ProsVery easy to learn
No technical knowledge necessary
No computer required
Intuitive buttons and simple controls
Great for scrapbooks, custom greeting cards, decorating parties, invitations, anything you can imagine!
Does almost everything for you!
ConsPricey when you buy them new and at retail price
Optional Software doesn't run on a Mac
Doesn't make you coffee too... yet!
Full ReviewForums on scrapbooking are now spreading on the internet largely because of the rising popularity of the Cricut scrapbooking machine. This machine is said to be among the most effective tools for cutting letters, phrases and shapes, especially for projects that need cut-outs of complex paper designs. In fact, the Cricut machines are now well known both among those who regularly practice the art of scrapbooking and those who just want to create paper art products of good quality. Probably the main reason for the machine being so popular is that it is very easy to use and one does not have to be very technologically inclined in order to use it.
Cricut Personal Electronic CutterThe original Cricut machine used for home crafting is the Personal Electronic Cutter. It caught the interest of arts and craft practitioners in no time because it does not require the use of a computer in order to cut the designs. Plus, each cartridge that works with the machine contains more than 250 designs in up to 12 sizes thus ensuring that it is a hit with consumers. The fact that the machine is portable and weighs only seven pounds is a pleasant bonus since it allows you to take it anywhere you want.
Cricut ExpressionThe Cricut Expression is another version of the state-of-the-art machine. It is much larger than the original and is meant to be placed on your work table or inside your media room. This is the ideal choice for people who want to cut designs in large sizes because it includes cutting mats in sizes of 12' x 24'and 12' x 12'. This capability to cut designs in larger sizes makes the Expression ideal for signage projects and classroom decor. Wha's more, it lets you mix and match several creative features in a single cut so you can make use of your entire collection of cartridges in just one project. You can also design your artwork in either landscape or portrait mode and the machine has an LCD screen that shows you exactly how your next design appears before you cut it. The fact that the Expression comes with the rare Accent Essentials cartridge is good news indeed for scrapbooking enthusiasts.
Cricut CreateThe Cricut Create is the third machine that completes the Cricut collection. Several arts and craft practitioners consider this machine ideal because it is as portable as the original and as functional as the Expression. Just like the original Cricut machine, it weighs only seven pounds but can cut in a wide range of sizes from .25' up to 11.5', much like the Expression. This machine also has an auto fill mode for mass production of cuts as well as the portrait and fit to page mode and it uses an eight-way directional blade for maximum flexibility.
The good news is that all three versions of the Cricut machine use the same blades, blade housings and cartridges. This allows you to exchange one type of machine for any of the two other versions without having to buy new blades or cartridges. For maximum enjoyment of your machine's versatility, take note of these useful tips. First, you can mix and match the designs from different cartridges more conveniently with the use of a Cricut Jukebox. This add-on can hold up to six cartridges which you can select from with just a push of buttons. The best thing about this is that you can link up to three Jukeboxes to your cutting machine and use a maximum of 18 cartridges in one design.
To make your machine's blades last longer, it is best to always use top-quality paper and remove paper debris with a lint roller. As for your cutting mats, it normally lasts longer if you wipe it with a baby wipe right after using it. It also works to your advantage if you keep an extra set of blades and refer to the manual in order to make sure that you use the correct blade length, speed and pressure settings. The only thing you can't make with a Cricut would be metal scrapbook embellishments as the metal is just a little to hard for your Cricut to cut. And for individuals who can only afford to buy one cartridge with the purchase of the machine, the Doodlecharm is the most advisable. Just like any regular purchase, be sure to do some research on the product and go to retailers that allow you to try out the product before actually purchasing it.
In ClosingThese machines are any paper crafter or scrapbooker's dream come true. Anything you can imagine with paper you can create. All you do is plug in the cartridge with your shapes, designs, or fonts on it, line it up, and push go. The Cricut takes care of all the rest. It's an all in one arts and crafts machine really, we haven't ever come across a better die cutting machine on the market. While the initial price for these guys was pretty high, it has dropped significantly, and if you shop in the right places (like on ebay) you will find that there are some amazing deals to be had! Many times the sellers will throw in some bonuses to sweeten the auction like free Cricut cartridges, a free Jukebox, extra Cricut mats, or more. Shop around for the best price and the best bonuses to get the most bang for your dollar.
The Cricut software that they make doesn't run on a Mac and only lets you use the shapes you already own with the cartridges. But we are big fans of the Sure Cuts A Lot Cricut software which is compatible with both Mac and Windows, and also lets you design your own images, import your own fonts, and do pretty much anything you want. It really unlocks the full potential of the Cricut! Of course, the software isn't necessary to get started at all. No matter which machine you choose, you will just love it!