The Cricut Explore is a game changer. It’s an unstoppable cutting machine which will transform how you craft. With a long-lasting blade, simple step-by-step processes and the ability to cut, write or score your own designs it works hard for its money.
Here are my top five reasons for falling in love with the Cricut Explore…
1. Freedom to Use Your Own Designs and Fonts
Having used my friend’s Cricut Mini in the past I was keen to get a look at the Explore when it launched in London. With the mini you were limited to a library of Cricut’s designs and fonts, all of which were lovely but I couldn’t see how I would use it regularly.
All this changed with the Explore and with the ability to use your own designs and full font library there are no limits to what you can create. You are still able to use their library of images which you can purchase individually or subscribe to. This is the one big change which has converted me from interested to fan.
2. Attention to Detail
One of my favourite parts of attending the launch was listening to Cricut CEO Ashish Arora talk passionately about not only how the Cricut Explore works but why. They have obsessively made every part of this machine user friendly and versatile. It says a lot about his dedication to DIY that he puts himself front and centre of the pitches.
A couple of the features I love are the tool storage spaces, your pens, tools and spare blades all have a place within the machine meaning you have them at your fingertips when you need them. All the functions you need to perform from setting the cutting pressure to changing a blade are crazy easy – in the design process they painstakingly reviewed every element and made them simple to use.
3. It Cuts a Huge Range of Materials
You know well enough how hopeless I am with a pair of scissors. The very fact that Mr Kat (The Cutter) does all of my fabric cutting tells you all you need to know. The Cricut Explore is changing things on that score.
You will see on the dial it has pre-sets for materials from paper through cardstock to fabric and poster board. It doesn’t stop there though; using the settings in the Cricut Design space you can pick from a long list of other materials or dial in your own pressure settings. Mandi, who I met at the launch, has used her Explore for cutting leather and wood veneer. You’ll need a deep cut blade for some thick materials and you may need to run more than one pass but the accuracy of the machine means it cuts exactly the same path each pass.
A few of my makes – far above, horse bunting made using templates from the Cricut image library.
Above, three gym shirts, one made with a freezer paper stencil and two made with iron on glitter (I freakin know, right?!).
Below, Milla’s birthday invites using the Studio DIY Birthday Confetti Poppers from the Design Space ready to make projects and a pennant written with the Cricut Explore.
Check out my project and downloads for Mollie Makes!
4. Design Interface
The design studio is super easy to use. It allows you to select from the image library, ready to make projects or your own designs. Everything is held in layers so you can keep them for different cutting mats or put them all together on one page. You can adjust the size of your project simply by typing it into the edit panel. You can define if something is going to be cut, written or scored and with one click send the project on to be cut.
There is no step of the process which has felt complicated. Once you send your project to cut it takes you through step-by-step and the buttons even flash when it’s time to press them.
This is possibly one of my favourite features – you can buy a Cricut Explore Bluetooth which lets you control the machine without plugging in. This is definitely on my wishlist as I prefer not to have to take the Cricut to my computer and vice versa. Not only can you use the bluetooth with your computer but with your mobile devices so you could sketch an idea on your iPad, turn it into a PNG, upload it to the Design Space and send it to cut.
Now if that doesn’t complete the package on a design-draw-cut-craft system I don’t know what would.
For me the Cricut Explore is the first craft machine I’ve got excited about since my first sewing machine. It has the same power to change what I create and free me from the boring parts of crafting.
I love this machine so much I took a chance and pitched it to Mollie Makes, head over to my project page to download the templates and learn how to create your own designs.
Disclosure: I was given a Cricut Explore and accessories as part of their launch and to enable me to review it over time. What can I say? I really do feel lucky :) I have spent two months using the machine to ensure I have a wide experience to draw from. More about this type of post here.