The biggest drawback has always been the price. It's sooooooo not cheap. And the first models required that you buy cartridges of images that you would plug into the cricut, kind of like the original Nintendo. You couldn't play without the cartridges. But the cartridges cost as much as a small island. Another deterrent.
Fast forward to 2014 and today's model has no need for cartridges thanks to the internet and the cloud. But it has a slot to put cartridges in case you've upgraded.
The price hasn't gone down because the machine has gotten fancier, but now the possibilities are so limitless, your head would spin right off if you started thinking Paper, leather, plastic, vinyl, fabric- just about anything you can slide into the machine can be cut!
I got the Cricut Explore for school, through a fabulous website called www.donorschoose.org so I didn't acutally have to cough up the million dollars it would otherwise have cost. I have grand plans for using this in my classroom.
Rather than fight with it at school until I know how it works, I brought it home to try to figure out all of the ins and outs so that when I bring it back to school to use, it will work like a dream. Plus, when
The first thing I discovered is that it really requires a lot of space.
Like so many techy things these days, no CDs are necessary, so I had to go to the website and download the software.
So I did. But it didn't like what I did. There was a lot of waiting. And a lot of these faces. And more downloading until it was eventually satisfied enough.
Just as I suspected the first evening was rough.
Eventually, I got into the software and started playing with things. And then I realized, I had so many things I wanted to do, I didn't even know where to begin.
They give this packet of introductory materials to cut, but they don't give any suggestions about what to do.
I somehow decided making snowflakes was a good first project. Snowflakes have nothing to do with my classroom, but nothing French was coming to mind in those first hours.
Oh good, now I can go buy markers to do even more things. I'm a tad overwhelmed with all of the possibilities...
I'm not sure why, but this package came with A LOT of vinyl.
How surprised was I when I went through the effort of cutting some vinyl snowflakes and discovered this isn't window cling vinyl, it's sticky vinyl to make stickers.
So, these snowflakes are now stuck to the slider and might need to be scraped off at a later date. I had grand plans of them just peeling off to use again next year. They make window cling vinyl which I actually think will stick to my walls at school and I would be able to reuse it, so that's next on the investigation list.
I also quickly learned that the material you are cutting really needs to start in the upper left corner at all times.
This is one of the things I'm shocked about. There was no kind of guide that said "don't do this, don't EVER do this, it won't do this if you do this..." etc. I've literally just winged the entire thing. Being a child of the technology generation, this hasn't been too difficult but trying to imagine someone over the age of 40 just winging it and making it work is really surprising to me.
That goes for the images too. There's a lot you can do with making backgrounds disappear and deciding what to include in the cutting, but I only figured it out because my hours spent playing with the Microsoft office suite and knowing how to manipulate things in word, powerpoint and publisher.
I always go back to trying to imagine my grandmother trying to understand a contraption like this. My family is rolling on the floor gasping as they imagine that because she never could understand the VCR, let alone a Cricut that's actually attached to the computer. A computer! It is easy to use but not as innate as some pieces of technology are in this century.
One thing I didn't quite figure out last night is the new thing you can do with your own images. You can upload something of your own, manipulate it just as you want and then teach it how to cut out right around your image. My issue was my image, not the machine.
But, the calibration process is pretty cool. It prints this to your regular printer.
Forget my grandmother, I'm not sure I can comprehend the scope of what this can do!
I picked a less than awesome picture of the Eiffel Tower and by the time I was done editing, it didn't look good at all, so I didn't save it and will work on it another day.
K-ster is pretty fascinated with the idea of the Cricut but he wasn't home when I started playing. He's only seen the aftermath of my first attempts. I know if he sits down, he will be equally hooked and we'll have piles and piles of strange things that we've cut and glued.
My initial plan was to make stencils so I could paint the names of French speaking countries on the mats that we use in every class.
Then I thought I'd customize some great materials that would be ideal for my specific classroom.
Then I thought when we have our silent auction fundraiser, I could make some cool cards and things to auction off for our PTO.
Then I thought I might just plaster my entire classroom with amazing vinyl stickers.
Pandora's box is wide open so watch out!
One thing I love is how neatly it packs away in its own bag.
*all comments and opinions about the Cricut are my own and I am not affiliated in anyway with the Provo craft company or any of its subsidiaries. I am madly in love with the Cricut and would be happy to demo anything that Provo would like to send my way.*