If you have no idea what a Cricut machine is, here is a brief explanation... It is a machine that you can use to cut out fun designs, letters, and numbers. To use the Cricut you simply need to plug it in, choose your design or designs from a cartridge, stick a piece of paper onto the cutting mat, load the mat into machine, and push a button. It is easy to use and there are a wide variety of cartridges (compare prices) you can choose from. I have used my Cricut to do everything from cutting out letters to decorate my office wall to creating amazing greeting cards and wedding favor boxes.
I took the machine out of the box and had it up and running in no time without even looking at the directions. It was easy to figure out and I just spent some time tapping my way through the different icons exploring. I found most of them were pretty intuitive and easy to figure out. I would suggest looking through some of the projects posted by Cricut user and use them as inspiration while you play with this machine!
So, now... What is so special about the new Cricut Expression 2?
- Instead of using different buttons and dials to adjust the different settings, there is now a full-color touch screen you can use with the included stylus to select the designs you want and also to make any changes and adjustments you need. The touch screen was very easy to maneuver through and I actually had fun exploring all of the different options.
- While you can still use all of the older Cricut cartridges, you don't need to use the keypad overlay. All of the cartridge options and choices appear on the touch screen so you can see and select different designs quickly and easily. When you choose a design it quickly loads on the screen for you to preview.
- The Cricut Expression 2 has an LED light by the cutting blade so you can see what it is cutting. Very fancy, and while it is nice to be able to see exactly what to machine is doing, it isn't that necessary as the machine knows what it is doing!
- Not only does this machine have a port so you can use all of the different regular Cricut cartridges, it also has a port so you can use all of the Cricut Imagine cartridges also (although it can't print). You can also use both the standard Cricut cutting mats and the Imagine mats.
- It comes with two pre-loaded cartridges: Cricut Alphabet and Cricut Essentials. I had a lot of fun just looking through all of these designs, but I hesitate a little bit to call them cartridges only because they are built in and there are no physical cartridges that you could use on another Cricut machine. I especially love the playful designs that come with the Cricut Alphabet set.
- There is a 'Mat Preview' option that allows you to see all of the shapes you want to cut and exactly how and where they fit on the mat. You can even set up projects on multiple mats, up to six to be exact!
- With a few strokes of the stylus you can tell the Cricut Expression 2 what kind of material you will be cutting out. You can set it to cut everything from plain paper to thin chipboard.
- One of my favorite features? The super-long power cord! I know... I am weird!
Now, please excuse me while I go play with it some more!