Cricut & Crafting

I’ve been frequenting a craft store since elementary school. My best friend and I would head to MJ Designs to pick up a craft to complete at her house for many a sleep over.  I noticed  Cricut years ago but I had no idea what it was. I thought it was scrapbook stuff and I don’t scrapbook with embellishments so I didn’t look any further.  I also noticed it was excluded from coupons and that was about it.   I used to follow a blog called “Crap I’ve Made” and she had a machine from Silhouette. She made cool personalized pillows and fun decor stuff. That is when I really started to consider purchasing a machine. Then my good friend bought one and made all kinds of cool personalized shirts and gifts. Next my coworker picked up a Cricut maker and shared how much she loved it. Fast forward to 2017,  I’m really interested but totally overwhelmed. 

What exactly is it? 

Well, basically a printer. But instead of printing on paper it can cut out shapes or designs on various materials. I believe it’s official description is a multi-adaptive tool.  For the device to know what to do (engrave, draw, cut, score etc) you need to have the propriety program called Design Space.  There are a handful of machines to choose from and this is where it starts to get confusing. Especially if you don’t have a specific need in mine. 

Where do you buy it?

Craft stores like: Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, Joann Fabrics, walmart, HSN,  Cricut online.  Each store may have a special color of machine or bundle of products but they all offer the Cricut brand items and 3 machines. 

How much is it? 

This depends on the model you purchase. The machine is your first step in spending money on this new venture. (Mats, tools, vinyl, more blades)

I’m going to break down the cost for the various machines as of today, September 12, 2020. 

The Joy-  $170.00 – tiny portable machine that has it’s own line of tools and products. It looks like a machine that you buy after you have an Explorer Air or Maker and want to take a tiny one to a craft show or something. I would not make this my first machine because I really think that once you get started you’re not going to have enough options with just this device. 

Explorer Air – $227.00-this one is going to give you more options. Cutting vinyl to press onto shirts, tumblers, decals, cut paper for cards/ paper crafts, use the pens to write custom messages, use the infusible ink products, cut stickers, and I believe make some faux leather earrings etc  

The Maker – $369.00 this is the machine I purchased. I ultimately decided on this one because it can do it all. I am full of impulsive Aries energy and wanted the ability to start endless projects that I will likely never finish or repeat. I knew I didn’t really want to make single use shirts or tumblers but wanted to have options. It can do everything the explorer air can do plus engrave and cut very thin wood/ metal. It can also cut fabric but I found it to be a bit wasteful with the fabric and take longer than cutting with shears.  

At the end of the day the products all need to be linked to design space and you can create your own products or designs with any of them.  I don’t see myself purchasing additional products and would likely look into 3D printing for my next big machine. There is a new one from Silhouette called the Alta that looks pretty cool. 

I noticed that none of the machines really go on sale. You’ll just find unique bundles or colors at different stores. I ended up buying mine on black Friday after watching the pricing all year.  Design space is free but if you want to use the various fonts and premade designs you’ll need to purchase the Access subscription. I pay monthly <$20.00 but I really need to look into just buying the year.  Well, that’s pretty much Cricut in a nutshell. I personally really like to follow Jennifer Maker on YouTube and her FB group. Sometimes the people get a little worked up over little things but I think that might be due to pent up COVID emotions.  Overall it’s a fun machine to have and a good way to express yourself creatively. Although it can feel a bit overwhelming at first. 

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