You may need to upgrade your Cricut! Check out this post on the Cricut Maker Vs. Explore Air 2 to see what the Maker can do!
You may be on the fence about upgrading, so check out this Cricut Maker Vs. Cricut Explore Air 2 comparison to see if it’s right for you. I’m guessing it probably is and you don’t know it yet 😉
Do I really need a Cricut Maker?
Last year, I attended Cricut’s Make-A-Thon conference where they released the new Cricut Maker. I already had my Cricut Explore Air 2 for a year and I was honestly perfectly happy with that machine. And I was absolutely thrilled when the Cricut Maker came out…BUT at the same time, I was wondering if I would use the features.
I mean, I don’t usually sew and I don’t have a huge need to create things with wood. I’m a paper girl. Well, the Maker proved me wrong. I’ve made Christmas ornaments, napkins, sturdy Halloween photo props, and chipboard cake toppers with my Maker. Crafts I could NEVER do without the maker.
Cricut Maker Vs. Explore Air 2
You probably already love your Cricut Explore Air 2, so just think of all the features of that, and add on some INCREDIBLE new attachments and capabilities to the Cricut Maker. Read on for the new features!
Cricut Maker Power
The biggest difference between the two machines is the amount of pressure applied by the Cricut Maker. It is up to par with commercial cutting machines with 10 times the power, which means it can cut more materials (more on that in a minute).
Additional Cricut Maker Attachments
Because of the amount of power used, the Maker needs different attachments for certain material. Unlike other blade attachments, these swivel at the neck, allowing for a more precise cut or score on certain materials. The Cricut Explore 2 doesn’t have the swivel attachment option, so you’re missing out on the:
- Rotary Blade which cuts fabric. Note: This one comes with the machine. The other blades need to be purchased separately.
- Knife Blade which cuts thicker materials like chipboard. Tip: Check out this tutorial on how I made photo props with the knife blade.
- Scoring Wheel which creates more precise and crisper fold lines (plus it works on thicker materials than the Scoring Stylus).
- Double Scoring Tip attaches to the coring wheel creates double score lines. Tip: Purchase both scoring attachments and save!
Materials the Cricut Maker can cut
I already have a list of materials the Cricut Explore Air and Air 2 can cut, so we’ll just add these on to the list of paper, vinyl, cardstock, and iron-on. This is the main reason you should upgrade your machine…The Cricut Maker cuts hundreds of materials!
If you plan on crafting with any of the following materials, you need a Cricut Maker:
- Fabric – the Cricut Maker cuts just about every type of fabric you can think of. Cotton, fleece, denim, felt, and more! Use the rotary blade to flawlessly cut out these materials, and use the washable fabric pen to help you create sew lines in the large library of Cricut Design Space sewing patterns…or you can make your own sewing pattern! If you want to get into sewing, I highly recommend getting the Cricut Maker Essentials Bundle.
- Chipboard – I used this to add dimension to my photo props and cake toppers.
- Balsa Wood – cuts up to 3/32″ thick.
- Basswood – this is my favorite material to cut with the knife blade. It makes really clean cuts for materials up to 3/32″ thick.
- Matboard – I can’t wait to try this out on some custom picture frame mats!
- Heavy Leather – the Cricut Explore Air 2 can cut out faux leather beautifully, but if you want to make some leather earrings or a leather pouch, you’ll need the Cricut Maker knife blade.
- Print and Cut Colored paper – the maker can pick up those registration marks on colored paper better than the previous machines. This Print and Cut feature totally sold me!
Other Cricut Maker features the Explore Air 2 doesn’t have
- NO DIAL – that means no guesswork. Just choose your material from the cutting page and the Maker will automatically adjust its settings. This makes it really easy to use Cricut Cutting Materials, since all their materials are tested, then added to the database with the proper settings. If you ever have a custom material, you can add that to your list.
- Extra Storage – If you have a reasonable amount of blades and tools, you can store them in the machine (including a spot for your that has padding that prevents damage to your machine and tools)! Since I’m Cricut obsessed, I have several storage spaces, but all my most used tools go in the machine slots.
- iPad Storage and USB charger – use the Design Space app on your iPad and place it in the handy slot!
- Cool automatic tray opening – just watch the video. It’s one of those things you never knew you always wanted.
Bottom Line, both machines are fantastic and reliable. But if you’ve learned anything from this Cricut Maker vs. Explore Air 2 comparison, it’s that the Maker is just more – more materials, more possibilities!
Paper Pineapple Lantern Tutorial
Now that we have established that, check out this tutorial for making these CUTE Pineapple lanterns with the Rotary Blade and the Scoring Wheel.
What you’ll need:
- Pineapple Lanterns only in Cricut Design Space
- Cricut Maker (read more about the Maker here)
- Cricut Design Space
- Cricut Access
- Rotary Blade
- Scoring Wheel
- Light Grip Mat
- Fabric Grip Mat
- Cricut Cardstock
- Felt (works with thicker felt as well as Cricut Felt)
- Hot Glue Gun
- Flameless LED Tea Light (PLEASE DON’T USE FIRE!!)
I also want to note that I used a little trial and error here. The image shows 4 pineapple leaves, but there’s only three in the file because I decided 3 fit better than four. I also attached the leaves before the steps indicated, but it will be easier for you to follow the instructions the way I have them written below. We’re all learning, right?? 🤣
Cricut Design Space Instructions
- First, open up the file in Design space and click MAKE IT NOW to send right to the Cricut or Customize if you want to change any details.
- Connect your machine, then choose Medium Cardstock for the yellow page.
- Place yellow cardstock onto the LightGrip mat, then load it into the machine.
- You will now be prompted to change out your blade for the Scoring blade. Switch it out, then press the Go button when it starts flashing.
- Once it’s done scoring, you’ll be prompted to switch the blade again.
- While that is cutting, place green felt on a FabricGrip mat.
- Once the machine is finished with the yellow paper, click SET MATERIAL and choose Felt.
- You will now need to change the blade to the rotary blade (if it doesn’t do this automatically, click on EDIT TOOLS and choose the rotary blade – super important if you use your own felt).
- Load the mat into the machine and click the GO button when it starts flashing.
Pineapple Lantern Assembly
- Fold at the scoreline on the lantern so all the diagonal lines go inward and the vertical lines go outward (see image above).
- Use the glue gun to attach all the triangle flaps together. Do one piece at a time.
- Attach the pieces together at one side, then insert the candle (for smaller vases – if you resize it, you can skip this step).
- Attach the other side of the pieces together with hot glue so it forms a 3D piece. (see more instructions here if you’re having a hard time)
- Situate the candle so it sits upright at the base of the pineapple.
- Hot glue one set of leaves around the inside top of the pineapple.
- Now you’ll hot glue the other set of leaves on top of the other leaves. You may need to roll them up to make them fit.
Now turn on your light and you have a really fun lantern! These would be awesome for a beach themed party or luau!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.