Thursday, August 4, 2011

cricut, cricut

I had recently wrote this for other close to my heart consultants, to help finding the perfect cricut easier for them. So some of the information may not apply for you, but the general information will be helpful to decide if you want a cricut and which one you may want.
It is not everything, so I would suggest checking out reviews on the machines, and videos on you tube. Some of the videos will be informative some will not. Regardless I hope this helps you in your search for picking out a cricut.

There are different types of Cricut machines, which can make a first time Cricut machine purchase overwhelming. I have given you a list of the different circuit you can currently choose from (based of the circuit’s website) and some information about them.
Remember to take in the fact that Circut is a company about quality, so they are always improving their products that they currently have on the market which you will notice below and making new machines. In the late summer early fall time frame is when they introduce new machines, and the best sells on them will always be around black Friday.
Purchasing a Cricut: be sure to shop around. Get coupons to use for it that are available. Here are a few places to look. Micheal’s, Jo Ann’s, AC Moore, Overstock.com, Cricut.com, Ebay.
Price check! I’ve seen the expressions as low as $89 on overstock, the Imagine for $220 on overstock… ebay I purchased the Imagine for $144 (in the craft stores it’s reg. price was around $500 .. that’s based on AC Moore) for just the machine I could have gotten it at cricut.com for $299 on sale.

Cricut Cake- These machines made the list first for one reason. A WARNING, while I was reading everything to make sure to pick the machine that was right for me, I noticed a lot of the Cricut Cake machines look a lot like some of the regular cricut line, in particular the expression. Keep that in mind if you are shopping on line. These are great tools for cake decorating, and makes me kind of want one! They are however designed to work with cake decorating. If you want more information on them, check out www.cricut.com and click on shop.

Cricut Expression Machine- This is one of the machines you can get refurbished. While I am totally all about refurbished for some products, I will say I am not against it with this one, but check for any type of warranties or service coverage if it breaks, along with if it is really the cheapest. Sometimes you can get it new cheaper when there is a sale. Warranties are included with the refurbished ones on cricut.com
This is designed to stay in your craft room, or in a central location. While with the right bag you could take it to crops, it is not designed to be a light weight traveling tool, and you will have to make sure it is properly aligned every time you move it around. This machine will do everything
you will want to do with it as a CTMH only use machine.
It can work with the 12”x24” or the 12”x12” mat. This can allow you to make background embellishments for your layouts, or items for bulletin boards or wall d├ęcor. This is typically the one you can find in a teachers home, since it can be used as a tax write off to using with visual learning.  This does not have the full LCD screen, so you will use the keypad covers to know which button is for which image. (these come with your cartridges)

Cricut Expression 2- Is the newer version of the expression. Which gives it a bigger price tag, but also more features. Here are the main features that come new with the expression 2.

Full-color LCD touch screen
Mat Preview
Material Setting
Cutting Area Light
Longer Power Cord
It has the same cutting sizes as the expression one. In short this guy has the kinks worked out of the original machine, and takes on the newer features to improve what was already an awesome machine.

Cricut Create Personal Electronic Cutter – This guy only weighs 7lbs.! With that in mind it could go to crops with you, or be moved to be in your display area for classes. It works with all cricut cartridges just like the other machines. It has a cutting limit ranging from 1” to 5 1/2” This will allow you to do accents, accessories, and cards, but wouldn’t be able to do background designs for layouts. This is a good machine for a casual hobbist as you will probably not use it regularly, and it is able to travel with you for your social scrapping get together.

Cricut Imagine- Ink cartridges is the first thing that will steer you away from this guy. If the cartridges are not on sale the black is around 25, and the color is around 35. From what I have seen thus far, I will never have to pay those prices. Cricut.com puts them in bundle sales together for 25 to 30 bucks, and they can be purchased on amazon, ebay, and other similar websites. Plus I am sure the craft stores will have sales on them just as frequently. My current HP printer takes 6 ink cartridges that are $10 each, except the black that runs closer to $15. So the price for me is about the same, and like my HP printer unless I am printing a lot of color intensive stuff like photos it takes me a while to use the ink. So far that seems similar with the Imagine, which makes sense because they teamed up with HP to make it.
As far as what you can do with it, you can do all the stuff that you did on the Expression and can cut up to 12’x 23.5” with it. Like the expression 2 it has a color LCD screen, and has the same available features to use with its screen. It is huge, and will not be going to crops with you because it weighs a lot. (goes well with its size.) While we don’t know what all will come from perhaps future cartridges from CTMH I will say this, there are lot of projects you can do with the imagine such as print colored animated characters for your kids walls on the decal paper, Or similar for your car or windows. What would use up the most ink would be printed your own design print paper. This could be used for layouts like we use our B&T paper, or make your own wrapping paper, which I have read people do. One thing I found interested is some of the print design images are similar to some of our prints. Which these can also be used to give a printed design to something your cutting, or do layered cutting with. This is possible because the imagine has 2 cartridge slots, one fore imagine cartridges and one for the universal cricut cartridges. The imagine cartridges do have cut out designs along with the image designs. With these options it ups the general price tag of the imagine, and it isn’t suited for everyone. I would currently say if you only one a cricut to use exclusively with CTMH stuff and only the art and philosophy cartridge this is not the machine for you.

Stuff to use with the cricut
Gypsy- is a portable device you can take out and about with you. This allows you to work with your cricut cartridges to continue working on projects while you are on the run. You can then connect it to your circut to cut/ print out your work you did on the gypsy.  I would not recommend spending the money on a gypsy if you are really only getting a cricut to use with the art and philosophy cartridge. ~~If you plan to get one of these, make sure you like your cricut cartridge a lot before linking it to your gypsy, the cartridge will loose resale value because it can only be linked to one gypsy.

Cuttle bug- This is a die cutter and embosser. You can get a kids version of it, along with a variety of different embossing mats to use with it.

Idea books- the retail cost on these is $17. They are just what the name says, Idea books, but the difference with these idea books from our Idea book/catalog is they give directions to recreate the ideas in the book, such as our Wishes book. I was curious on these idea books, and purchased the Cricut Cards one for $5.00 off ebay. From what I have seen to what I can incorporate with our products it was worth it. It is also a nice tool to have around for extra Ideas if you have a customer who is stuck. As I mentioned the ideas in it can be easily converted to using with CTMH products and the cricut.
Cricut Rewards- cricut.com has a rewards program! Just collect Cricut Rewards vouchers from Cricut Cartridges released during 2008 and thereafter. Create an account on www.cricutrewards.com to enter your codes. Codes are electronically verified and points accumulate in your account until you are ready to redeem for exclusive Cricut merchandise.(taken from the cricut website) Go to this link to get the list of cartridges and their point value: http://www.cricutrewards.com/t-earnPoints.aspx
The items you can get with your reward points are pretty great. From ink for the imagine, to other cartridges, to some of the machines!
The cartridges- While we have a wonderful cartridge through close to my heart to use with our Cricut there are tons of things out there you can use on cartridges depending on your needs. These also range in prices and again you will want to shop around. At this point I look for them on sale, and I will search for ones I am interested in on ebay and give myself a specific bid price limit. That way I don’t get mad for spending too much, and if I will still get it cheaper than in the stores.
The Cricut isn’t just a machine, or a toy for the scrap room it is an investment, for your personal creativity, while also for your business. The sooner you have access to a Cricut to you our cartridge, the sooner you can incorporate it in your business, and show your customers why it is a great purchase.
***This does not have everything about the Cricut, the company or even all the machines. I have not used all the machines, nor can I say which is best, I think they are all great but some are better suited for a person than others. This was made to help make that decision on buying a Cricut, or which one easier.***

When reading reviews on the machines do so carefully. Some people put the reviews up after being mad, and may not have had enough knowledge on the machines before buying them. Also some hobbiest that buy the machines do not use them often, so they can’t give a true accurate review for someone that is going to use it regularly.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for the info. I guess i will wait for black friday to get mine. Hope i will be able to order it online so that i don't have to fight the crowds. happy scrapping!

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  2. some of the best deals should be online!while I know a lot of stores have stopped putting as good of deals online to get people to come to the stores, it seems like the current sales with the craft stores are not making the cricut a lot cheaper or cheaper at all compared to some of the sites online. make sure to get the craft stores black friday sale ads ahead of time, then you will know if you have to go to a store. =) Happy Scrappin!

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