What are Cricut Machines? Made by Provo Craft & Novelty Inc., Cricut die-cutting machines are extremely popular with those that love to tackle projects using paper, cards, felt, fabric and vinyl.
Cricut Machines –The 5 Current models
Proving to be extremely popular with crafters everywhere, the new range of Cricut machines are compatible with the Cricut Design Space application, where project designs can be laid and organized before cutting. Since 2014, when Cricut launched its Explore range of machines, Cricut stopped producing the Legacy range which is not compatible with their current design software.
- Cricut Explore One
As the first machine in the Explore Range, the Cricut Explore One only had one tool slot that could either draw or cut. The models that have come after that have two tool slots and are able to draw and cut simultaneously. The machine is wired, but there is an available wireless Bluetooth adapter that can be purchased separately.
- Cricut Explore Air
The Cricut Explore Air is wireless and has both tool holders so that it can cut and draw at the same time.
- Cricut Explore Air 2
Three new colors have been added to the Cricut Explore Air 2 (Mint Blue Rose Anna and Griffin Lilac), but that is not its only difference with the previous model. Its speed has been increased increased and it now cuts materials twice as fast.
- Cricut Maker
Cricut’s latest model, the Cricut Maker, was released in 2017. It can cut through thicker materials like leather, felt and some types of wood. This is the only Cricut machine that supports the use of the Rotary Blade. This cuts fabric directly. There is also a scoring wheel that scores thicker paper than the original scoring stylus because it has variable pressure.
The Cricut Maker is also the only machine in the range that has the Cricut Adaptive System. This is a powerful feature that controls the direction of the blade and can also adjust the pressure according to the materials to be cut. The force that it can apply is 10 times that of any of the other similar machines from other companies.
- Cricut Cuttlebug
Even though the Cricut Cuttlebug has no internet, therefore it cannot connect to Cricut Design Space, it is the only Cricut machine that can emboss.
Now that the machines have been introduced, here is how they can be used to create beautifully crafted projects.
A Guide to Cricut Projects, Cartridges, Software and Accessories
Every current Cricut model, except for the Cuttlebug, is compatible with Cricut Design Space. Projects can be created for free by those that have a Cricut machine. Designs can be uploaded and cut for free.
- Cricut Access is a huge library of projects
Even though this is not free, users have access to a huge archive of designed projects, depending on the plan that they choose. This is especially wonderful for newcomers, those who need ideas, or who are not knowledgeable enough to design their own graphics.
Cricut Access has unique fonts, 3D projects and graphics that can be cut out and adhered to all numerous surfaces in a huge variety of materials.
- What are Cricut Cartridges?
These are definitely not printing cartridges, but a set of images, graphics and fonts that once purchased could be used indefinitely by the user. Even the physical ones, once activated are then available in the software and even though the new Cricut Maker no longer has a slot to insert the physical cartridge (there is an adapter available).
The cartridges only work with the Cricut software and need to be registered and older cartridges are not supported by the new machines since everything can now be done digitally.
- The Cricut Software
No cutting machine can be complete without its software. This enables the user to preview the images and to make any necessary adjustments before cutting.
Cricut Design Space is the software available for all Cricut machines and has fully replaced the Cricut Craft Room since mid-2018. Images from various cartridges and other accessible downloads can be merged, rotated or stretched according to the project. Users can’t create their own graphics on it but some files can be imported.
- Internet Access
If the Cricut cutting machine is to be used from a desktop or laptop, then it needs internet access. However, users of iOS (iPhone and Apple) or Android smartphones can download the Cricut Design App which allows the use of the Cricut machine, via Bluetooth.
- Essential Accessories
These are the tools that help to make every project a breeze to complete. They include accessories that help with the cutting and preparing of the design and for applying the final graphics to the chosen surface.
- Cricut Mats
These mats all have a different level of grip ensuring that the various materials to be cut don’t move around as they go through the cutting machine.
All the Cricut machines come with a Standard Grip Mat which is perfect for those starting out. However, heavier materials will need a stronger grip and lighter papers a lighter grip.
The four types of Cricut Mats are: Light Grip (Blue), Strong Grip (Purple), Standard Grip (Green) and Fabric Grip (Pink). They are available individually or in a bundle with all 4.
- Cricut Blades
The Cricut range has a choice of 5 blades; each one suited to various materials.
The Knife Blade: is only available for the Cricut Maker and can cut just about all types of materials, including basswood.
The Rotary Blade: can only be used with the Cricut Maker and comes with the machine.
The Fine Point Blade: is perfect for light to medium materials. All the models, except for the Cricut Maker, come with this blade.
Deep Point Blade: it is used for thicker materials.
Bonded Fabric Blade: the ideal blade for fabric that is bonded onto backing material.
Depending on the types of projects, one may need tweezers, weeder, scissors, spatula and scraper. Other projects may also require a scoring stylus, trimmer and a scoring blade for it.
Getting Creative with Cricut Machines
Finding project ideas and inspiration through the Creaftey Community is easy, it is even easier to get started and complete them with Cricut machines. A few online tutorials help master the Cricut Machines before getting down to some serious creative projects.
Sharing of completed projects is something that the members of the Creaftey community love to do!