Thank you to Cricut for sponsoring this post. As always, I share my brutally honest opinions and only recommend products that I would recommend to my family and friends!
If you have followed my blog for a while, you probably already know that I am a big fan of my Cricut Explore Air 2 machine. You can read all about why I prefer Cricut over Silhouette (I have used both) in this post. But now I have fallen in love with Cricut all over again because Cricut just released the Cricut Maker and it’s life-changing for anyone who loves to DIY home decor as much as I do. Since the Cricut Maker is brand new, I wanted to write a full review of it for you so you can decide whether or not to add it to your wish list.
If you are just hearing of the Cricut Maker for the very first time, you might want to check out the video below before you dive into my thorough (and rather long) review below.
This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission which helps keep my blog up and running but it won't cost you a penny more)! Click here to read my full disclosure policy.
What is the Cricut Maker?
In a word, it is magic. It is NOT just a new version of the Explore machine. Not at all. It is an entirely NEW cutting machine.
The Cricut Maker cuts fabrics without backing material! Plus, it cuts sewing patterns in minutes. That's right, if you love to sew, you will no longer have to cut out patterns or pin your patterns to your fabric to then cut it out all over again. It's all made possible because of a new blade called the Rotary Blade. The Rotary Blade brings precision fabric cutting to the cutting machine world. Use it to cut cotton, felt, fleece, denim, and more. With its gliding, rolling action, it cuts virtually any fabric quickly and accurately – without backing material.
The Cricut Maker's rotary blade also makes it possible to cut super thin materials, like crepe paper, without tearing it. If you love to make paper flowers, then the Cricut Maker is going to be your new best friend.
And because of another new blade, the Cricut Maker can cut materials up to 2.4 mm (3/32”) thick thick. I can’t even handle how exciting this is! The extra-deep Knife Blade cuts through dense materials easily. You can put your X-ACTO® knife away :) With the knife blade, you can use your Cricut Maker to cut thicker materials like Bass wood, Balsa wood, mat board, and heavy leather. I'm also pretty sure I'll be able to use my Cricut Maker to cut acrylic, but I'll have to test it first :)
But can’t the Cricut Explore cut thick materials with a deep cut blade?
Yes, but it’s not at all the same as what the Cricut Maker can do. The deep cut blade that is used with the Cricut Explore and (and Silhouette machines for that matter) are totally different in that the tip of the blade itself is stationary. The Cricut Maker uses the new Adaptive Tool System to intelligently control the direction of the blade and the cut pressure to match your material. This is possible because of the gears at the top of the rotary blade and deep knife blade. Now when you set the material you are working with in the Cricut Design Space, the software automatically tells the Cricut Maker whether multiple passes are needed to make the cut, and it tweaks the pressure as needed with each pass.
My Cricut Explore can already cut fabric. So what's the big deal?
The big deal is that you can use the Cricut Maker to cut fabric without using fusible webbing or backing the fabric at all! That is a HUGE change. Instead of a traditional blade that drags along the fabric and can cause bunching and tearing if there is no fusible webbing on the back of the fabric, the rotary blade moves as smoothly as butter over the surface of the fabric.
I have already used the Cricut Maker to cut crepe paper, thin fabrics, thick fabrics, EVEN WOOL FELT and the results are mind-blowingly perfectly every single time. You'll see how I used all of these wool felt circles I cut out with my Cricut Maker soon :)
Do I need the Cricut Maker if I already have a Cricut Explore Air 2?
Well, that totally depends. If you work with fabric a lot, or WANT to work with fabric a lot, you will save yourself hours of time and frustration if you invest in the Cricut Maker. Not only can you cut your own designs (think quilting squares or patterns you have in a SVG format), there are now tons of quilting, apparel and accessory patterns from Riley Blake and Simplicity in Cricut Design Space. No more cutting out and pinning patterns! I rarely sew, but think I will be doing a lot more of it now that I have the Cricut Maker.
If you love making paper flowers, the Cricut Maker will be your new best friend. You can use it to cut super delicate materials like tissue paper and crepe paper, so it would save you hours of time. I made a ton of paper flowers for my wedding 15 years ago and I nearly cried when I thought back on how many hours I spent cutting out the petals and leaves. With the Cricut Maker, making paper flowers just became a lot easier. You can see some crepe paper I've cut out with my Cricut Maker below.
Likewise, if you use (or want to use) your cutting machine for lots of home decor projects, the Cricut Maker can tackle projects that the Explore Air 2 simply can’t. You could do entire wall installations of intricate wood patterns with the Cricut Maker! You can cut photo mats with it. You can cut intricate fabric patterns out to then transfer to curtains, duvets or even WALLS. I mean, I could go on and on, but there are endless possibilities with the Cricut Maker that just don’t exist with the Explore Air 2.
Now, if you mostly use your cutting machine to for paper crafts and vinyl projects and you don’t have a desire to work with delicate papers (like tissue paper or crepe paper), fabric or thicker materials like wood and heavy leather, than just keep on enjoying your Cricut Explore Air 2 machine!
How much does the Cricut Maker cost and when can I buy one?
The Cricut Maker will be available August 20, 2017 and will cost $399. You can click here to join the waiting list to purchase the Cricut Maker. This price includes the machine and rotary blade and two mats- a light grip and a new fabric mat. The knife blade will be available for purchase some time in October 2017 (I can't wait!). There is no doubt that the Cricut Maker is the most expensive of the Cricut machines, but it is the most versatile by far. Also, you should know that the plan is for all future tools to fit in the adaptive tool system so you should be able to keep this machine and simply purchase new blades/tools as they are released :)
What’s the machine itself like?
The one word that came to my mind the first time I got my hands on the Cricut Maker is substantial. It feels incredibly sturdy and well-made—even more so than the Explore Air 2, which has impressed me with its quality. The machine now has a place to hold your phone or iPad and a USB port to charge your devices (wooo hooo)!
The Cricut Maker also has deeper front tool storage, which allows for easier storage of more of your tools. And it has two tool cups–one is deep making it perfect for pens, the other is shallow making it perfect for blades that aren't in use.
One BIG difference in the Cricut Maker vs. the Cricut Explore Air 2 is that there is no longer a dial to choose your material. It’s definitely a change that requires a bit of getting used to, but I LOVE this change. I don’t think I’m the only one that often forgot to change my dial, which resulted in some ruined materials. Ooops.
With the Cricut Maker, you select the material you are cutting within the Design Space before you actually make the cut. The Cricut Maker then automatically detects the blade to ensure that you have loaded the correct blade for your project. If you have forgotten to load your rotary blade to cut fabric, the Cricut Maker will tell you! That’s right—it will notify you that you need to load your rotary blade. So, in short, it’s much more “idiot proof” than the Explore Air 2. For me, this is great news since I’m often rushing around and can be forgetful when I’m working on projects.
You can check out more details of the machine itself in the video below.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.