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Cricut-2 reduced resolution.jpg
It's Cricut
Product typeHome smart cutting and Vinyl cutter machines, arts, crafts, prototyping and merchandise for makers
OwnerCricut, Inc.
CountryUnited States

Cricut is a brand of cutting plotters, or computer-controlled cutting machines, designed for home crafters. Consumers often use the machines for cutting paper, felt, vinyl, fabric[1] and other materials such as leather, matboard, and wood.


The original Cricut machine has cutting mats of 6 by 12 inches (150 mm × 300 mm), the larger Cricut Explore 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 Explore Air 2 require mats and blades which can be adjusted to cut through various types of paper, vinyl and other sheet products. The Cricut operates as a paper cutter based upon cutting parameters programmed into the machine, and resembles a desktop printer.[2] 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.[2]

Current models[edit]

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. This machine has 1 tool slot, compared to all other currently supported models which have two. Note: there is a wireless Bluetooth adapter available for purchase separately.

Cricut Explore Air[edit]

The Explore Air is a wireless die cutting machine that can cut a variety of materials from paper to bonded fabric. This machine is essentially the same as its second iteration, besides the housing and slower cutting abilities. This model has two slots, one for pens and one for blades.

Cricut Explore Air 2[edit]

The Explore Air 2 is minor redesign of the Explore Air line which added three colors (Mint Blue, Rose Anna, Giffin Lilac). It also added a Fast Mode to cut vinyl, iron-on heat transfer vinyl, and card stock at "up to 2x speeds."[3]

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.[4] The Maker is the only Cricut machine that supports the use of a Rotary Blade for cutting fabric directly and a single or double scoring wheel with variable pressure to score thicker papers than the original scoring stylus that use the QuickSwap housing. In mid-2019 Cricut introduced four more tips to use with the QuickSwap housing. A debossing tip, engraving tip, wavy blade and perforation blade.

Cricut Joy[edit]

Introduced February 12, 2020 the Cricut Joy is a smaller, more light-weight version at 5" x 8" and less than 4 lb. The Cricut Joy is aimed the casual crafter market. The Joy introduces two new features not elsewhere available in the Cricut product portfolio. With specialty accessories and materials (labeled Smart Materials), the Joy is able to cut single designs up to four feet long and repeated cuts up to 20 feet. "With its precision blade, Cricut Joy cuts lots of materials in any shape you say – everything from vinyl and iron-on to cardstock, peel-and-stick label paper, and even that construction paper you already have at home."[5] Note: the Cricut Joy cannot use the Print and Cut feature with stickers.

Cricut EasyPress 2[edit]

A square surface device for heat transfer designs and Infusible Ink materials, offered in 6" x 7", 9" x 9"[6] and 12" x 10"[7] sizes. The press provides constant heat and pressure over materials. Power, tempature, timer, increase, decrease, and start buttons are located at the top for various project settings and needs.

Cricut EasyPress Mini[edit]

A miniature heat press/ iron. Approximately 4 inches long and 2.5 inches wide of heating surface. Equipped with three heat settings. Low for sensitive base material heat transfer 255°F (125°C) – 295°F (145°C), medium for more basic material heat transfer 300°F (150°C) – 355°F (180°C), and high for heavy duty material heat transfer and specifically Infusible Ink materials 360°F (185°C) – 400°F (205°C).[8] The temperature button and indicator are located on the point side of handle, when indicator is glowing yellow then the device is heating to desired temperature, when green the device has reached temperature and ready for use. To adjust heat press button until cycles to needed level 1-low, 2-medium, and three-high.

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.[9] 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.[10] 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.[11] First, it allows users to cut shapes and fonts in a range from ​14" to 23​12", 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.[12]

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.[13] 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".[13] 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.

Cricut Cake

The Cricut Cake was one of the first vinyl cutters that you could cut edible vinyl. This was only for cakes. You can still cut your normal Vinyl, Iron-on and other materials.


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.[14] 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 provides for hundreds of different cuts. Currently[when?] over 275 cartridges are available, with new ones regularly released.[15] While some cartridges are generic in content, Cricut has licensing agreements with Disney, Pixar, Nickelodeon, Sesame Street, DC Comics and Hello Kitty.[16] 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.[17] 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.[18]

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.[19] 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.[20]

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,[21] and in January 2011 it sued Craft Edge to stop the distribution of the SCAL program.[22] 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.[23]

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".[24] 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".[25]

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. ^ Wayner, Peter (December 2, 2009)."For Crafters, the Gift of Automation." The New York Times.
  2. ^ a b Flaherty, Joseph (April 18, 2012). "MakerBot + Pinterest = Craft Juggernaut." Wired Magazine.
  3. ^ "Cricut machines comparison chart | Cricut Help Center". Cricut Help Center. Archived from the original on 2018-05-04. Retrieved 2018-05-03.
  4. ^ "Cricut Maker is Here!". Cricut. 2017-08-03. Retrieved 2018-05-03.
  5. ^ "Cricut Joy™️ | Your DIY Best Friend". Retrieved 2020-10-19.
  6. ^ "Cricut EasyPress 2, Raspberry - 9" x 9"". Retrieved 2020-01-07.
  7. ^ "Cricut EasyPress 2, Raspberry - 12" x 10"". Retrieved 2020-01-07.
  8. ^ "Cricut EasyPress Mini FAQ". Help Center. Retrieved 2020-01-07.
  9. ^[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-06-19. Retrieved 2013-11-07.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ "Experience - Click. Cut. Go. DIY in just a few clicks". Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  12. ^ "Experience - Click. Cut. Go. DIY in just a few clicks". Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  13. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-11-15. Retrieved 2013-11-07.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-11-02. Retrieved 2013-11-07.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ "Cricut Cartridges". Provo Craft. August 26, 2011. Archived from the original on September 2, 2011.
  16. ^ "Featured Brands - Cricut Shop". Archived from the original on 2014-01-28.
  17. ^ "Can Cricut Cut Custom Shapes & Designs? - Craft Room Application - Cricut Forums". Archived from the original on 2015-01-25.
  18. ^ "Original Expression and the new Cricut Design Space - Expression Machine [29-0300] - Cricut Forums". Archived from the original on 2015-03-27.
  19. ^ Important News for Cricut Craft Room Users. Accessed 10 August 2018.
  20. ^ Cricut Expression review, Top Ten Reviews. Accessed 26 January 2012.
  21. ^ Nancy Nally, Provo Craft Sues Make The Cut, Scrapbook Update, 7 April 2010
  22. ^ Nally, Nancy (March 11, 2011). "Provo Craft Sues Sure Cuts A Lot, Alleging Copyright Violations". Scrapbook Update.
  23. ^ 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
  24. ^ Complaint: Provo Craft and Novelty Inc. v. Craft Edge Inc., at 28 (page 6)
  25. ^ Complaint: Provo Craft and Novelty Inc. v. Craft Edge Inc., at 57 (page 13)

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]