When I was asked by the team at Cricut HQ whether or not I wanted to take a peak at the Cricut Explore, I was EXCITED… I was excited for two main reasons – firstly, I had heard that it cuts fabric (ooooh) and secondly I had heard, that you can use your VERY OWN designs. Now THAT was a feature I really wanted to see and hear more about. BRILLIANT. I then went to a crafty event they held, where they showed us LOTS of different ideas of what you can use the Cricut Explore for. I came away sooo excited. Here is a sneak peak, look here for more photos from the event.
Isn’t this dress simply STUNNING?
In the meantime. The machine arrived. It was in the middle of the school holidays, so we were busy doing stuff as a family.. and then finally, I had a quite hour or two to unpack my new toy.
First impressions – the Design: Beautiful, sleek and considering the “cutting space”, relatively compact. Yes, this would be easy to set up and store in my cluttered home.
Second impressions – Set Up: The set up (downloading, installing etc) took minutes… I was expecting at least an hours worth of fiddling. Brilliant. The only hiccup, was that I had to go and find an international plug adaptor, as it came with a US plug and we live in the UK! But we were sent one of the early machines. They all have the UK plugs now!
I know that these two things, may not sound very impressive.. but when you are busy and have kids under your feet all day and only have a little time and space here and there, they are actually quite important features!
Looking at bit more in depth, here are the other key features that hugely impressed me!
The Cricut Design Space software
- The software looks pretty easy to use – overall it is intuitive and allows you to tinker and play
- You can access you software any place and at any time, as is run on a web browser and it means you can use it on any type of computer – Mac or PC!
My Favourite Features
- DRAWING: Not only is this a cutting machine, but it is also a drawing machine – so you can add written elements to your design. AND the machine will draw and cut in one “go”, so you don’t have to change things around and reload your paper
- OWN DESIGNS: I simple love love love that you can upload your own designs. This particularly pertinent, if you don’t always want to buy new individual designs from the store or if you can’t find the design you are looking for. I also love that you can therefore also add things like a signature or work with your own personal photographs (more on that later).
- INDIVIDUAL DESIGNS: as indicated above, you can now buy individual designs.. so say, you need just a butterfly, you can buy JUST a butterfly, with no need to buy a whole set of butterflies…. much more economical and makes projects like this Butterfly Canvas SO MUCH EASIER, faster AND neater!
- FONTS: you can use all the Design Space Fonts PLUS any fonts you have stored on your computer! Yay!
- The variety of materials you can cut is AMAZING – I have already mentioned fabric… but on the detailed lists of fabrics “cuttable”, you will also find things such as ducktape (oh how I love ducktape!!) and even birch tree. Very cool indeed.
- THE SMART DIAL – which helps you quickly and easily select the right cutting depth (in the past, I have damaged my cutting board with getting this wrong! So nice to get some help). AND I love that the Iron-on feature automaticallyy reverses the design for you. Yep… I have been there and created an iron on have gotten it back to front. No more!
I have a number of projects that I can’t WAIT to get started on and will be sharing with you over the coming weeks!! Watch this space!! And if you have any questions, please do ask the Cricut Helpdesk!
And whilst you are waiting for my ideas… here is some inspiration!
Oh the possibilities!!!!
Here is an independent review of Cricut vs Silhouette by Kens Kreations…
A quick summary of Ken’s video.. he made 5 tests – look at different types of cuts and intricacies, as well as circles (one Cricut’s previous weakness). I have summaries two below, as well as the overall results.
Both delivered a clean cut
Cricut Explore – is significantly QUIETER
Silhouette Cameo is faster.
Intricate Cut test:
Cricut gives the Silhouette a run for its money! “Very impressed”. Cricut delivered a more defined and neat cutting result on an intricate triangle design.
Silhouette still faster.
Ken makes more test cuts in this video.. but shows that the Cricut really is up to scratch – it is quiet, it is super accurate, be it with circles, triangles or intricate shapes. On the whole it is a little slower, but the accuracy makes up for it.