Wednesday, June 1, 2016
Why I Switched from a Silhouette to a Cricut Explore Air
Over the years, I have gone through six different crafting machines. My first machine was an older Cricut. Then, longing to be able to cut all of the geeky images I wanted, I tried out a Silhouette. I loved the updated abilities and was really happy, until I used a Cricut Explore for the first time. It did all of the things I had no idea I wanted. I could design with the click of a button, and I could still buy projects if I wanted something easy, but I could upload and make all the Doctor Who things I wanted. I switched just over a year ago after using a friend's machine and knowing I had to have one. My husband bought my machine for me for Christmas and now I am happy to be working with Cricut. Here are 10 reasons why.
1. Noise. I remember the first time I plugged in my Silhouette and made a test cut, I thought there was something wrong with the machine because it was so loud. At the time, our computer happened to be very close to our room and my husband jumped out of bed to see what was wrong. My Explore is much, much quieter, which I love, because I can cut things during nap time without worrying, and let's face it, most of my craft time is during nap time.
2. Teeny Tiny Cuts. One of the reasons I decided to switch brands is because I was looking for a machine that would do more precise, tiny cuts. Before I made the switch to the Cricut, I had a few projects that I ended up having to finish with blade by hand, and I didn't want to have to worry about that anymore. I cut tiny origami-inspired cranes for my daughters' room with the Cricut and they all cut beautifully!
3. Different Materials. Oh the things you can cut! I cut a lot of glitter paper. I have also cut felt and even leather. Seriously, if you can fit it under the rollers, this machine can cut it. This image created by an independent third party lab testing the Silhouette against the Explore says it all. Look how many passes the Explore has. Find the full study here.
4. It is free to upload SVG files. There are about a million free SVG files on the internet. In fact, every time I find one I like, I save it for the future. SVG files are easy to cut, so I wanted a machine that would let me use them. The Cricut software automatically lets you use them for free. The Silhouette software forces you to pay to upgrade to their premium software if you want to use these files.
5. Super User Friendly. Most of my family is not technologically savvy... at all. My sister desperately wanted a cutting machine, but was terrified of learning the software. After I used the Cricut Explore for the first time, I called her and told her I found a machine for her. The software is simple, extremely easy to use, and well labeled. Someone who isn't great with computers or crafting could make something with the Explore.
6. iPad. You can design, and cut from your iPad. Seriously. I thought I would never ever use this feature, but then I wanted to bring my machine to my friend's house to work, so I brought my iPad and it worked fantastically! It is an awesome feature to keep you from lugging around a computer on the go, or honestly, it is all sorts of cool to just be able to sit and design on your couch while you watch TV.
7. Drawing and scoring capabilities. There is a pen holder built straight into the Explore that lets you put a pen or scoring stylus right into the machine to sketch or score. When I wanted to do this with my other machine, I looked up how to do it and a whole bunch of people were creating hacked pens to try to sketch. No need to hack anything here – the machine is made to do it.
8. Print and Cut. The print and cut on this machine is seriously precise. It allows you design something, print it out, and then have the machine cut around it. Both the Silhouette and Cricut can do this, but the Cricut Explore wins precision.
9. The Smart Dial. With my other machine, I was constantly looking up online what I needed to set my blade to. With the Explore, there is a labeled dial right on the machine and you select paper, fabric, cardstock, iron-on, poster board or custom, right on the dial. No guessing. If I am cutting vinyl, I select vinyl. If I am cutting thick vinyl (such as glitter vinyl), I select vinyl +. It works perfect every time. If you are cutting something there isn't a option for, the software will walk you through your selection too.
10. Blade Longevity. I used to go through blades all the time. ALL. THE. TIME. I went through so many that I literally had them on my Amazon Subscribe and Save to auto ship to me. I am still on my original blade with my machine, and that is through a year of parties, invites and craft projects. To me, that is very impressive.
The details on the machine are fantastic too. I love the built-in storage for my tools, blades and pens. Cricut mats are the best. Even when I was using a different machine, I bought Cricut mats. They have regular mats, long mats and light stick mats. They are the best. The Cricut tools are also really amazing. I keep buying the tool sets as gifts for people that have cutting machines and they love them!
I use my machine all the time. I convinced my sister to get one and I even convinced my husband's work that they needed one for the office. It is honestly my favorite crafting tool!
Ready to upgrade? Now is the time to do it. Right now Cricut will give you $50 off a new machine if you upgrade from an older Cricut or even a different brand of machine, like I did. All you need to do is send in two photos of your old machine — one of the machine and one of the serial number — by June 30, 2016. That is it! Go here for full details.
What do you want in a crafting machine?