar

Make your calendars more fun and creative using your Cricut Machine. Instead of using your traditional “display and rip” calendar, why not create one that only needs to be erased every now and then? With a Cricut machine, you can create a chalkboard family calendar somewhere in the corner of the house where family members can write and see daily activities and plans.

Here’s a video tutorial on how to create chalkboard art with Cricut:


3. Phone Decals

Tired of the same old phone cases? Maybe you want something fresh and unique to go with your phone? Now, don’t throw your old phone cases. With just a few designing and sticking, you can make it look new and fresh. With a Cricut Machine, you can design your own phone cases, something that is not available on your local phone stores.

Here  is a video tutorial on how to customized phone cases:


4. Fridge Magnets

Decorate your refrigerators with family photos and motivational sayings. Use photos for ultimate personalization and print them on magnetic materials using your Cricut Machine.

Check this video for to learn how to create a fridge magnet using Cricut:


5. Engraving Dog Tags

Do you have an adorable puppy at home? Well, give that good boy a personalized dog tag, so that people will know he’s your buddy.

Watch this tutorial for engraving dog tags:


6. Personalized Doormats

Welcome visitors with a unique personalized mat on your doorstep. Also, this personalized mat will make a perfect gift for newly married couples.

Check out this video on how to create personalized doormats with Cricut Explore:


7. Printed Plate

Customized your plates with a Cricut Machine that you either choose to eat on it or just add to your home decors.

Here is a video on how to customize plate with Cricut Explore Air:


8. Photo Candles

Impress your partner by adding a new twist to your candlelight dinner. You can add pictures or even romantic words to the candles itself using a Cricut Machine.

Here is a sample video:


9. Reversible Headbands

Tired of your hair getting on your face? Create fun reversible headbands for a chic-looking you with a Cricut Machine.

Watch this video tutorial on how to make reversible headbands:


10. Play foods

Create play foods made of felt for your precious little ones so they can invite their friends to a little dinner role-playing.

Here’s how you can create play foods with Cricut:


 

10 Cricut Projects to Sell

If you are knowledgeable in operating and using a Cricut machine, perhaps you are now looking for some Cricut projects to sell in order to make some money. Actually, learning how to make Cricut projects or crafts that you can sell takes a lot of research, patience creativity, effort, and of course time. But one thing is for sure, creating Cricut projects is very fun.

However, for those who are new to Cricut machine, it is a cutting machine that regularly used for making a scrapbook, signage, classroom decoration, and more. Not only that, it is also a valuable equipment that can help you to earn money even if you’re at home.

Either way, whether you’re new to Cricut or already made lots of Cricut projects, look no further because this article is for you. In this article, we will be listing 10 Cricut projects that will surely give you some money.

So let’s get started.

10 Cricut Projects that can give you Money


1. Gift Tags (Snowman Gift Tag)

Materials:

  • Cricut Explore machine
  • StandardGrip Cricut Mat
  • Cricut DesignSpace – Software
  • Cricut Metallic Pen
  • Cricut Color Antiquity Pen
  • White Cardstock

How to make a Snowman Gift Tag

  1. Established the colors you would like to implement for the strained lines.
  2. On your screen, follow the instructions on how to draw and cut the image.
  3. After cutting the image, you can put the design you want. But make sure do not put unnecessary things because it may affect the final look of your gift tag.

 


2. Personalized Tumbler

Materials:

  • Cricut Machine
  • Cricut Adhesive Foil
  • Tumbler
  • Cricut Cutting Mat
  • Heat or Iron Press
  • Cricut Iron-On Foil

How to Make a Personalized Tumbler with Cricut

  1. Prepare all the needed materials mentioned above.
  2. Cut the vinyl to fit on the Cricut cutting mat. Afterward, attach the cut vinyl to the cutting mat, in this project you can utilize a 12 by 12 standard grip mat.
  3. Make your own image but first measure the tumbler so that you will determine how large the image is.
  4. Cut the image using the Cricut machine
  5. Prepare the glue foil image using Cricut essential equipment to eliminate unnecessary things from the tumbler.
  6. Place a tape (Cricut Transfer Tape) on top of the adhesive foil.
  7. Place the transfer tape together with the adhesive foil on the tumbler. Then peel the transfer tape slowly.

 


3. Butterfly Lampshade

Materials:

  • Cricut Explore Machine
  • White Lampshade
  • White Cardstock
  • Glue sticks and a glue gun
  • Vellum
  • Ironing board and iron
  • Cricut Mat
  • White glitter, iron-on vinyl

How to Make a Butterfly Lampshade

  1. Look for a ready-made design in Design Space Cricut software. Since we are making butterfly lampshade, look for butterfly images.
  2. Cut the butterfly pictures in two sets on iron-on vinyl or white glitter. When designing always select the “mirror design”. Place the glossy side of the vinyl downwards then established the custom dial to cut and iron-on your design.
  3. Remove all the excess materials
  4. Place the two sets of vinyl on each side of the lampshade using the iron
  5. To add a 3D effect, cut out butterflies from the vellum or cardstock.
  6. Use the glue gun so that the vellum butterfly will stick on top of the cardstock butterfly.

 


4. Planner Folder Pockets

Materials:

  • Pen
  • Scissors
  • Single Hole Punch
  • Binder Clips
  • Glue
  • Thick Cardstock
  • Cricut Scoring Stylus
  • Cutting Mat
  • Cricut machine

How to make a Planner Folder Pocket

  1. Decide on what folder shape you want to create
  2. Select how to mark your planner pocket.
  3. Size your planner folder pocket
  4. Fit your dial to custom for glitter or cardstock then cut the planner pocket
  5. If you’re creating a double-sided planner pocket, make sure to glue the two pieces together facing on the right side.
  6. Fold the planner pocket closed and glue both the bottom and outside edge
  7. Make holes for the planner pocket
  8. Snap the planner pocket and design with impressive and gorgeous things

 


5. Memory Game

Materials:

  • Wooden Squares
  • Weeding tool
  • Cricut machine
  • Vinyl In Lime

How to make a Memory Game with Cricut

  1. By utilizing the software called Design Shape, pattern the dinosaur shapes.
  2. Size them to 1.25 inches or you can change it depending on the size of the available wooden squares.
  3. Remove the shape of the dinosaur from the vinyl using the weeding tool.
  4. Afterward, attach them to the wooden squares

 


6. Canvas Banner

Materials:

  • Iron-on Vinyl
  • Weeding tool
  • Fabric Mat
  • Cricut Machine
  • Iron or Easy Press
  • Cricut Maker
  • Grip Mat
  • Ribbon or Twine
  • Popsicle Stick or Dowel Rod
  • Glue Gun
  • Canvas banner

How to make a Canvas Banner with Cricut

  1. Download or make your own quotations
  2. Once you have downloaded a quotation, cut your chosen quotation using a Cricut machine on an iron-on vinyl.
  3. Using the weeding tool, weed the quotation. Afterward, place the quotation in front of the canvas banner.
  4. Using the easy press, attach the vinyl quotation to the canvas banner
  5. Once you’ve attached the vinyl to the canvas banner remove the glue backing carefully
  6. Make your own design on Cricut Design Shape software
  7. Add the dowel rod or popsicle stick at the back of the canvas banner
  8. Make a hook for the canvas banner using a ribbon or twine

 


7. Pillow Cases

Materials:

  • Weeding tool
  • Scissors
  • Iron
  • Sewing Machine
  • Cricut cutting machine
  • Pillow Cover or Fabric
  • Heat Transfer Vinyl
  • White trim

How to make a pillowcase with Cricut

  1. Cut the fabric
  2. For the front part of the pillowcase, cut out the heat transfer vinyl using a Cricut machine
  3. Place the vinyl sign in the middle part of the pillowcase then iron it.
  4. Finish it, by sewing the pillowcase but make sure to insert a pillow first before you begin to sew.

 


8. Party Banners

Materials:

  • SVG Cut Files
  • Glue or Sewing Machine
  • Ribbon
  • Glue
  • Spray Glue
  • Cricut Iron or Easy Press
  • Weeding Tool
  • Glitter Iron-on Vinyl
  • Cricut Maker
  • Felt
  • Canvas Banner

How to make a Party Banner with Cricut

  1. Using the Cricut maker, cut out the iron-on vinyl. Make sure to place the vinyl on the glossy side of the mat.
  2. Weed it to remove unnecessary spaces
  3. Once you have weeded your vinyl, attach it to the canvas banner using an iron or Easy Press
  4. Cut out the stroked, once the iron-on is finished.
  5. Upload the project then press the “Make It” button, then the Cricut Maker will do the rest.
  6. Use a spray glue to attach the letters to the banners. However, you can glue or sew the banner together

 


9. Paper Flowers Magnet

Materials:

  • Magnets
  • Scissors
  • Glue sticks and a Glue gun
  • Scrapbook Paper
  • Cricut machine preferably Explore Air 2

How to make a Paper Flower with Cricut

  1. In Cricut Design Shape software create petal shapes as well as circles for the flower’s base. These will serve as your paper flower’s petals
  2. Established the Cricut Explore Air 2 to cardstock then cut out the petals
  3. Place a glue on the left side of the petals and glue the opposite side carefully
  4. Once all the petals are glued, place them on the circle base using glue sticks.
  5. Add the center of the flowers
  6. Lastly, place a magnet on the back of the paper flower

 


10. Prism Sculptures

Materials:

  • Toothpick
  • Masking Tape or Adhesive Tape
  • Glue Gun and glue sticks
  • Spray Paint (any color)
  • Sketching and painting supplies
  • Chipboard or Artboard
  • Blade
  • Cricut machine

How to make a Prism Sculptures with Cricut

  1. Create shapes (geometric) in Design Shape software or you can use ready-made images
  2. Once you have finished creating your own shape click the “Go” button then go to “Custom” setting to cut out the shapes.
  3. Lay the pieces on a flat surface.
  4. Tape the pieces altogether using a masking tape or adhesive tape
  5. Glue the outside part of every prism using a glue gun
  6. Dry for few minutes
  7. After drying the sculptures, you can paint them to make them look more appealing and attractive.

 


Conclusion:

There you have it, the 10 Cricut projects that you can sell to earn more money. As a matter of fact, with Cricut machines, you will be able to make countless of fun projects especially if you have unlimited ideas and wide imagination. Nevertheless, we hope that this list of Cricut projects will help you a lot.

 

3 tips for using Cricut machine for the first time

So, you have finally entered the exciting world of crafts by buying a Cricut machine. Now, is the time to explore your creativity. It is very easy to use the machine; proper instructions are given in the user manual. Still, as you are a beginner, here are some tips that can help.

Removing stickiness of the mat

The cutting mat is the surface where you cut the materials. Initially, you may find it too sticky, and your designs may tear off or get distorted when trying to take it off the mat. One trick is to rub the mat with your hand or on a piece of cloth before using it. This way, the stickiness will go away. You also need to clean the mat properly after every use; otherwise, the mat will feel sticky when you try to cut your new design.

Practice cutting

Before you start your final work, test it on a small area. Cutting needs practice. So, you should practice cutting various materials. Before cutting make sure that your cutting knife is sharp.

Subscribe to design sites

You will find various design sites online. By getting subscription to these sites you can access hundreds of new design ideas. So, if you are regular at craft works, these designs will help you create new things.

You will now find various forums and social groups on craft works. You can join one of these groups and discuss with others on how to improve your work. You can learn new things from experienced designers.

What tools do you need for using Cricut machine?

Cricut machines are very useful in making crafts. You can use it to design bags, clothes, artworks, etc.  Designing is now much easier after the invention of this machine. Before you use this machine, you need to know what tools are required to use this machine.

1. Cutting blades

A Cricut machine has different types of cutting blades. There are a regular blade, a deep cut blade, and replacement blades. The regular blade can cut paper and other lightweight materials. For working with thick materials like wood, chipboard, fabrics, etc. you need to use the deep cut blade.

2. Cutting mats

In order to cut a material properly, you need to use a cutting mat. The mats are available in different sizes and grip levels. You need to change the mats often; otherwise, they will get sticky and you will have a hard time cutting the materials. You should use a spatula to clean the mats.

3. Pens

You should have different types of pens to write on materials like paper, chipboard, wood, etc. You can have different colored pens for writing and creating designs.

4. Weeder

It is necessary for vinyl projects. You should use this to pick the pieces from the project. It can be used for iron-on as well. If you don’t know how to use it, you can watch a tutorial online.

There are many other tools available as well for various kinds of projects. However, these are the common tools needed. You can get some of these tools along with your Cricut machine. If you have any confusion about how to use them, you can look at different online resources.

5 DIY projects you can do with Cricut machines

If you visit Pinterest, you see that many artists and designers have shared their creative craft works that have done with Cricut machines. You can make similar stuff at your home too! Here are some DIY projects you can try.

Paper crafts

 Paper crafts are very popular for making cards or decoration pieces. You can make lots of paper crafts using Cricut machine. You can choose from various types of papers, textures, colors, etc.

Sewing projects

You can make create designs on stuffed animals, clutches, etc. using the Cricut machine. It will give a new life to these things.

Vinyl artwork

You can do framed artwork, wall graphics, designer coffee mugs, etc. using Cricut machines. Just select a design, put the vinyl in Cricut machine, and you will produce beautiful designs. Cricut vinyl is made for Cricut machines and they can deliver excellent results.

Models

The Cricut knife blade lets you cut hard materials like wood, chipboard, etc. So, you can create various models like skeletons, wall art, architectural models, etc.

Iron-on

You can use iron-on materials to make personalized T-shirts, bags, pillows, etc. You can choose from lots of colors, effects, and finishes.

You can visit Pinterest and look for ideas. Before starting your project, you must make sure that you know how to use the machine well. You should get all the tools necessary and use them the appropriate way. Craft works are great fun and you must make time to be creative and make something by yourself.

  • 1
  • 2