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Maybe you received a Cricut machine for Christmas or a birthday, but it’s still sitting in its box. Or maybe you’re an avid crafter looking for a simple tool to make crafting easier. Or maybe you’ve seen tons of cool project images on Pinterest and wondered “How the heck do they cut those intricate designs? I wanna do that!” Or maybe you’ve heard of Cricut, but you’re asking “What is a Cricut machine, and what can you do with it?” Well, you’re in the right place; today I’m going to introduce you to the Cricut Explore Air machine and tell you about all the cool things it can do!
I first used a Cricut way back in college. I was an RA and our resident staff department had a Cricut machine and a few cartridges that we used for cutting out letters and shapes to make fun signs and party decorations. I remember thinking that thing was SO COOL. But Cricut machines have grown up a lot since I’ve been in college, and they are even cooler now!
There are no more cartridges; everything is done digitally so that you can use any font or shape that’s on your computer. And most of the Cricut machines work over wifi or bluetooth, so you can design from your iPhone or iPad, as well as from your computer! The Cricut machines are easy to use, totally versatile, and only limited by your own creativity!
(I have a Cricut Explore Air so that’s what I’ll be talking about in this post. There is a newer model out called the Cricut Explore Air 2 which has all the same features as the original Explore Air, except that it can also cut at 2x speed!)
What Is A Cricut Machine?
The Cricut Explore Air is a die-cutting machine (aka craft plotter or cutting machine). You can think of it like a printer; you create an image or design on your computer and then send it to the machine. Except that instead of printing your design, the Cricut machine cuts it out of whatever material you want! The Cricut Explore Air can cut paper, vinyl, fabric, craft foam, sticker paper, faux leather, and more!
In fact, if you want to use a Cricut like a printer, it can do that too! There is an accessory slot in the machine and you can load a marker in there and then have the Cricut “draw” your design for you. It’s perfect for getting a gorgeous handwritten look if your handwriting isn’t all that great. 🙂
The Explore series of Cricut machines allows you to access a huge digital library of “cartridges” instead of using physical cartridges, like I did in college. This means that you can use Cricut Design Space (their online design software) to take any text or shape from the library and send it to your Cricut to be cut out. You can even upload your own designs if you want!
The Cricut Explore Air can cut materials up to 12″ wide and has a small cutting blade mounted inside the machine. When you’re ready to cut something out, you load the material onto a sticky mat and load the mat into the machine. The mat holds the material in place while the Cricut blade passes over the material and cuts it. When it finishes, you unload the mat from the machine, peel your project off the sticky mat, and you’re ready to go!
With a Cricut machine, the possibilities are endless! All you need is a Cricut machine, Design Space, something to cut, and your own creativity!
What Can I Do With A Cricut Machine?
There are TONS of things you can do with a Cricut machine! There’s no way I could even list all the possibilities, but here are a few popular types of projects to give you an idea of what the machine can do.
- Cut out fun shapes and letters for scrapbooking
- Make custom, handmade cards for any special occasion (here’s an example)
- Design a onesie or a t-shirt (here’s an example)
- Make a leather bracelet
- Make buntings and other party decorations
- Create your own stencils for painting (here’s an example)
- Make a vinyl sticker for your car window
- Label stuff in your pantry, or in a playroom
- Make monogram pillows
- Create your own Christmas ornaments (here’s an example)
- Address an envelope
- Decorate a mug, cup, or tumbler (here’s an example)
- Etch glass at home (here’s an example)
- Create your own wall decals
- Make a painted wooden sign
- Make your own window clings
- Cut appliqués or quilt squares
- Create decals for a stand mixer
…and tons of other projects that are too numerous to list!
Here are the Cricut machines I discussed in this article; click the images below to find out more about each machine. And if you’re looking to buy an awesome crafting tool, I highly recommend the Cricut Explore machines! I use mine pretty much every day, and it rocks!
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Disclosure: I received compensation from Cricut in exchange for my participation in this campaign, and my honest discussion of their products. But I am IN LOVE with my Cricut and I use it pretty much every day; all opinions in this post are 100% my own. I would never write a post about something I didn’t think was useful or interesting for you guys, and Practically Functional will only publish sponsored posts for companies or products I love and believe in! 🙂
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.
I believe that anyone can do crafts and DIY projects, regardless of skill or experience. I love sharing simple craft ideas, step by step DIY project tutorials, cleaning hacks, and other tips and tricks all with one goal in mind: giving you the tools you need to “do it yourself”, complete fun projects, and make awesome things!