When the COVID-19 pandemic hit back in 2020, my husband and I were one of the lucky few who managed to hold on to our day jobs. As we adjusted to the new normal, we were able to find ways of keeping sane during the pandemic and maximize the time we had at home, which included getting work done, attending meetings, making sure the kids are fed, cleaning the house, taking out the garbage, making sure the dogs are walked, and all of the other wonderful things about home life.
Daunting at first, we soon fell into a rhythm that allowed us to feel like we’ve accomplished everything we needed to throughout the day. In fact, we were so efficient that I found myself with an extra few hours in the afternoon. Sure, I use some of it to sneak a cheeky nap or read a few pages of my book or spend time with the hubby, but for the rest of it, I decided to start a micro-business of sorts: creating craft projects that I sell online. It’s not going to make me rich, but it does help me continuously develop my creative skills!
During my pursuit of craft supremacy, I came upon the Cricut Maker, a die-cutting machine that’s meant for the home crafter like myself. The Cricut Maker promised a smoother, easier way of turning your designs into physical reality. But does it do what it says on the tin? Let’s find out! In this article, I review the Cricut Maker and walk you through what I liked, what I didn’t like, and what I loved about it
The Cricut Maker: Set-up Was a Breeze
As an “older millennial”, I would say I’m pretty adept at setting up devices, and thankfully, the Cricut Maker makes the process even easier. First, you pair the machine via Bluetooth with your smartphone. Then, it’ll lead you to the Cricut website, which will then prompt you to download the company’s proprietary design app, DesignSpace. From there, you register your device, complete the connection between your smartphone (or tablet and laptop) and the Cricut Maker, and you’re all set!
Here’s a couple of things I didn’t like though: you need to use the DesignSpace app for any and all designs you want to cut using the Cricut Maker. If you have your own design, you need to upload it to the DesignSpace app (I use my desktop computer for it). It’s not terribly inconvenient, but it’s an extra step that I could have done without. There’s also the issue of reconnecting your Bluetooth connection every time you turn the Cricut Maker on or off. Again, not a big issue, but pretty unnecessary IMHO.
At least it’s pretty, though! The Cricut Maker looks like your everyday desktop printer, with rounded corners and sleek edges. We got the lilac color because I like to be fancy, and it’s honestly pretty enough to sit on a desk without feeling the need to cover it up!
So, it’s pretty and set-up is a breeze (despite a couple of downsides), but how does it perform?
The Cricut Maker Makes Die-Cutting Look Easy
The Cricut Maker makes the entire die-cutting process as easy as possible: the DesignSpace app has thousands of designs to choose from that you can just select on your smartphone and have the machine do all the hard work for you. Custom projects, on the other hand, will require just a tiny smidge of brainpower, but it’s not much!
While the machine is doing its thing, it does make a fair bit of noise: not enough for the neighbors to call the police, but it’s then definitely enough to interrupt any Zoom meetings happening in the next room. The vanilla version of the machine comes with two blades, a rotary cutter for fabrics, and knifepoint.
Specialized accessories can be purchased from the Cricut website, but since I’m still a bit of a newbie, I decided to stick with the tools at hand before moving on to more advanced projects. I’ll probably look into crafting things that will act as life hacks to make life simpler, but for now, I’m perfecting my pretty cards and little cardholders catalog.
After inputting the design and putting in your material and lining it up, you just press the “Go” button on the smartphone app, stand aside, and let the Cricut Maker do its thing. It has two speeds: normal and fast. I tried both and there wasn’t a significant change in quality, with the only difference being that the fast mode works, well, twice as fast as normal.
Here’s what I didn’t like, though: the light grip mat is a bit sticky, which makes lining up cardstock a little nerve-wracking. After all, a crooked placement means a crooked card, and a crooked card is a ruined one. You’ll need to be extra precise when setting up your material, and unfortunately, the light grip mat doesn’t make it easy.
The Cricut Maker: Should You Get One?
Here’s the bottom line: if you’re heavily into DIY projects or crafting or running a small business, then the Cricut Maker is definitely something you should have in your crafts arsenal. It’s lightweight, efficient, very easy to use, and while it does have a couple of drawbacks, they’re not enough to detract from the fact that the Cricut Maker makes the crafting process quick, easy, and even more fun than it already is.
However, if you just casually dabble into crafting, then the almost $400 price tag of the Cricut Maker might be a bit of a turnoff. For me personally, I’ve been able to get my ROI from my Cricut Maker in just a few months, and while it’s not going to be my day job, crafting using my Cricut Maker is earning me enough to buy my family a few more special dinners every month (not to mention help teach my kids about sustainability at home)!
So, yes, I urge you to get a Cricut Maker if you’re into arts and crafts. You can use it to come up with fun bonding activities with your kids, too
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