This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.
Cricut Maker Review :
I know some of you will be coming to this post thinking…what the devil is a Cricut?
Well, in essence, it’s a really smart cutting machine that crafty people, both professional and amateur use. It can be adapted to cut lots of different materials. You can also write and score with it. My aim in this post is to introduce the Cricut Maker to you, especially if you’ve never had the chance to use one. However if you have already used a Cricut, I want to show you how more advanced the Cricut Maker is and share with you some of my makes over the last two months.
Behold the Cricut Maker
Cricut got in touch with me around Christmas time, and asked me if I wanted to try out the Cricut Maker. I did a little research and saw that there had been a hell of a lot of changes over the last 5 years, which I think was when I last used a Cricut (The Explore and Air) both to the actual Cricut machine but also to Design Space. So I was intrigued to try it out myself.
Well we are now in March and I have been putting my new Cricut Maker though its paces. First up, can I just say it’s a thing of beauty. I love the styling with the rose gold top. It feels slightly heavier than previous Cricut machines I’ve used. Apparently this new Maker cuts with 10 x more cutting force. Something that I can definitely vouch for. It not only seems to cut things that are thicker (Damask fabric, balsar wood, leather) but it seems to do it far more accurately. Impressive! I also noticed big changes in *Cricut Design Space, it is far more user-friendly, and navigating it was much easier than I remember.
Everything that I’ve been doing over the last two months, you too could do with just what comes in the Cricut Maker box, plus a small selection of the Cricut tools. I thought that was important to do in this review, so that I could really give you my true first impressions. The only thing that you would need are some materials like cardstock, fabric, vinyl and any items you wish to decorate. You can in fact buy some amazing bundles of these HERE on the Cricut site, or online/in store in Hobbycraft.
So in the Cricut Maker box comes :
- Cricut Maker® machine
- Rotary Blade + Drive Housing (this is for fabric)
- Premium Fine-Point Blade + Housing (this is what I used for the vinyl and the card, paper etc)
- Fine Point Pen, Black (don’t forget the Cricut Maker writes too)
- FabricGrip™ Mat, 12″ x 12″ (30.5 cm x 30.5 cm)
- LightGrip Mat, 12″ x 12″ (30.5 cm x 30.5 cm)
- Welcome Book
- USB cable
- Power adapter
- Free trial membership to Cricut Access™ (for new subscribers)
- 50 free ready-to-make projects, including 25 sewing patterns
- Materials for a practice project
I would recommend you buy some tools, and the scoring stylus/pen. The tools are good for techniques such a weeding which is definitely something you’ll need to do if you cut vinyl especially.
My iPad ready for an evening crafting session. You can even charge it whilst it on here.
The instructions to set your machine up are comprehensive but VERY simple. Once you have set up an account on *Design Space (which is where you make your designs to send to the machine) you simply connect either a tablet/smart phone via bluetooth or a laptop via the USB cable. I’ve tried both methods, and they work equally as well.
I made the practice project, that comes with the machine. It’s actually is a good introduction as you use the skills of cutting both card and fabric as well as writing with a pen and scoring.
The smile card is the starter project, that comes with the Cricut Maker.
Design Space can be downloaded on you smart phone or tablet (I have an iPad) and it lets you design and cut with the Cricut Maker machine. It’s cloud based and synced with all your devices allowing you access from literally anywhere. Whether you access it on you laptop or a mobile device you can find your own projects as well as the 50 free ready to make projects. You can also use you own imagination to design or SVG files. You have a free trial membership to Cricut Access™ and I would definitely recommend that you join after this period. There is an incredible amount of content on there. Literally 1,000’s of things to make, and being added to all the time.
The only way I learn is by trying things and making mistakes, so here are a few of my initial top tips for you so that you don’t make the mistakes that I did.
- The positioning of the Maker is surprisingly important. Make sure it’s on a solid flat surface, and that there is at least 10cm clear at the back of the machine. This is because the mat needs to be able to move backwards by that much.
- Even before you get a machine watch tutorials and look at Design Space and have a play. It’s totally free and start designing before. The more you do this, the easier you will find it.
- When you order the Cricut Maker I would recommend that you buy some materials too, like vinyl and card. There are some fantastic bundles available that makes it easy for to try different things out. It’s actually quite surprising what medium becomes something that you enjoy and get a buzz out of.
- Changing things like the material and the pressure in Design Space are the key to a good cut. Don’t be afraid to google things, and have a look on the web for more advice on this.
So let me show you what I’ve been making. Just to reiterate, I made these just using what the Cricut Maker, plus a few weeding tools. I didn’t buy any extras. So this is an out of the box experience.
What I made, right out of the box:
Greetings Card – New home card
This was an adaptation of a card I found in Design Space. I wanted it to appear 3D, so added the layers, and the writing (also done on the Maker) to the card. Super simple, but you could do something a lot more complicated if you wanted, including pop up cards. So many options!
Herb pots on the kitchen window
I spotted these white and pale pink herb pots with a terrazzo effect on them at Tiger for only a £1 each. I just knew I could add a little something to them. So the bold but pale letters for each of the herbs seemed like a good way to go.
Basil herb pot, decorated with vinyl
I really love vinyl as a crafting medium, there are a few different types, permanent and removable even iron-on, which I’ll be covering in my next post.
Over sized paperclip, to keep me organised
I added simple holographic vinyl to this paper clip. I’ve also labelled some admin folders too. It only takes a few minutes to do.
Here are materials I have tested so far :
- Card 300gsm
- Thin card 130gsm
- Tissue Paper
- Cotton fabric
- Linen fabric
- Iron on vinyl
- Window Film
- Printable sticker paper.
This was an old IKEA frame that opens like a book, so I can add new pages of the calendar easily. I printed out this calendar (its free in design space) and then coloured it in. So the Cricut can even be used to print out colouring pages, which I’ve also spotted on Design Space.
Personalised notepad, an idea for a gift?
We all know how expensive named and personalised items are, plus if you have an unusual name, it’s often impossible to buy off the peg. I decided to personalise a notebook, adding an image of cacti. There are some great fonts available on the Cricut Design Space and an incredible amount of images that are suitable to cut out of vinyl.
There are so many different materials that vinyl is suitable for ( you can buy it on the roll from Cricut) like tile, glass or marble that you can see in these drinks coasters. I needed some new coasters and I spotted these for only £3 for a set of four, I think they look much more expensive than that, now I’ve decorated them.
Finally I wanted to attempt to make something in fabric. I’m not in any way a seamstress, I have only basic skills, but what the Maker has done is give me a new-found confidence in my crafting. So I decided to have a go at cutting fabric using the rotary cutter that is included, to make a bunny eared scrunchie. The Maker handled the thick linen fabric really easily, it was so accurate, and I found it so easy to machine together afterwards.
Bunny ear hair scrunchie
My very hard to impress girls, 9 and 16 have been so genuinely impressed with what I’ve made so far, but they’ve already started giving me a list of orders for these scrunchies for summer. I can’t tell you how happy it made me that they loved them!
I think, well I know, I’ve found my crafting mojo again. I’m loving the freedom of trying different things that I can make or do. When I used the older style machine, I never went as far as downloading SVG files, adapting projects or made the volume and variety of things I have in just this short space of time. I just feel that the whole process of using the Maker is so much more intuitive. It really is an absolute game changer in my opinion, whatever level of crafter you are. I absolutely love it!
In my next post, I’m going to be exploring The Easy Press 2, which is the hot press, what it does and of course I’ll share with you the things I’ve been making with it too. I can’t tell you how excited I am at the thought of putting things onto fabric. I’m thinking a t-shirt might be a good place to start or cushion maybe…watch this space! My final post will be a project that shows how you can use the Cricut Maker to decorate a room in your home.
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