Sponsored by Cricut.
So, friends, recently, I had the opportunity to try the new Cricut Explore Air 2™ machine craft cutting machine.
As you all know, I’ve been a Silhouette Portrait owner for a few years now, and was sure no other machine could ever come close to having the level of admiration I have for it.. and then I met the Cricut Explore Air™ 2! My first thought upon seeing it was “Holy cow, SO pretty!”.
The machine has a streamlined and sleek design, comes in the prettiest mint green (among other colors) and is surprisingly compact for a full capacity cutter. Imagine if Tiffany’s made craft cutters and you’ll understand – all Audrey Hepburn and white bows. It looks as though you will make only elegant, fabulous creations with it, even if you have no idea what you’re doing.. which I didn’t!
The machine control panel is straightforward and intuitive – I love that you can set your material and blade height just by turning a dial rather than an over-complicated process of checks and balances within the software.
One of my favorite features prior to turning it on was the built-in storage compartments. With a place for everything, there will be no more searching for tools for this girl!
Setup of the machine was simple, and the tutorials and learning opportunities are straightforward and extensive. I was up and running with the first project in a matter of minutes. The dual ports that allow you to house both a pen and a blade simultaneously were impressive, and I had a great time testing this feature out with my first project – a greeting card project on cardstock, the pattern of which is included in the setup of Cricut Explore Air™ 2!
I had never used a pen on my machine before and was shocked by how clear the writing was! The alignment of the device is impeccable. I had never thought to use my machine for anything other than cutting, but I can see using this for coloring pages, line art, and many other projects. I’m not a greeting card guru but you get the idea!
Cutting with cardstock was a breeze – the cut was clean and precise, and there was no fraying of edges in any way. I especially loved how easily the design came away from the cutting mat. The mat is sticky but not so sticky that you can’t remove your project, which I often found was an issue with my Silhouette.
From there I moved on to a simple project of my own – this cute ring holder made from an inexpensive Target dollar aisle find and gold vinyl. I did have to do a bit of research on where to find various tools in the Design Space App (Cricut’s online software, which you install on your computer as a plugin) but the right tutorial was easy to locate, and I was off and running without having to watch the entire video. The Design Studio is easy to use once you know what you’re doing and I love that I won’t have to re-watch a video for the first ten times I use the machine to remember what how to do simple things. Yes, I had to do that in Silhouette Studio repeatedly which drove me a little insane. The Design Studio has over 30,000 images and 370 fonts available with a subscription, and I quickly found a design that would be perfect for my little dish. I ended up cutting my design twice – forgot to center my cut on the vinyl. Oops! But this allowed me to test the fast cut feature. The fast cut feature is quite a bit faster than your standard cut, although I’m not entirely sure it’s 2x the speed. I also noticed it was not quite as concise in the cutting with the faster speed. I think I’ll likely stick to standard speed as it’s plenty fast enough for me!
The machine cuts quietly and smoothly, as compared to my Silhouette which is quite loud to operate and often sounds like it’s grinding when it’s cutting any material. Again, the vinyl was a clean cut even with the small size of the font and weeding the text was simple.
The Cricut Explore Air™ 2 is also Wi-Fi capable which allows you to design, send and monitor cuts from your phone or Ipad, without ever logging onto your laptop. This means I can be working on projects while my monkey is playing at the playground, waiting to taxi someone someplace, or anywhere else the creative bug hits me!
See? Mad crush. Sorry, Silhouette, it’s been great, and I hate to leave you alone with Valentine’s Day coming up, but I love another. I’m kind of smitten with my new little ring dish, too… Seriously, if you are in the market for a new cutting machine, I can’t recommend the Cricut Explore Air™ 2 machine enough. Overall it is a fantastic product, and I’m so excited for all of the projects I’ll be making with it!
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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.