A few years ago, Provo Craft decided to really change the world of scrapbooking by releasing the Cricut product line. The Cricut machine is a cartridge-based electronic die-cutting machine. The Original Cricut Machine was released (also known as the Cricut Personal Electronic Cutter), with the ability to cut images onto paper using a 6 by 12- inch mat. The Cricut Machine is sold as a package with one cartridge (George and Basic Shapes), cutting blade, a cutting mat, and instruction manual. Several cartridges and accessories were released shortly after.
Cricut Expression Machine
Demand for the Original Cricut machine was overwhelming. Customers were asking for a machine to cut larger images and more functionality, and Provo Craft responded by introducing the Cricut Expression Machine. The Expression has several notable upgrades to the original machine: it is able to cut images up to 12 by 24 inches, has a large LCD screen that allows the user to see the next cut, an eight-way directional blade, and Fit-to-Page mode. Provo Craft also introduced more cartridges and accessories to go along with the Expression.
Many Cricut users have upgraded to the Expression from the Original Cricut Personal Cutter. However, scrapbookers were asking for a more portable machine to take along to crops and scrapbooking parties. The Expression is a larger machine, meant to be left at home at a permanent workspace. Once again, Provo Craft responded to demand by releasing the Cricut Create Machine. The Create Machine has the functionality of the Expression, but is a much smaller unit with greater portability. The Create can cut images up to 6 by 12- inches, similar to the Original machine.
Cricut machines require cartridges in order to cut images. All Cricut Cartridges are compatible in all three machines. Cricut is continuously releasing new cartridges to keep up with scrapbooking demand. There are now over 100 Cricut Cartridges available! The cartridges have unique themes, with 4 main types:
Fonts- these cartridges contain letters and numbers with varying styles. Some popular Font cartridges are: Plantin Schoolbook, Calligraphy, and Storybook. These cartridges come in a peach-colored binder with a detailed instruction manual and unique keypad that corresponds to the cartridge.
Shapes- these are the most popular type of Cricut Cartridges, among the favorites are: Stretch Your Imagination, Wild Card, and Celebrations. The Shapes cartridges come in a light blue-colored binder.
Classmate- these are catered towards educators- includes 50 States, Cursive 101, and My Community. The Classmate cartridge binders are green.
Solutions- these cartridges were released after the other styles. The Solutions cartridges are less expensive, and contain fewer images than the other cartridges listed above. Some popular Solutions cartridges include Stone Script, Home Accents, and Camp Out. These do not come in a typical storage binder, but do include instructions and a keypad.
Cricut has introduced several accessory items to complement the Cricut machines' capabilities. Some popular accessories include the Jukebox, Design Studio Software, adhesive vinyl, color inks, and stencil material. These all help scrapbookers to enhance their creativity and produce amazing projects.
A Glimpse Into the Future
Provo Craft has just announced the release of the Cricut Gypsy, which allows users to upload all of their cartridge content into one place. The Gypsy is a portable device with an interactive interface, similar to an Ipod. Users can create designs anywhere, and simply plug into a Cricut Machine to cut. This will be released just in time for the holidays.