If you do not understand what all the buzz is about "crickets" learn more about how the Cricut die cutters can make your crafting life simpler and more creative.

What is Cricut?Credit: AmazonIf you are new to scrapbooking or other types of crafting and have heard something about a cricket that people are in love with, there is no need to worry because it is not a real bug. The “cricket” they are raving about is the Cricut line of machines created by Provo Craft, a company known for some impressive crafting innovations. If you want to feel less out of the loop at your next group crop, learn more about these impressive machines here. 

What a Cricut Does

Cricut machines are electronic die cutters. A die cutter will take a template and then cut out a shape matching it. The templates used in the Cricut system are electronic cartridges designed around various themes. Imagine it like a video game system: the system is one purchase like the machine, and then you buy more items to use with it like video games or in the case of the Cricut, cartridges. There are different models of the machines that offer various benefits to you, the user. Because of the various types of cartridges and templates that can be cut with the Cricut machines, they are exceptionally popular with scrapbookers. Other fans of the Cricut machines include teachers, crafters who focus on mediums other than scrapbooking and those who create handmade gifts. Each cartridge comes with a set of templates it can cut electronically shown in the booklet that comes with the cartridge. You can cut designs in sizes ranging from as small as one-quarter inch to up to 12 inches or more depending on the type of Cricut machine you have. Materials you can cut include paper, vinyl, chipboard, cardboard, thin magnets, vellum, and others. If you are cutting thicker material, you use a blade especially for these types of products. There are also special pens you can purchase in addition to the machines that you can replace with the blades, so you can draw the outlines instead of cut them.

How Different Cricut Machines Work

There are seven different varieties of Cricut die cutting machines. The first machines include the original Cricut and the Cricut Create. These two first machines allowed cuts up to six inches by 12 inches total. This initial machines are much smaller than their more contemporary counterparts in the Cricut family.

The Cricut Expression is similar in concept to the original and Create machines, but it allows for cutting on a full 12 by 12 page, and even up to 12 by 24 inches if you have the corresponding mats. There are also added features on the Expression machine like a “Fit to Page” function that many scrapbookers find useful.

The Imagine line from the same company offers not only die cutting features, but also drawing and other artwork-related details that are quite intricate.

The Expression 2 version allows you to use even more cartridges, including ones from the Cricut Imagine line.

In addition, there is the Cricut Cake machine, which is intended for cake makers. This machine allows the user to cut out designs in fondant to use in decorating professional-grade cakes and baked goods.

Lastly, the newest addition to the Cricut family is the Mini machine that is used primarily with an online interface. This smaller machine allows cuts up to eight and a half by 11 inches in size. This is the only one of the machines described that does not work primarily off cartridges, though you can use them as well as the previously mentioned online interface.

Other peripheral products deal with these machines like the Jukebox, the Gypsy and the Design Studio. These products are ones that you may choose to use once you are familiar with the basics of how the basic tool works and want to expand past the uses offered just by the machine.

Which Cricut Is Right for You

Deciding which Cricut machine is right for you depends on what you want and need from your machine. Most traditional scrapbookers who use a die cutting machine find that the Expression or Expression 2 machines meet the majority of their needs and desires. This is because it uses the largest size possible of paper and cutting area and has the more advanced settings available. You can use vinyl to create custom car decals with the Expression and Expression 2, or even make personalize magnets if you have the right blade housings.

If you are looking to integrate art along with your die cutting, then the Imagine is the best machine for you. Of course, if you are a cake maker, then the Cake machine is perfect. If you are the type of crafter who likes the idea of a die cutting machine, but do not expect to use it often then the Mini or the Create choices are good for your needs and more limited use.