Learn all about the Cricut cutting machine and everything you can do with one. Read on to find all the answers to your most frequently asked Cricut cutting machine questions : what it is, how it works, what you need to get started, and more!
The Cricut cutting machine is among the most powerful tools in our craft toolbox. It’s used all the time to make a wide variety of crafts, including custom t-shirts , greeting cards, stickers , and more.
In this article, we will share all kinds of information about the Cricut cutting machine family and what it can do. We’ll explain what it is, how it works, and tell you exactly what supplies you’ll need to get started.
You might also be wondering which of the three Cricut cutting machine models is the best choice for your needs. We recommend Cricut Explore Air 3 to most beginners, but the Cricut Maker 3 and Cricut Joy are fantastic machines too! Keep reading for a Cricut cutting machine comparison so you can confidently choose the best Cricut cutting machine model for you!
A Cricut cutting machine is an electronic cutting machine that can cut all kinds of designs from materials like paper, vinyl, card stock, and iron-on transfers. Some Cricut cutting machines can even cut leather and wood!
You can use the Cricut cutting machine to cut just about anything you would normally cut with scissors or an X-acto knife. That said, a Cricut cutting machine can cut with much more precision and speed than would ever be possible by hand!
Best Cricut Cutting Machine
Machines like the Cricut are sometimes called cutting machines or craft plotters. Other cutting machine brands include the Silhouette Cameo and the Brother ScanNCut.
There are currently three types of Cricut machines on the market: the Cricut Explore 3, the Cricut Maker 3, and the Cricut Joy.
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Keep reading for a more detailed comparison of the three machines!
How the Cricut cutting machine works
You can think of a Cricut cutting machine as a home printer. Except that instead of printing your design on a sheet of paper, a Cricut cutting machine uses a small moving blade to cut the design out of a sheet of paper (or other material).
First, you create a design in Cricut’s design software or app. Then you send the design to the Cricut cutting machine via Bluetooth or USB. The Cricut cutting machine receives the design and cuts it using a small, precise blade.
Simply put, here’s how to use a Cricut cutting machine.
- First, choose your cutting material and place it on the sticky cutting mat. (The cutting mat holds the material in place while the Cricut makes the cuts.) Load the mat into the machine.
- Then choose a design from Cricut Design Space. Select your material settings and send the design to your Cricut cutting machine.
- Press the button on your Cricut machine to start cutting.
- After the machine has finished cutting, remove the mat from the machine and the mat material.
3 types of Cricut machines
In June 2022, The Cricut Cutting Machine introduced two new machines to its lineup: the Cricut Maker 3 and Cricut Explore 3. These machines will replace previous generations of Cricut Maker and Cricut Explore Air series machines. Newer models have more powerful motors that can cut up to 2x faster and can cut Cricut Smart materials without a mat ! Game changer!
(That said, I still think the Cricut Explore Air 2 and Cricut Maker are good machines, especially if you can find them for a bargain.)
Cricut Explorer Air 2
The Cricut Explore Air 2 is Cricut’s best-selling machine. This is a fantastic intermediate level model, perfect for beginners and experienced crafters alike. It can cut over 100 materials including paper, vinyl, cardstock, some types of leather, and fabric with stabilizer.
The Cricut Explore Air 2 works with 12 x 12 inch or 12 x 24 inch mats, allowing you to create full-size iron-on decals for t-shirts, large vinyl decals, and 3D paper projects.
Cricut Explorer 3
The Cricut Explore 3 is the latest machine in Cricut’s Explore series. Like its predecessor, the Cricut Explore 3 can cut over 100 materials, including card stock, vinyl, iron-on vinyl, glitter paper, and bonded fabric. It is compatible with 6 different tools, including Fine Point Blade, Foil Transfer Tool, Notation Stylus, and Deep Point Blade.
What’s new on this model? The Cricut Explore 3 has a more powerful motor that can cut up to 2x faster than the Cricut Explore Air 2. It’s compatible with Smart Materials, so you can make extra long cuts (up to 12 feet!) without carpet.
The Cricut Maker 3 is the newest Maker model, released in June 2021. If you need a machine that can deliver commercial-grade performance, you want the Cricut Maker 3.
Like the original Maker model, it can cut over 300 types of materials, including fabric, paper, wood, and leather. It is compatible with 13 tools for cutting, writing, marking, foiling, engraving, etc.
What’s new on the Maker 3? The Cricut Maker 3 is Smart Materials compatible, so you can cut extra-long projects (up to 12 feet) without a mat. It also features a more powerful motor, allowing it to cut up to 2x faster than the original Cricut Maker and with 10x the cutting force of the Explore 2 series.
What is the best Cricut for a beginner?
The best Cricut machine for beginners on a budget is the Cricut Explore Air 3 . The Cricut Explore Air 3 is Cricut’s most popular machine, and for good reason! It cuts over 100 materials: cardstock, vinyl, iron-on, and specialty materials like glitter paper, cork, and bonded fabric. It’s not the fastest or quietest cutting machine, but it does a lot and is very beginner friendly.