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?
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.
Cricket Expression - The Good and Bad
- 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.
- The machine itself is very pricey at around $300.
- 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.
- Small letters are hard to get up from the mat without ripping them. It's better to use stickers instead.
- 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.
- 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.
- Shop around at fabric stores and craft stores to get the best price for your Cricut. Buy your cartridges at your local discount stores.
- 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 www.cricut.com
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.
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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.