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Cricut Explore: Make precision cuts for your arts and crafts

Albert Filice | June 2, 2014
If you're serious about your arts and crafts, you probably have a variety of cutting tools at your disposal--scissors and shears, exacto knives, paper cutters, and more. But when you need to make complicated, intricate cuts that you want to look clean, you need to turn to a cutting machine like the Cricut Explore. It cuts with degree of precision and automation that is hard to find elsewhere.

Unlink previous Cricut machines, the software for the Cricut Explore is all contained in the browser, and there's definitely some room for improvement. I ended up designing most everything I did in Photoshop, then uploading it as a black and white image. The Cricut software then lets you select areas with a paint bucket-like tool to create paths for scoring, writing, or cutting. Depending the complexity of your design, and the skill with which you made it, this could be convenient or frustrating. Take your time though, since iterating through designs can be a tricky task. Once you upload an image and specify the routes to cut out, you can't revise it without re-uploading the image. Cricut provides plenty of templates and images, for an extra cost.

Cricut offers a ton of project ideas complete with instructions, difficulty, and a list of supplies and fonts/templates/images you'll need. However a lot of the patterns and images you can use in your projects you have to pay for. You can buy the resources through the Cricut app, and prices for fonts range from $5 to $7, and images are $1 each. This is be great if you're looking for something super easy and dependable, but I preferred to scour the Internet for image resources or make my own.

Bottom line

The Cricut Explore performed well in my testing, and I was able to cut out really intricate stencils and decals. If you want to add a level of computer precision to your crafts and small projects, the Cricut Explore could be a valuable addition to toolset.

 

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