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Monday, June 6, 2016

Cricut Explore: My Favorite Crafting Tool

Here at Artsy-Fartsy Mama, I only want to share products with you that I honestly enjoy using myself. If you've been following here a while, it's no secret that I love using my Cricut Explore machine. While sharing multiple tutorials with you over the past few years, I realized that I've never actually told you why I love this machine.

I have owned other machines in the past (and have shared tutorials using them, too) and liked them at the time. They had their benefits, but overall, projects took a lot of user error and practice to get things right. When I was first introduced to the Cricut Explore, I was a bit nervous about learning a whole new machine. One thing I learned right away was that the Cricut team has done so much to make sure that this machine is user-friendly. Even if you feel like you aren't crafty or technology-savvy, you don't need to worry. You can do this.

In the spirit of full disclosure, this post contains affiliate links. That means that I may get a commission if you decide to purchase anything from Cricut. However, I only recommend products that I use and love myself, so I know you’ll be in good hands.

Why should you choose the Cricut Explore? Find out at

One of my favorite parts of this machine is the Smart Set Dial. Depending on what you want to cut, all you have to do is adjust the dial and go. No adjusting blade lengths, cut speeds, etc. All that nonsense is automatically programmed into the machine to cut your project right the first time - so you don't have to waste time, material, and sanity. There's also a huge list of other materials you can cut by using the "Custom" setting on the dial (like vellum, glitter cardstock, fabric, and even wood to name a few).

Why should you choose the Cricut Explore? Find out at

Did you know that you can cut AND draw at the same time? Cricut pens come in multiple colors and thicknesses so that you can write, draw, and/or color any project to perfection! You can even use fonts in your designs that can be written with the pens that are really fun to use on projects like cards and wall art.

The blades are also something that I have been really impressed with. It is built to last! I've noticed that only after you cut a bunch of thicker materials and/or are having a serious cutting party, you will rarely need to replace the blade. In exception of using a deep cut blade (instead of a regular blade) for thicker materials, I have never needed to adjust the blade or exchange it with another just to cut another material.

*A great tip for keeping your cuts looking beautiful: after cutting things like fabric or glitter cardstock, remove the blade from the housing and simply blow on it to remove any particles left behind!

Why should you choose the Cricut Explore? Find out at

I don't know about you, but when I'm knee-deep in a project, I am always losing my scissors and weeding hook. Having a spot right there on the machine to keep my Cricut tools all in one place has saved me so much time and sanity. I'm always needing help with organization, so this really is so smart!!

If you are someone who has used older Cricut machines, I'd guess that you are extremely familiar with the cartridges. See that little rectangle just above the "Open" button? You can load your current cartridges into your Design Space account to keep all your images in one place.

Why should you choose the Cricut Explore? Find out at

Speaking of organization, this secret storage for your tools and spare blades right there in the machine is awesome. Like I mentioned before, I'm always losing things and need all the help I can get. Not only is this feature incredibly useful - all those Cricut tools together look so fun and colorful!

Why should you choose the Cricut Explore? Find out at

To use the Cricut Explore, you need a computer and internet. There's a USB cord that you can connect the machine to your computer to cut your designs. This wireless adapter pictured above has taken my crafting a step further by allowing me to connect to my machine via Bluetooth. Working wirelessly has been such a convenient way to craft and also makes it possible for you to use the iPad and iPhone app to create.

Why should you choose the Cricut Explore? Find out at

Like a drill or a saw, the Cricut Explore is merely a tool to get a job done. Design Space is where all the magic happens. If you aren't sure how to go about making a project on your own, you can choose Make It Now projects that will guide you through the entire process from beginning to end.

Being a graphic designer, I am always creating my own images for custom designs. It's easy and FREE to upload your own images from your computer (.jpg, .gif, .png, .bmp, .svg or .dxf files) to print and cut. If you aren't a designer, I'd highly recommend sign up for Cricut Access to have unlimited access to over 30,000 images, 1,000 projects, and 370 fonts.

Here's a few of our favorite Cricut Explore projects:
Get creative with the Cricut Explore! Find out more at
Vinyl Transfer Hack  |  Paper Flower Wreath  |  DIY Unicorn Coloring Shirt  |  You Are Loved Blocks  |  DIY Custom Lunch Box

If you've been debating on making the switch to Cricut, now is the perfect time! Cricut now has the Cricut Explore Air 2 machine available. I have written about the difference between the Cricut Explore and Cricut Explore Air 2 to help you out. I have also compiled a list of must-have Cricut Explore tools to get you started!

I'd love to help answer any questions you have, or feel free to tell me what you love about your Cricut!

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Thank you so much stopping by! If you have any questions, please leave them here and I'll try to answer ASAP!