Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Cricut?

Nick and I were talking tonight, and he asked what sorts of crafting supplies I have my eyes on. Honestly, the only thing I kind of have in mind right now is a Cricut. Though, to be fair, I am not a scrapbooker, and while I'm sure I'd get a lot of use out of it, it seems to be a money sucker.

$70 for a cartridge, money for supplies to put in it, not to mention the high price of getting the machine in the first place. I know there is also a machine called a Cuttlebug, and a Sizzix. I just don't know what the difference in those machines are to the Cricut, and if there is a price difference.

So, advise me, all you crafty people. Being that I don't scrap book, and the Cricut would only be used occasionally for crafts, is it worth the money?

Here are my thoughts-

As of right now, I don't miss it, because I don't have one, have never used one, don't use die cuts often, and don't scrapbook at all.

If I get one, though, I have a feeling I'll find all sorts of uses for die cuts in mod podging, and more. I have a feeling that I'll wind up really loving it, and wanting new cartridges quite often.

Obviously, it isn't something I need- this is purely want, as all craft supplies are. Being frugal, the price scares me.

Also- does anyone know if I could use a 40 or 50% off coupon on the machine, if I can find a coupon for Hobby Lobby or Michaels, at a time when it's not on sale? I've never tried to use one of the coupons on anything that cost more than $20 before coupon, and don't know if there are restrictions.

Obviously, between sale prices and coupons, the cartridges could be bought cheaper. Then, of course, there is eBay which can be helpful.

Advise me! Give me your own pro's and con's of the Cricut, the Sizzix, and the Cuttlebug. I will have some extra money soon, I just don't know if that's where I want it to go.

Oh! One of the big draws right now are vinyl letters. I would love to be able to do vinyl. Back in "the day", my step-mom owned her own sign shop. She painted signs, murals, vehicles, and more. She had this HUGE machine, which had pre-programmed fonts (only 12 of them). She could run vinyl through it, and cut letters out, or she could free hand shapes. It came in handy for signs. Now, keep in mind, this must have been the early 90's, but I recall vinyl being pricey. However, on an upside, I know of places locally where I can get it, too, so maybe it'll be cheaper than ordering it.

I've read on a few blogs that the vinyl has to be ordered, and it's expensive, and has to be bought in a huge roll.

Ok, for the third (and final time)... advise me.


Gwen said...

I have been going back and forth on getting one myself, but finally decided to pass. I just don't think that I would use it enough and when I did, it would be for something that I would need to buy a new cartridge everytime.

I don't think that Michal's let you use the 40% off coupon on them, bummer.

Heidi said...

I have a cricut (the orignial smaller one) I use it to make stencils for painting. I honestly don't use it as much as I could/should b/c it's the smaller one it's kind of a pain to cut paper to fit (b/c I'm too cheap to buy the pre-cut "cricut" paper). And if I want to do something large I have to use several sheets of paper. I also only have 2 cartridges (again, too cheap to buy more..haha) but I do really love my cricut. I don't know anything about the other machine. Do you have someone you could share the machine with? That's really popular right now, sisters buying machines together and such. And, Micheal's coupons always say "not good on cricut" darn them! not sure about Hobby Lobby though.

Expressions by Heather said...

I don't have anyone in the area (or, really, outside the area) who would get much (any) use out of any of the machines, I don't think.

I figured the coupons Michael's or Hobby Lobby put out probably had limitations on them, but had never looked that close to see. It's good to know ahead of time, though. ;)

I've been looking them up a bit tonight, and I think I'd prefer the Cricut over the Cuttlebug, but haven't really looked at the Sizzix yet tonight.

Michelle @ Delicate Construction said...

Ok, I went through this dilemma before, I got mine last year as my one splurge from our tax return, I got the expression (that is the big one). I was advised that if you are going to spend the money- just get the big one and wait until it goes on sale. Unfortunately I know for joanns and michaels (no hobby lobby out here, bummer) they specify that you can't use the coupons on those items- machine or cartridges (or sizzix and cuttlebug too I believe). BUT I only buy cartridges when they are on major sale or buy one get one free, I have seen the 90$ ones (those are the larger cartridges with the most on them) go on sale for 40$ in my area. Yes I am a scrapbooker but I use it for TONS of other things- cards, valentines, party favors, party decor, holiday decor, stencils for projects or baking, and the list goes on.

Here is why I would get the Cricut over the other die cutting machines- it may be a lot of money for a cartridge but the machine will make any of the images on that cartridge in any size from a half inch to 23 1/2 inches (assuming you get the big machine) so basically you multiply the images by the different versions offered on the cartridge times the various sizes and the possibilities are endless. Where as the set of dies you buy for a sizzix only offers one size and one version, there are just less options.

I know I should just work for them but all of this info was offered to me when I was looking into it helped me make my decision. Hope it helps you too!

Expressions by Heather said...

That's good info to have, thank you Michelle!

Unknown said...

Ok. I am seriously cracking up at your post! I too, do not scrapbook, and I too, have been eyeing the cricut recently.

The cricut, at least the bigger expressions one, can do all sorts of things now! Cut paper, vinyl, chipboard and even fondant! Seriously!

I never wanted one though because I didn't scrapbook and I hated being the idea of being confined buy purchasing expensive cartriges any time I wanted a new "season" or new fonts. I just thought that was ridiculous. So I was happy not having one.

Then...I made a discovery. And see, this is what I always thought. I would buy the cricut if only I could design the images / fonts etc myself.

FINALLY, there are 2 programs out there that I know of, Make the Cut and Sure Cuts a Lot that make the Cricut appealing to me again.

They are programs you buy (I have seen each for around $60-$70 online on sale, so the price of ONE cartridge) that you load onto your computer. You can convert your fonts already loaded on your computer or images into SVG images which are compatible with the cricut. Basically, you can take your own cip art, your own designs and your own fonts, design how you want to have it cut on the paper/vinyl etc., hook your cricut up to your computer and it will cut out your CUSTOM DESIGNS.

Ok. See. Now I want Cricut! I was just happy enough without one BEFORE they came out with software that I thought they needed several years ago! Now, even though I don't scrapbook...I totally want one.

Can't wait to hear what you decide to do!!

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Oh. And I forgot to meantion, Michael's coupons do NOT work on ANY Cricut items. Such a bummer.

Expressions by Heather said...

....I can design my own? Now see, that DOES make it more interesting, because I do some graphic design work myself, and I have over 2000 fonts on my computer.

I will totally be checking into those programs, because that does make it MUCH more accessible for me!

Thank you soooo very much!!

Unknown said...

Get it!!!!!! I have one and LOVE it, I use it for so many things and Micheals has sales on the cartridges all the time, often for $30-40, also OH MY , has great sales all the time on cricut products! You can find it all cheaper, and i went from a sizzix to cricut, dont even bother with the sizzix, the cricut gives you so many more options! Get it, u wont regret it!

Miranda said...

I've been thinking of getting a Cricut too, but I didn't know which one to get. Lots of great info here! I used to scrapbook, but I just haven't made the time to do the last few years (moved several times, more children in the house, etc.). I think this would make it easier and I know I'd find lots of other things to use it for. :o)

Tonya said...

I have a cricut....I only have two cartridges for it, but I purchased "Sure Cuts A Lot", often referred to as SCAL. You can download free fonts from websites and use them through this program so it has opened a door to a lot of fonts I wouldn't have been able to use without buying more cartridges. Also you can also design your own images to cut in Inkscape (a free program I hear) and then use SCAL to cut them out on your cricut. Personally I have never designed my own because you can also find tons of the files (known as SVG's) on cricut forums, and blogs, download them from there, and then use SCAL to cut them out.
Since I bought Sure Cuts A Lot, I haven't bought any cartiridges...not saying I wouldn't if I really had to have something, but so far that hasn't happened!
I highly recommend the cricut and SCAL.

Willa Jean Coates said...

I have the original cricut which I love. I do scrapbooking and also make all my cards. Every time I use it, it amazes me. The cartridges can be expensive, however, you can get them on sale and there are alot of different internet companies that offer the cartridges at great prices. Once you have a cartridge that for example cuts a circle in 1 - 5 will never have to buy any punches. And Michaels/AC Moore you cannot use the coupons. Looking forward to reading your decision.

avisiontoremember said...

if you are going to own the cricut you must watch for sales or purchase stuff on ebay for it...the cartridges you can spend from 20-30 dollars a piece for on ebay or craft stores will occasionally have a good sale on them. I have both the expression and the personal. I love them both for different reasons. I would try to get the larger one especially for crafty stuff. just my 2 cents :) But it is definitely worth the money. I used to scrapbook but don't really anymore. I use it for craft stuff

Anonymous said...

Hi! My mom found a cricut on sale and bought it for me for Christmas...honestly when I got it I thought "what in the world am I going to do with this thing?" I am a senior at college and there is no way I can find time to scrapbook! Well I have found that there are sooo many other things you can do with it! I have made cards, flowers, housewarming gifts, labels, scrapbooking supplies for others, wall decorations, etc! Can't wait to see what you decide! :) God Bless!

Anonymous said...

ok, here is the deal. you HAVE to get a cricut. I just realized that in the 2 years I have had mine, I have used it on all kinds of home projects and not on one scrapbook page. the cartridges are what held me back. then....I discovered SCAL (sure cuts alot). Sure cuts alot is a software program that allows you to use any and allllll internet fonts and dings to cut on your cricut. i bought my baby bug, it came with 2 carts and I paid 119.00 on black friday. i promptly bought scal for 60.00, and haven't looked back since. you can also download a FREEE program called inkscape that allows you to 'draw' and create, change the file to svg and then again cut it with your cricut. and last but not least, there are a gazillion, blogs, sites etc. that offer free svg files you can just download and cut. lots of talented designers out there. I LOOOOOVE it, but again the cart thing turned me off till i found scal...i <3 scal and cricut!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

oh, one more thing, get the expression, i wish i had waited and got it instead of the little's nice to have that flexibility and size!

MeenyMoe said...

My wonderful husband bought me a Cricut Expression for Christmas. I love to do crafts but, quite honestly, I mostly collect ideas that never come to fruition because I really can't afford - in this economy - to do many crafts. But, sweet as he is, he made the big dive and bought it for me. I love it - I really do - but it is a money sucker. He got me several cartridges on ebay pretty cheap but when I want to use it to make something, I still find that I don't have what I need. I had no card stock. I bought a little to try out the machine. Card stock is EXPENSIVE! Though the machines' pretty easy in some ways to operate, in other ways, it challenges me and I get frustrated because I didn't push the right button and it cut off the mat or the font size wasn't what I pushed in at all. So, it sits on my shelf and looks at me every day - mocking me. I feel guilty about how much he spent on it and I am not using it to its potential. My advice - research and really think about it before you get it. I am finding that I never have done much paper cut out crafting and that's really all it is good for.

Unknown said...

I got the cricut expression for Christmas and I LOVE it!! I use it mainly for cutting fabric for applique. Some people say you can't do it, but I've found it to be VERY easy if you cut larger shapes and use interfacing.

I also use it to cut freezer paper to make stencils to apply to fabric paint to clothing.

Get it - you will love it!!


PS: It seems like the cartridges are ALWAYS on sale for $39.99 at my local Joann's.

Anonymous said...

ok, sorry, one more comment, i didn't read your entire post the first time the cost of vinyl. they sell rolls of it at walmart and joann's for less than 10.00. however, someone recommended to me that i check at a sign shop for their scraps and leftovers. i own a pizza shop and traded one pizza for a garbage bag full of scraps. but lots of folks have said that their local shops will just give the scraps away. i use them for throwaway projects, stencils, small projects. for christmas i made some 'dance' friends vinyl stickers for their cars, all from those scraps, and i still have a nice size supply left in tons of colors!scraps....sweet...there's usually a way around if you try hard enough!

Expressions by Heather said...

Wow... you girls sure are helpful! Ok, so the Sizzix and Cuttlebug are out. Now, to decide how much to spend on a Cricut.

Thank you so much everyone! I'm kind of chomping at the bit, now, to get going with one!

teamsalles said...

I just recently "bit the bullet" and bought my Expression Cricut. After borrowing my sisters AGAIN, I decided I just can't live without it. I found mine at and after signing up for their mailing list and getting 10% off, I got the Expression (which is the big one) and one cartridge for $206!! They do not charge shipping or tax. They also sell cartridges really reasonably, cheaper than the sales at Joann's and Michaels. I don't have Hob Lob here so I don't know what their sales are like... but you can't beat no tax and no shipping, EVER! When my machine came, which was extremely quick, there was another coupon for 10% off as a thank you. So I'm saving up for some cartridges so I can use that coupon! I don't think you'll regret getting it and now that I've heard about "sure cuts a lot" I'm really glad I bought it. Let us all know what you decide to do!!

Summer Rae said...

I have had mine for about two years now and absolutely LURVE it! I use it all the time, not just in scrapbooking. Like someone wrote previously you can cut chipboard, vinyl, magnets, and fondant. (all sizes can do all those things) I have been looking into the 'scal'. Ebay is where I get my cartridges and have never paid more than $25 for one, which I love considering some places charge $90! You can't use coupons, but the do go on sale every once in awhile. Anyway, hope we have helped!

Donna said...

My hubby just got me the expressions about 2 weeks ago for our 15th anniversary and V-day. I love it. I only got one cartride with it and we purchase the scal from the internet. Love, love,love it! My husband has even started doing projects with it. I would say go for it, but definatly get the scal software!!!

Anonymous said...

Well, I am a scrapbook designer & teacher AND crafter...I actually have two Cricut Machines and am getting the new Cricut Cake Machine (explantion on this machine for another time - lol). I use my Cricut Expression (larger machine) more than my smaller one which I take with me to crops. I love the use for vinyl lettering for numerous projects. Yes the cartridges are pricy but I generally go to an online store and find them there way cheaper. Not sure if you have heard about Sure Cuts Alot ( but you can use this program with your Cricut and it uses any font and design you have on your computer already and no need to purchase any cartridges.
I love my Cricut machines and find them very helpful in every area of crafting/scrapbooking...if you have any questions, you are more than welcome to contact me...
hope that helps!
p.s. I am also an instructor for the Cricut Machines and teach classes on its when you get your machine, and if you need help working it, let me know!

Expressions by Heather said...

Oh, how I want one now!

Big Lots is due to have the Create with Don Juan cartridge on sale for $99 Sunday & Monday. Just trying to see if I can swing the money by then. If I can, I should be happily Cricuted by Sunday, since there is no way I'll wait long to grab it.

2sisters said...

I was lucky. I got mine on a Black Friday sale. I got the big one (the Expressions) and 2 cartridges for $200 on sale. I LOVE it (I have only used it once so far), but I have used other peoples and have loved them. Good luck with your decision!

seven thirty three said...

We got mine when it was 50% off, so it was definitely worth it. I only went with the Personal Cutter, but honestly, I love it and use it all the time. I use it for applique letters for sewing, I've used it to make Valentines and plates and plaques.

And if you buy the trimmer for $9.99 you can cut the paper to size in a cinch.

I say you should go for it! You'd be surprised how much you COULD use it! :)

I haven't gotten any vinyl yet, but that's the next step. AND Walmart has lots of good prices on the cartridges and if you go to Michaels or Joanns you can get them for 40% anytime with their newspaper coupons!!!

seven thirty three - - - a creative blog

Tami said...

I absolutely love my Cricut. I bought it with 2 years of Christmas and birthday money that I had saved. I have not used it to scrapbook anything. But oh, the possibilities. I have cut fabric and made t-shirts, cut vinyl for walls and other things, cut paper for several projects including a school project for my oldest child. It has been well worth the money and you can get cartridges for cheaper than the retail. A great place to buy Cricut things (including the Cricut) is Check it out. My friend has Cricut and Cuttlebug and she uses Cricut a lot more.

Julie W said...

Lots of fans of the Cricut I see....and I'm about ready to take the plunge on that myself. But let me put in a word for the cuttlebug. One thing it can do that the Cricut doesn't (or at least not as intricately) is deep embossing. They sell these things called embossing folders for the cuttlebug, and let me tell you, they are drop-dead gorgeous! Just google cuttlebug embossing folder and look at what you can do! You can also get a bug pretty cheap online...try Oh My Crafts or Custom Crops. About $60 bucks. The embossing folders are sold in bundles on HSN or CropStop for a good price, and you can find them seperately everywhere. Often on sale at the big box stores. While the die-cutting aspect of the cuttlebug may get tedious and not allow for the options that the SCAL program can do with the Cricut, I've yet to see anything that is a lovely as the embossing folders for the bug. Just my 2 cents and humble opinion. Good luck!

Not So Simply ... Debra! said...

I looked through most of your comments and didn't find anyone answering the question of the difference between a Cricut and a Cuttlebug.

The Cricut of course is a die cutter while the Cuttlebug is an embosser. You can buy die packs for the Cuttlebug that will cut out small simple shapes but it's main purpose is to emboss or create raised impressions on paper.

You can use the cricut to cut embossing folders for the Cuttlebug but the folders are pretty cheap on Amazon - $4 - $5. Some are more expensive.

I sure hope you get your Cricut this weekend, I'm going to be camping on Big Lots doorstep for this one!

Love your blog BTW you have done a great job with it.


Kahli said...

Does any have the quickutz silhouette SD or original? I hear that may even be better than the cricut because you don't have to purchase cartridges. And you can import your own images and fonts to use in the program and it hooks directly to your computer from what I read. And if you are good with photoshop/illustrator you can design your own images to cut.

I found a comparison on the cricut and quickutz silhouette sd here.

I'm thinking I'm going to buy a silhouette now :)

laurmela said...

I got the personal Cricut on Thanksgiving at Michaels, it was $69.99! I also bought 3 cartridges they were $29.99. I bought another cartridge recently at JoAnn's for $39.99, reg $89.99! I used it a Christmas to make stencils for some crafts I was doing! I really need to sit down and see what I can do with it. I did buy some vinyl at JoAnn's but haven't used it yet. It is just a matter of taking the time to see what it can do!