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Which Cricut machine?

“Which Cricut machine should I choose?”… a question we often get asked and one we love to help answer! There are so many things to consider when buying a machine that we have put together this guide to help you make the best decision on which Cricut Machine is the right match for you!

Cricut Maker

It’s helpful to have a few things in mind to help you decide on a machine. Thinking about each of these points will help you match your needs with the best Cricut machine for you. In this article we also look at each machine in more detail, there’s a comparison chart at the end which summarises the key differences between the machines, and we’ve even created a little flow chart to help you further. But for now, let’s have a think about what we need to consider:

  • Is the size of the machine important to you and how portable you would like it to be? Cricut JoyTM is compact and can be taken out and about easily. Cricut MakerTM and Cricut Explore AirTM 2 are much bigger and heavier so will probably be harder to move around.
  • Think about what materials you would like to be able to cut. The cutting of different materials is one of the biggest differences between machines. So, is a good starting point to think about when choosing which machine is for you. Cricut Joy cuts 50+ materials, Cricut Explore Air 2 cuts 100+ materials and Cricut Maker cuts 300+ materials.
  • Have a rough idea of what you would like to make, looking for the best machine for you will be much easier if you have a few projects in mind! If your projects are big in scale and complexity then a machine with a larger cutting width such as Maker and Explore will be best. If your projects are more compact, or you don’t mind arranging smaller images together as one larger image, then Cricut Joy would be great.
  • Similarly, consider what size of cutting area you are interested in. Cricut Joy has a cutting width of 4.5 inches and a cutting length of up to 20 feet compared to the Maker and Explore machines that can cut up to 12×24 inches.
  • Think about the other tools you might be interested in besides cutting. Cricut Explore Air 2 and Cricut Maker can both add foil embellishments and both can score; Explore with the scoring stylus and Maker with the stylus or the scoring wheels. The Cricut Maker also has the Adaptive Tool SystemTM so with additional tools can also engrave, perforate, deboss and there’s a knife blade for thicker materials such as basswood or heavy chipboard. It comes with the rotary tool for cutting fabrics too.
  • Will you want to do more in the future? Consider what your cutting needs might be in the future once you get the Cricut bug! If you think you’re going to want to try lots more and grow your craft skills then you’ll need a machine that grows with you. Cricut Maker is best for this as it can do the most.

Once you have a preferred machine in mind, there are a few other things to consider:

  • Everything you need to get started comes in the box with your machine, but we recommend buying a basic toolset, an extra set of mats and a few materials so that you can get playing straight away. If you are looking at using iron-on vinyl for your projects, consider the Cricut EasyPressTM to accompany your machine.
  • Download the software, Cricut Design Space. You can download the free Cricut app onto your smartphone or tablet direct from your app store (iOS and Android) or download the software on to your computer from https://design.cricut.com/ before you have a machine. This means you can have a play with it to see if it’s right for you. This is the software that you use to design your projects then cut them on your machine. All machines are driven by the Design Space App so there is no difference for beginners when it comes to using the software, however, Cricut Joy does have a simpler app you can also use, to help you create quick projects on the go. Click here to find out more about Design Space and click here for details of the app created specifically for Cricut Joy.
Cricut Explore Air 2 in Sunflower

All three machines use Bluetooth connectivity to connect to devices via Bluetooth. Cricut Joy has no cables to connect to the computer it works solely with Bluetooth, the Maker and Explore Air 2 have an optional USB cable to connect them to a computer or laptop.

Still can’t decide? Emma Jewell of Emma Jewell Crafts, has put together this handy guide which leads you through a series of questions to find the Cricut machine that fits you best!

Of course, this is a bit of fun to start you on your search. Please use this information to help guide your search rather than give you a definitive answer!

Follow the questions to see which machine the guide recommends to you:

I want to know more about Cricut Maker

Cricut Maker

• The most versatile Cricut machine, with additional tools and blades, the Maker can cut 300+ materials.

• Cutting area of up to 12×24 Inches. Comes with two 12×12 cutting mats to keep materials in place while cutting.

• Cuts any fabric using the rotary blade that comes with the machine.

• Cuts thick/dense materials Like Balsa wood, foam and leather using the add on Knife Blade.

• Has an Adaptive Tool System with a range of add on tools – Debossing, Perforation, Engraving, Scoring, Knife Blade, Wavy Blade and foiling tip

• Can cut materials like Cardstock, Paper, Vinyl, Iron-on and Vinyl with ease.

• Can draw or write with a pen.

• Can cut out an image printed to your printer onto any colour of material. This is a great feature for making stickers.

• Connects via Bluetooth or USB cable to your device.

• Available in Champagne or Rose colours.

In the box:

-Cricut Maker

-Fine point blade

-Rotary blade (for cutting fabric)

-Pink cutting mat (for fabrics)

-Blue cutting mat (for materials like card, vinyl and iron-on)

-Black pen.

-Power cable and USB cable.

-Materials for your first project.

I want to know more about Cricut Explore Air 2

Cricut Explore Air 2 Mint

• Great for cutting Iron-on, Vinyl and Cardstock, and cuts 100+ materials.

• Can draw or write with a pen.

• Can add on a deep cut blade for thicker materials like leather.

• Can cut cotton fabric that has been bonded with an interfacing using the fine point blade.

• A Scoring Stylus is available for scoring projects.

• Can add on the Cricut Foil Transfer System for adding foiled elements to projects.

• Can cut out an image printed to your printer onto white material. This is a great feature for making stickers.

• Has a cutting area of up to 12×24 inches.

• Connects via Bluetooth or USB to your device.

• Comes in a range of colours.

In the box:

-Cricut Explore Air 2 machine

-Fine point blade

-Blue cutting mat

-Black pen

-Power cable and USB cable

-Materials for your first project

I want to know more about Cricut Joy

Cricut Joy

• The most portable machine. Its small size makes it easy to carry around and store!

• Perfect for quick projects.

• Cuts cardstock, iron-on and vinyl with ease – cuts 50+ materials.

• Compatible card mat and ready-to-make projects in Design Space make card making even easier.

• Can cut up to 20ft of length with a width of up to 5 inches

• Works with Cricut Smart Materials to cut without a mat.

• Can draw or write with a pen.

In the box:

-Cricut Joy machine

-Green mat

-Black pen

-Power cable

You’ll find a handy machine comparison guide below (prices, subject to change!) to help you compare the three machines:

We hope you have found this article helpful and now have a better idea of which Cricut machine is right for you, but if you’re still undecided, we’ve worked with John Lewis to offer a concise video to compare our machines.

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Beginner’s guide to Infusible Ink

What is Infusible InkTM?

Vivid. Vibrant. Voila! Welcome to Cricut Infusible Ink, where you can create beautiful, bold designs that look truly professional on your T-shirts, totes and more. What makes Cricut Infusible Ink so special is that it looks store-bought, but it’s infused by YOU. Unlike the vinyl or iron-on process, where artwork is attached on top of a base material using adhesive, an Infusible Ink transfer actually becomes one with the material itself. The results are bright, beautiful, seamlessly smooth custom transfers that are peel-proof, flake-proof, and wash-proof.

Beginner’s guide to Infusible Ink:

How Infusible Ink Works:

1. Choose your blank. Select Infusible Ink Transfer Sheets or Infusible Ink Pens & Markers and a compatible Cricut blank.

2. Make your design. Use Design Space and your Cricut cutting machine to cut Infusible Ink Transfer Sheets or draw with Infusible Ink Pens & Markers onto standard copy paper.

3. Apply heat. Infuse your design into your Cricut blank with Cricut EasyPressTM.

Cricut Infusible Ink coasters

Transfer Sheets:

These are sheets that come in block colours or patterns, that can be cut on a Cricut machine into your desired shape or design, then applied onto a blank of your choice. You put the sheets face up onto your mat and mirror your design. You then press them face down onto your blank. The high heat of the EasyPressTM 2 ensures the ink transfers from the sheet onto your blank and you can visibly see the difference with the colour disappearing from the sheet after the application.

Pens:

Infusible Ink pens use the same Infusible Ink technology in a pen form. These can fit into your machines so that your machine can draw a design for you, or you can draw or colour by hand before pressing your design on to a blank (just remember your image will be mirrored).

You use copy paper to draw your design onto before pressing it. If you are drawing with the machine you just pop the piece of paper onto the blue light grip mat and load it into the machine.

Note that the Cricut JoyTM has different sized Infusible Ink pens to the Cricut MakerTM and Cricut Explore AirTM 2. Joy pens are available in sets of 3, Infusible Ink pens for the Maker and Explore are available in packs of 5 or 30.

Blanks:

Because of the way Infusible Ink works it will only work with compatible blanks. We have designed a range of blanks that will give the best results, including T-shirts, tote bags coasters, cushion covers, make-up bags and a wine bag.

Here’s everything you need to make a project with Cricut Infusible Ink:

  • Cricut Maker, Cricut Explore or Cricut Joy
  • Cricut Standard Grip Machine Mat
  • Cricut EasyPress 2
  • Cricut EasyPress Mat
  • Cricut Blank (compatible with Infusible Ink)
  • Infusible Ink Transfer Sheets or Infusible Ink pens
  • Cricut heat resistant tape
  • Copy paper
  • Butcher paper (comes with sheets)
  • White Cardstock
  • Lint-free cloth (for coaster blank projects)
  • Lint roller (for fabric blank projects)
  • Scissors and tweezers

How to use Cricut Infusible Ink Transfer Sheets in 5 easy steps:

Step One:

Choose an image in Cricut Design Space, make sure that it is smaller than your EasyPress. Mirror the image and choose Infusible Ink transfer sheet from the material list.

Step Two:

Lay the Infusible Ink transfer sheet face-up on the mat, then load it into the machine and start cutting. Once the cut is complete, remove the sheet.

Step Three:

Weed your design (take away the bits you don’t need) leaving only the design on the clear carrier sheet.

Step Four:

Next set up your EasyPress mat referring to the Cricut Heat Guide for the correct order to layer your mat and materials ensuring you lay a piece of paper onto the mat to protect it. Heat up your EasyPress, to the temperature indicated by the Heat Guide based on your chosen blank and Infusible Ink pens or sheets. Next lay down your blank on the mat. If you’re using a fabric blank, use a lint-roller to remove invisible fibres. If you’re using a ceramic blank, rub with a lint-free cloth to remove dust or unwanted particles. Add the weeded design face down onto the blank. Cover the sheet with a piece of the butcher paper. Press for the time indicated by the Heat Guide.

Step Five:

Once cooled, peel away the butcher paper and transfer sheet to reveal your completed project.