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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Why I Love my Cricut Explore

As you've read my posts over the last couple of years, you know I love my Cricut. It's not the only machine I've ever owned though, so here's my story, and I'll compare a little the Cricut to a Silhouette and a Black Cat Cougar. 
(This is the part where I tell you that some of these links are affiliate links--I get a small commission so thanks for supporting the blog if you purchase something after following a link!)
Cricut Explore Air


My Cricut Story

Back in 2007 I bought my first Cricut machine. It was the original, small size one, and I was so excited! I was doing a lot of scrapbooking back then. I had two small girls, and they both took naps, so nap time was scrap time. I was also making a lot of cards and had a few Cricut cartridges that let me add a lot of cute things to both. Eventually I started using a third-party software to design some of my own cut files.


About 3 years later it started having trouble cutting circles exactly evenly though, and I wanted a bigger cut space. I did some research and reading around in craft groups online. I discovered the Black Cat Cougar--and industrial grade vinyl cutter with completely customizable pressure and speed settings. People said it would be the last machine I'd ever need. So I splurged, and bought one, and man, was it big! It filled up my whole little craft desk. 



It was heavy and I never moved it from that spot. Then I quickly learned that totally customizable meant that for everything I cut I had to adjust the arrows up or down for pressure and speed, and do several test cuts until I found the settings that worked right. I started writing numbers down on a list but it seemed like they kept changing over time. I also had to adjust the height position of the blade everytime I cut. There were a lot of steps anytime I wanted to cut something, especially when changing materials.

Then in 2014 I had both a Cricut Explore and a Silhouette Portrait sent to me so I could play with them and blog about it. It was great to experiment with them both at the same time. 

With the Silhouette, I found the software hard to learn. There were some limitations on the materials it could cut, I had to pay extra to use my own svgs, and I wasn't cutting right out of the box like I was with the Cricut.

10 Reasons I love my Cricut Explore

So now after all those experiences, here's why I'm a huge fan of my Cricut.


1. Dial presets. I can choose paper, cardstock, vinyl, iron on, fabric, posterboard and more.



2. Plus there's a custom setting. There are dozens more loaded presets here like for leather, craft foam, glitter paper, vellum, and I can create my own custom settings like for balsa wood. Then I can select that in the drop down menu later and don't have to remember what pressure or how many passes it needed to cut nicely.


3. Over 30,000 files, fonts and images available with the Cricut Access subscription, plus hundreds of predesigned projects ready for you to "Make it Now."



4. Many fonts have a "Writing Style" which is perfect for using Cricut pens and markers to add text (and because the pen and blade have different spots you can write and cut without loading the mat again!)

5. Ability to upload my own basic images (jpg, gif) or vector images (svg) 

6. Easy to use and understand Design Space. I can slice and weld items, duplicate, combine layers, hide layers, etc, all with easy to find commands.

7. It's portable. Because it doesn't weigh much (like my other machine I told you about) I can easily move it around my house or take it out to other locations if I need to.

8. I can design and cut from my iPad. I have the Explore with bluetooth adapter. The Explore Air machines have the bluetooth built in. It is so handy! I can also design on my computer, save my project, and then access it and cut it using my iPad without having to hook up the Cricut to my computer and cut from there.

9. Saving projects in Design Space. Since I can save right in Design Space, if I make something again, I don't have to go find all the individual files again, I can just select the project and either make edits or cut right away. It saves so much time.

10. Sharing projects with others. When looking at the list of "My Projects," if the "Public" column is checked, the project is shareable (some are not to protect intellectual property.) Click on the project then copy the url and share it.


BONUS reason--I use it almost every day! Even if it's not a project I'm blogging about, I'll cut something out for my kids, or for a friend, or to label something, or a gift, or to make a card. . . you get the idea.

Leave me any questions you have in the comments, or tell me what you love about your Cricut!

________________________GIVEAWAY TIME________________________

If you're still unsure about which one to chose, check out these other posts from my fellow Cricut bloggers who did a comparison, or wrote about why they love their Cricut:
Why I love my Cricut Explore - Crafting In The Rain


Now, if you want to win a Cricut Explore Air 2 of your own follow the rules on the rafflecopter below! The contest runs from January 18th to January 25th. The winner will be notified within 24hrs after the contest closes.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Click here for machine comparisons. And my review about the new Explore Air 2.



Sampling of Cricut projects I've made:

You're Killin Me Smalls shirt


Mermaid Shirt

Glitter Disney Bag


Father's Day Card


Tips for Using Vinyl

Cricut Cutting Balsa Wood

Weekend Booked Bag


3 comments:

  1. Hi there!
    Like you have started with the original smaller Cricut. I then had the Expression next the Expression 2. I am really wanting the Explore Air. Here is my issue. I often go to scrapbooking retreats for a weekend. Sometimes I borrow or lend my cartridges. With the Explore you cannot do that once they are linked to Design Space. Do you think that this should be a deal breaker for me?
    Thank you for your advice,
    Jennifer

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    Replies
    1. I would think that you'll have access to so many more designs and digital cartridges that you wouldn't mind. Plus, since a lot of the carts are available in Design Space, you might not even have to link your current ones. Then you could still loan them out. Hope that helps!

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  2. Would definitely go for the Cricut! I have an Expression that hasn't been used to its full potential because of designing limitations and the need to buy cartridges. I only have 8, I think, but I love every image on each one. I love following your cute blog!

    ReplyDelete