Cricut Maker vs. Explore Air 2 and Crafting for Dolls
You may remember that about a year ago I went to a Cricut event in Salt Lake City, Utah. It was the Make-A-Thon and Cricut released their new machine, the Cricut Maker. I came back home so excited to share the benefits of this new machine and to test the limits of the Maker myself. The thing was, I had only just received the machine and I didn’t even know how many new creations I could make with it. Now that I’ve been crafting with the Maker for over a year, I can honestly say it’s been one of the best inventions for Crafters/Makers/DIYers out there! It really has proved to be an incredible tool.
In this post I want to share some comparisons between the Cricut Maker and the previous version, the Cricut Explore Air 2. If you are deciding between the two, you already know there is a price gap. So what makes the Cricut Maker worth the extra money?
The Explore Air 2 has great features. If you are a simple crafter (nothing wrong with that!) only using paper, vinyl, stencils, card stock, etc., the Explore Air 2 will get the job done. In fact, there is a lot of overlap on materials the two machine can cut. However, if you would like to expand your use of craft materials and cut thicker items, consider the Maker. The Maker can do everything the Explore Air 2 can and more. It’s very important to understand exactly what the “more” is in this case. It has a new adaptive tool system that gives you more freedom when choosing what to cut. The new tools available that are only compatible with the Maker are a Rotary Blade, Knife Blade, Scoring Wheel and Double Scoring Wheel. Also, because of the new adaptive tool system, as other tools are introduced to the Maker, they will be able to fit in the machine without needing a new machine all over again.
You may be wondering how much more you can actually do with these tools and will you really ever use them. First, if you are in the market for a Cricut and have come this far on your research, you are a creator. So, yes, you will be surprised at how often you switch out these tools and use material you’ve never even thought of before. I have listed a few examples below.
The Rotary Blade is amazing at cutting fabrics. All types of fabrics from very thin fragile pieces to very thick stuff. It can even slice through felt which is a very difficult task. One thing to know is that the Explore Air 2 can also cut fabric, but it has to be bonded. Let’s be honest, most of the fabric we use does not need bonding so being able to cut the fabric as is with the Maker is a huge plus. You want to cut fabric? Choose the Maker. There are also so many patterns available to you through the Design Space that you will be in fabric project heaven!
The Knife Blade is a super handy tool for cutting thicker, harder materials. Some examples of the things I use it on are chipboard, basswood, birch, leather (even thicker leather) and more! The full list of materials that can be cut with the Knife Blade can be found on Cricut’s website. Below is a picture of a wooden doll guitar that was cut out with a Cricut! In the background you can also see a surfboard!
Scoring Wheel & Double Scoring Wheel
If you are a paper crafter, you know all about scoring and how it can help you create 3D projects. It can bring simple paper or card stock to life! The new scoring tool for the Maker is incredible. You may be thinking, but wait, I thought the Explore Air 2 could score paper? That is correct. The Explore Air 2 has a scoring stylus that looks like a pen with a pointed tip that uses a pressure method as it drags across the material. The new Scoring Wheel for the Maker is a wheel that runs over the material as it scores. It’s an upgraded and improved method using more pressure to give you a better line. To take it up a notch, there is the double scoring wheel that helps when you are using thicker material to create a sturdy piece like a box.