Exploring the Cricut Explore Air Machine
I’m so excited this week to be sharing with you my new Cricut Explore Air cutting machine! With Christmas right around the corner this would make the perfect gift for the crafter in your life. I use a lot of different tools when crafting, but I have to say that the Cricut is one of my very favorites! I’ve been using it for about six months, and now that I have gotten to know it well, I want to write a three post series this week to show you why I love my Cricut Explore Air so much and how it makes crafting easier. Today I want to introduce you to the machine. I’ll tell you everything I know about it and what I think. I’ll answer any questions you have too. On Wednesday I want show you just how easy it is to make projects with the amazing Cricut design studio. Seriously amazing projects in less than 5 minutes! And on Friday I will show you how easy it is to make your own custom designs from any image.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.
Lets get started!
What is the Cricut Explore Air?
Cricut Explore Air is an electronic cutting machine for DIY projects and crafts. You can cut over 60 different materials with it. Use Paper, Cardstock, Vinyl, Fabric or even slightly thicker materials like leather, just to name a few. It’s easy to create anything from cards and invitations to party and home decor.
What features does it have?
There are lots of fun features for the Cricut Explore Air. Gone are the days when you need cartridges to cut an image. You can upload your own images to cut, which is my very favorite feature! The design studio has thousands of ready to make images to pick from too. Of course, you can still use your old cartridges with it as well, so there’s no wasted purchases from those older model machines!
This is a list of all of the features offered on the Explore Air machine:
- Embedded Bluetooth® for wireless cutting
- Dual carriage for cutting and writing or cutting and scoring in one step
- Upload your own images for free (.svg, .jpg, .png, .bmp, .gif, .dxf)
- Cut over 60 materials from vellum to leather
- Smart Set® dial for easy material settings
- Free Cricut Design Space™ online software and iPad/iPhone app
- Cut Smart® precision cutting
- Works with all Cricut® cartridges
- Integrated storage compartments for all of your accessories
What was my First impression?
It was a pleasant surprise to find out how easy it was to set up the Cricut Explore Air. After removing it from the box, all I needed to do was download the free Cricut Design Space software and plug the machine in! The Design Space is very easy to use, even for a beginner.
It was assumed that I would need to keep my Cricut on my crowded desk next to the computer in order to use it. I don’t know about you, but my desk is always super cluttered. Imagine my surprise and delight when I realized that was not the case! With the Bluetooth capabilities, and my iPhone, I can set it up anywhere I’d like! So out into the Craft Shack it went, where there is plenty of room for it! If you don’t have an iPhone, you can connect to your computer via Bluetooth or you can plug directly into the computer with the provided USB cable. Projects made on the computer in the Design space will show up in the App on your phone, or the other way around. It’s all connected. I can design anywhere, and cut in the Craft Shed where all of my supplies are kept together.
On the Machine you’ll find:
The Smart Set® dial contains all of the different cut settings for the machine. Before you send an image from the Design Space to the Cricut, you will tell it what material you are cutting, and it will tell you which dial setting you should have. It’s so simple!
The “Open” button opens the machine up. It’s super cool slow motion my son says reminds him of a space ship. With a little “woooosh” your machine is open and ready to use.
In the base of the Cricut there are awesome “secret” compartments to hold your accessories like the weeding and scoring tools, and extra blades. They fold right back up into the Cricut for the perfect storage solution!
The “Dual carriage” holds a blade for cutting, and at the same time you can put in the scoring tool, or a marker for simple writing, cutting or scoring all in one simple step. I love that the Cricut Explore air adjusts the blade setting for you, rather than you having to do it yourself. I don’t like to mess with the blades. The machine raises or lowers the blade to the proper length depending on the setting you choose for the material you wish to cut. The thicker materials like leather require purchasing a deep cutting blade to replace the standard blade.
If you have older cartridges from previous Cricut machines, there is a port on the Explore air to insert those and add them to your Cricut online Design Space account. It works with all Cricut cartridges.
Using the Cricut Explore Air:
You will need to create a user account to use in the Design Space. It’s super easy! You can manage any subscriptions from there, or import your own images to use. After choosing the image you want to cut, and the material you want it cut on, it’s as simple as telling the machine to Go!
Place your desired material onto the sticky cutting mat and insert it into the machine using the mat load/unload button. The buttons on the machine blink when it’s time to use them so you’ll never push the wrong one on accident.
Depending on how intricate your image is, it could take anywhere from a minute to 15 minutes to cut it out. The machine, thankfully, does all the work for you! I loved how quiet it was while working. Not all cutting machines are.
When it’s finished cutting, simply push the mat load/unload button again and peel your design off the cutting mat. The weeder tool helps to remove small unwanted pieces from your design.
*A little tip: When your mat is brand new it will be too sticky for paper projects. A mat that’s too sticky will ruin a paper or cardstock project which is no good! To help that, press your brand new sticky mat onto your tshirt, give it a big hug, and peel it off! The fibers from your shirt will lessen the sticky just the right amount and you won’t ruin your paper projects!
Check back in on Wednesday and I will show you how to make a super easy ready to make project from the Design Space with just a few steps. I promise you’ll love it!
A little hint, You saw it on Friday as a decoration at my paint party!