If you’re a fan of DIY and home crafts, you will almost certainly have heard about the Cricut Maker. This nifty gadget allows you to cut through any material with ease, making light work of your crafting projects that you wouldn’t be able to complete with just a pair of scissors.
In this review, we delve into the inner workings of the Cricut Maker, giving you an informed and balanced analysis that will help you decide whether or not to buy it.
The current model on the market is the Cricut Maker 3, which works at a higher speed than the previous version and improves upon the original design for added functionality and ease of use.
What Can I Use A Cricut Maker For?
While it is branded as a ‘smart cutting machine’, there are so many different things a Cricut Maker can do; here is a run-down of these varied functions.
- Cutting – the primary function is of course cutting, and the Cricut Maker handles a range of fabrics (denim, cotton, leather, fleece etc.) as well as craft materials such as card, vinyl and matboard. This allows you to create your dream projects from raw materials, using the exact amount that you need.
- Scoring – with a scoring wheel attachment or scoring stylus, you can make sharp, clean folds in your material. The scoring wheel is designed exclusively for use with the Cricut Maker and has two different wheels; the single roller is perfect for thin paper and card, while a double roller is needed for thicker materials such as cork. Design Space will tell you which you will need when you input the material you want to work with.
- Writing – many people use their Cricut Maker for making personalized items, such as t-shirts, cards and stickers. It is difficult to produce uniform text freehand, and attempting to do so would usually result in expensive mistakes, so a Cricut Maker is your best bet.
What Does A Cricut Maker Look Like?
Visually, the Cricut Maker resembles a laminator, with broadly the same size and shape – the exact measurements are 10x10x25 inches.
It is smaller than most paper printers, but the mechanism inside looks similar and there are a number of buttons on the top for performing different functions.
There are also several storage compartments built into the machine, where you can keep your blades and other tools.
The Cricut Maker comes in three colors: champagne, rose and blue. The sleek design has rounded edges rather than sharp corners, making it smooth and aesthetically pleasing. There is a flap on the top that lifts, allowing you to access the inner components.
What Does A Cricut Maker Come With?
Using a Cricut Maker consists of the physical machine and an app called Cricut Design Space, meaning that there is both hardware and software to familiarize yourself with.
The Design Space may take a bit of time to get used to, but you will soon learn that it is an invaluable tool for preparing and visualizing your projects.
You can download it either on a PC, a smartphone or a tablet, depending on what is most convenient for you (it works with both Android and iOS systems, so almost any device should be fine).
Within the Design Space, you will find a sewing pattern library and plenty of other ideas for planning your impressive creations.
Along with the machine, you also get a fine point blade and rotary blade, 12×12 inch FabricGrip and LightGrip mats, a fine point pen, a USB power cable and adapter, and an instruction manual when you purchase your Cricut Maker.
There are also practice materials included, which let you get to grips with using the machine before you actually start on one of your own projects. The rotary blade rolls like a pizza cutter across your chosen material, gliding with utmost precision.
The fine point blade is pulled over the material instead, which is usually effective but can With the newest update to the machinery, you don’t necessarily have to have a mat to rest your projects on, as you can use Smart Materials – this allows you to work on long projects without being constrained by smaller mat sizes.
The Cricut Maker is also compatible with other tools that are not included in the setup, so you can purchase these on top if required. These come individually or in bundles, which have selections of tools you might need for various projects.
What Is Not Included With The Cricut Maker?
Unless you purchase a special bundle, your Cricut Maker will only come with the basic equipment to make it work. Depending on the sorts of projects you want to complete, you will need to buy any of the 13 compatible tools:
- Specialist blades – while the fine point blade included with the machine can cope with many materials, thicker ones such as canvas or foam will require a deep point blade. There are also patterned blades to produce a specific effect that you might be looking for, e.g. a tear finish.
- Scoring stylus/wheel – necessary for scoring materials to give straight, neat lines and folds. The stylus works well for thin paper and the like, but use a wheel for any materials that are tougher to get through.
- Bonded-fabric blade – specifically for cutting bonded fabrics (similar in concept to fabric scissors) so that you can maintain its useful condition for longer. It can perform intricate cuts on fabrics that are non-woven or have an iron-on backer.
- QuickSwap tool – this is a tool that can fit 6 different blades and tips: scoring wheel, engraving tip, bossing tip, wavy blade and perforation blade. With the QuickSwap, you can easily switch between functions and complete projects faster.
- Foil transfer tool – adds a foil effect when used in conjunction with a foil transfer sheet. To cater to a wide range of products, there are 3 tip thicknesses included: fine, medium and bold.
- Fabric pens – available in different colors and thicknesses to enable your Cricut to draw on fabric.
- Roll holder – use this holder to keep Smart Material rolls in place while you’re cutting them, so you achieve a perfectly straight finish.
- Replacement blades – over time, your blades will wear down and eventually need to be replaced. You can extend the life of your blades by making sure you use the right ones for the purpose.
How Much Does A Cricut Maker Cost?
The Cricut Maker is a technologically-advanced piece of equipment that has been designed to make your life easier, so the price reflects this.
You should consider how much usage you are likely to get out of it before you buy – if you have lots of projects in mind that would benefit from having a Cricut Maker, this would be a really good investment. Indeed, you may find that having a Cricut Maker inspires you to come up with ideas you otherwise wouldn’t have had.
However, if you would use it maybe once a year and then leave it in a cupboard the rest of the time, your money would perhaps be better spent elsewhere.
The Cricut Explore is a mid-range option that is less pricey but doesn’t have the same functional range. If you only have basic projects that need cutting, such as paper, card and thin fabrics, this could be worth exploring instead.
Alternatively, you can try the Cricut Joy, which is a significantly smaller model. Again, this has a reduced range of materials that it works with, but it is also portable so you can take it with you to events, craft workshops and even on holiday.
The Cricut Maker is heavy and takes up more space in the cupboard, so it is best if you keep it in a designated place.
Where Can I Buy A Cricut Maker?
The Cricut Maker can be purchased from most big craft store chains, as well as hypermarkets like Walmart. If you prefer to shop online, head over to the Cricut website to check out what bundles you can get.
You can also find good deals on Amazon, which stocks a large range of the supplementary items in addition to the machine unit itself. Cricut is a big-name brand, so it is usually not difficult to find wherever you live.
The Cricut Maker is an excellent choice for craft lovers of all backgrounds – with the ability to cut over 300 different materials, it is more advanced than its competitors and the best machine from the Cricut range. The price is reasonable for what you
get, and the various bundles offered can save you money in the long run, instead of having to buy each part separately.
You will need to be familiar with using a phone or laptop, as navigating the software is integral to the Cricut Maker’s functionality; however, many avid users see learning a new skill as part of the fun!
If fresh challenges appeal to you, let your imagination run wild as you explore the many possibilities a Cricut Maker opens up.