Cricut Maker Versus Explore Air 2

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Cricut Explore Review 1
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Any crafter or DIYers will agree with me when I say that Cricut has single-handedly changed the way crafts are done, and it is by far the best crafting tool. Most people contemplating whether to purchase a Cricut machine often find themselves torn between the Cricut Maker and the Cricut Explore Air 2 as these two machines are quite similar. Nevertheless, they have several significant differences with the most notable ones being the machines adaptable tool system and their cutting force.

In this article, we cover both machines in-depth, beginning with an overview of the machines, their similarities as well as their differences so you can make an informed decision as you decide which of the two you should acquire to meet your needs

Cricut Maker Overview

This smart cutting machine is a crafter’s ultimate tool. The Cricut Maker brags an expandable suite of tools and advanced X-ACTO knife and rotary blades that facilitate practically any DIY and crafts project. Both the blades are operated using the machines adaptive tools system which manages the direction and the amount of pressure that is applied on materials. The Cricut maker does not have a smart dial as this was replaced with the adaptive tool system. Like with most Cricut machines, the Cricut maker has the ability to cut through several materials such as paper, leather, fabric, matboard amongst others. The Cricut Makers knife blade can handle cutting materials that are up to 2.4mm thick.

Cricut Explore Air 2 Overview

Utilizing a cut smart technology, the Explore Air 2 uses Bluetooth for wireless cutting, and users can connect the machine to their smartphones, computers, or tablets which they can then use to create on the go. With the capability to cut over 100 materials from leather to cardstock, this machine is extremely precise and can achieve intricate details, including those that involve cutting the same material repeatedly. The Explore Air 2 is part of the explore range of Cricut machines, and it is the best of all three machines in the Explore range. The Explore Air 2 is equipped with a small dial on its side that facilitates the cutting process allowing users to set the material and pressure they want to use. Users can easily perform two different activities with the Explore Air 2 as they no longer have to stop working in order to swap out the tools being used for the activities. The dual carriages allow crafters to draw and cut without having to stop to swap out the tools.

Similarities Between the Cricut Maker and Explore Air 2

  • Users can create and upload their own design files on both the Cricut Maker and Explore Air 2.
  • Both machines have similar cutting width measuring at 12 inches by 24 inches.
  • The machines both have Bluetooth wireless technology, which means users can cut and do all other activities remotely.
  • The machines share similarities in some of the materials such as vinyl and paper that they can cut. The blades of the Cricut Explore Air 2 can be used in the Cricut Maker.
  • Despite having slight differences in the load tools and mat as well as the set materials, both these Cricut machines utilize the Cricut Design Space.
  • Users have the option of choosing both machines in a variety of colors depending on what suits their aesthetic.
  • The Explore Air 2 does not have a rotary blade, scoring wheel and knife blade which are tools that the Cricut Maker is equipped with.

Key Differences Between the Cricut Maker and the Explore Air 2

  • Even though the two machines have several similarities, such as the ones discussed above, there are still several differences that we discuss below.
    Unlike the Cricut Maker, the Explore Air 2 does not have an inbuilt shelf on which users can place their smart devices such as tablets and phones.
  • The Explore Air 2 has an output of 2.5 amps, unlike the Cricut Maker which brags an improved 3.0 amp with a power cable that facilitates charging of mobile devices on one of the sides while the Cricut Maker is performing other activities such as drawing or cutting.
  • The Cricut Maker which has an X-ACTO knife is capable of making cuts as thick as 2.4 mm while the Explore Air 2’s deep-cut blade only achieves cut as deep as 1.5mm.
  • The Cricut Explore Air 2 has only one storage/ tool holder compartment in comparison to the Maker which has two compartments with rubber bottoms to handle the sharp blades.
  • The Cricut Maker is 10 times stronger and has a better cutting power than the Explore Air 2. This is because weighing at about 30 pounds; the Cricut Maker is heavier than its counterpart, which weighs 21 pounds.
  • The Explore Air 2 has a Smart set dial for materials which the Maker does not have.
  • Instead of the Adaptive Tool System equipped on the Maker, The Explore Air 2 is equipped with a Cut Smart 2 cartridge that is used to hold pens and pens
  • The Cricut Maker lacks cartridge slots which the Explore air is equipped with for inputting Cricut cartridges. The lack of a cartridge should not worry you as everything stored in the, are linked to a user’s Cricut ID in the cloud.

Which Cricut should you opt for?

The raging debate of which is the better machine between the Cricut Maker and the Explore Air 2 is one that is not about to come to an end. Anyone who enjoys sewing and making things out of fabric, is likely to lean towards the Cricut Maker as their ideal tool; however, those who are primarily paper crafters will find that the Explore Air 2 suits their needs in a much better way. So, depending on what it is that you, as the user wants to get done, you can make a decision on which one of the two machines works best for you. Nevertheless, in our opinion, the Cricut maker is generally the better of the two machines as it is more handy.

Cricut Explore Air 2 Review

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The Cricut Air 2 is a die cutting machine that a lot of crafters will admit being a life-saver for those who love to craft and are in the market for a reliable machine that can meet their needs. This is one of Cricut’s bestselling machines, given that it is simple in design but very effective in its execution. Given that you probably found yourself here reading this article because you were trying to decide on whether the Explore Air 2 is a machine worth investing in we shall take an in-depth look into the machine reviewing most if not all of the details of this machine so we can assist you in making an informed decision.

Explore Air 2 Overview

The minimalistic, laid back design of the Explore Air 2, is often confuses a lot of individuals who end up dismissing the machine without giving it a second thought. However, an in-depth look at the, reveals a different narrative of why this is one of the best home cutting machines for crafters.

The Cricut Explore Air 2 which was launched in 2015 excels where other machines have failed as it is two times faster than its predecessors and offers crafters two modes namely the “fast mode” and the “normal use mode” that they can choose to work with. This device is compatible with smart devices meaning users can use their phones, tablets, and computers to create customized designs on the go allowing them a certain level of flexibility to work when they have some free time to spare. This machine brags dimensions of 12 “wide and 14” long which leaves users with a respectable working space capacity of 11.5” by13.5”. It is this kind of features that makes the Explore Air 2 so good that it can be used for lightweight commercial purposes.

It has some incredible features such as the premium German carbide blade, dual tool storage compartment, cartridge slot, Bluetooth technology, Grip cutting mat, and its internet-based Design Space software. Users will also value the fact that the machine is available in three different colors and so they’ll pick the one that best matches their aesthetic.

What can the Explore Air 2 do?

Cutting machines are often designed to simplify the life of crafters, and this advanced machine is no exception. Some of the things that the Explore Air 2 can do include:

Cutting intricate details: from snowflake designs to lace stationery designs and even flowers, this machine is capable of delivering detailed, elaborate designs that were previously not achievable. Anyone looking to achieve intricate designs should look no further.

Cut several materials: the technology applied to the Explore Air 2 allows for it to cut well over 40 different materials. From the overly thick and hardy materials like leather to the really thin ones such as paper and vellum, the Explore Air 2 can most likely cut it and do so with great precision. This is because the machine has a nifty inbuilt Smart Set dial that crafters can conveniently use to adjust the settings and change them accordingly based on which one meets their needs. Typically, there is a list of materials that one can cut, and a crafter simply has to set the dial to the right mode. Additionally, you will receive access to the machine’s Design Space that allows you to use a wider variety of material selection settings.

Design customized items: yes, you read that right. This machine just doesn’t cut. You can also create handwritten cards, clothing items amongst others that you can customize to your liking. This is possible because the Explore Air 2 comes with washable fabric pens that can be used to draw in any of the over 350 fonts available. Creating your customized item is a simple as loading your font of choice and letting the machine work its magic on the material you are working with.

Score materials: The Explore Air 2 is equipped with a nifty scoring stylus that can be used to create beautifully designed boxes, envelopes, 3D paper crafts, acetate pinwheels, and so much more. The scoring stylus enables users to create seamless fold lines on the materials being used. This stylus is a great tool for developing your crafting skills.

What We Liked About the Explore Air 2

  • The 210 grams cutting power of this machine is really good. While it may not compare with some other cutting machines in the market, it can manage cutting depths of up to 1.5mm with the standard blade and 2mm with the deep cut blade.
  • It is equipped with Bluetooth technology which allows for wireless printing and complements the machine’s compatibility with smart devices.
  • The grip of the cutting mat is one of the best we have used, and it does not move around when the machine is being used.
  • The Explore Air 2 is quite affordable and easy to use and as such anyone, regardless of their skill level can be able to use it.
  • As previously mentioned, the Explore Air 2 is pretty fast, with double the cutting speeds of the predecessor cutting machines.

What We Did Not Like About the Explore Air 2

  • In comparison to the Explore Air, the Explore Air 2 is loud, but this is not necessarily a deal-breaker as the noise is bearable.
  • There is an Explore Air 2 design space app for iOS devices but not for android devices. We found this to be quite outrageous given that android devices are pretty much taking over the mobile industry globally.
  • Crafters cannot use third party design software despite the Design Space software being overly basic, especially for experienced crafters.

Final Thoughts

The Explore Air 2 is, in our opinion, a perfectly great machine, given the list of characteristics and features, we have discussed above. Beginner crafters and hobbyist would certainly enjoy using this machine as it offers a wide variety of uses and unbelievable precision. We would certainly recommend this machine for anyone looking to give crafting a go.

Sizzix Big Shot Review

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If you are looking for a die cut machine that is handy and overly dependable, then look no further than with the award-winning Sizzix Big shot. There are two types of Sizzix Big Shot machines, i.e., the foldaway and the die cutting machine. For this review, we shall be discussing the die cutting Sizzix Bigshot. This machine lives up to its name, and DIYers and crafters are certainly going to enjoy using this machine that has the ability to not only cut but emboss on several different materials. With the Sizzix Big Shot, it is possible to create unique one-of-a-kind cards, scrapbook pages, invitations, fashion, home decor, quilting, altered art, and much more. If you have been considering acquiring the Sizzix Big shot, then you are in the right place as we take an in-depth look at the Big Shot and various elements about it to help you in making a decision on whether it is the ideal machine for your crafting needs. The Big Shot is a stable machine featuring a 6-inch wide opening that can be used to emboss or die cut with an appropriate crafting area that facilitates the creation of larger projects. Users can create stencils and cutouts that are much bigger than normal without having to worry that the machine will break down. Weighing 7.5lbs, the Big Shot is a rather bulky machine that is not easily portable

Features of the Sizzix Big Shot.

In order to ensure that it functions at its optimum, the Big Shot brags the following features;

Steel core; at its core, the Big Shot has steel bearings and roller that enable users to work with materials that are often challenging for other machines in the market. The bearing and roller can easily cut through materials that are not only thick but also tough without wearing out easily.

Its exterior is aesthetically pleasing; with the Sizzix Big Shot, users can create beautiful art on a machine that matches the user’s elegant taste. The machine is available in several different colors, and as such a user can pick whichever, they feel tickles their fancy and resembles the art they create.

Extended multipurpose platform; the extended crafts area that is 14 1/8? long is another feature that the Big Shot brags. The crafts are is constructed from a combination of durable plastic and steel, which give it the ability to handle any pressure thrown its way. The platform is capable of handling bigger dies, creating larger cutouts, and embossing a user’s favorite patterns on pieces of material that are much larger than usual. The crafts area has tabs that offer users beneficial information about cutting and embossing as well as the folders and dies they can use, therefore ensuring that they can start working as soon as they acquire the machine.

Rubber Feet: The Big Shot is fitted with rubber feet that ensure the machine stays in place and does not move while it is being used.

How to use the Sizzix Big Shot

Using the Big Shot is pretty simple and straightforward. All one needs one to do is place whatever material that they want to cut between the machine’s cutting plates, and thereafter following the directions indicated on the multipurpose platform. This will ensure that the correct thickness of the material is selected before it is sent through the machine. Once this is completed, you simply turn the handle, and the cutting or embossing process begins. Because the embossing and cutting process is manual, users may have to exert a little more pressure when using tougher materials and less pressure when using lighter materials. The Sizzix Big shot can work with a wide variety of materials including chipboard, metallic foil, vellum, foam, magnet, leather, craft aluminum, felt, fabric, cardstock and many more.

Why use the Sizzix Big Shot?

  • Despite the market being saturated with different iterations of manual die-cutting and embossing machines, the Big Shot standouts out because of several things with the most important one being the flexibility it affords its users. Other reasons include:
  • It functions with embossing folders and dies from several other brands. This kind of compatibility is rare to find, which means that users will not be limited in options. Users can produce characteristic and unique patterns on any material of their choice.
  • It is easy to use. Never has there been an easier to use die cut and embossing machine like the Big Shot. Equipped with a hand crank that can be used regardless of where there is electricity or not, the Big Shot remains consistent in its ability to function, although users may need to do an excellent job when working with materials that are heavier and thicker.
  • The machine does not require any kind of maintenance. Since it does not need any form of lubrication or oils to function, it is unlikely that users will experience any issues. All a user needs to do when using this machine is to keep it clean and free of debris.
  • Sizzix offers a 3-year manufacturer warranty, and they have such excellent customer service in case of a user experience any issues with the Big Shot

Final Thoughts

The Sizzix Big Shot is one of my favorite machines simply because there are no limits to a user’s creativity. Because it is a manual die cutting and embossing tool, users can effortlessly and effectively add texture and cut shapes from many different materials using a single device, namely the Big Shot. It’s also extremely easy to use, and everyone, including beginners, can immediately dive into the crafting world if they are using the Big Shot. Overall it is an excellent machine, and if you are an avid and adventurous DIYer, it is certainly a machine that you should consider purchasing. However, do bear in mind that it is not compact and will require quite a bit of space when using it. Conclusively, despite this not being the largest die cutting machine we have come across, it is sufficient for you to get the job done without and difficulties.

Silhouette Portrait 2 Review

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Anyone looking for a small but versatile cutting machine that they can use for their crafts and DIYs should look no further than the Silhouette Portrait 2. An improved iteration of the original Portrait, the Portrait 2 is often referred to as the younger sibling to the Portrait 3 and shares similar features with the Cameo 3 but in a lighter smaller package.

The Portrait 2 functions almost like a printer, but as opposed to printing on the page with ink, a blade is moved around to cut images out of the material that the user has selected to use. The machine can work with several materials including cardstock, paper, fabric, vinyl amongst others. Apart from cutting, it can also be used for drawing.

We take an exhaustive look at the details surrounding the Silhouette Portrait 2 and why it is a crafter best portable cutting tool.

Silhouette Portrait 2 Overview

Introduced into the market in November 2017, the Portrait 2 is an upgraded version of the initial portrait incorporating technologies such as Bluetooth and AutoBlade to its functionalities. It’s, in our opinion, one of the best portable automated cutting machines in the market, and it is ideal for anyone who is into crafts beginners included. Its size makes it perfect for small craft studios. The package of the Portrait 2 contains the electronic cutting machine, power cable, AutoBlade, Bluetooth adapter, USB cable, 8-inch cutting mat, 50 exclusive cuttable designs, Silhouette Studio software and a one-month free subscription to Silhouette design store.

Features of the Silhouette Portrait 2

Size aside, it is very easy to mistake the Portrait 2 for the original portrait, but any doubts that one may have are quickly washed away as soon as they start using the Portrait 2. With the several new features that place it just slightly under the high-tech Cameo cutting machine, the portrait 2 is the perfect compromise. Some of the features that the machine brags include;

Bluetooth compatibility; this must be my beloved feature of the Portrait simply because it eliminates the uses of cables and as such, makes the cutting machine even more portable. By simply activating the Bluetooth, a user can send files from their computer to the machine which will print them remotely. This feature provides users with the freedom to manage their designs in the Portrait’s Silhouette Studio software as well as any design software that they may be comfortable using. Once a user has finished creating their custom design, they simply send the artwork to their device for execution with only a few swift clicks. The Bluetooth also offers the benefit of users completing the design and customization process without compromising on their comfort. Unlike in the past when one had to limit their workspace because they were using power cables.

Compatibility with PixScan; if you are confused because you have never heard of PixScan do not fret. PixScan is an innovative technology Patented by Silhouette America that has the ability to transform sketches drawn by hand into intricately cut pieces of art. This is legit one of the best ways to achieve those creative and bolder pieces such as the ones that involve digitization of a user’s stamp collection. All you need is either a camera or scanner, and you are good to go as PixScan works using three steps specifically,

Step one: putting your artwork of sketch on the mat provided.

Step two: using your scanner, camera, or a smartphone to capture the imagery of the material.

Step three: importing the captured image into the software and adding the necessary cut lines.

Auto blade: this is an intuitive feature that helps users attain the right settings regardless of the material they are using for their crafts. This feature eliminates a lot of the guesswork that occurred as users tried to determine which material to use and why. The AutoBlade which is included in the machine’s package and has played a significant role in improving the quality of cuts.

Can Accommodate Thick Materials: Unlike the Portrait 1, the Portrait punches above its weight bragging a 2mm clearance that facilitates the use of thick materials. This is a significant milestone because users are no longer limited to only using thin materials such as paper, card, or vinyl as they can effectively use materials such as craft foam and leather which were previously difficult to cut. This translates to value for money and convenience as users do not have to struggle with sturdier materials.

Cutting Power: The Silhouette has a limited cutting size, but this has not stopped it from excelling in a lot of the tasks it is required to handle. This machine offers users with the ability to cut materials up to 10 feet long despite its width having a limited 8-inch cutting capacity. However, the machines cutting force could be better in our opinion, as its 210-gram force would struggle with tougher materials such as balsa wood. We nonetheless appreciate the fact that the Portrait 2’s cutting power is accommodative of diverse kinds of blades aside from the AutoBlade that the machine is equipped with when a user purchases it. Users can order other blades such as the fabric blade, the standard blade, and the deep cut blade which they can use to achieve different outcomes depending on their needs.


  • This Silhouette Portrait 2 maybe a small machine, but it is extremely powerful and performs beautifully.
  • Due to its portability, one can easily move it between places
  • The Silhouette design software is not only easy to use, but it can function without internet access.
  • Users can enjoy cutting wirelessly because the Silhouette portrait 2 is Bluetooth compatible


  • The machine’s cutting force is limited to the 210 grams weight of the machine.
  • The cutting width is small and could be much larger than it currently is.
  • Users must pay for the advanced design software features in order to access them

Final Thoughts

The Silhouette Portrait 2 is an impressive machine that shares several unique features and benefits with some of the most powerful cutting machines in the market today. Anyone considering acquiring this machine is certainly in for a great treat.

Silhouette Curio Review

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What is a Silhouette Curio?

A silhouette curio is a light-duty machine which at its core is designed for cutting purposes, but it also has the ability to perform several different tasks such as engraving, debossing, embossing, drawing, piercing, and welding. Even though this silhouette curio is marketed as an accompanying machine for other cutters, this lightweight standalone machine can carry its own weight and can be used by DIYers and crafters to achieve most if not all their projects. The machine is able to do all the previously mentioned activities on materials such as foam, rubber, leather, and wood. The machine typically weights at about 210 grams, which is quite impressive given the power and performance it exhibits.

The Curio is extremely compact resembling an everyday printer and brags a rather boring boxy design with several rounded corners. It is obvious that the manufacturer of the Curio did not put much thought into its appearance, but the machine’s clearance, cutting capacity, and overall performance reveal that thought was put into ensuring that the machine did not compromise on functionality. The design of the machine is such that it is equipped with a ratchet that is used to set the depth of the machine’s standard blade, consequently saving on much-needed space. However, the downside to this is that unlike other cutting machines, the Curio cannot be used with the AutoBlade, and therefore, a user must wholly depend on the standard blade.

Feature of the Silhouette Curio

The silhouette curio brags several features including:

A dual carriage: The dual carriage is a handy feature that a lot of die cutters lack. This feature allows users to use two different tools at the same time, making it an extremely significant tool that helps users save on the amount of time spent creating crafts and DIYs. Because of the dual carriage feature, crafters can, for example, sketch while cutting, pierce while embossing or even draw using two washable pens at once. This feature takes away the need to halt an ongoing process to change the tools being used if a user wants to, the function. The dual carriageway facilitates creativity amongst the silhouette curio users as they can experiment with several different designs and accomplish projects quicker.

5mm Clearance: The Silhouette Curio has a 5mm clearance that allows for users to work with thick materials. Most electronic die cutters including the Silhouette curio are usually limited in cutting space, and hence the clearance availed with the curio is extremely crucial. Thanks to the clearance, users can do several things such as sketch on the wood and draw on a canvas, which is not necessarily possible on other cutting machines.

Inbuilt storage: As previously mentioned, the focus of the Curio was placed on its functionality. Part of its functionality includes the four storage slots distributed on two different sides of the machine, thus ensuring that the machines weight is well spread out.

Silhouette Studio Design Software: Most cutting machines rely on their software to determine efficiency, working speeds, and convenience. The Silhouette Curio is no exception as it relies on its cloud-based software system to be able to conduct most of its activities. And even though the Curio’s software is cloud-based, it can be used without internet unlike other machines such as the Cricut Design space whose software requires internet for operation. The Silhouette Studio design software facilitates the importation and exportation of files in SVG format, which is the ideal format for cutting files. Users can usually subscribe to the software and use it free of charge for a month before they have to upgrade and start paying to access all the benefits of the software.

Stippling & Etching: The Silhouette Curio is quite unique because users can even use metal sheets on the machine. The stippling and etching feature allows for users to draw using many specks/dots and engrave on metal sheets.

Pros and cons of the Silhouette Curio


  • In comparison to a lot of the cutting machine, the Curio has four highly unique features, namely; embossing, debossing, stippling and etching which cannot be said for other machines.
  • Users can easily create their own designs on the software which they can later emboss and etch.
    The Curio is capable of cutting all materials that the Cameo 3 can work with and so much more.
  • With its deep cut blade, the Curio can aptly cut into materials that are 2mm thick, and it can also be used for surface projects using materials that are 5mm thick.


  • The Silhouette Curio lacks several vital things, including; an AutoBlade, Bluetooth capabilities, and the larger base and mats.
  • Users of the Silhouette curio must purchase the stippling and etching tools individually as they are not included as part of the machine’s package. This only adds to a user’s total cost.
  • This machine requires a lot of patience as learning how to uses it is not easy. Even though the Silhouette studio design software is easy to use the learning curve of the Curio is extremely steep as the machine has a wide variety of tools and thus users need to invest time to study how to operate each of them.
  • The embossing mats of the Curio get ruined rather quickly and easily, meaning that they have to be purchased frequently.
  • To access the various designs that can be used for a project, users must connect the Curio machine via a USB connection; otherwise, they cannot use it or access the designs and patterns.
  • As with other Silhouette machines, the Curio shares the moderately weak cutting ability, which means that aside from thin materials such as vinyl and paper, cutting other materials will be a challenging task.

Final Thoughts

The Silhouette Curio is not the most ideal electronic cutter, but it gets the job done and is, therefore, something worth considering. This is because it gives users the liberty and flexibility; they may need to uncover a whole new level of opportunities and let their creativity run wild. Even though the Curio can be used by itself, it functions way better as an accompanying tool for larger cutting machines that are easier to uses and are more accommodating in terms of size.

Cricut Easy Press Review

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You have probably come across garments such as t-shirts, hoodies, dresses, and surfaces that have some beautiful artwork/ design on them and wondered how it was achieved. One such way through which this is achievable is through heat transfers. The market is saturated with heat press machines as well as machines such as the Cricut Easy Press which not necessarily a heat press machine or iron.

Product Overview

The Cricut Easy Press is a machine was purposefully designed to deliver specialized iron-on results in under a minute, and that can be used to press transfers such as sublimation transfers, inkjet transfers and even iron-on also known as HTV. This Cricut easy Press relies on a combination of the handiness of a regular iron box and the speeds of a conventional heat press to deliver transfers that can last beyond several washes.

This machine is available in four different forms, namely the RASPBERRY 12?X10?, RASPBERRY 9? X 9?, RASPBERRY 6? X 6?, and the SKY-9? X 9?. It consists of an evenly heated plate and dials that are used to manage the operations of the machine. Users can use the Cricut easy press for layered, small and large projects as the, has the capability of reaching temperature settings of up to 180°C (350°F). Additionally, it brags several features, including an insulated resting base and automatic shutoff. Upon purchase of the machine, users receive a package that consists of a warranty card, a welcome booklet, a user manual, a safety base, and the Cricut machine.

How the Cricut Easy Press Works

Before we get into how the Easy Press works, it is important that you are aware of the machines specifications. This includes a ceramic coated heating plate which can be used for projects that are big and involve layering, handles that facilitate maneuverability, two winding heat plates that heat the machines surface, precise temperature control settings, auto shutoff, and safety base to ensure safety while you are working.

Before even beginning to use the machine, it is crucial that you work from a surface that is not only flat and heat resistant but also firm. The Easy Press starts working once the machine has been powered up using the power button situated on the left-hand side of the display. Once you are certain that both your surface and machine are ready, you can go ahead and set the temperature and time that align with the needs of your project.

Both the time and temperature can be adjusted using the +/- buttons that allow users to stipulate their chosen time and temperature accordingly. When adjusting the temperature, the machine typically displays an orange color which turns green once the right temperature is achieved. My personal favorite thing about this machine is the amount of time it takes to heat up. Unlike regular irons, the Easy Press heats up to 180 degrees Celsius in approximately two minutes and forty-four seconds upon which it will notify the user by beeping. Once the machine is ready, a user simply has to place their material of choice onto the silicone foam mat, pre-heating it to rid it of wrinkles. The next few steps are where the magic happens as a user simply puts their vinyl design on to the base material and places the Easy Press onto their vinyl decal. Immediately after a user must initiate the machine’s timer and apply moderate pressure to keep it in place as they press. Once the pressing is done, it will beep once more, and at this point, all a user has to do is return the Easy Press onto its stand and wait for the mat to cool down before removing it from the vinyl. The most important thing to remember when using the machine is that the materials that one is using have to be completely dry and moisture-free.

Pros of the Cricut Easy Press

  • The machine is quite compact, and its size makes it very easy to port or even store.
  • The outcome delivered by the Easy Press is akin to professional level heat presses as the designs also last for longer periods.
  • Unlike some of its competitors that are not compatible with some
  • Heat transfer materials, the Easy Press is compatibility with most of the main brands of heat-transfer materials something that crafters and DIYers will appreciate.
  • It takes a very short duration of time to heat up to its optimum temperature.
  • It is equipped with an auto-shutoff safety feature that turns the machine off after ten minutes of inactivity.
  • The machine distributes heat evenly across the plate, which ensures that the design is fully completed in the stipulated time.

Cons of the Cricut Easy Press

  • We found the heat press to be a little on the pricey side of things, especially since you could easily find a professional heat press for the same amount.
  • In comparison to the regular heat presses, the ceramic-coated heating surface was rather small.
  • Users can only use so many materials as the machine’s optimum of 180° C can pose a challenge to some of the materials that can be used.
  • While regular heat press machines have a lock mechanism that holds the materials in place, the Easy Press requires users to apply pressure to prevent the materials from moving.
  • The package of the machine does not include a pressing mat which some users may find to be annoying.

Final Thoughts

The Cricut Easy Press is a portable, convenient, and easy to use alternative for your regular heat presses if you are a crafter/ DIYer who does not create in bulk. It is perfect for small spaces, and its lightweight and compact nature make using the machine extremely enjoyable. This machine has excelled where a few others have failed with their uneven heating surfaces and lack of variable temperature setting. Regardless of whether you’re a novice or expert, I would wholly recommend this machine. For as long as the manufacturers reference guide is adhered too, you will have a breeze using this machine just like I did.

Cricut Explore Review

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Anyone who has never used or seen the Cricut Explore is likely to mistake it with a printer, but it couldn’t be any further from that. The Cricut Explore is a crafting tool that takes away the hassle of having to use things like pencils, razors, scissors, and shears to create intricate designs and patterns. It has the ability to score, cut, and even draw on several different materials ranging from vinyl to leather and so much more. Cricut is known for many things in the craft world, but the Cricut Explore product line has to be by far one of their greatest achievements even superseding the Design Space Software that is used with most Cricut Machine. The Cricut Explore product line consists of Cricut Explore One, Cricut Explore Air and Cricut Explore Air 2. Each of these machines brags its unique set of features and fare differently from each other. However, for, this article, today we shall be looking at the Cricut Explore one which revolutionized the crafting world when it was first introduced into the market.

Product Overview

As previously mentioned, the Cricut Explore One caused a paradigm shift in the crafting world when it was introduced in the market. Even though there have been other cutting machines that have come up since, the Explore One still remains a crowd favorite for a lot of crafters and DIYers given that it is an easy tool to use and it is also affordable. Despite its basic set of features, the Explore One is a great machine for scoring, writing and precision cutting. The machine is extremely user-friendly with an interface that is easy to maneuver. It also allows for users to effortlessly create and design their projects straight from their tablets, personal computers, and smartphones. Equipped with a premium German carbide blade, the Explore one is a beast capable of cutting through a series of different materials including, paper, leather, vinyl fabric, and so much more. The German carbide blade, which is overly resilient and durable facilitates the cutting of products with up to a medium weight without breaking down. The biggest downside of the Cricut Explore one in our opinion would be the lack of Bluetooth. Although this may not have been an issue a couple of years back, the evolution of technology today has changed how a lot of things operate and as such being able to function wirelessly is something that is extremely crucial not only for crafters but also for the rest of the world.

Features of the Cricut Explore

Like with every other cutting machine, the Cricut Explore one has a set of features including

Integrated storage compartments: The Explore one has storage compartments on the side of the machine which were ingeniously designed to be used as storage for work items such as pens, scissors, etc. and ensure that a user’s workspace remains clutter-free. The integrated storage compartments also play a vital role in ensuring users can save up on space that they are likely to use later while working.

Smart Set dials: previously, when crafters would do their work, there was a lot of guesswork involved as they tried to figure out how things worked. However, the smart set dial has changes how things work as the innovative feature enables users to work with the optimal predetermined settings for whatever material they are using. By choosing the right mode when operating the machine users no longer have to worry about things like getting the pressure, speed, or even depth that is ideal for their projects.

Cricut Design Space Software: For starters, the design software opened a whole new world of designs giving users access to over 60,000 designs that they could use on their projects. Users can access this extremely powerful software through their smartphones, tablets, and computers by simply logging into the system. You’ll certainly be spoiled for choice from the selection of pre-made projects. The software is quite simple and easy to use and provides users with the option to create their designs in the moment by clicking the “Make it Now” option.

Grip Cutting Mat: I think that this is actually a privilege as some cutting machines usually do not have the grip cutting mat forcing users to purchase it as an additional accessory. The Explore One’s mat has been designed in such a manner that it can be used for various crafting materials without the material slipping out of place while it is being worked on. The mat is of high quality and has great grips to achieve the perfect cuts.

Pros of the Cricut Explore

  • Users can still use the old cartridges with the Cricut Explore which can accommodate the said cartridges.
  • It’s extremely easy to use, and anyone, regardless of their skill level, can use it. Beginners will particularly enjoy using it as it has all the basic requirements they would need.
  • Users no longer have to make manual adjustments when working as the Smart Det dials takes over the task.
  • The Cricut Explore one is reasonably priced and within range for a lot of crafters.

Cons of the Cricut Explore

  • The machine cannot undertake two activities such as cut and draw at the same time, which is something its descendants the Explore Air 2 can do.
  • It is not equipped with Bluetooth technology, which is crucial in today’s world.
  • Users require a fast internet connection.
  • Users may have to purchase additional accessories, which can greatly increase the total cost of the machine.

Final Thoughts

The Cricut Explore is a great machine that offers great value for money to its users. It is a machine we would highly recommend particularly to beginners who are just getting into the die-cutting world. Nevertheless, this is not to say that experienced crafters cannot use it as anyone who enjoys crafting can. The entire Explore product line offers users with unlimited possibilities, and it helps if a user understands what their needs are and opts for a die-cutting machine that can help them realize their goals.

Spellbinders Platinum Review

Spellbinders Platinum 1
Spellbinders Platinum 2
Spellbinders Platinum 4

Available in two different models, namely the 6-inch cutting width and the 8.5-inch cutting width model, The Spellbinders Platinum machine is a sturdy and sophisticated manual die cutting machine capable of cutting and embossing. , the Platinum machine is a one of a kind die-cutting machine that can handle dies as thin as wafers, as well as steel rule, dies both from Spellbinders and other companies. As previously mentioned, the spellbinder is are sturdy and heavy and brags gears that are almost impossible to break regardless of the material being used. The weight of the machine ensures it remains still and unfazed while it is in use; however, as well as steel rule, users require to input quite some effort to use this machine. This machine is ideal for crafters who have a large workspace since it occupies a large footprint which may be inconveniencing for users with smaller spaces. Nevertheless, the machine’s sides are foldable; however, which makes the Spellbinders Platinum compact and easy to store away. The Spellbinder platinum can effortlessly cut over 40 different materials including Balsa wood, leather, paper, craft metal, chipboard cotton, and many more. The “full-size” platinum is extremely flexible as it.
Nevertheless with 16 contour dies that facilitate flexibility for a user looking to achieve intricate cuts, patterns, and designs. The two platinum machines hold their own weight as they can cut paper sizes as big as their widths; however, the 8-inch platinum requires that users acquire larger cutting plates as opposed to the regular sized ones that are sold together with the machine.

What Are the Spellbinder Platinum Machines Equipped With?

Regardless of the size, both the smaller sized platinum and the full-sized platinum are equipped with the same accessories and items that users receive upon purchase. These items include: the machine itself, an embossing mat and plate, two standard 6” cutting plates, an operational manual and a cutting platform which varies depending on the size of the machine purchased.
However, users should note that they have the option of purchasing additional accessories that they like and are compatible with the machines such as the magnetic platform which is used to hold the overly thin dies and ensure that they do not move around while being cut. The crease plate and 3D embossing plate used alongside 3D embossing folders are yet another set of accessories that can be separated from the machines.

Features of the Spellbinder Platinum

The Platinum machines have a few features which we found to be great value adds such as;

Ergonomic handle: Unlike a lot of the electronic die cutting machines which have fancy buttons to operate it, the Spellbinders Platinum’s functionality is made possible through its ergonomic handle that connects with the machine’s roller bearings and turned manually to complete tasks. The handle, therefore, makes it easier for tasks and projects to be completed in a matter of minutes after a few turns.

Cutting platforms: Even though each machine has a cutting platform that corresponds with its model, the Spellbinders die cutter platforms are overly generous in comparison to some of the die cut machines that we have available in the market. Users can cut dies to their satisfaction, including multiple small dies all at once. The construction of the machines is such that they can accommodate varying dies, all while being portable and user-friendly.

Contour steel rule dies: today, the number of die-cutting processes available are quite many, with each of the processes being used for different techniques and serving a different purpose. The Spellbinders use the steel rule dies, which are popularly known for facilitating the use of different types of materials such as foam, paper, cardboard, rubber, and many more all while being easily centered. The contour steel die cutting process is revered to be an economically efficient method through which users can achieve unique designs on materials that have soft sheets as well as the “exotic” ones.

Solid steel core: the strength and longevity of the Spellbinders cutter because of its full-hardened steel construction. For the mere reason that this machine is constructed from the toughest metal in the globe means that users can rely on the machine to give them great service for a long time to come.

What We Like About the Spellbinders Platinum

  • Users no longer have to engage in repetitive tasks as the platinum can effortlessly cut up to 8 layers of material at once.
  • The machine is one of the most versatile machines we have come across in the market as it is capable of cutting more than forty different materials.
  • Despite its weight and size, the Spellbinders Platinum has a compact design thanks to its foldable sides, which helps users to save on space.
  • It is well-designed and durable. The construction of this machine gives it the power that it requires to manage most of the tasks thrown its way without it experiencing any difficulties.
  • Users receive a 1-year manufacturer warranty upon purchase of the machine. The warranty speaks to the quality of the machine and the manufacturer’s confidence in it.

What we did not like about the Spellbinders Platinum

  • The plates of the machine occasionally get jammed and as such users have to exercise extra caution when working with the machine.
  • Using the machine is tedious as the process is manual.
  • The Spellbinders Platinum is heavier and much larger than the typical die cut machines.


Regardless of whether you are cutting, scoring, or embossing, the Spellbinders Platinum is the ideal machine that you could opt for. This is because not only is it functional, but it also has a user-friendly design that makes it more than ideal for most crafters regardless of their skill level. The Spellbinders Platinum scores highly in our books because it is one of those machines that can outlast you for generations to come and it provides crafters with model different options and the ability to use several die types. If you have been contemplating on a die cutter to acquire for yourself or even someone else, then this is a great choice to contemplate.

Cricut Bright Pad Review

Cricut Bright Pad Review 1
Cricut Bright Pad Review 2
Cricut Bright Pad Review 3
Cricut Bright Pad Review 4
Cricut Bright Pad Review 5

There are lots of questions surrounding the Cricut BrightPad. What is the Cricut BrightPad? Is the Cricut BrightPad worth its cost? Is it a must-have tool for crafting enthusiasts? Does it really make weeding vinyl much easier? Do I really need the BrightPad? If you have found yourself plagued with questions such as the one above, then you are in the right place. This is because Cricut introduced to the market their version of the light pad known as the Bright Pad. But before we review the BrightPad, we shall quickly define what a light pad is and what it is used for.

A light pad is a viewing device that is used by crafters and artists for tracing, sketching, weeding, and reviewing their artwork amongst other things. The light pad essentially helps artists and crafters elevate their artworks, and while it is not a mandatory tool, it helps town one if you can afford it.

Cricut BrightPad Overview

The Cricut BrightPad, which resembles a tablet, is one of the most innovative tracing and weeding tools in the market. The BrightPad is thin, lightweight, and brags a sleek design like most advanced tablets do. It is equipped with five settings which are used to adjust the brightness of the pad and enable artists to customize their workspace depending on what suits their needs. Upon purchase of the device, users receive a package containing a user manual, power cable, and the pad. The pad is fitted with several features to ensure that it can absorb any shock and arrive at the user’s destination in one piece. To use the BrightPad, a user simply has to plug in the power cable to a power outlet and press the power button. Users can adjust the pad’s light settings with either one of the two +/- buttons located on the side of the tablet.

Key Features of the Cricut Brightpad

High Scratch Tolerance level: the scratch tolerance level refers to the abrasion resistance levels depending on how hard a surface or material is. The scratch hardness/ tolerance typically ranges between 1 and 10, where ten is the highest level, which is categorically reserved for diamonds. The Cricut BrightPad has a 6H hardness level which cannot be said for other light pads which typically brag a 3.5H hardness/ tolerance level. A device is more scratch-resistant if its scratch hardness is high, which means that users can certainly rely on the quality of the Cricut BrightPad.

Great design: As previously mentioned, the BrightPad is an extremely lightweight device that is 0.35 inches deep and almost looks like a high-tech tablet. A quick glance at the device will reveal that its design is well-thought-out, particularly because no artist would appreciate having to uses a light pad that is extremely bulky and heavy. The Cricut BrightPad offers artists with the possibility to work in an appropriate body posture as they do not have to prop their elbows onto the desk while working or even change their posture.

Light adjustment capabilities: The light adjustment button is a pretty nifty feature that a lot of crafters can appreciate. This is because users can effortlessly adjust the LED light of the Cricut BrightPad from level 1 to level 5 by simply pressing the +/- keypad buttons on the machine. By increasing or decreasing the light, it is possible for users to work in their ideal light conditions however we think that these buttons deserve and upgrade to become touch-sensitive buttons if for nothing else other than convenience. In a matter of seconds, users can move from the lowest 400 Lumens level 1 brightness settings to the highest 4000 Lumens level 5 brightness settings. The other brightness settings offer Lumens of 1300, 2200, and 3100 for levels 2, 3 and four respectively.

Even LED Backlight: The Cricut BrightPad produces light that is even as it uses superior LED bulbs, unlike most of the cheaper light pads that use substandard halogen bulbs. The LED lighting of the BrightPad can give users service for up to 50,000 hours emitting light evenly across the pad’s surface. Additionally, the light emitted by the LED lighting is not as harsh as it falls on the cooler white side.

Anti-Slip Base: the chances of the BrightPad slipping from a user’s hands or surface are very low as the pad is fitted with an anti-slip coating intended to minimize the occurrence of accidents. This ensures that users have steady work and that they will not move about while they are working.

What I Appreciated About the Brightpad

  • Firstly, I really liked that the BrightPad came with a manufacturer’s warranty that was valid for a year from the date of the pad’s purchase. This, in my opinion, spoke a lot into the fact that the manufacturer could be trusted with the quality of the device they were producing.
  • The highly responsive light adjustment settings are what sold me on this device as I could customize the light pad to my preference.
  • The device is extremely durable and ideal for use in the long-term.
  • The device’s working surface was generously wide, which made it easy to work with.

What I Did Not Like About the Brightpad

  • I felt that it was somewhat expensive.
  • Its 6-foot power cable was, in my opinion, limiting, and it would do better with a rechargeable battery.


The Cricut BrightPad is a premium-grade multipurpose light pad that goes a long way in unhinging a user’s creativity and artistic limits. From detailed crafting, weeding, tracing and handling glitter iron-on users will enjoy using this as long as they are familiar with how to work with it. We personally liked that it could be used by anyone regardless of their crafting experiences and abilities. Its polycarbonate surface ensures that you will be using it for quite a while as it is durable, practical, and most importantly, functional. If you were considering acquiring the Cricut Brightpad, we hope that this review has removed any doubts that you may have had and shed some light onto what the BrightPad is and how it can help you meet your needs.