To celebrate it’s 5th anniversary Cricut has a brand new die cutting machine. I recently got the chance to try out the Cricut Expression 2 Anniversary Edition to see what cool new features it has.
What is it?: The Cricut Expression 2 Anniversary Edition is a personal electronic die cutting machine, using the machine along with cartridges you can die cut shapes from cardstock, pattern paper and vinyl for all your paper crafting and home décor needs.
Features: This Cricut has lots of wonderful new features.
The machine takes ALL Cricut cartridges, yup, that’s right, all of them! Even Imagine cartridges, though it can’t print, it can cut the images. This version even comes with four preloaded cartridges: American Alphabet, Essentials, Decals (exclusive) and Just a Note (exclusive).
I personally love the full color LCD touch screen. No more need for a key pad overlay, all the buttons are on the easy to read screen, use the included stylus. On the screen you’ll find the die cut shapes as well as all the useful tools like the image editor where you can change the size of your image (this can be done in ¼” increments) as well as flipping or rotating an image. This machine is really set up to help you save paper, you can replicate your image to fill the entire page (perfect for making multiples like invitations), it also places different images closely together on the page to help reduce paper waste. The paper saver tool arranges images to fit best on the mat. There is also a very handy start position tool where you can tell the machine exactly where to start cutting. So say you want a frame cut out in the middle of your 12″ x12″ paper it will cut it right there, cool huh? When you’re ready to cut the images will show on the screen along with their placement on the mat. I found this extremely useful when I wanted to use smaller scrap pieces of paper and multiple images. By seeing the mat on the screen and where the images would cut it came out right every time.
There’s also a cutting light so you can see just what your machine is doing while it cuts. It’s got pre-set paper settings so you can quickly and easily cut different thickness of paper or you can even save your own settings for perfect cuts every time. The blade adjustment is really easy too, just turn the dial on the blade, no need to change out blades or caps. I was really impressed that this machine cut easily and cleanly through thick cardstock like Bazzil and also through vinyl with only one pass. I really love the mat that comes with this machine, it holds a 12”x12” pieces of paper and is super sticky. I was able to cut small scraps of paper and they never moved during the cutting. I do highly recommend getting a Cricut spatula tool, it really makes a big difference in removing your die cuts from the mat, especially small or intricate shapes. You can also buy additional mats that are 12” x 24” long, perfect for long vinyl projects, bulletin boards, etc.
My Experience: I found the machine very easy to set up, put in the blade, plug it in, calibrate the screen and in just a few minutes I was able to start cutting and making projects. As with all machines there is a slight learning curve, for me it was mostly remembering what each button did but I picked it up quickly and there is a nice manual with pictures and explanations for all the tools and functions. I tried lots of different weights of cardstock, pattern papers and even vinyl, all cut easily with one pass ( for thicker items there is a second pass function).
Projects: My first project was a card, I used the sweet bunny from the Just a Note cartridge, cut from cardstock and pattern paper and I turned the banner from the same cartridge into a sun.
Next I wanted to try vinyl. I cut the fleur de lis images from the Essentials cartridge with black and white vinyl, using transfer paper (a must of you’re doing vinyl) I layered them onto a small inexpensive white tile from the hardware store. If you have air bubbles use a bone folder or old credit card to smooth them out. Then I added felt to the back and now I have a cool custom coaster.
Since this machine can cut 12” x 12” paper for my last project I wanted to make a scrapbook page. I used a circle and scalloped design from the Essentials cartridge to cut my large background shapes from cardstock and patterned paper. The tag and scalloped label are from the same cartridge, I was easily able to size them to fit the stickers I wanted to use. Lastly I cut the cute dog from the American Alphabet cartridge and added him to my page along with the pictures of my husband and his mom’s dog.
So if you’re thinking of buying a Cricut I definitely recommend the Expression2 Anniversary Edition!
**Please note, this contest is now CLOSED**
By Heather Holbrook