Read some discussion boards for tips & tricks.
The Expression is an awesome machine! I have no cons about the machine itself. About the cutting mat, if it's too sticky, press a clean t-shirt down on the mat & peel it up to remove some stickiness. Simply pressing your clean hands on the mat will also remove excess stickiness and woks just as well. If the mat has lost stickiness, wash thoroughly with dish soap (Goo Gone might be needed) and dry thoroughly. Spray with Krylon Easy-Tack, let the Krylon dry thoroughly and, if needed, press & peel a clean t-shirt (or hands) to remove excess stickiness. Use a lint roller after cutting especially "linty" paper and after each session with your Cricut. The mats will last a really, really long time this way.
I'm sure Provo Craft does not recommend doing anything other than buying new mats, but those who've been using the Cricut since the beginning have found ways to work around the mat issue.
There are also software programs that are compatible with the Cricut that will allow you to cut the True Type fonts installed on your computer, as well as many other file types and designs. (Not Cricut Design Studio, but other, non-Provo Craft programs such as Sure Cuts A Lot and Make The Cut.) Google is your friend. ;)
I wish Provo Craft would release their own software that will allow Cricut users to cut our own fonts, but it hasn't happened (despite begging from customers).
Search the web for discussion boards with Cricut topics. There's a wealth of info out there, as well people who are excited about their machines and eager to help. :)
This is another great Cricut machine. It cuts great. No need for an overlay, you can see it on your LCD. You can also zoom on the images so you can see them even larger. It cuts with all Cricut cartridges.
As far as the other reveiewer, this is not a machine that lets you cut out images that you design on your own. If that is something you wish to do, you need to explore other types of cutting machine. With Cricut, they have cartridges that you insert into your cutting machine. They have over 300 cartridges that you can buy with many different types of images available. There are so many to choose from.
Cricut has great quality products. They even have a Cricut Craft Room where you can purchase and design online and then you can cut it with your Cricut machine.
This is another awesome Cricut machine. You will love it!
Absolutely Love My Cricut Expression!
I purchased the Cricut Expression after testing it with a friend that had just purchased one. I use it constantly! No more cutting out letters by hand for me!!! The letters are precisely cut without tearing. It also cuts designs, tags, and many more shapes too numerous to mention. I recently made Valentine Cards to share with friends using the cartridges that came with the machine and tried out the new color ink cartridges (purchased separately). The lettering was super fantastic! The ink did not smudge and the letters were precisely drawn. A big THANK YOU to this company for making my scrapbooking and card making easier!
The only downside was the $$$...however, if you do your homework by shopping around, you can save. I took a sale ad from a well known fabric store to a different local craft store that had the machine. Low and behold, they honored the other store's sale ad! This saved me lots of $$$. I plan to buy most of the cartridges at our local discount store that has them for less $$. The finished product makes it worth the $$$.
Cricut Pink Expression
Excuse me if this review pops up twice! I have wanted a Cricut Expression for awhile, but kept thinking it was too expensive. When I saw it on OnlineShopDealer with 3 cartridges ( the cartridges are $20 to $75 depending on where you buy them, and which ones you want). I estimate the value of these cartridges to be $100). I love this machine! I wish I had bought it years ago! The projects I could only imagine are now a reality. I am not limited by how far in a punch will go onto paper, by intricate hand cutting, or by the unvariable size of a die cut plate, like a detailed picket fence and tiny flowers, this machine will do it. I used to pay $5 for pre-cut stickers and other embellishments, but now I make my own and in what size I prefer. I have crafted for 30 years and the Cricut helped take me to another level. The machine may seem complicated, but it is not. If you are concerned, go to YouTube and search for how to use the Cricut Expression. There are hundreds of videos with not only instruction, but also tutorials for scrapbooking, card making, and altered books, mini-albums, wall decor, and more, all you make using this machine. I had considered the smaller Cricut, but this is a far more versatile choice, and cuts 12 x 12 paper. Even if you think you won't need it, you WILL. I have paid for this machine in 4 months of use, saving on those expensive embellishments, and rub on sentiments, this cuts out letters and sentiments which vary by which cartridge you have. I use the Cricut gel pens and markers to have it write the sentiments, again in what ever size you desire. I find that OnlineShopDealer and ebay have the best prices on cartridges, but if you get this bundle, you are set for awhile. If you are on a budget, I recommend just one more cartridge, "Artiste" which is expensive, but it takes the place of many others and turns out to be cheap in the long run. So in closing, this machine cuts, writes( markers and pens sold separately),paper, cardboard, vinyl and chipboard (you may need a deep cut blade and housing) and other material. You can even make clear stamps with the Cricut stamp kit. As I said before, get online and search the Cricut website and better yet, do an internet search for "cricut videos" and that is all the instruction and information you need. Some scrapbook sites like Splitcoast Stampers have discussion blogs and tutorials too. I almost forgot - you can connect your machine at the Cricut.com site, and they have a "craft room" where you can design and purchase specific images! I have not tried this yet, but have seen YouTube videos. Have fun!
Don't let the cartridge system turn you off of the cricut!
If you're considering buying one, you prolly don't need another review telling you how much fun they are. However, if you are looking at the different types of cutters and don't care for the cartridge system, you should know there IS software out there that makes it so you can use any font on your computer, etc. It's called "sure cuts a lot" and I wouldn't have bought the cricut if I hadn't run across that software. I hate the cartridge system and haven't ever bought another cartridge, and probably won't. But I LOVE my cricut!
User beware: You'll be hooked
The recent purchase of this machine has prompted me to become a papercrafting addict. I had not been into scrapbooking or papercrafting prior to my research and eventual purchase of this machine. With the simple touch of a button, the Cricut easily cuts out the most intricate of designs. My husband and I both watch in awe as the cutting blade zips around the paper. It is very user friendly and offers many cartridges from which to build your library. While this machine prefers a permanent workspace, it is not overly cumbersome to move wherever you choose to work.
Accessories such as replacement mats, blades and ink cartridges have proven to be readily accessible and reasonably priced.
There is definitely a wide price range on the machine, so research and shop wisely.
Con: Unlike the manual die cutting machines, the Cricut does not have the ability to emboss.
Overall: If you have an interest in papercrafting or are looking to be thrust into a whole new hobby, look for a good price tag because this is the machine for you.
A quilter's dream
Any quilter looking for a better way to cut those difficult applique shapes or multiples of one shape - hearts for example - and have them all turn out the same needs the Cricut Expression. Cutting material with it does require a few adjustments - fusible bond to make the material rigid enough to withstand the lateral pressure of the blade and keep it from pulling the material sideways, and increased blade pressure to help ensure that the blade cuts all the way through the material - but the results are fantastic. It can cut very intricate pieces in a wide range of sizes, and is going to add a whole new dimension to my quilting experience. I do recommend the tool kit, since the smaller or more intricate pieces can be a bit delicate to remove from the cutting mat without the proper tools, but my quilting buddies are all talking about investing in their own machines now that we know what it can do. Also, be sure to read the manual before use, not just the quick start guide - without the manual's instructions it would be very easy to incorrectly install the cutting blade and end up with the problems I've read about from other users who complained that the machine didn't cut correctly. Just 10 minutes of reading to make sure everything is set up correctly, and you can enjoy a lifetime of creative fun with this machine.
Huge Time Saver!
The Cricut Expression is a fantastic tool to have. As a kindergarten teacher, I do a lot of cutting. It has been great not to have to cut out 20 of everything by hand. This machine is very easy to use and fast. I have used the original mat many times and it is still working well. As with everything there is a cost to using it. Eventually my cutting mat will need to be replaced. But, it is a small price to pay for the time I am saving. As I said, it is a fantastic tool. I wish I had gotten it sooner.
Easy to Use and Amazing!
I have found the the Cricut is very easy to use. Compared to hawling out all of my supplies to use my Sissix or Wizard, I find the Cricut to be a space saver and very simple to use. I love how you only have to load the paper and type what you'd like and hit 'cut' and it does the work for you!
The cutting blades stay sharp and last a very long time. There are also many different cartridges to choose from for unlimited creativity.
As a long time Wizard, Cuttlebug, Sissix user, I really love the layout of this machine and the easy to use format. With my other cutters, I have broken the plastic plates by loading them wrong and fumbled with all the plates and don't bring it out all that often due to the hassle. With the Cricut, you just have the machine, the cutting mat, and the pre-cut paper and you are ready to make some cool things. It's great for cutting out words or names especially.
The only minor problem I have had is with loading the paper, sometimes I have to restart loading because my cutting mat gets hitched wrong in the loading which is nothing major. You also have to make sure you have the cutting pressure up high enough to cut or the blade will not go all the way through the paper. The basic settings may take a little while to get used to but that's the case with all the cutters.
This is a great machine. If you do a lot of scrapbooking or crafting the Cricut is a great investment. I am really enjoying this product.
Great Device, creates free time.
Bought my wife the Cricut Expressions machine and several cartridges. Suddenly I have lots of free time! She's practically tied to the machine cutting out every which and whatever she can and I've finally caught up on my DVR'd TV programs.
I highly recommend the product for all husbands that want to have more time for themselves.