I got my hands on a Cricut Maker – the ultimate smart cutting machine. Read on for the first impressions of a guy who’s never used one before!
It always starts with “just one.”
Oh, I’ll have “just one cookie.”
Yeah, right. Next thing you know, you’re covered in crumbs and wallowing in guilt.
Apparently the same applies to crafting.
Handan nudged me into the crafting game last fall. Before that, I was Big Project Man. I wanted no part of little crafts.
I figured she just needed my help that one time.
I thought it was a one-off.
I thought I’d be able to get back to woodworking.
But I had the taste.
I wanted more.
So she found more craft projects for me, and I gobbled them up like forbidden cookies.
I was hooked.
Are you kidding me?
It was as if Ben & Jerry called asking if they could send me a few tubs of ice cream to review.
Of course I wanted to do it!
Handan had been fiddling with a Cricut for a little while already, but to me it was still this magical box she kept secreted away in her office.
All I knew is that it made things.
And now I’d have one of my very own!
But it didn’t seem right, having two of them.
It seemed a little wasteful.
It seemed a little unfair.
So we came up with an idea.
A wonderful, fantastic and perfect idea.
Are you ready to hear it?
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.
Okay, okay, I know, it’s amazing, but we’re going to get back to that at the end of the post.
First though, I want to introduce you to this little chunk of wonder called the Cricut Maker.
And look, you all know me by now (well, most of you do, anyway), so you know that we here at The Navage Patch haven’t done many sponsored posts and the like.
This isn’t because we haven’t been approached by brands. We surely have!
Rather, it is because we have high standards, and we only want to work with brands we are truly excited about.
So it goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway, because, well, I’m kinda legally bound to say it) that though Cricut has provided the machines and materials for these posts (there will be three posts in this series, but I will certainly write more than that!), all opinions are mine and mine alone.1 Please rest assured that my opinions are not for sale!2 But I think you could guess that already. 😎
Okay, I understand that many of you out there probably know all about the Cricut Maker and about die-cutting in general. But I’m willing to bet that there are many more of you that don’t know a thing about it, just as I didn’t (even though one of them has been sitting in Handan’s office, just a stone’s throw away, these past several months).
So for those of you who are unfamiliar with this desktop marvel, please join me as I explain a little about what the Cricut Maker is and what it can do!
And for you seasoned Cricuteers (That’s my term, but maybe Cricut will adopt it?), read on and relive the wonder you first felt after powering up your machine for the very first time.
1 I’m a married man, so by the transitive property of marriage, a certain percentage of my opinions actually belong to my wife.
2 For a million dollars, I’ll think, say and do whatever you tell me. Every man has a price.
Cricut Maker – The Ultimate Smart Cutting Machine
The Cricut Maker is an electronic cutting machine, also known as a die-cutting machine. I call it the Wonder Box.
Great. What’s an electronic cutting machine? Well, it’s like having the most skilled artist with an arsenal of cutting blades, scissors and fine pens shrunk down and stuffed into a little desktop box. You can create or upload an image or design on your computer, tablet or smartphone, press the MAKE button, and Cricut will draw, score or cut your design on or out of over 200 different materials!
If you’re a Cricut Maker noob like I am, check out the video below for a quick overview:
Cricut Maker has an adaptive tool system that allows you to switch between blades and accessories, so you can tackle almost any type of project.
Are you into sewing and quilting? Super! Install the rotary blade, and Cricut Maker can cut your sewing and quilting patterns for you! You can easily make an intricate quilt like the one below in no time. Can you imagine trying to cut each state with scissors? Sure, you could handle Colorado and Wyoming, but Alaska and Louisiana would bring you to your knees and make you hang up your scissors in shame.
Like leatherwork or basswood projects? Fabulous! Pop in the knife blade, and let Cricut Maker do the intricate cutting! Handan used the Cricut Maker to cut the leather for her DIY leather and yarn tassels, and it made the process a snap!
Did you know the Cricut Maker can handle basswood up to 3/32″ (2.4mm) thick? Yep, but it is also precise enough to cut delicate tissue paper!
Oh, man I really love that it cuts wood! I have a ton of ideas firing, and for my first project I’m also using my Cricut Maker (yes, it is mine now – Handan has been replaced as Chief Maker around here) to cut some letters for a hamper I’m building for our son’s bedroom makeover.
We’re also cooking up a really cool basswood project that I’ll be sharing with you guys in the coming weeks. I won’t say too much about it, but let’s just say it’ll be illuminating! 😉
Wood and leather are all well and good, but you need a little more variety, right? Well, here’s a list of 200+ materials that a Cricut Maker can cut.
The Cricut Maker is a must-have for crafters, quilters, sewers, DIYers, and anyone else with creativity flowing through their veins. Here are a just a few project ideas. The full list would be nearly infinite!
- Cut shapes and appliques for quilting
- Create your own wall decals
- Create your own stencils for painting or glass etching
- Make monogram or statement pillows (I’ll be showing you how to do this in my next post when I review the Cricut Easy Press 2!)
- Make decorative signs and wall art for your home
- Make leather luggage tags, leather earrings or bracelets, leather tassels etc.
- Make paper or felt flowers, bunting and party decorations (it’s the perfect excuse to throw a party!)
- Make custom, handmade cards, gift boxes, gift tags for any special occasion (gift boxes are always welcome at The Navage Patch!)
- Cut out fun shapes and letters for scrapbooking
- Design a onesie, t-shirt or tote bag
- Label your pantry (you know it’s a mess), playroom (total disaster), or anywhere that needs organization (pretty much everywhere around here) in your home
- Create your own Christmas ornaments
- Decorate a mug, cup, or tumbler (or a martini glass)
- Make your own window clings
Now would be a good time for you to go outside and look up.
See it up there?
You’ll need to go way beyond that to find the limit to what you can make with your Cricut Maker!
But before you start cutting and scoring up a storm, you’ll need to learn how to use their free software called Cricut Design Space™.
Now don’t worry. I know many of you are technophobes who cringe when they hear the words “new software.” Cricut Design Space™ is really intuitive, even for you non-tech-savvy folks. And if you get stuck, you can find a whole slew of online tutorials that’ll grab your hand and lead you through all the ins and outs of the Cricut Design Space™.
You can find the tutorials here ( https://learn.cricut.com/design-space-for-beginners ) or just watch the video tutorials on YouTube, starting with the one below:
My First Time Using The Cricut Maker
Handan and I set up a little rolling Maker station with all of our supplies and accessories. The Cricut Maker sat atop, ready to make what I commanded.
I wanted to see how easy it would be for a total noob like me to set up and use the Cricut Maker, so I tried to keep Handan out of the process as much as possible.
Honestly, it was a breeze.
I know that when Handan would use the Cricut Maker, she would connect her laptop to the machine via the included USB cable.
But I wanted to do it differently.
I wanted to connect through my iPad via Bluetooth. Pairing the iPad with the Cricut Maker was as easy as pressing a button.
Once paired, I opened up the Cricut Design Space™ app.
I had already designed the letters using the desktop version of Cricut Design Space™. After saving the project to the cloud, I was able to open it on my iPad. Note that you can also design on the iPad app – I just chose to design on my laptop, as that was easier for me.
My Cricut Maker would be cutting the letters from basswood, so I installed the knife blade and then tried to calibrate the machine and blade as needs to be done before using the knife blade for the first time.
But I couldn’t find the option to calibrate the blade!
According to Cricut’s knife blade FAQ:
Knife Blade functionality has not been added to the mobile app at this time. Knife Blade cuts require multiple passes, often more than ten. Depending upon the complexity of your image and the material being cut, the time needed to complete these cuts can range from minutes to hours, which would restrict the use of your mobile device for that period of time.
Okay, no problem! I brought in my laptop and calibrated the blade – easy!
Next, I laid the basswood sheet onto the strong backing mat.
I fed the mat into the Cricut Maker and pressed MAKE!
The masking tape is recommended when cutting wood. I’ll talk more about that and give many more tips, tricks and pointers in an upcoming post.
The one thing that struck me most as my Cricut Maker sliced through the basswood was how quiet this machine operates! I remember before Handan got a Cricut Maker she used a competitor’s machine (I’m sure you can guess the brand). She kept that machine in her office, a room away from the living room. When it ran, it sounded as if the house were under siege from a battalion of angry banshees! All household activity ground to a halt while the machine completed its cacophonous business. TV was out of the question until the auditory attack abated.
The Cricut Maker is practically silent by comparison!
Okay, so after 14 passes, my letters were perfectly cut.
I’ll be staining those letters and using them on the hampers I’m about to build. Stay tuned for that project as part of our son’s teen bedroom makeover.
It wasn’t the most complex first project, but it was a useful one, and from it I learned how to use the both the desktop and mobile versions of the Cricut Design Space™ software.
Soon I’ll be sharing my review of the Cricut Easy Press 2 and then another basswood project with you. But I’m not going to stop there! Be on the lookout for a post with all sorts of Cricut Maker tips, tricks and pointers for other newcomers to the Cricut world!
Cricut Maker Giveaway
Update: Giveaway is over and here’s what’s in the box and what our giveaway winner received:
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