Cricut Explore 3 – Everything You Need To Know

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We've taken a look at the latest Cricut Explore's new features. Here's what it can do... Die Cut Sticker Cutter

Cricut Explore 3 – Everything You Need To Know

Whether you're already a firm Cricut fan or are wondering if the much-hyped machines can transform your crafts, chances are you've heard of the Cricut Explore.

The Cricut Explore 3 is the midrange option in the newest release of Cricut machines and sits between the hobbyist's favourite, Cricut Joy, and the crafting professional's workhorse, the Cricut Maker.

If you've already got the Joy or an older machine, you might be wondering what the hype is around the new features and if it’s really worth upgrading to the Cricut Explore 3. Similarly, if you're ready to dip your toe into the world of Cricut, you may be wondering which is the best machine to buy.

We’ve done the hard work for you and have taken a closer look at the latest Cricut Explore machine to give you all the details on how it works, what it can do and if it should be your next crafting purchase.

The Cricut Explore 3 is an electronic die-cutting machine that can be used to create amazing and intricate craft projects, quickly and easily.

It's the latest in a long line of Cricut Explore models, following on from the original Cricut Explore, Cricut Explore One, Cricut Explore Air and the Cricut Explore Air 2.

Cricut decided to drop the Air part of the name with this newest version of the Cricut Explore machine, and it’s left a few people confused!

‘Air’ was originally added to the Cricut Explore machine name to show that the machine had wireless Bluetooth capability for connection. As all of the Cricut cutting machines come with Bluetooth connectivity as standard now, they’ve dropped the ‘Air’ from the name.

When purchasing a Cricut Explore 3, you’ll find that most places will offer the machine on its own or as part of a ‘bundle’ deal where you can get the machine plus a selection of other related items and tools. These bundles can be a great value way to get started with a Cricut, especially if you are brand new to using the machines.

If you are purchasing the Cricut Explore 3 just on its own, here’s what will be in the box

The most exciting upgraded features on the Explore 3 are its faster-cutting speed and its matless cutting functionality, allowing you to use Cricut's new Smart Materials product range.

The Cricut Explore 3 can cut up to 2 times faster than the Cricut Explore Air 2 when using matless cutting with Cricut Smart Materials. This added speed can really make all the difference when you’re working on a large or intricate project.

Cricut Smart Materials are a range of products specially designed to be cut without having to be attached to a Cricut Mat. It’s a feature that was first introduced when the Cricut Joy was released and has now been made a standard feature across both the Cricut Explore 3 and the Cricut Maker 3.

Prior to having Smart Materials and Matless Cutting, crafters have always been restricted to a maximum design size on Design Space of 30.5cm x 60cm (12” x 24”). With Smart Materials, you can cut designs that are much longer and avoid the issues that mats would sometimes cause with intricate cuts.

Smart Vinyl comes in a range of lengths up to 22.5m (75 feet), meaning it’s ideal for using to create things like large banners and signs or even to create wall decals and borders.

Smart Iron On comes in a range of lengths up to 2.7m (9 feet), which can be handy if you’re running off a large project for your heat press and want to group designs as close together as possible to minimise waste.

Smart Paper Sticker Cardstock comes in standard 33cm x 33cm sheets (13” x 13”) which means you don’t have to worry about prying a delicate cut from a sticky mat after cutting. It’s a paper product but with a sticky back, making it perfect for using with layered card projects and not having to worry about getting messy with glue. It can also be used with the draw or print-then-cut function to make custom stickers!

You might have noticed that the Cricut Explore 3 has a bit of a sleeker design than previous Explore models. This is because Cricut has removed the material selection dial from the machine, moving the material selection process into the Design Space software.

In the Cricut Explore 3 box you will find:

If you’ve owned a Cricut Explore model before, you might notice the lack of mats supplied with the latest machine. Since the Cricut Explore 3 can now use Smart Materials and Matless Cutting, mats are no longer provided as standard.

Don’t worry, though – you can still use the old mats from your previous model of Cricut Explore, and there are always plenty of cutting mat options available online.

In addition to launching their new Smart Materials, Cricut has also added a Roll Holder to their range of products. The Smart Materials Roll Holder is compatible with both the Explore 3 and the Maker 3 and gives you a convenient way to hold your Smart Material Vinyls when cutting a project.

You don’t need it in order to make your rolls of Smart Material work, but it is very handy for keeping them under control (there’s nothing worse than a runaway roll of vinyl unravelling all over the floor!)

It also has a handy cutting blade attached, making it easy to trim up your design from the roll once it’s finished cutting.

The Cricut Explore 3 can cut, score and draw with perfect precision making it suitable for pretty much any craft project you can think of.

The following tools can be used with the Cricut Explore 3:

Premium Fine Point Blade – This blade comes as standard with every Cricut machine and is designed to make intricate cuts in materials up to a medium weight.

Deep Point Blade – For thicker materials, you’ll need to use the Deep Point Blade. The angle of the blade is steeper than the FinePoint Blade meaning that it can cut better on thicker materials such as leather, foil, craft foam and magnetic sheets.

Bonded Fabric Blade – The Bonded Fabric Blade is designed to be used specifically with fabric (so don’t go using it on paper or cardstock otherwise you might blunt it) that has had a stabilising backing added to it.

It’s always a good idea to add a stabiliser backing to thinner fabrics that you want to run through a Cricut machine, as it makes it much easier to get a clean cut without any fraying or pulling of the fabric.

Scoring Stylus – The Scoring stylus is used to create fold lines in projects such as cards and gift boxes. It slots into the tool holder in the same way a pen would and applies just the right amount of pressure to your design to give you perfectly crisp fold lines.

Foil Transfer Tool – The Foil Transfer Tool lets you add beautiful metallic foil effects and designs to your projects when using the Cricut Foil Transfer sheets.

Knowing when to upgrade your crafting machines can be hard. Usually, the best way to decide is by looking at how you currently use your machine and if any of the new features would make your life or job easier.

If being able to cut projects faster or without the hassle of having to change mats constantly due to the size of a project is appealing then upgrading to the Cricut Explore 3 would be a great option.

If you use a Cricut machine to run a crafting business, it might be worth looking at upgrading to the Cricut Maker 3 instead – not only can it do everything that the Explore 3 can, but it also has an Adaptive tool system and 10x more cut force meaning it can cut through over 200 more materials than the Explore 3.

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Cricut Explore 3 – Everything You Need To Know

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