For all the DIY, arts, design, scrapbooking, and craftspeople out there, this article is for you to gain knowledge about the Cricut Maker machine; an extensive and authentic review all for you! With this guide, you will gain another skill of designing on a Cricut Maker machine.
What is a Cricut Maker Machine, and How Does it Work?
Cricut Maker, a die-cutting machine, enables a person to cut and create magnificent and praiseworthy crafts that they wouldn’t be able to make with the traditional scissors or a precision knife.
The cuts made by Cricut Maker are highly clean and intricate. The possibilities of creating different projects are endless with the machine. It sure will be the greatest investment if you use the machine enough.
But you might wonder, how does the Cricut Maker work?
We are glad you thought that, so let us tell you.
The Cricut Maker machine has hardware and software installed. The hardware is the physical parts of the machine, while the software is the computer program or application.
If you want to use the Cricut Maker, first you will have to learn how to use Cricut Design Space. It is software where you design your artwork, arrange it, and select different materials and tools for your project.
For beginners, learning about Cricut Design Space software is a bit intimidating at the start, especially when you have no experience with designing software.
But if you do end up purchasing a Cricut Maker, make sure to check out our guides on how to use Design Space on Desktop or phone/iPad.
Exploring the Main Difference Between the Cricut Maker and the Explore Machines
The technology that lies within the Cricut Maker and Explore Family machines is what makes the difference.
The Cricut Maker has Adaptive Tool System in it.
Cricut Explore Up – Cricut Maker Down
The Adaptive system
The Adaptive system is responsible for making the Cricut Maker advanced and ten times more robust than any of the Explore Family machines. With the advanced system, the Cricut Maker machine has extra tools that Explore Family machines can’t use.
Cricut Maker Specifications
The table underneath is full of the most relevant features of the Cricut Maker. We will also cover most of these characteristics throughout this extensive article.
|Cricut Maker Feature||Description|
|Dimensions||22.6 x 7.1 x 6.2 inches|
|(When in the box)|
|Colors||Champagne, blue, pink, mint,|
|Cartridge Slot||Adapter Needed|
|Max Cut Depth||Up to 2.4 mm|
|Fine Point Blade*||Yes (included)|
|Fabric Bonded Blade||Yes|
|Deep Point Blade||Yes|
|Rotary Blade*||Yes (included)|
|Quick Swap Tools||Yes|
|Print then Cut||Yes (in different colors)|
|Price||Check the internet|
Though this is a lot of information to take in, we will walk you through most of these points. So, read along to make an informed decision on whether to purchase the machine or not.
Is the Cricut Maker Worth the Money?
Keep this in mind that a Cricut Maker and other materials you buy to complete a project is not cheap.
People spend money on their passions and hobbies, and if crafting is any of those then you know where to invest.
Tip: At times sales can help save lots of money!
Purchasing a Cricut is more than that!
For some people (like us), Cricut Maker is beneficial and we get to teach our readers all about it. To see if you’re passionate about Cricut Maker ask yourself:
- Is crafting your thing?
- Do you enjoy it?
- Will Cricut make your crafting life easier?
- Are you ready to face the challenges?
If all the answers are yes, then Cricut is the best investment for you.
Cricut Maker’s Physical Characteristics
You can buy your Cricut Maker in your favorite color as it’s available in a wide range of colors. So, choose the best color for you to not regret it later.
The most important thing you should consider while buying anything is quality. The intricate details of the machine are amazing, and even though it’s heavy, the corners are smooth and elegant.
The first time you open the machine, the elegant decor of the cover will outshine everything and make the machine look more beautiful.
Cricut Maker from the Top
The right side of the machine has four buttons which you can use to control the machine, and on the left side, you will find two tool holders to store the most used tools in the.
The main button is the power button which turns the machine on and off. The other buttons are for when you load the materials, start the cut, and pause your project for any break.
The Cricut Maker machine also has a built-in docking station to put your iPad or iPhone in while you cut the project, and another cool feature is the handy USB port, where you can plug your device in to charge it.
Also, the Cricut Maker offers storage compartments for you to store various items like the machine blades, weeding tools, and replacement blades.
Inside the machine carries the robust Adaptive system- the technology that makes the Cricut Maker better than other machines and enables it to cut with ten times more strength than any other machine.
Do you want to know how it works? Let’s find out.
How Does Cricut Maker’s Adaptive System Works?
Adaptive System allows you to install the blades and other tools of the machine in it for cutting and personalizing your project.
The most mesmerizing thing about technology is the gears that control the tip or blade of the machine.
Look at the picture below and let us explain it.
Adaptive System and Drive Housing
If you already have the Cricut Maker or will buy it, you will notice that some of the blades and tools come with a golden top. Drive housing is what we call the entire system, and when you install it in the machine, the Adaptive System will drive the blade.
It is pretty fascinating, and especially how the Adaptive System spins the Drive Housing to adjust the pressure and the direction of the blade or tip during the cutting phase is simply amazing.
What Comes with the Cricut Maker?
The typical box of a Cricut Maker includes:
- The Cricut Maker machine
- A power cable
- A rotary blade
- A fine point blade
- Fabric grip mat in pink color
- Light grip mat in blue color
- A black pen
- A useful practice project
The “Practice Project” the machine offers are a feature that people love the most.
On opening the magic box of the machine, looking at all the techy stuff might be overwhelming for you because not everyone is technologically advanced. However, the practice project does give you some instructions on what to do the first time.
You can find numerous videos on YouTube where they unbox the machine, show how to connect it to the PC, and perform the practice project to help you understand the working in a better way.
What Should You buy- A Machine Or A Bundle?
When you go to purchase the machine, you will have numerous options to consider and select from, which can be overwhelming for a newbie- for obvious reasons.
You might feel like you have no idea what to get and what not to purchase. This can be pretty confusing with all the hassle you will have to face.
Don’t worry though! We will save you from that hassle and the headaches involved in the journey of buying the Cricut Maker.
If you have recently stepped into the Cricut world and are a freshman, purchasing a bundle with the main tools will work best for you.
Most of the bundles don’t have all the tools that Cricut has, but the tools that they come with will allow you to set your hand on the basics of the machine.
Here are some links to consider to buy the best bundle for you:
- Cricut Maker Bundle Everything Materials
- Cricut Basic Tool Set
- Cricut Mats Variety Pack
- Cricut Pens (Five Count).
Tip: At times, Amazon also provides some good deals on Cricut Mats.
If you have a lot of money and want to buy all the tools that a Cricut Maker can use, then add the following tools as well:
- Quick Swap Tool Bundle
- Knife Blade
- Deep Point Blade
- Bonded Fabric Blade (You won’t need this, instead you can use the Rotary Blade. It works perfectly!)
Where Can You Buy the Cricut Maker?
Michael, Joann, Hobby Lobby, and Walmart will give you Cricut Maker to purchase.
You can purchase the machine from there or go to cricut.com which offers even better deals and the best options for the machine too. Compare these prices with Amazon to check which is the better one. Sometimes Cricut.com offers mega deals as well.
It may take different days for your bundles from Cricut.com to arrive. Your machine may arrive earlier than the tools even though you placed the order the same day. It may make you cautious or tense, but don’t worry everything will arrive.
What Blades Can You Use with the Cricut Maker?
Every blade that relates to Cricut, you can use with the Cricut Maker. Look at the following pictures and read the summary of each blade.
The Fine Point Blade
You will use the Fine Point Blade the most, which has a composition of German Carbide; a very strong material used for cutting tools. The fine point blade is for you to use on light to medium weight materials like printer paper, vinyl, cardstock, glitter cardstock, etc.
The Deep Point Blade
With an elevated blade angle, the deep point blade enables you to cut through thicker materials like craft foam, authentic leather, and magnetic sheets, etc.
The Bonded Fabric Blade
Same as the fine point blade, the bonded fabric blade only differs in color. The color difference is beneficial for when you want to cut fabric with this blade.
Keeping the bonded fabric blade to specifically cut fabric, is a good idea to avoid compromising the blade’s quality of cutting fabric by keeping it away from paper, vinyl, and other materials.
Remember that cutting fabric with a bonded fabric blade requires you to bond the fabric to a backing material. The most commonly backing material used is the Heat and Bond.
Bonded Fabric (Pink), Deep Cut (Black) Fine Point Blade (Gold)
The Rotary Blade
When Cricut Maker was first released, the rotary blade was the most famous one. The specialty of this blade is that it can cut any type of fabric without requiring you to bond the fabric with any backing material. Some of the fabrics that you can cut from this blade are:
The Knife Blade
Known as the king of the blades, the knife blade is the strongest of them all. This blade allows you to cut through the strongest of materials by using the Cricut Maker machine. The following list names some of the materials the knife blade can cut:
- Tooling Leather
- Balsa Wood
- Heavy Chipboard 2.0 mm
Here’s a tip: Always use the blade with the StrongGrip (purple) mat and tape the material on the mat’s edges if you want to make the most out of the knife blade.
With the QuickSwap tool, you can use six different tools. It is a “Drive Housing” that includes the tips and the blades as well. The tips and name of the blades which work with QuickSwap tool are:
- Scoring Tip (1 and 2)
- Engraving Tip
- Debossing Tip
- Wavy Blade
- Perforation Blade
Quick Swap + Blade & Tips
To have crispy, amazing, and edgy folds on the materials you use, using the Scoring Wheel tool helps you achieve it. For the best results possible, Cricut Maker comes with two types of tips- 01 and 02. The tip you need to use depends on the material you use and Design Space suggests which tip you should use.
Crafters have been patiently waiting for the Engraving Tip, and you can engrave plenty of materials with it. Create dog or cat tags, personalized jewelry, etc. with it.
The other tip, Debossing Tip, pushes the material in, which creates intricate and astounding designs (full of detail) on materials like leather, paper, etc.
The next blade, Wavy Blade, gives wavy effects on your final cuts instead of cutting straight pathways like the rotary blade or the fine point blade.
Last but not the least, the Perforation Blade helps you to end the project with a tear finish. The tool allows endless possibilities for you to create different projects. Create coupons, tickets, etc. from this blade.
If you want extensive knowledge on the blades, visit different guides on Cricut Blades where you get in-depth knowledge about them.
Cricut Mats Overview- Are They Required While Using a Cricut Maker?
Till now we have covered the topics of the Cricut machine, its features, and which blades you can use with it. Now it is time to talk about the mats you need with the Cricut Maker.
Cricut Mat is the surface where you place all your materials so they won’t move before the machine cuts them. You need a mat for every project you make with your device.
Using Green Mat with the Cricut Maker.
There are four different mats:
- LightGrip (blue): use this for thin materials such as copy paper, light cardstock, and vinyl.
- StandardGrip (green): used when medium-weight materials such as glitter cardstock, regular cardstock need cutting. You can also use vinyl with it.
- StrongGrip (purple): used with heavy-weighing materials like chipboard, poster board, leather, glitter cardstock (if glitter side placed down).
- FabricGrip (pink): used with any type of fabric.
A slight problem arises here- till here the Design Space guides you with the tools you require to create this project, but choosing the mat is on you.
It’s not a difficult task and you’ll learn it with some experience.
What Other Tools Can You Use with the Cricut Maker?
Other than the blades and mats, you can make gift cards, tags, and much more with the Cricut Pens.
The Cricut pens and markers have infusible ink in them which you can use to write on regular laser paper and transfer it to T-shirts, totes, and more.
You can also use the Scoring Stylus tool which is similar to the Scoring Wheel (albeit less robust). The Stylus allows you to make intricate folds in cards, boxes, and other 3D projects.
If you have a limited budget, investing in the stylus only is a great beginner choice.
Scoring Wheel on Left and Scoring Stylus on Right.
What Type of Materials Can the Cricut Maker Cut?
300 materials- yes! The Cricut Maker can cut, draw, and personalize more than 300 materials. Check out Cricut’s website to check out all the materials. Read below to know the famous materials, blade, and mat you would need.
|Adhesive Foil||Fine Point Blade||LightGrip/|
|Balsa – 1/16 and 3/32||Knife Blade||StrongGrip|
|Basswood – 1/16||Knife Blade||StrongGrip|
|Canvas||Rotary Blade||Fabric Mat|
|Cardstock (for||Fine Point Blade||StandardGrip|
|Cardstock, Light||Fine Point Blade||LightGrip|
|Cardstock, heavy||Fine Point Blade||StandardGrip|
|or StrongGrip- if|
|mat has been|
|Construction Paper||Fine Point Blade||LightGrip|
|Copy Paper||Fine Point Blade||LightGrip|
|Cotton||Rotary Blade||Fabric Mat|
|Everyday Iron-On||Fine Point Blade||LightGrip/|
|Foil Iron-On||Fine Point Blade||LightGrip/ StandardGrip|
|Freezer Paper||Fine Point Blade||LightGrip/ StandardGrip|
|Garment Leather||Knife Blade||StrongGrip|
|Genuine Leather||Deep Point Blade||StrongGrip|
|Glitter Cardstock||Fine Point Blade||StandardGrip.|
|Glitter Vinyl||Fine Point Blade||LightGrip/|
|Holographic Iron-On||Fine Point Blade||LightGrip|
|Heavy Chipboard||Knife Blade||StrongGrip|
|Infusible Ink||Fine Point Blade||Standard Grip|
|Lycra||Fine Point Blade||Fabric Mat|
|Magnetic Sheet||Fine Point Blade||StandardGrip|
|Nylon||Rotary Blade||Fabric Mat|
|Photo Paper||Fine Point Blade||StandardGrip|
|Poster Board||Fine Point Blade||StrongGrip|
|Sticker Paper||Fine Point Blade||LightGrip|
|Vellum||Fine Point Blade||LightGrip|
|Wrapping Paper||Fine Point Blade||LightGrip|
That is a boatload of materials to keep in mind!
Cricut Maker – Cutting Fabric Considerations
With the tutorial slowly coming to an end, by now you should be aware that you can cut any fabric material with your Cricut Maker machine.
Cricut Design Space offers you tons of patterns that you can access with Cricut Access through your membership and other licensed patterns offered by Simplicity and Riley Blake Designs.
Tip: While purchasing a Cricut Maker, you get a few free sewing projects with the machine.
The machine is the perfect tool to make quilters or small projects like clutches, cosmetic bags, hats, baby clothes, etc.
The drawback, though, is that the Cricut Maker won’t cut bigger patterns for adult clothing or projects larger than 11.5 x 11.5 inches of dimensions and 11.5 x 23.5 inches. Even though the mat sizes are 12 x 12 and 12 x 24 in., the actual cut will always be a bit smaller.
If you want to make bigger projects and cut larger patterns, purchasing the Cricut Maker machine would not meet your expectations.
Pros and Cons of the Cricut Maker Machine
With this lengthy tutorial, we hope you have a hint of the pros and cons of the Cricut Maker machine for you to decide whether to buy it or not.
Pros of getting a Cricut Maker
- For people who love crafting and interior home decor, the Cricut Maker machine is a great tool for you. You have countless possibilities to consider when making any project.
- Easy cutting of any type of paper and vinyl.
- You can even cut fabrics without any backing material, while using the rotary blade to create small projects like bows, dolls, small bags, clothes, etc.
- Indulging in the crafter’s community who share the same passion and experience with Cricut crafts just like you.
- Enhancing your designing skills while learning another one that looks fine in the experience section of your resume.
Cons of getting a Cricut Maker
- Purchasing the entire machine with its extra tools makes it more expensive, especially when you don’t want to use it and get better at it.
- Some technical knowledge is required to use the machine. You should know how to use a phone or computer for the machine to work.
- With a limited cutting space, the dimensions lie between 11.5 x 23.5 inches (if using a large Cricut mat) for you to cut projects.