Interested in getting started with a Cricut Machine? Wondering what it is and what it does? Curious to know what your options are and which to choose? In this video, I go through the similarities and differences between the 3 Cricut Machine options. Also the types of projects you can explore with the Cricut Machines.
Or if you prefer reading and seeing pictures, I’ve added the entire episode transcript below (with some modifications for clarity) along with some images to highlight the main steps.
Hey everyone, I’m Isabelle, you may have seen recently some projects that I’ve made with the help of my Cricut Machine, including my renter-friendly entryway floor makeover. Many of you have asked me, what is a Cricut, exactly? And what does it do? So I’m going to be answering these very specific questions today.
A big thank you to Cricut for sponsoring this video and for supporting this channel.
A Cricut Machine is essentially a smart electronic cutting machine that uses blades to make very precise cuts into different materials. There are actually three different types of Cricut Machines that you can buy: the Cricut Joy, the Cricut Explore Air 2, or the Cricut Maker. The Cricut Joy is the smallest of all of the machines, and it can cut materials like vinyl and paper up to five and a half inches wide and 20 feet long. You don’t have the option of switching out the cutting blades, but it can also write using a pen.
The Cricut Maker is slightly smaller than the Explore Air 2. For those of us with limited space, it’s always a good idea to know the footprint of any new equipment or tool that you bring home.
I’m really happy that my Maker Machine fits perfectly on my small desk with just enough room for a laptop, and for the material to go through all the way to the back of the machine.
The Explore Air 2 and the Maker are actually very similar machines, the main difference between them is the number of tools compatible with each machine, which impacts the type of materials that they can cut.
To operate the Cricut Machines, you need to download the Cricut Design Space Software onto either a smartphone, a tablet, or a computer, which you connect to the machines via Bluetooth or cable. The Design Space Software is free and it’s compatible with both Macs and PCs. Once you’ve created an account, you can start using the Design Space to create projects in a few different ways. It already comes with hundreds of free images that you can use, and many more that you can purchase for a small fee. So you don’t have to know anything about graphic design to be able to make beautiful projects as soon as you get your machine. However, you can also use your own graphics that you import in these various file formats (SVG, PNG, JPG, DXF, GIF, and BMF). Or you can draw a simple design within the design space software itself. That works best for simple projects that use basic shapes like rectangles or circles.
You can also easily replicate designs that you need to cut several times. Then you can configure them in a way that allows you to maximize the use of material and minimize waste.
Now once your design is ready, then you select the material for your project. The Cricut Joy only has one cutting blade, so it’s most limited in what it can cut. Whereas the Cricut Maker Machine is the most versatile and can handle over 300 materials. There’s so many materials that a Cricut machine can cut that I’m going to go into more detail about that in a separate video.
The adaptive tool system is actually what makes it possible to cut all of these different types of materials, all you have to do is switch out the tool to the one designed for the material that you’re working with. That Maker has 12 different tools that you can choose from including several different blades. No matter what tool you’re using. All the cuts are exact and precise with a nice clean edge. Something that’s not always easy to do with an exacto knife or scissors. It also saves a lot of time, especially if you have to cut many pieces or intricate designs.
Whatever material you’re using with a Cricut Maker or Explorer Air Machine, you will need to place the material on a cutting mat. They come in two different sizes and several different levels of adhesion. The light grip is best used for paper like materials, whereas the standard grip is more for things like vinyl, while the strong grip is meant to be used for thicker materials. Plus, there’s also a mat that’s made specifically to work with fabric.
Now cutting isn’t the only thing that a Cricut machine can do. It can write, score, emboss, and engrave. Which I tried out recently to make my furry assistant a cute little tag for her harness. I used to think that Cricut Machines were mainly used for crafting and scrapbooking. However, since having my Cricut Maker for the last few months, I realized how versatile it is and It’s really opened up a whole new world of projects that I can do at home.
I’ll be sharing some of my favorite Cricut Maker projects in a new video coming soon. So you can really see what I mean when I say it’s versatile.
Well I hope you’ve enjoyed this video. And if you’re looking for any information on the things that I’ve mentioned, I’ll be putting all of that in the video description below. And if you’re looking to see what I’m up to day to day, join me on Patreon and follow me on Instagram. Thanks for watching and I’ll see you next time.