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Cricut-2 reduced resolution.jpg
It's Cricut
Product typeHome die-cutting machines, arts, crafts, and merchandise for makers
OwnerProvo Craft & Novelty, Inc.
CountryUnited States

Cricut is the brand-name of a product range of home die-cutting machines (or cutting plotters) used for scrapbooking and various projects,[1] made by Provo Craft & Novelty, Inc. (also known as "Provo Craft") of Spanish Fork, Utah.[2] The machines are used for cutting paper, felt, vinyl, fabric[3] and other products such as fondant. Cricut is among several electronic die cutters used by paper crafters, card makers and scrapbookers.


The original cricut machine had cutting mats of 6 × 12 inches, the larger Cricut Explorer only allows mats of 12 × 12 and 12 × 24. The largest machine will produce letters from a half inch to 23​12 inches high. Both the Cricut and Cricut Explorer Air 2 require mats and blades which can be adjusted to cut through various types of paper, vinyl and other sheet products. The Cricut personal paper cutter operates as a paper cutter based upon cutting parameters programmed into the machine, and resembles a desktop printer.[4] Cricut Cake produces stylized edible fondants cut into various shapes from fondant sheets, and is used by chefs in the preparation and ornamentation of cakes.[4]

Current Models[edit]

These models are currently compatible with the current Cricut Design Space application.

Cricut Explore One[edit]

The Explore One is a wired die cutting machine that can cut a variety of materials from paper to fabric and more. Note: there is a wireless Bluetooth adapter available for purchase separately. This machine only had one tool slot, compared to all other currently supported models which have two.

Cricut Explore Air[edit]

The Explore Air is a wireless die cutting machine that can cut a variety of materials from paper to fabric and more. This machine is essentially the same as its second iteration, besides the housing and slower cutting abilities.

Cricut Explore Air 2[edit]

The Explore Air 2 is minor refresh of the Explore Air line which added three colors (Mint Blue, Rose Anna, Giffin Lilac) as well as a Fast Mode to cut vinyl, iron-on, and card stock at "up to 2x speeds."[5]

Cricut Maker[edit]

The Cricut Maker is a new line released on August 20, 2017, designed to cut thicker materials such as balsa wood, basswood, non-bonded fabric, leather, and felt.[6]

The Maker is the only Cricut machine that supports the use of a Rotary Blade for cutting fabric directly, and a scoring wheel with variable pressure to score thicker papers than the original scoring stylus.

Legacy Machines[edit]

Original Cricut[edit]

The original Cricut comes with a 6" x 12" cutting mat and images can be cut in a range from 1" to 5 1/2" tall.[7] The original Cricut is compatible with all original Cricut cartridges. The original Cricut does not have the ability to cut as many different types of materials that the newer Cricut machines can. However, Cricut does make a Deep Cut Blade & Housing that can allow original Cricut owners to cut material up to 1.55mm thick, such as magnet, chipboard, and stamp materials.[8] The original Cricut is also compatible with the Cricut Design Craft Room.

Cricut Expression[edit]

The Cricut Expression® offers several advantages over the previous model.[9] First, it allows users to cut shapes and fonts in a range from ¼" to 23½", and comes with a 12" x 12" cutting matting with adjustable slides so that users no longer need to trim their media down to 6" x 12". It cuts a wider range of materials, including vellum, fabric, chipboard, vinyl, and thin foils. It also features an LCD Screen to preview the work, and has features such Quantity and Auto-Fill. A "Paper Saver" mode and choice of Portrait or Landscape Orientation have also been added. The basic model has two cartridges included in the purchase, Plantin SchoolBook and Accent Essentials.

Cricut Imagine[edit]

This machine was entirely unique in that it had an HP 97 ink jet printer built into it so that it could both cut and print images. This machine also had a revamped touch screen interface, and was extremely large and heavy. The machine had an extremely short life span of almost one year.

Cricut Expression 2[edit]

The Cricut Expression 2 has an updated exterior from the Cricut Expression. It comes with a 12" x 12" cutting mat. This machine does not have the keyboard that the original cricut and the cricut expression have. Instead it features a new full-color LCD touch screen. The LCD touch screen displays the keyboard on the screen and allows you to see where your images will be on the mat prior to cutting. It also has the new feature of independent image sizing and image rotation directly on the LCD screen.[10]

Cricut Mini[edit]

The Cricut Mini is a small personal electronic cutting machine. Unlike the other Cricut machines it only works with a computer, it can not cut images standing alone. You have to use Cricut Craft Room design software. The Cricut Mini comes with over 500 images that are automatically unlocked when you connect your Cricut with the Cricut Craft Room design software or the Cricut Gypsy device.[11] The machine does have a cartridge port that is compatible with all Cricut cartridges except the Cricut imagine cartridges. The Cricut Mini also features a unique mat size of 8.5" x 12". The Cricut Mini can cut images in a range of 1/4" to 11 1/2".[11] The Cricut Mini relied exclusively on using Cricut Craft Room, a computer program which no longer functions. Of all the Legacy Cricut machines, the Mini is the only one that is now obsolete and not usable in any way. As no recourse was provided to the customers who had purchased cartridges for that machine, Provo-Craft is now the focus of many complaints for customers who were left with no recourse for this unexpected forced 'sun-setting' of the machine.


Designs are made from components stored on cartridges. Each cartridge comes with a keyboard overlay and instruction booklet. The plastic keyboard overlay indicates key selections for that cartridge only. However recently Provo Craft has released a "Universal Overlay" that is compatible with all cartridges released after August 1, 2013.[12] The purpose of the universal overlay is to simplify the process of cutting by only having to learn one keyboard overlay instead of having to learn the overlay for each individual cartridge. Designs can be cut out on a PC with the Cricut Design Studio software, on a USB connected Gypsy machine, or can be directly inputted on the Cricut machine using the keyboard overlay. There are two types of cartridges shape and font. Each cartridge has a variety of creative features which can allow for hundreds of different cuts from just one cartridge. There are currently over 275 cartridges that are available (separately from the machine), containing fonts and shapes, with new ones added monthly.[13] While some cartridges are generic in content, Cricut has licensing agreements with Disney, Pixar, Nickelodeon, Sesame Street, DC Comics and Hello Kitty.[14] The Cricut line has a range of prices, but the cartridges are interchangeable, although not all options on a cartridge may be available with the smaller machines. All cartridges work only with Cricut software, must be registered to a single user for use and cannot be sold or given away. A cartridge purchased for a discontinued machine is likely to become useless at the point the machine is discontinued. Cricut reserves the right to discontinue support for some versions of their software at any time, which can make some cartridges immediately obsolete.



The Cricut Craft Room software enables users to combine images from different cartridges, merge images, and stretch/rotate images; it does not allow for the creation of arbitrary designs.[15] It also enables the user to view the images displayed on-screen before beginning the cutting process, so the end result can be seen in advance.[16]

Citing Adobe's abandonment of Flash, Cricut announced it would be closing Cricut Craft Room on 15 July 2018. Users of "legacy" machines were offered a discount to update to models compatible with Cricut Design Space. As of 16 July 2018, Design Space is the only official software available to compose projects. Some third party programs are available and can be used to input the files into Design Space.[17] Design Space is not compatible with cartridges formerly purchased for the Cricut Mini, which was force-sunset in October 2018.


Provo Craft has been actively hostile to the use of third-party software programs that could enable Cricut owners to cut out designs and to use the machine without depending on its proprietary cartridges. In a comparative review of die-cutting machines, review site TopTenReviews identified being "limited to cutting designs from a collection of cartridges" as a major drawback of the Cricut range, though the review noted that it could be a preference for some.[18]

Two programs which could formerly be used to make and then get Cricut machines to cut out arbitrary designs (using, for example, arbitrary TrueType fonts or SVG format graphics) were Make-the-Cut (MTC) and Craft Edge's Sure Cuts A Lot (SCAL). In April 2010 Provo Craft opened legal action against the publishers of Make-the-Cut,[19] and in January 2011 it sued Craft Edge to stop the distribution of the SCAL program.[20] In both cases the publishers settled with Provo Craft, and removed support for Cricut from their products. The programs continue to be usable with other home cutters.[21]

According to the text of its legal complaint against Craft Edge, "Provo Craft uses various techniques to encrypt and obscure the USB communications between Cricut DesignStudio [a design program supplied with the hardware] and the Cricut e-cutter, in order to protect Provo Craft's proprietary software and firmware, and to prevent attempts to intercept the cutting commands".[22] Provo Craft contended that in order to understand and replicate this obscured protocol, Craft Edge had disassembled the DesignStudio program, contrary to the terms of its End User License Agreement, thereby (the company asserted) breaching copyright law. Provo Craft also asserted that Craft Edge were violating its trademark in the word "Cricut" by saying that its software could work with Cricut machines. Provo Craft asserted that this was likely "to cause confusion, mistake or deception as to the source or origin of Defendant's goods or services, and [was] likely to falsely suggest a sponsorship, connection, license, or association of Defendant's goods and services with Provo Craft".[23]

The result of this is that customers with older versions of Cricut machines that were 'force sunset' by discontinuation of software support have no alternative software to use with their now obsolete machines.


  1. ^ McCartney, Joyce (June 24, 2010). "Machines make crafting more creative." The Journal Gazette.
  2. ^ "Company Overview of Provo Craft and Novelty, Inc". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved October 17, 2012.
  3. ^ Wayner, Peter (December 2, 2009)."For Crafters, the Gift of Automation." The New York Times.
  4. ^ a b Flaherty, Joseph (April 18, 2012). "MakerBot + Pinterest = Craft Juggernaut." Wired Magazine.
  5. ^ "Cricut machines comparison chart | Cricut Help Center". Cricut Help Center. Retrieved 2018-05-03.
  6. ^ "Cricut Maker is Here!". Cricut. 2017-08-03. Retrieved 2018-05-03.
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Experience - Click. Cut. Go. DIY in just a few clicks". Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  10. ^ "Experience - Click. Cut. Go. DIY in just a few clicks". Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  11. ^ a b
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Cricut Cartridges". Provo Craft. August 26, 2011. Archived from the original on September 2, 2011.
  14. ^ "Featured Brands - Cricut Shop". Archived from the original on 2014-01-28.
  15. ^ "Can Cricut Cut Custom Shapes & Designs? - Craft Room Application - Cricut Forums". Archived from the original on 2015-01-25.
  16. ^ "Original Expression and the new Cricut Design Space - Expression Machine [29-0300] - Cricut Forums". Archived from the original on 2015-03-27.
  17. ^ Important News for Cricut Craft Room Users. Accessed 10 August 2018.
  18. ^ Cricut Expression review, Top Ten Reviews. Accessed 26 January 2012.
  19. ^ Nancy Nally, Provo Craft Sues Make The Cut, Scrapbook Update, 7 April 2010
  20. ^ Nally, Nancy (March 11, 2011). "Provo Craft Sues Sure Cuts A Lot, Alleging Copyright Violations". Scrapbook Update.
  21. ^ Nancy Nally, Make The Cut Settles Cricut Software Lawsuit With Provo Craft, Scrapbook Update, 11 March 2011
    Nancy Nally, Provo Craft Issues Statement on MTC, SCAL Lawsuits, Scrapbook Update, 5 April 2011
    Communication from Craft Edge, Notes from the Scrapbooklady (blog), 17 May 2011
    Update on SCAL and Provocraft, UK Scrappers, 16 May 2011
  22. ^ Complaint: Provo Craft and Novelty Inc. v. Craft Edge Inc., at 28 (page 6)
  23. ^ Complaint: Provo Craft and Novelty Inc. v. Craft Edge Inc., at 57 (page 13)

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]