Discovering the Cricut Explore!

Last week I had the amazing opportunity to go to London, to meet with the Cricut team and find out all about the new Explore machine…

Discovering the Cricut Explore by Jennifer Grace

I was so excited to go, the invite was a tantalising glimpse of what the machine can achieve:

Cricut Explore Event Invite

The picture on here wasn’t a Criut cartridge, it was an image of London which was uploaded to the Explore Design Space, cleaned up, then cut!

So I set off last Thursday early in the morning, and caught the train to London. I arrived at Waterloo Station, which meant I was close enough to walk to the event, and I could stroll past the London Eye, Big Ben, and the Houses of Parliament, which made the day feel like an adventure already.

london blog

The event was on the 26th floor of the Millbank Tower, which had amazing views over London. But I was more interested by what was in the room…

flowers and room

Including this tall cone of paper and card flowers, which I stood near on arrival while I sipped a glass of orange juice and mingled with other bloggers.

Then there was a presentation to all the bloggers and some press, all about the new Cricut Explore Machine. It was cool to see all the American faces including Ashish Arora the CEO of Cricut, and a couple of US bloggers Mandi Gubler from Vintage Revivals and Kim Stoegbauer from The TomKat Studio.

Ashish was very inspiring during his talk, telling us all how he joined the company 2 years ago and didn’t know anything about crafting. Then he learnt all about it from bloggers all around the world, now he calls himself a bloggers BFF because he finds bloggers so amazing. He talked about how much effort has gone into this machine to get it just right – how many metals they tried out to make the perfect blade, how many technology tweaks there were to work out the tiny differences in pressure the blade needs for different materials. Cricut have spent 2 years working on the machine so when it reaches us it seems as simple and effortless as possible!

Selfie with Ashish Arora

I had to take a selfie with Ashish as he was so approachable and enthusiastic!

Mandi and Kim talked about how they are loving the machine, for Mandi it’s especially good for home decor details, and Kim loves it for fun party items.

Then Kristie from Cricut unboxed an Explore so we could see exactly what came in the box. At one point I let out a ‘yay’ and got so excited I dropped my pencil – because the machine comes with a tote bag! I don’t expect I’d carry it around a whole lot, but I know I’ll want to take it some places and it will be so much easier with a tote. Kristy said that she’d been walking around with the tote at home before the release to check the comfort of the handle etc!

Then came the really fun bit, heading to our assigned machines to try them out! I was a star:

corner blog

I sat down with a group of bloggers, and Mandi was our guide to help us out. She asked

“What does everyone want to do, would you like me to do a demonstration, would you like to make something?”

I was the first to bounce up and down in my seat saying

‘I want to MAKE something!!!”

So I got first try!

Now here come what I LOVE the most about the Explore… the Design Space. Now, I will say if your internet connection isn’t good then this machine is NOT for you. There’s no way to use it offline. During the event there were a couple of times when it slowed down a bit because there were so many people using the internet all at once. But I’m okay with that as I’m online all the time anyway! Plus the Design Space is awesome enough for me to overlook that.

Here’s the landing page for the Design Space:

make it now

Where you can create a project from scratch, or you can choose one of the previously designed projects and ‘make it now’. You can choose to customise the project if you want to adjust the sizes a bit or change the text etc, or you can literally ‘make it now’ and go straight to cutting if you are happy with it as it is!

I was drawn to this t-shirt with elephants on, and now you can see the cool thing about Design Space, that you can actually design on a ‘canvas’ like your project:

tshirt

You can choose from so many different canvases when you start a new project, from bags to clothing to book covers. And then if you choose a t-shirt you can then choose if it’s for a man, woman or child, whether it’s small, medium or large, what kind of neckline it has, you can also change the colour to help you imagine your project better:

tshirt2

I think it’s so cool to be able to work like that rather than having to measure everything to work out the size, and trying to picture in your mind what it will look like! You can change the colour of the image (ie the elephants here) to the right colour of vinyl or material you are using too.

I cut the elephants just as they were because I wanted to see how fast I could create something with ‘make it now’. I had to load my glitter iron-on-vinyl onto a mat, and change the dial on the machine:

55770_Explore_Dial_01

This dial is so cool as before with my Cricut Mini you had to change the pressure and speed to certain numbers for different materials, but this dial does it for you!

Once the dial was set it tells you when to load and when to ‘go’! It cut out quickly and quietly. The only thing was the baby elephants leg got torn when we were taking the excess vinyl off after cutting. Later we realised that this was because the dial needs to be set to one notch past iron-on when you are using the glitter iron-on vinyl rather than iron-on-lite.

I wasn’t going to use the baby because of this, then someone suggested I try it anyway and I’m glad she did as he looks fine once ironed on to my bag:

Cricut Iron-On Glitter Vinyl bag by Jennifer Grace

From choosing the elephants to ironing them on my bag took about 10 minutes, how fast is that? And that included finding a plug-point for the iron! The ‘Mummy love’ and hearts took a bit longer, as I started a project from scratch, wrote the two words with different fonts, found a heart and welded them together before cutting. The words were fiddly to take the excess vinyl away from but they didn’t tear as we knew to use the higher setting by then!

After this I had a wander about the room. Look at all the inspiration! The theme was #ExploreTheSeasons so there were sets for Christmas, Halloween, and Summer (Beach and Wedding themes):

xmas

halloween blog

beach blog

I love this towel with an anchor on, and I was impressed how the vinyl looked good on the fluffy material:

towel blog

wedding

How pretty is this wedding dress? I think the butterflies were cut from leather:

table wedding dress

There were also a few more casual clothes on a rack, I want this dress with gold chevrons, and the owl sweater:

dress room

There was a long string of butterflies along the ceiling, all cut from different materials, my favourites were the shimmer leather, burlap, and adhesive-backed corkboard:

butterflies blog

My head was filling with ideas! We got treated to some lunch and cupcakes:

sandwich    cupcakes

And then I decorated a notebook with normal (not iron-on) vinyl, and tried out the drawing function on a bookmark by putting a pen into the machine (it can draw and cut at the same time, you don’t have to let it stop and change things around!):

Notebook and Bookmark cut with the Cricut Explore

Sorry the bookmark is a bit scruffy, but my son loves pirate ships so as soon as he saw it he grabbed it and tried to draw on it!

I stayed until the very end of the day, they started packing up around me, because I was having so much fun! I can’t wait to get my hands on the machine and play some more. Want to know when you’ll be able to get hold of it and what the price will be?

  • The Cricut Explore will air on Create and Craft starting on the 16th of May
  • It will be available from selected Hobbycraft stores, Amazon.co.uk, and other retailers from June
  • It will cost £249.99 including VAT
  • No-commitment monthly subscriptions to Cricut Design Space (25,000+ images) are available for £7.49 {EDITED TO ADD: The monthly subscription IS NOT currently available in the UK} and annual subscriptions can be purchased for £79.99
  • Individual images from Cricut Design Space also start at 79p per image
  • Digital cartridges can be purchased or existing cartridges can also be used to unlock the same artwork through Cricut Design Space.

If you want to keep an eye on the news then make sure you follow the Cricut EU Facebook page and Twitter feed!

Well, as you can see I had a fabulous day and I can’t wait to get my hands on an Explore, once I do I will write some more about the Design Space and do some tutorials!

If you have any questions about the machine let me know, if I don’t know the answer I will pester my contacts to find out for you!

Have a great day, Jennifer x

Disclaimer: Cricut paid for my travel to London for the day, and provided lunch and supplies for projects, but all the opinions here are my own.

7 Comments
  • Sarah
    Reply

    Looks like a fab day!! I’m literally dribbling at those cupcakes!!! 🙂 …. and having seen your bag for real I know how supercute those elephants are! xx

    April 30, 2014 at 11:24 am
  • Thanks for the write-up. I’m really interested in trying out the new machine and seeing how it differs from past machines and current machines on the market. I loved the peek into the event too.

    April 30, 2014 at 1:32 pm
  • It does sound like a great machine……and a really fun day.

    April 30, 2014 at 4:32 pm
  • I was standing behind you when you made your adorable bag. I cannot wait for my machine to arrive tomorrow. I have so many ideas.

    April 30, 2014 at 6:24 pm
  • Wow this looks amazing! Love all your example

    April 30, 2014 at 8:54 pm
  • Lisa Swift
    Reply

    Such a wonderful opportunity to see all that the Cricut can do! Looks like a great time!

    April 30, 2014 at 10:21 pm
  • sounds like quite the experience. The room itself looks wonderful x x

    May 2, 2014 at 9:29 pm

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