The Cricut Maker is one of the top personal cutters available on the market right now – is it the right one for you? Here is everything you need to know about this beast of a machine!
It has been several years since the release of the Cricut Maker.
It feels like just yesterday as I was sitting at the Grand America at the Cricut Make-a-Thon as they made announcement after announcement about new products.
And finally…the Cricut Maker.
It was so exciting – and for good reason. The Cricut Maker is an incredible machine, and I have absolutely LOVED using it over the years.
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I’ve said it before, but ever since I got my first Cricut machine, I feel like I’ve been able to seem a lot craftier than I am because of the things it helps me create.
There are more options than ever for personal cutting machines, so I just thought I’d update this post with a few crucial things to know about the Cricut Maker – so you can decide if it’s best for you.
And if it is? GREAT! Make sure you check out this post all about Cricut Maker Bundles, Tips, and Tutorials to get you started! Here is a video as well:
This post was originally written in 2017; Updated in 2020.
What All Can the Cricut Maker Do?
Table of contents
Don’t forget – you can use the code CCWINTER2020 for 10% off and free shipping on materials and supplies from Cricut.com with an order of $50 or more!
What does the Cricut Maker come with?
Right out of the box, when you purchase the Cricut maker you will get:
- Cricut Maker machine
- Rotary Blade + Drive Housing
- Premium Fine Point Blade + Housing
- Fine Point Pen
- FabricGrip Mat 12″x12″
- LightGrip Mat 12″x12″
- Welcome book
- USB cable
- Power adapter
- Cricut Access free trial membership
- 50 free ready-to-make projects, including 25 sewing patterns
- Materials for your first project
You get 50 free projects that come with your Cricut Maker – sewing patterns, quilting, paper projects, iron-on images, vinyl decals, and two complete parties.
The Cricut Maker comes in various colors – some are available only at places like Joann’s and Michaels. On the Cricut website, you can buy:
How Much Does the Cricut Maker cost?
Ah yes, the million-dollar question. Fortunately, the Cricut Maker is not a million dollars (though maybe it will help you become a millionaire ;-).
It is a bit expensive though. At $399, it is definitely the most expensive Cricut Machine…but when you hear about what it can do…you’ll understand why it’s around $400. It’s a powerhouse.
The good news is, there are often deals for it available making it less. The cheapest I think I’ve seen it gone is $350. You can also take advantage of a Cricut Maker bundle, as well,
What are some of the Cricut Maker Features?
This is where it gets fun – this machine is especially amazing for sewists – and people who wish they could sew better but get stuck with all the details (the cutting, the pinning, etc.).
It’s also amazing for anyone who has wanted to cut more with the Cricut Explore – but felt limited by the hundreds of materials it could already cut 🙂 You can read my Cricut Maker versus Cricut Explore Air comparison for more details.
First off, there are a couple of new blades.
It can cut fabric beautifully – and fabric of all kinds. There is a new mat specifically for fabric that works beautifully with it.
And even better…this machine can cut patterns. Cricut Design Space is partnering with Simplicity and Riley Blake Designs to bring us HUNDREDS of amazing, digital designs. I’m obsessed with the designer fabric Cricut is now selling, as well as their quilting kits.
No more cutting patterns (well, within reason – the mat is only 12×12). I know that cutting patterns is something I despise, so being able to use the machine to cut out my patterns with perfection directly into the fabric is mind. blowing.
A traditional pattern can take over an hour to cut – and if you are like me, it’s not always cut perfectly.
With the Cricut Maker, you can get your patterns (and mark them) in just about 15 minutes. They have a new washable marking pen, and from what people have said, the ability for the machine to mark your patterns is basically the best thing EVER.
And yes, you can upload your own patterns. The only thing to keep in mind is that you need to make sure the dimensions are correct.
Something else to keep in mind is that patterns are projects – not images. They are locked so you can’t change the sizes. There are also PDF instructions that show you exactly how to put the project together.
What I love is that this opens up sewing and the Cricut to so many new people – people who were intimidated by the prep work. People who only sew and didn’t find any use for a Cricut machine in the past. People who don’t even know where to start with sewing. It’s really a machine for everyone.
you may also enjoy: Fabric and the Cricut Maker
Next, the knife blade.
Have you ever wanted to cut something thicker than what your Cricut Explore can do? Then you will be THRILLED to hear about the knife blade.
This blade has been developed to cut through materials as thick as 2.44 mm thick…which is incredible.
So we’re talking about thick leather, balsa wood, thick chipboard and more.
It makes it even easier to create puzzles, model projects, and so much more.
The knife blade is 10 times more powerful – exerting 4 kilograms of force through materials.
Something that is amazing is that this machine optimizes the blades for each material it cuts – it optimizes the pressure, creates the cleanest cut possible, and in the end, this optimized the life of the blade.
Cricut Maker Blades and Tools
These all are amazing tools – especially for people who do a lot of paper projects. Be sure to read these posts below to learn more about these items. These are ONLY available for use with the Cricut Maker:
- Cricut Maker QuickSwap Tools – Everything You Need to Know
- Scoring Wheel: 20+ Projects and What You Should Know
Print and Cut
Oh, and Print Then Cut! With the Cricut Maker, you print on colored and patterned paper. Yay! That opens up all sorts of possibilities with Print then Cut.
What Can I Make with the Cricut Maker?
I think the better question is – what CAN’T you make?!
Okay, I realize that answer isn’t really helpful. But with the expandable suite of tools, there are hundreds of materials available for cutting which open up SO many crafting possibilities.
It gives you the freedom to cut popular materials like vinyl and HTV but also thicker and more complex materials like fabric, leather, and wood.
Here are some things you can make:
- 3D Wood Models
- Cake Toppers
- Baby Moccasins
- Zipper Pouch
- Hot Pads
- Wooden Wall Signs
- Leather Wallet
- Birthday Banners (with thicker material)
- Cupcake Topper
- Dress up dolls
Of course, that list is just tipping the iceberg!
While this list isn’t completely comprehensive, here are some of the most popular materials you can cut with your Cricut Maker easily. I went through the list Cricut.com and picked out materials that specifically need Maker blades – so don’t worry, it can definitely cut cardstock, vinyl, etc.
- Balsa Wood (1/16″ and 3/32″)
- Bamboo Fabric
- Basswood (1/16″ and 3/32″)
- Burnt out velvet
- Chantlily Lace
- Charmeuse Satin
- Crepe Charmeuse
- Crepe de Chine
- Crepe Paper
- Crepe-back satin
- Damask Chipboard
- Delicate fabrics (like tulle)
- Dotted Swiss
- Double Cloth
- Double Knit
- Duck Cloth
- Dupioni Silk
- Extra Heavy Fabric (like burlap)
- Faux Fur
- Faux Suede
- Felt, Acrylic Fabric, Glitter, and Wool
- Flex Foam
- Fusible Fabric
- Fusible Interfacing
- Fusible Fleece
- Garment Leather
- Grois Point
- Handmade Paper
- Heavy Chipboard – 2.0mm
- Homespun Fabric
- Insulbrite Batting
- Interlock Knit
- La Coste
- Light Cotton
- Light Fabrics (like Silk)
- Matboard 4 Ply
- Medium Fabrics (like Cotton)
- Melton Wool
- Monk’s Cloth
- Mulberry Paper
- Panne Velvet
- Peau de Soie
- Pima Cotton
- Pique Cotton
- Quilt Batting
- Raschel Knit
- Rayon Lyocell
- Rib Knit
- Rip-Stop Nylon
- Satin Silk
- Silk China
- Slinky Knit
- Terry Cloth
- Tissue Paper
- Tooling Leather – 2-3 oz. (0.8 mm)
- Tooling Leather – 4-5 oz. (1.6 mm)
- Tooling Leather – 6-7 oz. (2.4 mm)
- Velvet Upholstery
- Waffle Cloth
- Wool Crepe
Not sure where to start? Here are 10 Cricut Maker Projects to get started with!
Adaptive Tool System
Something about the Maker is that it is an adaptive machine – it grows with you and with Cricut. It works with all the old tools that you’ve been using with your Cricut Explore, and it will work with any of the future tools that Cricut will release.
I know for me, that’s huge. These machines aren’t cheap, and it’s not something you want to feel like you have to update every year when a new model comes out.
As we have already seen, they’ve released so many amazing tools already. I love that they keep expanding it without having to release a brand new machine.
What else you should know about the Maker
Beyond the addition of the sewing features and deeper cuts, the Cricut Maker has some really great functionality and design updates.
First off, there is no open button! I love this because my sons always would go into my office and constantly push the button. Not a huge deal, but it’s nice to have that temptation gone 😉
There is a holder where you can put your smartphone or tablet, which is great news for those of you who use these devices.
The dial is gone! I was a little sad about this at first, but I totally understand why they removed it. Because it only had a few items on it, people often get stuck in the mindset that it is all the machine can do. But since it has limitless possibilities now, the dial just didn’t keep up with the machine.
A charging port was added – yay! The machine is more portable than ever.
There are now two tool cups. The one in the back is deeper, which is good for pens, weeding tools, etc. The first cup is more shallow for small projects. Both of the cups are lined with a thin sheet of rubber, which prevents damaging tips, blades, etc.
The tool drawer has gotten an upgrade as well. It’s much larger and deeper now, so you can fit more in there.
In addition to the functionality, they’ve made the machine look even sleeker than ever – the inside lining of the drawer is a diamond pattern, and the lid has a real edge metal, and it’s diamond polished!
What’s Happening to the Explore Line?
After the announcement, a lot of people express concern (and often, frustration) about if the Explore line will still be relevant.
YES. The Explore Line is still a huge part of the Cricut family.
Projects will still be released, tutorials will still be done, and the Explore machines will not be phased out.
I know that there is some frustration from people who just bought the Explore Air 2, but please keep in mind that it is still an amazing machine.
Occasionally, Cricut does offer a trade-up program, so that might be something to look into.
Make sure you read my Cricut for Beginners post to help you with all things Cricut!
So there you have it – an introduction to the Cricut Maker.
Please let me know if there are any questions you have that I can answer!
Make sure to check out all of our Cricut Tutorials and Projects!