“This is the machine crafters want. It cuts, scores and draws on everything from paper to wood.”
- Cuts, embosses and scores
- Draws and writes
- Uses a wide range of materials
- Super intuitive
- Feels sturdy
- Glitchy app
- Sticky mats are annoying
- No screen
Cricut has produced the pinnacle of paper crafting machines since 2006. Even though these machines are highly coveted among crafters, the company decided to up its game and create a machine that can do just about anything. So, the Cricut Maker ($399.99) was born.
This machine can cut, score, emboss, and perforate paper. That’s to be expected with this type of machine. However, it can also cut vinyl, thin wood, fabric, cardboard and felt, and draw using special pens you place in the machine.
While the Cricut Maker seems to do it all, it does have some limitations. Let’s dive into what this crafting machine has to offer.
The Maker works a little differently than its competition. You don’t scan designs that you want to cut. You upload images to your Cricut Design Space account, or you can choose from thousands of pre-made designs. I found this much easier than trying to find the right shape, print it off, and then scan it into my cutting machine. With the Maker, as soon as I had an idea, I could search for the right shape using the Design Space online or through the app. Then, I added it to my virtual canvas, tweaked it the way I wanted it, and then sent the image to the Maker to cut.
You also have the option of joining the Cricut Access membership plan ($9.99 per month) that gives you access to over 100,000 fonts, images, and projects that you can use with your Maker machine. The membership also gives you discounts on supplies.
No so app-tastic
I was excited that I could use the Cricut app to find projects, fonts, and shapes to send to the Maker. I set up the machine on my coffee table and started cutting various shapes for a holiday project while I watched television. I was very soon frazzled, though.
The app is super glitchy and has a tendency to crash while you’re creating projects. A glance at the app’s reviews on the Android Play Store gives me the impression that I’m not the only one frustrated with the app.
After struggling for over an hour, I gave up and grabbed my laptop. The online site works fantastically, and I was able to get my projects cut right away.
While the app didn’t wow me, the capabilities of the Cricut Maker did. It’s easy to get started, thanks to the step-by-step guide and the fool-proof design of the Cricut Design Space website. The site is completely intuitive and guides you through making a project. It asks you what type of material you’re using and suggests what type of tool to load in the machine, so you get good results.
Speaking of results, the cuts are spectacular. The cuts Maker made on fabric were precise and didn’t leave behind shredded edges. The paper cuts were sharp and the vinyl creations were perfect.
The only material that I wasn’t impressed with was wood. My project was left with some areas that weren’t cut all of the way through, even though I used wood sold by Cricut specifically for the machine.
If you’re like me, you’ve looked at beautifully created crafts on Pinterest with perfectly handwritten font, longing to be able to write so beautifully.
Well, the people at Cricut must have heard our silent wishes, because the Maker can write anything you like on your projects in beautiful script. All you have to do is place a special pen in the machine’s A slot, type up what you want to say on the canvas project page, choose a font and then set the line type to Draw.
I love the Maker, but there are some features that could make it better. For example, I would have appreciated a built-in screen like the one you find on the Brother ScanNCut2, so I could use the machine without my phone or laptop.
I’d also like to cut items without sticking them to a mat, like with the Silhouette Cameo 4. I found peeling the finished cut items off the mats often left them creased or wrinkled if I wasn’t careful and slow.
Also, I recommend budgeting some money for accessories. For example, it only comes with one blade, and you will need many different types of blades to achieve all of the features the Maker has to offer, like embossing, cutting wood, and scoring. It also doesn’t come with a scraper, which is a must to keep the sticky mats clean.
Overall, though the Cricut Maker has some limitations due to its glitchy app, lack of screen and reliance on sticky mats, it’s a solid crafting machine that really doesn’t have a close rival on the market. It makes clean cuts and really gives your crafts a professional edge that will wow your friends and family.
Is there a better alternative?
No other machine has the versatility in what it can cut combined with the ability to draw on projects.
How long will it last?
The Cricut Maker seems sturdy. The plastic casing is thick and the cutter and pen holders are made out of thick metal. Plus, it comes with a one year limited warranty.
Should you buy it?
Yes. It’s a little pricey at $399.99, but if you want a machine with versatility, it’s worth it.
- Being small isn’t the Cricut Joy’s only trick for crafters
- Best gas snowblowers for 2020
- The best projector screens for 2020
- Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Infinitely reusable notepads and ingenious AC
- The best laptops for 2020