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.

Cricut Easy Press 2 Review

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HTV is a fun and exciting way for one to introduce themselves into the world of crafting. You are probably familiar with heat pressing because you have seen a few breathe taking designs done on different surfaces and garments and wondered how they were able to achieve it. Well if heat transfer vinyl and heat pressing are your cup of tea, then the Easy Press 2 is the kind of machine that you should be considering if you haven’t already. The Cricut Easy Press 2 takes over from its predecessor the original Easy press to give its users a wonderful experience crafting with HTV. The original Easy Press was a beast, but the Easy Press 2 is a much bigger and better machine as our research quickly revealed. It is equipped with new features that we shall discuss shortly together with the benefits and disbenefits that it offers you as a user so you can make an informed decision as to whether is a machine that you should purchase to meet your crafting needs.

Product Overview

Like its predecessor, the Easy Press 2 is a machine that enables users to easily and effectively transfer their HTV (heat transfer vinyl) and iron-on designs onto a surface of their choice. The HTV and iron-on are a type of materials that require heating to facilitate their successful transfer onto surfaces. The Easy Press 2 facilitates this transfer by providing the ideal temperature and time required for proper transfer onto the surface. This machine is available one color (raspberry) and in three different sizes specifically 6 x 7 inches, 9 x 9 inches and 12 x 10 inches. The varying sizes give users the flexibility to choose the size of machine that fits their craft. Unlike its predecessor, this Cricut heat press is capable of heating up to 400°F with a +/- 5°F variance that makes it more reliable and easier to use on a variety of materials.

Features of the Easy Press 2

Heating Time: the heating time of the Cricut Easy Press 2 is truly impressive given that it takes just a minute for the 6 x 6 press to heat up, two minutes for the 9 x 9 press and 3 minutes for the jumbo 12 x 10 heat press. Not a lot of heat press machines available in the market can be able to achieve such fast heating times. The heat-up time is 25% quicker than the original Easy Press.

Safety base: the Easy Press 2 provides crafters with a streamlined safety base on which they can place the machine when it is not in use. And in line matters concerning safety, the Easy Press 2 has an auto shut-off feature that automatically shuts off the press after ten minutes of inactivity. The safety base of this machine is slightly raised in comparison to other heat press machines, and this makes crafting all the more safe without taking away the fun of it.

Firmware: rarely do people talk about firmware when discussing crafting tools but I had to throw this in because I appreciated that the Easy Press 2 like with other Cricut machines updates itself when necessary to ensure that your machine is free of errors and is functioning efficiently.

Thicker heat plate: heat plates are usually there to ensure that the heat in the machine is distributed evenly. If the temperature is even the likelihood that a user is going to have a successful and professional looking outcome is quite high. The thicker heat plate on the Easy Press 2 ensures that the heat distribution is uniform and that the temperature variant is better managed. It’s this very feature that gives the Easy Press 2 a higher standing that is almost at par with traditional heat presses.

Easy Press 2 Pros & Cons

Thus far, the Easy Press 2 has proven to be a really cool crafting tool to have in your corner. But to paint a clearer picture before you make your final decision, we take a look at the machine’s pros and cons after which we believe you will be fully informed on what decision to make.

Pros

  • Given the amount of time the Easy Press 2 takes to achieve results pressing with this machine helps users save on valuable time that they could be spending elsewhere.
  • The machine gives users control and flexibility over their crafts as they can select the settings/ mode that works best with the material they are using.
  • Cricut, in general, offers such amazing customer service such that if a user was stranded, it helps to know that they are not alone as they try to figure out the solution.
  • The size of the machine makes it easily portable and ideal for people working in small craft spaces.
  • While the Easy Press 2 may not be ideal for mass production, it can still work for commercial projects delivering professional results in under 3 minutes depending on the size of machine you own.

Cons

  • I felt that the small Easy Press 2 was pointless as I did not really see the value it brought given its price tag.
  • It still does not compare to some of the professional heat presses in the market, especially if you need to work with temperatures higher than 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Some crafters may find the Easy Press 2 to be rather expensive given that it costs more than some of the inexpensive, lower-end heat presses that are available in the market.

Final Thoughts

I am a big fan of the Easy Press 2 because it delivers value for me and my crafting. We rarely come across products that fully deliver on the promises made, and this cannot be said about the easy press given that you get professional results in under 3 minutes just as it promises. This machine is honestly the best compromise one can make if faced with the decision of choosing between heat pressing with a regular iron or a traditional heat press. Afterall what more could one want if they are getting long-lasting and effective results on a machine that’s efficient and easy to use.

The 6 Best Die Cutting Machines for Beginners in 2019

The popularity of die cutting has increased over the years as the different companies have managed to transform how the craft is undertaken with their impressive die cutting machine. Beginners who are just getting into crafting no longer have to slave for hours on end as there are several different models of die cutting machines which have been designed to simplify the process for them. The die cut machines available in the market open up an entirely new world of possibilities, providing users with the versatility needed to create beautiful and intricate designs. But regardless of the machines being an essential tool for crafters, picking out the one that suits your needs as a user can still be challenging. So, if you are contemplating getting started on your die cutting journey, we have compiled a list of some of the best manual and electronic die cutting machines for beginners to help you make that crucial decision.

 

Silhouette Cameo

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Intro

The Silhouette Cameo can easily be termed as one of the most beginner-friendly die cutting machines available in the market. Its popularity is because its set up is pretty easy and straightforward, given that it does not use cartridges. The Cameo, which is available in four different colors, features a higher 2 mm clearance that enables users to cut thicker materials. It also has a dual-carriage that facilitates the use of multiple tools at a go, compatibility with PixScan, Print & Cut technology, compatibility with the self-adjusting AutoBlade, and a 12-inch cutting mat. This machine is also capable of cutting through several materials, including fabric, paper, vinyl, cardstock, and many more.

Beginners who may be completely unfamiliar with how to operate the machine can use the Cameo 3’s colored touchscreen interface that will simplify the process for them.

 

Pros

  • Beginners receive 50 pre-loaded designs at no additional cost.
  • The Cameo has a much-improved user interface in comparison to other die cutting machines available in the market.
  • Its size and weight allow for it to be easily portable.
  • Setting up the machine is pretty easy

Cons

  • The Silhouette Cameo is not suitable for cutting the more resilient materials such as leather, balsa wood, and metal.

Cricut Explore Air 2

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Intro

Bragging twice the speeds of the Explore Air, the Explore Air 2 is a machine that gives die cutting users the ability to design and create from anywhere as well as upload personal images that they would wish to work with or choose from the vast library of Cricut’s pre-made projects and designs. It features two tool holder storage compartments, smart set dial technology, German carbide premium blade, Bluetooth technology. For this machine, Cricut provides over 50 design projects and over 100 images that users can use for free alongside the “getting started guide”. The Explore Air 2 is extremely versatile and can cut several different materials such as fabric, metals, paper, leather, vinyl, foam and cardstock, but users should bear in mind that the harder materials such as metals may require a deep cut blade.

Pros

  • It is two times faster than its sibling, the Explore Air.
  • It is aesthetically pleasing with a great build.
  • The ease of use of this machine makes it perfect for beginners.

Cons

  • The Explore Air 2s design space app is not available for android users.
  • It is noisier than the Explore Air
  • Users must buy some accessories such as the deep cut blade separately.

Cricut Cuttlebug

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Intro

The Cricut Cuttlebug is a manual die cutting machine that is capable of cutting and embossing a variety of materials including thin leather, tissue paper, acetate ribbon, and foils. This die cutting machine is one that beginners can carry around with them and use it to whenever they feel the need. However, this machine, albeit little has some insane cutting power unlike some of its competitors that struggle with cutting tough materials such as chipboard, or even thin metals and wood. The Cricut Cuttlebug can cut materials that are 1/8 inches thick, doing so with such amazing stability. It as a perfect machine for beginners because it does not have any complexities to it, which means they will have an easy time using it.

Pros

  • The Cuttlebug requires little to no maintenance. A simple wipe of any debris from fabric and you are good to go.
  • It is highly portable; thus, a user can easily move around with it, thanks to its foldable sides.

Cons

  • It requires users to purchase a C plate separately to accommodate different die types.
  • The thickness of materials that it can handle is limited.

Spellbinder platinum

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Intro

With foldable sides that make it easy to transport the machine, the Platinum is a manual die cutting machine from Spellbinders. It brags excellent construction consisting of solid steel bearings on the inside and a durable plastic on the outside. From balsa wood, wool, craft metal, chipboard to leather, this machine can cut over 40 different materials with so much ease. One key advantage of the Spellbinders Platinum machine would be its 8.5” platform which gives users quite a bit of space to work on.

Pros

  • It is great for beginners who wish to work with layers of fabric as it can effortlessly do so.
  • The build of the Platinum is robust which makes it a durable machine that will serve you for a long time.
  • Despite its weight and size, the Spellbinders Platinum is quite compact, which can be attributed to its foldable sides that are space savers.

Cons

  • This machine is much larger and bulkier than most of the conventional die cut machines.
  • Users can only cut materials of a certain width.
  • It requires quite some effort to move the gears of this machine, which can be quite tedious.

Brother CM350

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Intro

The Brother CM350 is not your regular die cutting machine as it does not have cartridges or dies. It is quite literally the beginners’ machine as it comes equipped with a full starter kit, which makes it possible to use with or without a computer. The users can use the display screen to edit their patterns and creations. I was pleasantly surprised by this machine and how hassle-free and easy it was to use it and set up. Featuring specs such as an inbuilt scanner, 12 x 12 cutting mat, Bluetooth technology, German carbide premium blade, an LED screen which is operated using a stylus pen and over 700 designs and 40 quilt patterns it is the ultimate beginners’ device. Finally, it is also quite versatile and capable of managing several materials.

Pros

  • Users who have this machine do not require a computer
  • This machine has a large colored touchscreen which is quite interactive and allows users to select functions.
  • It is easy to set up

Cons

  • This machine is only capable of cutting items up to 2 millimeters deep

Sizzix Big shot

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Intro

Beginners can use the Sizzix Big shot with a wide variety of materials including chipboard, metallic foil, vellum, foam, magnet, leather, craft aluminum, felt, fabric, cardstock, and many more. It is one of the most dependable machines that one could opt for packing a 6-inch wide mouth that facilitates the embossing and cutting. Its crafting area is generously large, giving space to users who would like to work on large projects as well as extra-large dies. This machine has a small construction, which makes it easy to port but do not be deceived by its size. This machine packs an insane cutting power. My personal favorite thing about the Big shot has to be its ease of use as because a user is only required to put the material at the machine’s mouth and then follow instructions from there.

Pros

  • Users receive a 3-year manufacturer warranty from Sizzix
  • It can be used with embossing folders and dies from a few other brands.
  • It does not require any maintenance since it does not use oils or lubricants.
  • Its cutting power is exceptional.
  • It has rubber feet, which ensure that it does not move around when one is working.
  • The Sizzix big shot is available in several different colors and has an aesthetically pleasing appearance to boot.

Cons

  • Its cutting width is extremely limited.
  • It occupies a large footprint as its sides are not foldable like some of the other machines discussed in our list above.

Final Thought

Die cutting machines are either manual or electronic, and depending on your budget as a beginner, you are certainly going to find something. However, this does not give you the freedom to blindly pick whatever machine you come across without considering whether it will serve your purpose. When choosing a die cutting machine, it is essential that you select the one that will serve most of your needs and is easy to use. Hopefully, you have spotted something in the list above that will help you make the right choice when you finally come around to choosing a machine for yourself.

The 6 Best Die Cutting Machines for Fabric in 2019

A day in the life of crafters and DIYers typically involves cutting, scoring, creating intricate designs from fabric and materials of all kinds, and putting them together to produce breathtaking artworks and crafts. Working with fabric demands that the best equipment capable of handling the delicacy of the material is used. A die cut machine is one such equipment that can be used to cut and manage the fabric. There are different kinds of die cut machines namely manual die cut and digital die cut machine so how does one go about picking the best in a market that is overly saturated with various brands and models of die cut machines? It is often said that a craftsman is only as good as their tools and to help you make the decision on which die cut machine you should invest in if you are working solely with fabric, we have created a comprehensive list of what we consider to be the best of the best in the market.

 

Cricut Explore Air

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Intro

The Explore air is a digital cutting machine capable of cutting over sixty different materials with a hold capacity of between 1-1/4 to 11-½ inches. This machine which brags embedded Bluetooth technology and a dual carriage is extremely easy to use. It also allows users to upload their images for customized designs. With this machine, cutting fabric is quite straight forward and precise thanks to the Cut smart precision cutting and the cut smart technology which lets users set the exacts mode they would like to use.

Pros

  • Users can easily integrate the Cricut Explore Air with their smart devices.
  • It is a beast in its own right given the different technological advances that it is equipped with such as Bluetooth, cut smart technology amongst others.
  • Fabric cuts are incredibly spot on thanks to the cut smart technology that eliminates guesswork.
  • It has a dual carriage which allows users to undertake two tasks without having to stop and switch out tools
  • There are integrated storage compartments on the side of the machine.

Cons

  • It is somewhat expensive in comparison to other die cut machines available in the market.

AccuQuilt GO Fabric Cutter

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Intro

Users looking for a tool that is fast and precise when cutting fabric should look no further than the AccuQuilt Go cutting system. This system which allows them to cut fabrics 90-times faster than if they were using a pair of scissors or rotary blade. Weighing at 15 pounds, this die cutting machine is easy to use and offers performance unlike no other. It brags foldable sides that make it highly portable and easy to store. A quick look at the design of the machine reveals that it was created with crafters in mind as users do not have to strain their arms while working. Additionally, it can accommodate dies up to 10-inch x 24-inch.

Pros

  • The machine is very portable, which can be attributed to its lightweight, and foldable sides.
  • Users looking to cut their fabric in layers will appreciate that the AccQuilt Go can cut up to 6 layers of fabric.

Cons

  • The die choices of the machine are pretty limited.
  • It is expensive.

Sizzix Big Shot Pro

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Intro

The Sizzix Big shot is a manual die cut machine that not only cuts but also embosses fabric. Weight at 44 pounds, it is impossible to ignore the Big Shot Pro with its generous 24 1/4 by 15 by 7 ½ inch dimensions. It is the ideal tool for the crafter who wants it all as it features a 13″ opening that facilitates the uses of Pro and Plus-sized dies. Upon purchasing the machine, users receive one big shot pro machine, a premium crease pad, a regular sliding tray, two mylar shims, one standard adapter pad, a regular cutting pad, and a die pick. I personally like this machine because it does not move around when working, which is a challenge I experienced when using lightweight machines.

Pros

  • The Big Shot is capable of accommodating material up to 13 inches.
  • Other than the Sizzix dies, it is accommodative of other dies such as the Ellison die.
  • It can be used to emboss and cut simultaneously

Cons

  • Users must purchase the multipurpose platform individually since it is not included in the package.
  • Due to its bulkiness, it is not easily portable.

Cricut Cuttlebug

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Intro

The Cricut Cuttlebug is a sought-after die-cutting and embossing machine. Its popularity has to do with its ingenious build. Both the side handle and the sides of the machine can be easily dismantled and reassembled when necessary, which make it easy to port. The Cuttlebug is capable of cutting more than just fabric as it can handle other materials such as chipboard, foam, felt cardstock, and even tissue paper. The package of the Cricut Cuttlebug includes 6 x 8 A plate, a 6 x 8 rubber embossing mat, and two 6 x 8 B plates.

Pros

  • The Cuttlebug is easily portable.
  • Users can enjoy cutting a variety of fabric
  • It is possible to use multiple dies with the Cuttlebug. However, one will have to purchase a C plate separately.
  • Users receive a one-year warranty from the date of purchase.
  • It can be used together with leading brands of cutting dies and embossing folders.

Cons

  • Users intending to work with A2, and 5 x 7 fabrics will be limited by the 6-inch opening of the Cuttlebug.
  • It is lightweight and may occasionally move around when it is being used.
  • The C plate has to be purchased individually.

Cricut Maker

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Intro

The Cricut Maker is a revered digital die cutting machine that allows users to not only use but upload their personal fonts and images for free. The Maker is equipped with an advanced rotary blade technology that facilitates precise cuts by making the gliding and rolling action of the machine perfect. This machine is awe-inspiring because of its feature set, as well as the projects, patterns, and designs that users have access to thanks to the design software that accompanies it. When working with the machine, users can choose to connect to it via USB connection or Bluetooth when they want to work remotely.

Pros

  • The maker brags a variety of designs and patterns that users can access at no cost. Users can additionally download supplementary design projects for free.
  • Connecting to a smart device with the Cricut Maker is quite easy and straightforward.
  • It has a useful mobile docking slot that users can use to hold their smart devices when they are preoccupied.
  • Its suite of tools is completely expandable, but this is all dependent on the user.

Cons

  • It does not come with a manufacturer’s warranty.

Silhouette Cameo

Silhouette Cameo

Intro

The Cameo is one of the sleekest electronic die cutting machines on the market capable of cutting several materials, including fabric, paper, vinyl, and many more. This machine is one of the best as it can manage fabric up to 12 inches wide and 10 feet long. It is equipped with a bunch of handy features such as a handy on-unit cross cutter, an inbuilt accessory compartment, and a responsive touchscreen. It includes a 12” cutting mat, 100 preloaded designs and a cutting blade which cuts precisely around images and designs.

Pros

  • The cameo comes with a three-year manufacturer warranty.
  • It has tools that allow it to emboss on fabric as well as other materials.
  • It is easy to control and use as users can easily program precisely what they need to cut.

Cons

  • The cutter moves about when it is being used because of it’s lightweight.
  • It requires quite a bit of time to learn how to use it, which means users need to watch several videos and thoroughly read the user manual to get the most out of it.

Final Thoughts

When choosing a die cut machine that you can use with fabric, several variables come into play. Some of these variables include;

The type of machine, i.e., digital or manual which is dependent on a user’s preference.

The size and portability are also crucial variables that go hand in hand simply because you do not want to opt for a small die cut machine if you know you will be working on large projects and vice versa. Also depending on if you would prefer to work remotely, you must get a machine that facilitates this preference.

Accessories play a significant role when purchasing a die cut machine as some machines are equipped with some accessories that others lack. Everyone should consider beginning with a machine that has a starter kit so they can have all the essentials to get to work.

There are several other crucial variables such as ease of use, cost, and versatility, which may vary depending on a crafters experience or ability. We hope that you found something from the list of die cut machines mentioned above or that the list at least gave you an idea of where to start looking when choosing a die cut machine.

The 4 Best Cricut Machines in 2019 (Different Sizes, Applications and Packages)

If you’re a scrapbooker or a crafter, a Cricut machine is a must-have for you. Cricut machines mean you don’t have to rely on hand cutting shapes that can be a bit exhausting, they enable you to make stunning shapes and decorations by utilizing cartridges that come with pre-downloaded designs.

When thinking about buying a Cricut machine, there are various factors that you need to consider before choosing one. For starters, the ability to cut through different types of materials, wireless capability, software, ease of setup and use, cutting speed, choosing graphics and fonts as well as compactness. If these are not considered, you might end up with Cricut machine that doesn’t get the job done.
That said, we’ve gone through some of the best Cricut machines that you can purchase in the market today. Read on to find your pick!

1. Cricut Maker

Intro

The Cricut Maker is by far one of the best Cricut machines that you can get in the market. This Cricut maker is powerful, dependable as well as wireless-enabled.

Pros

  • Has a double tool holder
  • Enjoy a fast cutting speed
  • Comes with a rotary blade that has a gliding and rolling feature that helps do an amazing job of cutting through different types of fabric
  • Has an additional knife blade for cutting through thick materials
  • The machine boasts of a cutting pressure of 4kg making it even more powerful
  • Ideal for both beginners and professionals
  • Well-priced making it affordable for most people
  • Has a rich sewing library
  • Its designed with a turbocharged engine
  • Automated technology that easily detects the type of blade you are using and whether it is the right one

Cons

  • Still makes use of the web-based Design Space software
  • Has a limited cutting space

2. Cricut Explore Air 2

Intro

If you are looking for a machine to use for your light-duty commercial jobs, then the Cricut Explore Air 2 is the perfect choice for you. This machine has been highly ranked as the fastest Cricut machine available in the market and boasts of amazing power.

Pros

  • Ranked as one of the fastest Cricut machines on sale
  • Has a double tool holder making it able to cut, score and write all at the same time
  • Send designs from SmartPhone to Machine easily with Bluetooth.
  • Boasts of great writing and cutting speed given that the machine has two operation modes – a normal mode for usual pace cutting and a fast mode that allows you to cut with twice the speed
  • The Cut Smart 2 technology does an amazing job of enhancing the quality of your cuts
  • Has powerful cutting blades
  • Ability to modify your own designs
  • Available in four different colors comes in a compact design
  • Easy-storage compartments available with the design
  • Ability to operate this machine using the Design Space software
  • Comes with more than 3,000 ready-made projects

Cons

  • Doesn’t have an android app available at the moment
  • A bit louder than most Cricut machines
  • The Design Space software cannot be accessed without the internet

3. Cricut Easypress 2

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Intro

The Cricut EasyPress 2 is a perfect choice for those looking to make customized crafts using iron-ons. This machine is not only easy to transport and use, but it’s also easy to store.

Pros

  • Quite affordable
  • Comes in three different sizes
  • The 12 by 10 size is perfect for making large t-shirts, blankets, banners, and sweatshirts
  • Customize your crafts in 60 seconds or less using the iron-ons
  • Simple to use
  • The design comes with an advanced heat plate coupled with a ceramic coated surface
  • Has a slim design

Cons

  • Some users have reported that it loses heat when in use hence needing multiple presses to achieve a professional look
  • The instructions contained in the model can be better
  • Smaller size means your design space is limited

4. Cricut Cuttlebug Die Cutting & Embossing Machine

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Intro

This machine is different from most of the other machines in our review as it can be used without power or a computer and can also be used offline.

Pros

  • Ability to be used offline, without power or a computer makes it more attractive
  • Because it doesn’t use software, you don’t have to worry about software crashes
  • Lightweight making it very portable
  • Quite affordable
  • Perfect Cricut machine for embossing paper and cards
  • Has a simple design and interface

Cons

  • Isn’t capable of cutting through different types of materials
  • Has a small cutting surface
  • Lack of freedom to create your own designs
  • Only able to use manual dies which tend to be costly

Final Thoughts

As mentioned, a Cricut machine is an essential equipment for a crafter or a scrapbooker. When looking to purchase one, it’s important to consider things such as the cutting speed. Cutting speed is especially important as not all machines have a similar cutting speed. Some are fast while some are average. Besides, the faster machines also tend to be more costly.

Another factor to consider is the pressure adjustment and automatic depth. This is essentially important given that you will be cutting different types of materials and paper. While some machines have an automatic adjuster and can ensure that you are using the right blade for your cutting, some don’t, and you will have to do it yourself manually.

If a wireless machine is important for you, consider choosing one that has wireless connectivity such as Bluetooth to allow for easy transfer of designs from your phone to your machine. Also, decide whether you want your machine to have writing and scoring features as machines with these features tend to come at a higher price. At the end of the day, find something that works perfectly for you.

As a final thought, if you are using cricut print-and-cut, you should consider some of these best printers for Cricut.

Cricut Knife Blade Tips

The entry of Cricut Knife Blade in the market is a game-changer for many reasons, changing the world of precision cutting. With it, users probably have to alter designing, crafting and creation skills. The Knife Blade, which entered the market in 2017 together with Cricut Maker and Rotary Blade, was officially launched in 2018. The number of users who wish to know more about the blade has been increasing since then. This article looks at its uses. It also delves into a few tips that should help you to use the blade more effectively as part of your precision cutting tools.

What can it cut?

To understand Cricut Knife Blade requires a deeper appreciation of its capabilities. First, you’re probably wondering if it’s even necessary when the Deep Cut Blade seems to have been doing a good job, thus far. Well, the truth is Deep Cut Blade has its share of inadequacies. For this reason, it was paramount for Cricut Knife Blade to come into the scene. Its main attraction is the ability to cut much thicker materials. Here, we’re talking about materials with a thickness of around 3/32 inches. Such materials are impossible to cut with the previous types of blades. In this category, you will find the following types of materials:

a) Thick chipboard
b) Thick leather
c) Balsa wood
d) Basswood
e) Matboard
f) Kraft foam

Not for Easy and Fast Projects

Generally, Cricut machines are efficient and boost productivity. For this reason, it’s normal to find users who use them whenever there is a need for completing projects fast and efficiently. However, Cricut Knife Blade isn’t for those kinds of projects. Why? You’re dealing with thicker materials here. Obviously, you would need more effort to cut through such materials. For example, you would require numerous passes to cut through thicker materials successfully. It wouldn’t be abnormal to have to wait for an hour or more for the Knife Blade to finish making a single cut. Therefore, don’t turn to this tool for your last minute heavyweight projects.

Observing Cut Sizes

Do not start using Cricut Knife Blade to cut whatever you want. The first issue to clarify is the thickness of the material you wish to cut. In this regard, ensure that the material has a thickness of 3/4” and above. Anything less than that could present an unwelcome problem to the Knife Blade.

What is more, the material you intend to cut should have a width that’s similar to that of a pencil. Otherwise, you would end up shredding the material to pieces considering how sharp and powerful the Knife Blade is. the best way to go about it is first to test it on a small portion of the material first. If satisfied, you can proceed with the whole thing.

Taping the Material

As you may already know, the Cricut Knife Blade exercises remarkable force on the material the moment you command it to start cutting. To put this into context, it applies a force that is ten times more than what you could get from Cricut Explore. For this reason, you need to tape or hold the material down and in place firmly to prevent it from moving around. If it moves a lot, you could have a cumbersome cutting session, which would then result in unprecise and inaccurate cuts. In this circumstance, a stickier adhesive wouldn’t be a good solution since it could peel the material’s top layer off. Taping is the best solution!

Clearing the Debris

During each cut, the material produces plenty of debris. As powerful as the Knife Blade is, it cannot work with all the debris gathered along its path! The debris needs constant removal though. Otherwise, it would prevent the Cricut Knife Blade from proceeding to cut. For this reason, failure to clear the debris could stop the Knife Blade from cutting your material; hence the need for removing and clearing all of it. Does this mean you should remove the mat or tape to clear the debris? No! To do this, you only need canned air. Get a blower and use it to blow all that debris away before pressing C one more time to proceed with the cutting.

Pre-Programming and Adding One More Pass

As earlier stated, Cricut Knife Blade operates more powerfully compared to all the previous models. Essentially, what this means is it requires more passes, which are often pre-programmed, to cut the material in question. However, at times you might need to add one extra pass. Usually, this happens when the cut is done.

Additionally, this happens when the need for confirming and finishing the cut arises, especially when the pre-programmed passes failed to complete the job. As you do this, it’s good to note that you don’t have to remove the mat. Just press “Go” to set the additional pass in motion.

Post-Cut Procedures

Lastly, it’s important to know what to do once you finish cutting the materials. The first task is to remove the mat from the machine immediately you’re through. Secondly, the tape that you used for holding the material firmly in place should also go. Three, do not forget to review all the cuts, as a way of ensuring that they are all complete. It is possible to find a few pieces that the Cricut Knife Blade has been unable to cut cleanly and completely, as it should. Upon this discovery, you would need to take a few measures. First, turn the materials over before cutting the unfinished sections lightly with a craft knife.

In summary, the Cricut Knife Blade is a must-have for anybody interested in precision cutting. With it, you will never struggle to cut any material regardless of how thick it is! Therefore, go ahead with your project with all the confidence you can muster since the Knife Blade will not disappoint you. Before proceeding, it would be great to remind you that the Knife Blade is not a choice fit for your last-minute precision-cutting projects considering that it takes upwards of one hour to finish a single job. Moreover, the materials it cuts are quite costly; hence, the need for proper planning to avoid rushing through the job.

Cutting Balsa Wood with the Cricut Knife Blade

Do you have Balsa wood that you would like to cut precisely and use for creating decorations for your home or office walls? If that’s the case, you would require a good piece of equipment for that. In this case, you are likely to struggle to find a much better tool than the Cricut Knife Blade. To use it well, though, requires a bit of skill. Fortunately, you can teach yourself to do just that, as you will see below.
Before learning to do that, let’s start with a bit of education regarding Balsa wood first.

One, it is a type of hardwood that weighs almost nothing. More crucially, balsa wood’s strength-to-weight ratio is quite high. What this means is, the wood is surprisingly strong despite its weight. For this reason, balsa wood is one of the best materials for model-building and other similar crafts. Nevertheless, it has a few drawbacks too. For example, it breaks and brittles rather too easily for comfort and is capable of bending. Additionally, it is too expensive!

Now that your understanding of balsa wood is above what most people know, the next objective is to look at its relationship with Cricut Knife Blade extension to your friendly neighborhood Cricut machine. How do you use this type of blade to cut such hardwood? How fast is the blade capable of cutting balsa wood? Consider these questions when deciding whether this Knife Blade is the ideal cutter for the hardwood. In addition to that, remember that balsa wood is hard to find hence the need for using it well.

Get some tips here to help you in cutting balsa wood with Cricut Knife Blade.

Watch the Size

The first thing to note is the balsa wood has to be of a specific size to go under the Knife Blade. For ease of work, you should limit the wood to pencil’s width. Anything smaller than this could prove problematic. Why? Cricut Knife Blade is mighty and strong. It’s capable of destroying the expensive balsa wood if it’s smaller than the width of any pencil. Remember, balsa wood can split along its grain quite easily.

Cutting the Longer Pieces of Wood

You will notice that balsa wood usually comes in small sizes, especially in terms of length. All the same, you may find Yothers that are quite long. These should not worry you a bit. Instead, take your craft knife and use it to cut these longer pieces. The process is quite simple. You only have to use a ruler to draw a straight line on the wood before snapping it into two or more pieces. Using the longer pieces could jeopardize your entire project.

Holding the Wood Down Firmly

Before you start cutting balsa wood using Cricut Knife Blade, you should make sure that the wood is in place. Taping it down usually works effectively. However, you can use brayers first to adhere it on the mat before taping it. Holding it down is good to prevent the wood from moving all over the place and messing your project. Once again, this is for your own good since the wood is one of the most expensive.

Using on Design Space

Design Space is one of your most important tools. It guides you into cutting balsa wood properly, efficiently, safely and precisely. What is more, it saves you from wasting the costly material too. Therefore, it is wise to mirror your image on the Design Space first. This way, you guarantee yourself a final project that has clean cuts all through, especially on the most important side – the front!

Removing Smaller Pieces

Additionally, it would be advisable to keep removing the smaller pieces from the machine. This step is critical the moment some of the pieces start popping or falling out. You can keep the larger pieces in place, but the focus should be on the smaller wood. Failing to remove them could be detrimental to your work. Typically, such pieces could shift a bit thus ruining the entire project and leading to a waste of time and money.

Double Check Your Work

In roughly one hour, the Cricut Knife Blade and Cricut Maker will have finished cutting the balsa wood. Therefore, it would be great to remove the finished products from the machine. However, check your work before doing that. The goal of double-checking is to make sure that the Knife Blade cut the wood cleanly all through. This activity doesn’t mean that the Knife Blade does a lousy job. No, it does an excellent job, but there’s no harm in rechecking and confirming!

Adding One More Pass

Assuming that you checked and confirmed that one or two pieces remain uncut, Cricut Design Space allows you to add one more pass. Take advantage of this feature to finish the entire project. Nevertheless, avoid wasting your passes. If Cricut Knife Blade has cut the majority of the balsa wood except for 1-2 small corners and parts, you would have no reason for adding that one extra pass. If all looks good, feel free to:

• Remove the mat
• Release the project
• Use a craft knife for cutting the bits that weren’t cut cleanly all through

How to Remove Cut Balsa Wood from the Mat

Each stage of the cutting process is crucial for many reasons. Skipping any step could cause you a bit of distress. An example of these critical steps is the removal of the cut balsa wood. It’s important to learn how to remove it correctly. In this case, your options would involve bending the mat away. Do not attempt to pull the wood away from the mat straight up as this could cause it to break. Remember, balsa wood breaks and splits easily because of its brittle nature.

In summary, Cricut Knife Blade is the most effective tool for cutting balsa wood. It’s easy to see why Cricut waited a while before releasing this product into the market. You’ll hardly need to replace the blade since it’s sturdy and robust. Again, remember to be careful while cutting the wood. Otherwise, you would damage the wood, which as we established, is one of the costliest and rarest types of hardwood.

Cricut Maker vs. Silhouette – Which One to Choose?

Most DIY users require cutting machines that are loaded with special features and various functions as this will enable them to make their projects quite easy to handle. Besides, cutting machines also help save money as they reduce cutting and designing errors as well as several trips to an establishment with one.

However, given the high demand for cutting machines, there are plenty of brands out there that continue to make cutting machines with distinctive features and higher specs. While there are loads of cutting machines out there, the Cricut Maker and the Silhouette Cameo 3 are two cutting machines that are favored by a lot of arts and craft makers.

In order to help you decide between the two, let’s look at some of the qualities that each machine boasts of and what makes them loveable.

Cricut Maker

FYI, for more varieties of the Cricut, you can check our full breakdown of the Best Cricut Machines…

Pros

The Cricut Maker is a great cutting machine that enables users to cut different kinds of materials with a lot of agility and accuracy. It doesn’t matter whether you are handling a paper, leather, balsa or even vinyl material. All that matters is that your Cricut Maker is able to handle more than 100 different types of material hence giving you the ability to achieve whatever it is that you desire with your craft and designs.

This Cricut Maker machine saves on space especially for those who don’t have the luxury of large empty spaces that can be utilized and is also portable. Because it is space-saving, your work table won’t have to look messy as you can also work on your designs wirelessly and send them to your machine via the Bluetooth wireless technology.

Having the Bluetooth wireless technology feature means you get to enjoy creating your own loved designs from your smartphone or tablet and then easily pairing your machine up with your device and you are ready to cut. In addition, the machine has the Cricut Design Space software which lets you upload your preferred images and fonts and is available for all Android, iOS, Mac and Windows users.
This Cricut Maker machine also happens to have a slot for your smartphone or tablet which makes it really convenient for when you’re using designs from your mobile devices. Besides, you can also make use of the USB port available to charge your device, so you don’t have to move around the room looking for a power source constantly.

Cons

While all these shiny features give it an enormous advantage, it doesn’t come without its own flaws. This Cricut Maker isn’t suitable for arts and craft makers who make long designs given that it has a maximum cutting size of 11.5 by 23.5-inches. Users who make long designs can, therefore, struggle in achieving what they want and are better off finding a machine with a larger cutting space as this is geared towards artists who make compact designs.

Besides the cutting size, the cut sizes for this machine are also limited especially when using the Print and Cut function. For those using Google Chrome as their web browser, 5.5-inches is the maximum width and 8-inches maximum height. For Safari, Internet Explorer and Firefox users, maximum width and height in inches is 6 by 8.5 respectively while iOS app users get 6.5-inches as the maximum width and 9-inches as the maximum height.

Silhouette Cameo 3

Pros

What we love about the Silhouette machine is that it is your best bet when it comes to a DIY machine. With this, you are able to cut more than 100 different types of materials like fabrics, vinyl, cardstock paper and more with a width of 12-inches and 10 feet long. This is, therefore, a good machine for those looking to create longer designs like signages.

In addition, you also get to use your own designs just like the Cricut Maker allows you to, given that the Silhouette Cameo 3 also comes with the wireless Bluetooth technology and the Silhouette Studio design software. Whatever device you are using, you can be rest assured that your designs will come to life just as you want them using this machine.

The Silhouette Cameo 3 is also compatible with Print and Cut technology as well as PixScan. Wondering what that means to your craftsmanship? Well, it means that you can easily capture your desired image using your scanner or smartphone, import it and then turn the image into a cut life. Another feature that makes this machine loveable even for beginners is that it comes with a guide.

The guide is meant to help you avoid mistakes whether you are a beginner or a professional as it has a touchscreen menu that comes integrated with speakers and auto blade setting hence you don’t have to be troubled about how to use the machine’s function. The machine has a matless cutting capability. This is to say that you won’t need to utilize a cutting mat for vinyl cutting and heat transfer. It also has a 2mm clearance that helps you create deep cuts even when you are cutting through thicker materials.

Cons

Just like the Cricut Maker, the Silhouette Cameo 3 also has its own flaws. To start with, the Silhouette Cameo 3 is very slow and not as accurate as you’d want it especially when you are using the dual carriage feature. The dual carriage’s cutting is somewhat weak limiting you from cutting complex designs unlike with the Cricut Maker.

Secondly, because it’s only available in white, you have no color designs to pick from when it comes to this cutting machine. However, this is a non-issue given it has a compact and sleek design that is simple and will work for just anyone that isn’t picky about the color choice.

Another downfall is that the Silhouette Studio software is quite difficult to use for beginners because it has a steep learning curve that is suitable for advanced artists.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to both machines, you get to enjoy the use of wireless Bluetooth technology as well as their own individual software system. Also, they are both portable and easy to use which makes your job much easier when you are using both machines. With both machine, you also enjoy the ability to cut through different kinds of materials and have a small design that is space-saving.

That said, if you want a machine with exceptional accuracy, fast performance, and a lot more convenience, then the Cricut Maker is the best cutting machine for you. If on the other end, you’re more keen on creating large designs, then the Silhouette Cameo 3 should be what you get. In the end, the choice is yours.

What Can You Use a Cricut Machine for?

Do you have vinyl, paper, sticker paper, craft foams or faux leather that you wish to cut and use for decorating your space? Typically, you would probably settle on using a pair of scissors or other similarly small tools. These tools work. However, you may have to be ready to spend what appears like an eternity to do all the cutting. The result is that you may finish the work, but nothing guarantees the quality precision cuts you crave. Cricut machines are a perfect alternative!

What can you use the Cricut machine for? How beneficial is this machine to you?

Making Party Decorations

To anybody who prioritizes precision cutting, nothing does a better job of this than Cricut machines. The machines are quite cool. They are ideal for making fun signs. Cricut machines have also demonstrated their effectiveness in making party decorations. In this regard, they save you the ton of money and time that would have been spent moving around looking for a store where you can buy decorations. Feel free to use it for making amazing buntings!

Making Leather Bracelets

As earlier stated, Cricut machines are capable of cutting faux leather. For that reason, you should not shy away from buying faux leather in case you wish to use it for making various items to give away to friends and loved ones. Therefore, sit behind your desk, switch the laptop on, design the kind of bracelets you would like to give out, and send them to the Cricut machine to not only print but also cut them precisely to your taste.

Decorating Mugs and Tumblers

Mugs, cups, and tumblers deserve some love too. You can give them much-needed love with awesome decorations. Where do you get the decorations? Simple, select the material, design and cut everything with the Cricut machine. This way, your home or office would be full of lively and sparkly mugs, cups and tumblers. What is more, you could always give some of these items out to your loved ones.

Making Vinyl Stickers

Cricut machines can be excellent tools for creating artwork for your car windows too. In this case, you can use them for designing and crafting vinyl stickers. These stickers would make your car look awesome. More significantly, the stickers would offer you an excellent tool for advertising the services that your firm provides. For this reason, invest in these types of machines if you want to excel in advertising via your cars.

Making Customized Handmade Cards

Let’s assume that you run a business and want to show appreciation to some of your most loyal customers. In such a case, you would probably think about rewarding or recognizing them with customized handmade cards, right? The Cricut machine would then be a necessity to help you produce amazing cards. What is more, the level of precision cutting involved would give you more confidence to send the cuts out to the target audience.

Therefore, with all these uses, feel free to place your order for the best Cricut machine today.