Here I am, just like you, looking at all of the cool things that can be made with a Cricut, and I’m excited to get started but I don’t even have a machine or accessories yet! I’m going to take you through my process of choosing a machine and we will go down this rabbit hole of fun together.
First, I must admit: I have borrowed a Cricut machine before and used it with much success. I am not a complete novice. I’ve cut paper, made cards (Easter, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Halloween, and Birthday cards), and given them to my grandchildren, husband, and friends.
But my ideas are much grander now! I especially want to do designs on clothing. I don’t want to borrow a machine any longer, so here I am jumping into the Cricut universe.
Here’s how to choose between the Cricut Explore 3 and the Maker 3, as well as what accessories and tools you need to have to get started.
Why You Might Want a Cricut Machine
If you enjoy crafting and DIY projects, you’re definitely going to be interested in the concept of a Cricut machine. I find the best way to visualize if a Cricut machine is right for you is by looking at example projects you can do!
Here are just a few examples of Cricut projects:
- Personalized t-shirts or tote bags
- Leather earrings
- Vinyl wall art
- Canister or DIY hand soap labels
- Hand-made personalized cards
Scroll through some project ideas to get an idea of what you can do:
If any of those sound like fun to you, keep reading!
Cricut Machines In 2022: Explore 3 vs. Maker 3 vs. Maker
The big difference, besides the price, is the cutting force.
The Maker and Maker 3 have ten times the strength, so it can cut a much bigger variety of materials. Think fabric, wood, metal, and ever-popular paper. With that difference in strength, you will need to get different tools, or blades, to cut those different materials.
The Explore 3 is great for basic projects-cards, any papercraft, vinyl, and iron-on transfers. If that’s all you ever plan to do, save the money and get the Explore.
BUT… I’m not sure I really want to stop there. I may want to try to cut fabric or wood and make perfect and sharp folds on denser material. So, for me, I will be purchasing the Cricut Maker.
I chose the regular Cricut Maker instead of the Maker 3 because the machines are very similar but the price cut on the Maker makes a difference for my budget. Both machines can cut 300+ materials and are compatible with 13 tools for cutting, writing, scoring, foiling, and embellishing. (You can view the Cricut machine comparison chart here.)
Comparing both types of machines can get really complicated, but hopefully, this helps simplify things for you.
To sum it up: If you plan to do basic projects like cards and iron-on transfers, save your money and get the Explore 3. If you want the option to do more complex projects on materials like wood or metal, get the Maker or Maker 3.
Cricut Machine Bundles
I mentioned that I’m jumping down the Cricut and DIY crafting rabbit hole, so I’m going to be purchasing a lot of tools and materials to get started. In Cricut language, that means I need to buy a “bundle.”
I don’t really mean I’m buying a lot (well, maybe I will), but that actually means Cricut has a deal where they will “bundle” many products together so you can get started and try out a variety of materials and tools. I really like that idea, so I’m bundling the machine with products.
If you are just getting started, I suggest you get a bundle also. Both machines can be purchased with a bundle.
Must-Have Cricut Accessories and Materials
Here are the MUST HAVE Cricut accessories and materials:
- Basic Tool Kit: Tweezers, Weeder, Scissors, Spatula, and Scraper
- Cricut Pen: You should at least have the pen in black, but you can purchase many colors
- Mats: All machines come with one mat; I really like the standard and light grip for paper. I will also want to get a FabricGrip Mat to cut fabric.
- Blades: All machines come with the Fine Point Blade. The Maker 3 comes with the Rotary Blade also. I will probably also purchase the Deep Point Blade.
- Materials: Get whatever you plan to work with – paper, vinyl, iron-on vinyl, fabric, wood, or leather. I know a gal who makes beautiful leather earrings with her Cricut! So think outside the box!
Should You Splurge On the Easy Press?
If you want to personalize fabric (t-shirts, onesies, bibs, baby hats…) you might want to splurge on the Easy Press. This machine will heat up quickly and press your entire iron-on at once.
Oh boy, I’m so tempted! Custom onesies are on my to-do list! Yes, you can press with your home iron, but this would be WAY cooler.
So what will you purchase? First, decide what you want to create! That should dictate what you buy. I want to continue to do paper crafts, but I also want to branch out and do iron-ons to personalize onesies and children’s t-shirts for my family. I’d also like to try my hand at cutting some leather to make some earrings and I want to cut fabric to do an iron-on Fabric transfer to clothing or bags.
What I Decided to Purchase From Cricut
Here’s a list of what I purchased from Cricut today:
- Cricut Maker + Everything Materials Bundle, click here to see what comes with this Bundle
- Everyday Iron-On in Black, Petal, and Ocean
- Easy Press 2 in Mint (Yes, I gave in and splurged!)
I’m so excited to begin my Cricut crafting journey, and I hope you will come along with me! This is all about expressing myself in new ways and letting that creative side of me out to play.
When my new Christmas “toys” arrive, I’ll share my first project with you.
Here’s to a great new year with new experiences, opportunities to make new things, and plenty of homemade gift-giving.
What could be better than receiving items hand-made with love? Ooooo, Valentine’s day is right around the corner!