(This Post is sponsored by Cricut, but the thoughts, opinions, and experience expressed in this post are completely my own. You can view my full disclosure HERE. Also, this post does contain affiliate links which when used cost you nothing but do help me out so I thank you 😉
Not all electronic cutting machines are created equal.
I have to confess… years ago ( 7 1/2 to be exact) my mother and I bought a Cricut Expression as well as a handful of cartridges. The idea was to use the box cartridge to make wedding favors for my upcoming wedding. I was soo excited to use my mother’s new Cricut I had been eyeing it at the craft store for a while. Sadly, I came down with the flu and then was unable to follow through with all my grand plans.
I got married, moved out, and quite honestly was soo busy I didn’t even think about the unused Cricut machine sitting in its box in my mother’s craft room (other than briefly in passing) for several years. Life finally settled down and the urge to create fell upon me. I asked my mother if I could borrow her still unused machine to do a few Christmas projects. I have to say, “I LOVED it!” The machine was sooo easy to use and my projects turned out GREAT! (a “Cookies for Santa” Plate and a “Santa’s Milk” mug as well as some cute gift boxes and gift tags.)
I knew at that moment I wanted my own Machine.
There was only one drawback…Back then, Cricut machines were limited to making only what you had cartridges for… I had married a very talented Graphic designer/ illustrator and really wanted to use my cutting machine to make custom projects with my husband’s designs. I told this to my sister who told me what I needed was a Silhouette. She had bought a Silhouette Cameo off Amazon a few months before and she raved about the customizability it allowed.
Listening to my sister’s advice I went and for my Birthday 2 1/2 years ago I bought a Silhouette, Cameo along with the extra software program (to allow me to use my own designs), PixScan mat and various cutting materials. I was super excited when my machine and accessories arrived. I was ready to get crafting.
I had only used my cameo a few times before I regretted my choice.
Where the Cricut machine my mom owned was very user-friendly the Silhouette Studio was confusing and often frustrating. I tried their PixScan mat to take the printed illustrations my husband had created for me to make a wood block nativity set and it was a disaster. The cut was not aligning right, the print smeared on the matt, and I ended up hand cutting out each image and never trying the PixScan again.
I also noticed that the blade on my silhouette wore out extremely fast and had to be replaced often (If I tried to use it on anything but cardstock or vinyl) or it would snag on my intricate cut designs making me have to cut them again and waste my material. Though my various projects turned out well in the end, I got sooo frustrated in the process that after just a few projects I ended up putting my Cameo away in its box where it sat for the next year much to my husband’s dismay.
If only I could have the customizability of the Silhouette with the durable blades and easy user-friendly interface of the Cricut… This was my constant lament until the day I heard about the Cricut Explore Air.
Can I say Wow! Cricut sure had come a long way from that first unit we bought 7 1/2 years ago. The Cricut Explore Air answered all my needs and wants and then some. No longer needing the cartridges I could easily use my own designs or for a small monthly fee I could use the hundreds of designs available in Cricut’s Design Space. The Cricut machine was made to easily work with many different materials (even crafting metal) with ease. **Though some materials like crafting metal require the deep cut blade for optimal use.
When I showed my husband the side by side comparison of my Silhouette Cameo and the Cricut Explore Air even he was duly impressed.
I told my husband that if I could switch machines that I would finally be able to do some of those custom projects for our kids that I was struggling to do on the Silhouette. (like that wood block nativity). I promised that I would use it often and when he saw how much I wanted it he agreed that it was time to once and for all switch back to Cricut. **For a comparison between Cricut Units and Silhouette Cameo click here.
Opening and then using my Cricut was like Christmas and my birthday all wrapped up in one. After I had set up my machine my kids begged me to let them each do a project on it. And so we did to all our mutual enjoyment. Seriously, in the last month and a half of owning my Cricut Explore Air I have used it MORE than I used my Silhouette Cameo in 2 1/2 years. I have worked with various materials from Vinyl to Cardstock, to Iron-On Transfer and I my blade is still cutting just great!
In addition to the Trendy T-Shirts for my whole family (which my husband liked soo much he has asked that I make some custom work t-shirts with his logo on them) and the Adorable Classy Baby Onesies (SVG Cut files available FREE in post), I have also made a few cards, and a cardstock Robot (using the Cricut Design Space files). The last project I did before we had to pack up for our move was an adorable Butterfly Mobile (made at the request of my daughter for her room. I’ll have the DIY post for it up soon…)
One of my favorite things about the Cricut Explore Air (other than the durable blades and user-friendly interface for design work) is that my machine is both Wifi and BlueTooth compatible with my iPad. This means that not only can I create designs on either my computer or my iPad (with Cricut Design Space) but when it comes time to get out my machine I am not confined to my cramped office space but can use the kitchen table which is much larger a space making it easier for bigger projects. It also means I am more mobile. I can take my Cricut anywhere (My kitchen table, My sister’s house, Crafternoons with fellow crafty friends, and even the library if I wanted) to make my projects. As long as I have access to the Wifi for the design and have my iPad with me I am good to go! I can’t tell you how much more easy this has made working on projects for me.
My husband thought it was cool that there is a place in the circuit Explore Air to store my extra tools like my weeder and scissors as well as extra blades. This makes it even easier to take with me wherever I want to go and uses up less storage space at home.
Now that we have moved and settled in, I can’t wait to work on some other fun projects which I will for sure post about here on my blog so stay tuned!
If you’re still unsure about which one to chose, check out these other posts from my fellow Cricut bloggers who did a comparison, or wrote about why they love their Cricut:
Comparing the Explore Air 2 & the Cameo 3 – PMQ for two
5 Reasons Why I Traded My Silhouette Cameo for The Cricut Explore Air – Tastefully Frugal
Why I replaced My Silhouette Cameo with a Cricut Explore Air – The Quiet Grove
Silhouette Cameo VS. Cricut Explore Air – It Happens In A Blink
Why I love my Cricut Explore – Crafting In The Rain
Why I Switched from a Silhouette to a Cricut Explore Air – Housewife Eclectic
Cricut vs. Silhouette: Why the Cricut Explore Continually Wins – Becoming Martha
Top 10 Reasons why I love my Cricut Explore – Brooklyn Berry Designs
Why I switched to the Cricut Explore – My Mom Made That
Now, if you want to win a Cricut Explore Air 2 of your own follow the rules on the rafflecopter below! The contest runs from January 18th to January 25th. The winner will be notified within 24hrs after the contest closes.
When you get your new machine make sure to check back here often for new designs you can make with it because this is going to be a crafty Summer at the Groves house!!