Y’all, I got a Cricut!
If you’ve been following me on Instagram stories for a while, you may remember that I got a Neato robotic vacuum for Christmas that I lovingly named ‘DJ Neato’ after embracing my inner Tom Haverford. I even had it clean my house while playing Ridin’ by Chamillionaire. (Obviously, I think I’m funny.) However, after it decided to break after the second use I decided to send it back and use that money to get myself something else. So if you’re wondering where all the Instagram stories of my DJ house cleaner went, now you know.
Disclaimer: I’m not bashing the Neato brand at all, their customer service was great and super accommodating! I just decided that after the frustration with it being defective, I wanted to spend my money elsewhere.
Meanwhile, being a craft lover and avid blog reader, I had been hearing so much about the different Cricut cutting machines. I already had the Heidi Swapp Minc Foil Applicator machine (LOVE, by the way!), but I couldn’t believe how much that the Cricut could do in the size of a small inkjet printer! Basically it was a craft lovers dream come true in a machine. So after reading so many different blogs comparing the different machines, I decided to get the Cricut Explore Air 2 and try it out for myself.
Lucky for you, I’m here to tell you all about it before you decide to go buy your own!
My Initial Thoughts
While you can get a Cricut machine at stores like Hobby Lobby, I decided to get mine from the official Cricut website. For just over the price of the machine itself ($249) at stores like Hobby Lobby, I got the Cricut Explore Air 2 + Everything Starter Set ($299 – instead of its $595 value!) at shop.cricut.com. You’re going to have to drop money on all the tools and materials to get started anyways, and I found that the bundle was the most cost effective way to go. I had everything I needed to get started as soon as it arrived at my door.
But, let’s talk about when it came to my door, shall we? Y’all, it was like Christmas all over again! I’m not exaggerating that I sat criss-cross in my entryway tearing into the package as soon as it came into the door. It was so sleek and pretty right out of the box. Not to mention, the rest of the bundle was packaged all together neatly in a separate box.
When I got to opening everything up and figuring out what it all was, I also found that the instructions seemed super simple to understand and put into action. With the Cricut being my first real experience in the world of cutting and high-end craft machines, I decided what better way for this craft queen to to test it out than to dive right on into some projects.
My Cricut Explore Air 2 Review
First things first, this post is not sponsored. I am not getting paid to tell you how much I love the Cricut Explore Air 2. I really genuinely love it. I’m pretty sure that it’s actually magic. As a self proclaimed craft queen, I can’t wait to use it for everything. Which, by the look of the settings / materials dial, I don’t think I will have a problem doing so. It can deal with paper, vinyl, iron-on, cardstock, bonded fabric, and poster board along with a separate ‘custom’ setting for what seems like anything else. I’ve even read on other craft blogs that it can cut through thin balsa wood! However, I’ve yet to try it for myself – so don’t quote me on that! There’s a list of materials that your cricut can cut on this official cricut help page.
As part of setting up your new machine, you have to install the Cricut Design Space software. One of the coolest things about designing with the Cricut was that you could do it from either your computer or any of your other devices via Bluetooth. That means that I could even design projects from my phone! The Cricut Design Space software is super easy to use whether you want to design your own project or use one of theirs in Cricut Access.
However, one thing that I do not like is that, while the software itself is free, most of the Cricut Design Space projects will cost you a little something (starting at $0.99). This is Cricut’s push to get people to invest in their Cricut Access membership.
- Fonts Membership – $4.99 billed monthly for unlimited access to over 400 fonts
- Standard Membership – $7.99 billed monthly
- Premium Membership – $9.99 billed monthly
Personally, I didn’t like that after paying over $300 with tax and shipping I would have to pay more to do one of their projects. This isn’t exactly ideal for the normal person who may not know how to design their own projects and import them into Design Space. (Hi, Mom!) However, if you are a creative like me who stocks up on fonts from places like Creative Market and already know how to design your own projects in illustrator or photoshop, I think you won’t have a problem getting away with not paying for the monthly membership.
My First Projects
For my first projects, I wanted to create custom vinyl decals for our mailbox and our front door. They were super easy to make once I figured out how to weld designs, and I absolutely loved how they turned out. They were the perfect little touches to add a bit of curb appeal just in time for spring!
I also wanted to test out how it would work uploading my own design into the Cricut Design Space. While all the blogs I was reading said that you had to upload .SVG files, I was able to upload our new logo as a .PNG, convert it, and have it cut out on vinyl to make a cute decal for my laptop.
Is it worth it?
In the end, I must say that the Cricut Explore Air 2 is really one of my favorite things right now. I am more and more inspired now to see what I will be able to create next. (I’ll make sure to keep you updated on Instagram and Insta stories!) While I wish that the membership access is something that would change, I wouldn’t say it is a deal breaker. If you are interested in learning how to create unique designs for yourself, it’s just an additional learning curve. Especially if you are a creative and have some experience already, it is beyond worth it with all that it can do.
I hope you found this Cricut Explore Air 2 review helpful in deciding whether to purchase your own. What are your thoughts on the Cricut cutting machines? Do you have the Explore Air 2? Share your experience with me and the rest of my readers in a comment below!