Friday, 21 June 2013

Cricut Mini - Personal Electronic Cutter Review And Giveaway

{This post will stay on top until 21st June 2013, please scroll down for my newest post}



Hey All, I have another in my series on electronic cutters for you. I've been recently introduced to the world of electronic cutters and I am having fun trying out and comparing different personal cutting machines; you can find my review and first tutorial on the Silhouette Cameo via this link.

Today my focus is on the Cricut Mini and have I got a treat for you!

Oo yes I'm very excited but read on and you will find out what the treat is (well if you haven't guessed from the blog post title already!).


So as the name suggests, this is one of the smallest personal cutting machines on the market and from the Provo Craft electronic cutting machine range. It is approx. 41cm long, 18.5cm wide and 9.4cm high (16.1" x 7.3" x 3.69") and weighs in at 2.38kg (5.25lbs).

According to the Cricut information, it can cut lots of different materials such as cardstock, vinyl, vellum, fabric, chipboard (probably thin chipboard, I would guess). So far I've only used it with cardstock and patterned paper but I will report in when I've cut a different material! The cutting range is 0.635cm to 29.21cm (¼" to 11 ½") and the cutting mat is 21.59cm x 30.48cm (8.5" x 12").

OK, so that is the technical specifications, what about getting it out of the box? Well, of the three electronic cutters I've had the pleasure of trying so far, this was the simplest to set up and the quickest from out of the box to first cut.

Like all Cricut machines it works from cartridges, but luckily for me, who doesn't have any cartridges, it also works with the Cricut Craft Room which is a free online software from Cricut.


You can access this software via the internet and you need to download the free application and install it on your computer. The software gives you access to some free images as well as the 'Cut It Free For A Week' images. But the rest of the images you will have to buy.

The thing to remember when using the software though is that you can see all these lovely images whilst you are designing but if you haven't bought them you won't be able to cut them! So go buy them or just remember to look through the 'My Cartridges' drop down menu when you are working on your projects!

If you do have cartridges you can still plug them into the Cricut Mini, but you can buy access to cartridges online as well rather than have the physical cartridge. The Cricut Image Library also has single images for sale so you don't have to buy full cartridges if there are only one or two images you need in that cartridge. 


The software is very simple, perhaps a little too simple for my liking. I did feel a bit restricted by what I couldn't do with it, for instance I don't think there is an align function. Well I searched for one and even looked online for help and couldn't find one (feel free to tell me if I'm being an idiot and just missed it somewhere!).

At the moment, you can't cut your own images or non-Cricut images, which is a shame, but if you are looking just to cut the images you have on Cricut cartridges or via the Cricut Craft Room, then the software works and you can do things like design on different layers then cut all the layers or just one of the layers. Which is great as you can have all the images ready to cut on different papers and just cut the one you want for the paper currently on your cutting mat.

When you log in to the software you are logging in online and any projects you save are saved into your account. I don't think you can use the software offline, so if your internet goes down in the middle of a project you may be a little put out!


I did have a little bit of problem with my cuts as the machine was putting little nicks where they shouldn't be, so I tried to slow the cutting speed, which helped. The customer service was very good and they kindly sent me a replacement blade and blade housing, which has improved the cuts, but I am still getting nicks where I don't want them.

But you can barely notice as you can see from this make using the Cricut Preserves images.


You can find the Cricut Mini retailing for upwards of £114.99 depending on where you buy and what comes with it.  Also keep your eyes on Creative Expressions as they are now one of the UK distributors of Provo Craft Cricut products.

My thoughts on the Cricut mini so far are that for quick and simple cutting, this machine works well. Its mini size and weight are great for the space conscious and its mini price makes for a fabulous starter cutter for the price conscious. I'm really enjoying playing with this machine and am looking forward to making more cuts. 

*****

Now for the treat! The lovely people over at CricutEU are offering one of my lucky readers their very own Cricut Mini to cut with to their heart's content!

Yep! A Cricut Mini is up for grabs: just put your name in the inlinkz gadget below. 

Don't forget to go link up with CricutEU on Facebook for all the latest news and information.

Follow if you like what you see here and spread the word about the giveaway!

The giveaway is open until 21st June 2013. The winner will be chosen by random and announced on 22nd June 2013.

Good Luck


[Disclaimer Time: I was not paid to write this review however I did get a machine to review and access to cartridges. But as with all my reviews I always try to give you my honest, unbiased opinion. (Prices correct for the date the blog post went live)]

32 comments:

  1. Hi Kim

    Thank you so much for your unbiased review. I am thinking about buying a cutting machine but just don't know which one to get ;os

    The Cricut Mini sounds like a great starting point and at a good price too.

    Thanks again Kim.

    Toodle Pip

    Hazel x

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  2. Hi Kim, it is always good to get an unbiased view of a product like this. Whilst not a bad price it is still a lot to waste if it does not do what you think it can do. Thank you for the very useful information and also the chance to win. Hugs, Anne x

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  3. Thanks Kim - with your scientific background, we can trust your reviews! I'm sure you take great care and this sounds like a very good place to 'start' the cutting machine adventure - I say 'start' because I'm sure it all becomes addictive!

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  4. Kim fabulous and honest review. Thank you for sharing your experience with us. Also thank you for a chance to win such a great little machine.

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  5. Thanks for a great review with all the pros and cons! This looks a good little machine for the price and I could certainly be tempted but I still love my old (and very well worn) Cuttlebug! Margie x

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  6. Thanks for your review Kim. I've been looking at the many machines 'out there' for some time and as the other ladies have said, they're alot of money to throw at if they don't do what you hope they will. I'll be taking a look at this one... x

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  7. Thanks so much for the review, this is very helpful.

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  8. Thank you for bringing this cutting machine to my attention. I didn't realise that smaller devices were available. I've been thinking that I am missing a trick not keeping up to date. Thanks for the giveaway too.
    Anne

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  9. Great review Kim. I like when someone tells it as it is. It would be a dream come true for me to own this machine. Thanks for the chance. Hugs Rita xxx

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  10. Lovely review, Kim. I honestly don't know anything about electronic cutters as I've never used one so your review was really informative. Thanks for the chance to win the cutter as well!

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  11. WOW this is a big candy!!!!It would be a dream come true for me to own this machine. Thanks for the chance.
    Shared on Facebook!!!

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  12. I have always wondered if I would use one as I have 3 die cutting machines. A mini might be quite fun and what a great piece of candy! Don't know if this giveaway applies to US bloggers, but someone will be quite happy! Thank you!

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  13. WOW what a generous giveaway, someone is going to be thrilled with her win.

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  14. This is an unbelievable give away...I mean wow, how brilliant, I have everything crossed...thanks so much for a chance at this.xx

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  15. A brilliant Review Kim, Thank you so much.
    The Mini looks amazing it would be a dream come true to own one.
    Huge Hugs Mau xx

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  16. I don't have a cricut...The mini sounds amazing... I have ltd space in my crafty area so this would be perfect!!...I've been looking into getting one... Thank you for your great review & the chance to win... Your card is Beautiful.. Hugs May x x x

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  17. Really helpful review Kim and how lovely to get the chance to win one!

    Hugs, Di xx

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  18. Hi Kim thanks for the visit and kind words. Loving your CAS card right up my street.
    Happy crafting, hugs Erika.

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  19. Good review. I never considered a cutting machine like this. It is et to have the opportunity to win one.
    Thanks also for visiting my blog today.

    Carol x

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  20. Many thanks for your lovely comment on my card.
    Thank you also for giving us a chance to win this lovely machine and for your review :o)
    Jackie xx

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  21. A great review Kim. Thanks for the chance to win and for your lovely comment on my blog.

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  22. Kim - excellent review. Really liked the refreshingly honest style - you really captured the essence of the software! Thank you for the chance to win ;)

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  23. What a great review, Kim....this will definitely be on my Christmas/Birthday list, have so wanted one for ages but was still unsure, you have certainly made my mind up to get one! Thanks for the chance to win....good luck everyone!!! xxx

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  24. Great Review .. Ditto to what others said about good to get a unbiased review :)

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  25. I have seen this in action and your review really helps too, many thanks in giving some lucky winner to get the chance to win one too xxx

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  26. Hi, Kim! I've been away from the computer for a while, and just saw your post on facebook about this. Great review--I had no idea Cricut had all the on-line things available!

    :)

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  27. Terrific review Kim & wonderful chance to own a mini cricut too, thanks so much for sharing all your creativity!!
    Hugs Ann-R :D

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  28. Thanks for this Kim. On my wish list anyway so great of you to give us a chance.
    Hugs, Fliss xx
    PS: Thanks too for the timely reminder as I missed it being such a busy bee lately lol

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  29. thanks for the chance!! Much appreciate

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  30. How exciting, the Cricut might be a lot easier than the ecraft whicn I have struggled to get to cut out anything properly since I had it, it doesn randomly cut OK then won't do it again!

    Carol x

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Kimxx