My Recent Purchase of the Cricut Explore Air 2

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If you follow us on Instagram or signed up for our mailing list you might have seen that I recently got a Cricut machine. And I am here to tell you, this thing is a miracle machine!

I’ve been toying around with the idea of painting signs to sell in our Etsy shop. But stencils are expensive and you’re limited on the fonts unless you spend even more. I spent some time on Pinterest trying to figure out how other people were making their signs. Eventually, I landed on a YouTube video that showed from start to finish how to do it using a Cricut machine. I was hooked!

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Once I saw how it easy it was I had to decide between a Silhouette Cameo and the Cricut Explore Air 2. I’ve read posts by bloggers from both camps and each side loves their machine. What finally helped me decide was this post on Designer Trapped. The clincher for me was how well the Cricut cut vinyl. She said the Silhouette had some issues with cutting vinyl and she wasted a lot. Vinyl isn’t exactly cheap so this was an important factor for me. The Cricut it was!!

I hadn’t really planned on buying one before Christmas. I figured I’d put it in the blog goals plan for 2018 and think about it in the spring. But Joann had a pretty killer deal on one for Black Friday. It was in-store only though and there was literally no way I was heading to the store. Once the bug bit me I started looking online for a similar deal. I bought mine on Amazon for a little more than Joann’s deal but the fact I didn’t have to do battle with Black Friday traffic (and people) was worth it. Here’s the one I bought:

Cricut Explore Air 2 Mint

I kinda wish I’d held off now because Cricut offers the machine PLUS a deluxe starter set on their site that’s only a little more than I paid! And the starter set is amazing!

  • Deep Cut Blade
  • Scoring Stylus
  • Metallic Pen Set
  • Multi Pen Set in Gold
  • 3-pack cutting mat variety pack

The deal was still available when I checked this morning. Use this link for free shipping on orders over $75.

And if you want it all, they offer a set for that too! It’s the machine PLUS everything starter set and it really does have EVERYTHING you’d need.

  • Transfer Tape (for transferring vinyl to another surface)
  • Replacement Blade
  • Basic Trimmer
  • Vellum Metallic Sampler
  • Printable Iron On Light
  • Window Cling, Black
  • Printable Iron On Dark
  • Printable Sticker Paper
  • Faux Leather, Wood Grain Sampler
  • Metallic Poster Board
  • Premium Outdoor Vinyl
  • Dry Erase Vinyl
  • Window Cling, White
  • Vinyl, Sampler
  • Basic Tools Set
  • Metallic Pen Set
  • Multi Pen Set in Gold
  • Scoring Stylus
  • Deep Cut Blade
  • 3-pack cutting mat variety pack

Here’s the link for that one: Cricut + Everything Starter Set

I’m still learning about all the things this machine can do and holy cannoli it’s a lot! It will cut over 100 different kinds of materials like cardstock, vinyl, and iron-on. Even cork and bonded fabric!

It Does it All!

You can create fancy calligraphy or cool written designs by using the pen sets that are available. If your handwriting is as bad as mine, this will come in handy.

The Cricut design software is web-based, so there’s nothing to download and install on your computer. There are also apps available for iOS and Android. And there are TONS of premade, ready-to-make projects available in the project library. Make it as-is or customize it. They are not all free but generally cost under 5 dollars.

And my favorite part is that you can upload your own designs as well! Use any of your images and fonts in your projects for FREE. There’s no additional charge and a variety of file formats are supported.

My first project was a Christmas sign for the porch

I could not wait to get started on my first project after it arrived. I’d spotted a few tall, wooden signs on Pinterest that I wanted to try for myself. Originally I’d planned on ordering some really big stencils for the words, but once I had the Cricut machine that went out the window.

Guys, making this was so easy! I had a scrap piece of lumber in the garage so I didn’t even have to buy wood for it. I picked up some Rustoleum paint in Safety Red. Since this would be an outdoor sign I thought the Rustoleum would be durable enough to stand up to our crazy and constantly-changing weather. For instance, this week we’ve been treated to temps that are about 20 below normal for this time of year. Woo. Hoo. ?

Alex and I spent far too long in Joann trying to decide on a vinyl to use. She found a sparkly white/silver vinyl that ended up being a perfect choice.

It only took me a few minutes (and a few YouTube videos ?) to figure out what I needed to do. I’ll freely admit that I’m a font nerd and I immediately took advantage of the feature to use my own fonts for the saying on my sign. The top font is Brock Script and the bottom one is Mayton. Mayton was what I used for the new printables in the Etsy shop too. I can’t remember where I grabbed them, but I’m sure if you check Google Fonts you can find something similar. I also used a couple of the free images from the design space for the snowflakes too.

And yes, I put a Santa hat on the skeleton and left him on the porch.

I LOVE the way it turned out. I’m already making lists and coming up with ideas for more signs. Now that the craziness of the holidays has passed I should have some time to work on it. I’m also super thankful for my basement workshop because there is no heat in my garage. BRRRRR.

Speaking of the holidays being over, I have a post planned on how to transition your decor from Christmas to winter. Another project I just recently did in that space was to create some super cute winter art for the wall. The Cricut machine’s precision cutting makes it so easy to create fun and unique paper creations. I bought some cardstock in a really pretty blue and then grabbed some metallic cardstock to use as a background. The words I just put on top of the background and put it in the frame. For the snowflakes, I cut one snowflake from the blue paper. I put the snowflake in one frame and the cutout in the other. Sorry for the crappy phone pic but they really do look nice on the wall!

cricut winter art

So. Many. Projects. To. Do.

I am so super-excited about the possibilities with my Cricut I can’t even. I just can’t even. ? I haven’t even started thinking about all the fabric projects that you can do with one of these! Eeek! I’m on overload!

If you’re a crafter and have been considering purchasing one of these for yourself, I can personally highly recommend the Cricut Explore Air 2. I know the previous models are available too but this is my first one so I can’t really recommend them because I’ve never used one.

So be prepared because you can expect many more posts in the future about fun projects with my Cricut!

Also in the future…don’t forget that January is organization month around here! Check back often for new posts and maybe even a freebie! ?

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