The Cricut, that personal, digital-driven, die-cutting machine from ProvoCraft, has taken the arts and crafts world by storm. This popularity is mainly for its ability to make precise, clean cuts in materials like paper and vinyl for projects such as scrapbooking, stencil art and T-shirt design.
Yet the Cricut can cut much, much more. From felt to fondue, the Cricut has a range of applications that are limited only by the imagination - and the materials at hand.
How Does a Cricut Work?
In all its forms, the Cricut is a descendant of the large die cutters used in manufacturing to cut metal, glass and other materials. The Cricut brings the same technology to the world of crafts, with cutting blades that slice out a design based on input from its digital design software on a user's computer.
In models ranging from the original Cricut to newer versions such as the Cricut Explorer, this handy tool makes it possible to cut a complex design from any available vector image within seconds.
The Cricut isn't designed to cut very thick or rigid materials, and its cutting surface is relatively small. But this machine can handle a surprising range of relatively thin, flexible materials that are similar in weight and texture to those old favorites, paper and vinyl.
A Cricut can easily cut balsa wood and other types of thin, pressed wood pieces, thus creating intriguing cutouts for use as invitations, place settings, home décor and more.
Thin strips of leather and faux leather can be cut with just about any model of Cricut to make bracelets, jewelry, headbands or embellishments for hats, bags and clothing.
Refrigerator-style magnets are flexible and relatively thin, perfect for use in a Cricut. They can become figures, letters, numbers and more for children's fun and learning, or for use in home décor.
Along with various stiff fabrics, the Cricut can cut felt in varying thicknesses to make embellishments for hats, bags, holiday ornaments or jewelry. For best results, though, the felt used should be fairly stiff.
The Cricut can cut acrylic sheets for stencil lettering or painting projects, or for other types of home décor. The Cricut can also work on similar materials such as Mylar and even window cling.
In addition, the Cricut has found a home in the world of "food art." A version of the basic machine, called Cricut Cake, can cut fondant for decorating cakes and other types of pastries.
With the Cricut's digital precision, it's possible to create elegant embellishments for wedding cakes, whimsical figures for a child's birthday cake or pretty touches set atop a cupcake.
What can you cut with a Cricut? Just about anything, as long as the material you use doesn't exceed the parameters of a Cricut's cutting area and the capacity of its blades.
After using a Cricut with materials such as felt or leather, though, users recommend thoroughly cleaning the machine's blades, tracks and cutting area to eliminate debris before moving on to the next project.
Although the Cricut and other machines like it have gained fame for their ability to create precise, sharp cuts on a variety of papers and vinyl, this fast, versatile cutting tool has virtually unlimited applications in DIY and craft projects of all kinds.