Is the Cricut Expression a Good Dye Cutting Machine for Crafters?

by Theresa on September 7, 2009 · 12 comments

The Cricut Expression seems to be very popular among crafters these days. I'm sure you've probably seen the infomercials or heard about it already especially if you’re into making fun crafts and projects for the kids, card making or scrapbooking.  The biggest drawback is that it's quite expensive and most crafters don't know what the differences are between the regular Cricut and the new upgrade Cricut Expression. What are the advantages and disadvantages and is it really worth buying if it's so expensive?

Cricut Expression review

What is the Cricut Expression?

It's a personal dye cutting system by the company Provo Craft. There's three different Cricut machines available. The Cricut Expression is the newest and most popular while the Original Cricut and the Cricut Create are the older models. The Cricket Cutting Machines uses precise cutting technology to cut out shape and letter designs for card making, scrapbooking, paper crafting and home decor from various materials.

The neat features of the Cricket Expression is that it has it's own keyboard so you can type in your project that you want to cut. In the [tags]cricut-expression-machine[/tags]video you can see the size different with the regular Cricket and Cricket Expression. The big difference between the two is that the Expression allows you to use mat sizes up to 12" x 12" or 12" x 24".  It can cut not only regular card stock paper, but also  heavier card stock, soft plastics, vinyl, some chipboards, poster board, window cling material, thin magnets and even fabric. Below the ladies show you the differences between the original Cricut and the Cricut Expression.

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Cricket Expression - The Good and Bad

Good Points

  • It's by far the most flexible model because it allows you to create much larger dye cuts which gives you  tremendous flexibility in paper crafting.
  • Will save you time and money since you won't have to buy precut letters and shapes or hand cut your designs.
  • If you are upgrading machines, the Cricut Expression uses the same cartridges, blade and blade housings as the previous models.
  • If you have never owned a Cricut before there's tons of different themed cartridges available with various designs to suit most artistic projects.
  • Features a new LCD screen that allows you to see exactly what you're typing before you actually cut it. This avoids mistakes saving you you're time and wasted paper.
  • You can cut both in landscape and portrait format and change the units of measurement and language settings.

Bad Points

  • The machine itself is very pricey at around $300.Cricket expression comparisons and reviews
  • The cutting mat quickly loses it's stickiness and wears to easily.  Without the stick, the page will slide around during the cutting process and ruin your letters. There's a solution for this. (Please read handy hints below.)
  • It doesn't detect the edges of your papers very well. If you want to cut out images on your photos its hard to align them and you may damage your photo.
  • The company that sells the Cricut which is Provo Craft is not helpful and won't return emails.
  • As with all Cricut machines you'll have to buy the cartridges that contain the shapes and fonts before you can start cutting.  Each cartridge will run between 60 to 90 dollars pre-tax/shipping. This makes each new shape or font set a whole new investment.

Amazon carries many more consumer rated Cricut Expression items

Handy Hints

  1. Small letters are hard to get up from the mat without ripping them. It's better to use stickers instead.
  2. If tears are happening with the new blade it may be that the pressure is set too high and you can try to lower it.
  3. When you first get Cricket, the mat it's so sticky you need that you'll need to use heavy cardstock or else the paper is really hard to get up.
  4. Shop around at fabric stores and craft stores to get the best price for your Cricut. Buy your cartridges at your local discount stores.
  5. Cutting material require a few adjustments. You'll need a fusible bond to make the material rigid is enough to withstand the pressure of the blade. You'll also have to increase the blade pressure to help ensure that the blade cuts all the way through the material.

Clive Hamilton has this handy hint on how to make your cutting mat last longer.

About the cutting mat, if it's too sticky, press a clean t-shirt down on the mat & peel it up to remove some stickiness. If the mat has lost stickiness, wash thoroughly with dish soap (Goo Gone might be needed) and dry thoroughly. Spray with Krylon Easy-Tack, let the Krylon dry thoroughly and, if needed, press & peel a clean t-shirt to remove excess stickiness. Use a lint roller after cutting especially "linty" paper and after each session with your Cricut. The mats will last a really, really long time this way.

Where Can You Compare Prices on the Cricut Machine or Cartridges?

Main site is
Stores: Walmart, Michaels Arts and Crafts, JoAnn Fabric & Crafts,Hobby Lobby, AC Moore Arts & Crafts. eBay also has the machines and a wide variety of cartridges.

New Cricut Expression machine
New Cricut Expression machine
Time Remaining: 4d 16h 4m
Buy It Now for only: $125.00

Cricut Expression machine with extra bonus items
Cricut Expression machine with extra bonus items
$122.51 (13 Bids)
Time Remaining: 4h 36m

NEW CRICUT Expression 2 Machine Electronic CUTTER Cutting BUNDLE MAT Cartridge
NEW CRICUT Expression 2 Machine Electronic CUTTER Cutting BUNDLE MAT Cartridge
Time Remaining: 6d 25m
Buy It Now for only: $200.00

cricut expression machine
cricut expression machine
$57.00 (7 Bids)
Time Remaining: 5h 20m

Time Remaining: 9h 33m
Buy It Now for only: $174.98

Cricut Expression Cutting Machine
Cricut Expression Cutting Machine
$102.75 (2 Bids)
Time Remaining: 7h 24m

EXPRESSION 1 MACHINE ONLY New 12x24 Cricut Die Cutting Cartridge Digital Design
EXPRESSION 1 MACHINE ONLY New 12x24 Cricut Die Cutting Cartridge Digital Design
Time Remaining: 29d 4h 22m
Buy It Now for only: $189.99

$80.00 (5 Bids)
Time Remaining: 10h 35m

Cricut Expression Machine cartridges and more
Cricut Expression Machine cartridges and more
Time Remaining: 2d 6h 9m
Buy It Now for only: $199.95

Cricut expression machine
Cricut expression machine
Time Remaining: 13h 41m
Buy It Now for only: $150.00

Time Remaining: 22d 4h 16m
Buy It Now for only: $199.99

Cricut Expression 2 Pink Digital Die Cutting Machine 2002358
Cricut Expression 2 Pink Digital Die Cutting Machine 2002358
$91.00 (9 Bids)
Time Remaining: 17h 30m

The Cricket Expression, compared to other dye cutters looks like a good value for the money spent.  Crafters sure seem to be having loads of fun with it! Shop around to find the best deal though. There seems to be quite a price range for this machine. You should be able to find it for under $300 and you can also find discount bundles on those expensive ink cartridges online as well. Here's another craft item that does not work so well. If you're interested, you can read more about it here in the Craft Lite Cutter review.

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mrs. Carol Lee February 8, 2010

Thanks for the tip about re-stickying the mat. Unfortunately here in the UK I don’t think we’ve heard of Krylon Easty-tack spray although I’ll certainly put it in my search engine to see if it is available here.

The Cricut Expressions is certainly a pricey machine – even more so for us paupers in the UK. And the cartridges! My goodness they are expensive and our friends in the US seem to have dozens of them!

Very new at the art if I could get a look-in. My beautiful new machine was delivered to my daughter’s address and I wonder if she will ever part with it or will it stay cosily with my Kitchen Aid, leaf vac. and ice cream maker, to name but a few of my purchases that somehow repose with her.

Best wishes,
Carol Lee

2 Theresa February 9, 2010

Good to hear from you Carol. Yes I agree prices on things seem so much higher in the UK. I usually bypass UK websites because it seems like everything is double the price they are here in Canada!

3 Marie June 11, 2010

Thanks for the info on resticking the pads.. I use my cricket to make signs. I named my camper, a boat and put “Dogs st Play” on my fence! I’m going to use it for sewing projects. I’m NOT interested in scrap booking!!! I love my Cricket. My only problem is that I don’t use it effectively. I don’t understand the complexities of its designs and how to change colors within the designs. I wish there were videos to show me how to use it better.

4 Olivia July 7, 2010

I buy all my cartridges on Ebay since you can get really good prices from wholesale vendors. Never paid more than 30 bucks for one of them

5 Stefanie September 7, 2010

My Cricut Expressions was bought on eBay, and as Olivia mentioned, eBay also has cartridges that can be bought much cheaper than in stores. While not all cartridges may be available on eBay, a good number of them are.
.-= Stefanie´s last blog ..There’s a Whole Lot of Chirping Going on at Creative Memories =-.

6 Linda October 22, 2010

I don’t ever pay $60.00 for a cartridge. You can get them for much less on line. Also Joann’s Fabric & Crafts and Michael’s both sell them for under $40 a lot of the time. Once you have just a couple of cartridges you have enough to make tons of projects.

7 larry November 29, 2010

hi, need to know ,,does a cricket machine get louder as you use it over time, thanks larry, please let me know,

8 Theresa December 3, 2010

Hmmmm not sure about that. Although here’s the Cricut Expressions customer service number if you’d like to give them a call. Monday – Friday 7:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. (MST) Cricut support: 801-932-1144

9 Wanda willis December 10, 2010

I purchased the c expression .love it. But the advertistion says you can cut up to 24 Inch or at least 23.5 inches not true. Please email me process for cutting large sizes. I’m so up set. Tried everything. Even spoke to Provo craft. All the lady could say is sorry. Please help am I doing something wrong. I need large letters
Thank you so much I need help

10 Theresa December 13, 2010


Here are two resources that I’m hoping will help you. Have you tried these?
Cricut message board

Contact page for specific questions about the Cricut machine. There’s also links to the left of the page “submit an issue” etc.

Hope this helps!

11 donald hutchinson January 19, 2011

I would like to learn more. How about doing glasses or other glass material.

12 Debbie March 29, 2011

Forget buying cartridges for the Cricuit!!! Purchase and download the program “Make the Cut” for around $60. YOU CAN CUT ANY TRUETYPE FONT OR ANY SVG FILE!!! You can even design your own images!