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|Cricut Explore Air|
My Cricut StoryBack 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 ExploreSo 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.
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!
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:
Comparing the Explore Air 2 & the Cameo 3 - PMQ for two
5 Reasons Why I Traded My Silhouette Cameo for The Cricut Explore Air - Tastefully Frugal
Why I replaced My Silhouette Cameo with a Cricut Explore Air - The Quiet Grove
Silhouette Cameo VS. Cricut Explore Air - It Happens In A Blink
Why I love my Cricut Explore - Crafting In The Rain
Why I Switched from a Silhouette to a Cricut Explore Air - Housewife Eclectic
Cricut vs. Silhouette: Why the Cricut Explore Continually Wins - Becoming Martha
Top 10 Reasons why I love my Cricut Explore - Brooklyn Berry Designs
Why I switched to the Cricut Explore - My Mom Made That
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
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
Glitter Disney Bag
Father's Day Card
Tips for Using Vinyl
Cricut Cutting Balsa Wood
Weekend Booked Bag