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I truly got the most amazing birthday gift ever and have spent the last week neglecting my housewifing duties to spend some serious time testing it out.
Matt won Husband of the Year with his purchase of my new Cricut.
What is a Cricut?
It looks like a big printer but it basically does 3 things.
1. It cuts stuff out. It cuts out vinyl, it makes stencils, cuts fabric, and paper and balsa wood and aluminum, and leather, and chipboard, and well, just about anything. Cricut has a few different models and the most expensive one does everything and does it faster. (more details down below)
2. It draws. It will draw text or pictures. It can address your envelope or decorate your homemade cards. It will draw whatever you can think of.
3. It scores. It will make fold lines for anything from cards to 3D things like small gift boxes.
If you enjoy crafting AT ALL this will make all of your wildest dreams come true. If you have a parent/adult child/spouse/whoever that likes creating, this would make the best Christmas gift ever.
What Can You Make with a Cricut?
Here are some of my projects from my week long Craft-a-Bration. (oh geez) None of these used the drawing or scoring features, just the cutting.
This was my very first project and I felt like a super hero. It's only on cardstock and I wish I had a frame or something.
Made this with a piece of scrap wood.
This is paint on some free plywood. I'm not crazy about the wood, but it was free, so...
My kids are totally excited about the Cricut too. Each of them created a cover for their new church drawing books.
We cut out some foam shapes and gave Ms. 3 Year Old a fun activity.
How awesome is it that the Cricut cuts iron ons?!! And also, this is funny.
This is also funny. And, it's pretty amazing that you can do mugs. Christmas mugs for everyone!
And this last one took FOR-EV-ER but look how gorgeous my cheap Dollar Tree containers look!
Obviously this is not even close to a fraction of the projects you can do. I'm not really into quilting but this could be pretty sweet for that, as well as for sewing clothes- they have patterns the Cricut just cuts out for you! I've got my eye on making a name puzzle out of glued layers of balsa wood for my 1 1/2 year old and really want to try to make some leather earrings at some point. I'm also wanting to try my hand at etching glass. I've got a cute felt nativity I want to make and some iron on matching t-shirts I'm planning on busting out. But I'm pretty sure that I could happily continue making signs for quite some time.
Also, all of the signs I made were made with a stencil I made out of contact paper and then painted with acrylic paint. I used permanent vinyl on the mug and containers and iron on vinyl for the onesie.
How Do You Create?
There's 2 ways to create with the Cricut:
1. Make It Yourself. Cricut has a computer program called Design Space where you can create whatever the heck you want. I was surprised by the short learning curve, but I really haven't done anything too complicated yet. The good new is there are tons of YouTubes on just about anything I could think of to learn about as I get more fancy. Design Space is the same for all Cricut models.
2. Use Other People's Creations: If you have something specific in mind you can purchase files but there are tons of free stuff out there for anyone willing to look. I've just googled "Free SVG Files" with whatever I'm looking for. I found it's not that hard to create what I want though on Design Space, but I've mostly been playing with text.
I created everything in Design Space except the Gobble one- that I found for free.
Which Cricut Should I Get?
If you're thinking about getting a Cricut, there are a few options.
Cricut has 4 models that are currently on the market. I've listed them in order of how fancy they are, from the least to the most.
1. Cricut Explore One: Cuts, writes and scores 100s of materials.
2. Cricut Explore Air: Same as the above, plus is wireless and has a double tool holder, meaning it can hold both a pen and a cutting tool at the same time.
3. Cricut Explore Air 2: Same as all the above, plus it can write and cut up to 2x faster.
4. Cricut Maker: Same as all the above, plus it has 10xs more power to cut 100's more materials, has a rotary blade for fabrics, a knife blade for thicker materials, and a scoring wheel tool for razor-sharp folds.
I'm super spoiled and am LOVING my Cricut Maker. If you're a sewer and would be using the Cricut for material, everything I've read highly recommends the Maker. They are working on more tools as well for the Maker that will give even more possibilities in the future.
That being said, my sister has the Explore Air 2 and loves it. She's never felt like it couldn't do what she wanted, she says there's an additional deep cutting knife to buy that will help you cut things like felt and balsa wood.
Any of these options would make awesome additions to a crafter's life. I think it's a matter of what you want to use the machine for. If you think you'd want to cut fabric or lots of heavier material then I'd go for the Maker, although it is the most expensive option for sure. Honestly, I haven't even explored any of it's super cutting capacities yet and all the things I've done so far you could do with any of the above.
This has been so much fun to play around with. My favorite part has been to see the final project actually looking good, verses looking ok when I've done it on my own.
Now I should really get to those dishes...