Home » Blog » DIY & Crafts » Crafts » Cricut Maker vs Explore Air 2

Cricut Maker vs Explore Air 2

/ /

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

cricut explore air 2 on rolling metal cart

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. I may make a small commission on products purchased with my link, but your price does not change. For full disclosure go here: Disclosure and Policies. Thank you for supporting my site.

Hello, friends! Today I’ve got an amazing giveaway, plus I’m sharing my newbie experience using the Cricut Maker and Explore Air 2. And when I say newbie, I mean I’ve only created about 6 projects but can already say that I’m in love. A huge thanks to Cricut for sending me the Maker and some wonderful supplies to use and review. 

What is a Cricut and what does it do?

red cricut explorer air 3 cutting machine

A Cricut is a machine that you can use at home to die cut hundreds of different materials into precise shapes. You can make many different items. Here are just a few ideas:

  • T-Shirts
  • Tote Bags
  • Pillow Covers
  • Hats
  • Greeting Cards
  • Party Decorations
  • Personalized labels for mugs, tumblers, containers, 
  • Wall art and 3D art
  • Headbands
  • Paper flowers
  • Banners
  • A gazillion other things

Many people use their Cricut machines to create items for sale and generate income for their family. Most simply enjoy the ease of making beautiful, professional quality projects that can be used around their home or given as very nice gifts.

And as a bonus, the creative process actually makes you a happier person. Did you know that? According to studies, creative activities reduce stress and make us happy. Think about the last time you made something creative…it probably made you happy. 

There are some older models of their machines but today I’m comparing the two most recent ones, the Explore Air 2 and the Maker. 

Explore Air 2

I bought my Explore Air 2 a couple of years ago and only recently started using it. Admittedly, I was intimidated but once I finally got it out of the box and started using it I was hooked. There was no reason at all to wait so long to start using it. The machine comes with very clear instructions and includes materials for a simple beginner project.  

After completing the practice project that came with my Explore Air 2, the first thing I cut was a stencil. I ended up not needing it for the project I was working on so I don’t have any photos, but it was pretty simple to make. 

paper leaves made with cricut in brown bottle on fireplace mantel

My first completed project was one that I made in the fall and love the way it turned out. It was a simple leaf pattern that I got for free from the Cricut Design Space and cut from some vintage sheet music. You can see more of that project here → DIY Watercolor Sheet Music Leaves

What can you do with the Cricut Explore Air 2?

1. Cut

You can cut 100 different materials on the Explore Air 2. Here are just a few:

  • Cardstock
  • Vinyl
  • Iron-on
  • Glitter Paper
  • Polished Foils
  • Faux Leather
  • Kraftboard
  • Bonded Fabric
vinyl olive oil label made with cricut maker

It’s easy to create pretty labels for all areas of your home or office. A few days ago I made the olive oil label in the photo above. It didn’t take long at all and dressed up my plain bottle. (FYI, almost any bottle can be made into a dispenser with one of these → Pourer Spout)

2. Score

The scoring stylus can be used to make boxes, cards and envelopes, paper lanterns and houses, and more. You’ll use it for any project that needs a crease or needs to be folded. These adorable pie boxes are a great example of what you can create with the scoring tool. This project is available in Cricut Design space. Just do a search for “pie box” and you’ll see several options. Then gather your materials and follow the instructions provided.

pie boxes made with cricut

 Pie Boxes

3. Write

Whether you want to make cards, t shirt, home decor, gifts, party decorations, the drawing and writing option can do it for you. Cricut has special pens that fit the machine for you can create whatever you want in a fraction of the time.

4. Print and Cut

With the print and cut feature, you can make stickers, art, cards, and so much more.

planner stickers made with cricut

Planner Stickers

See all of the capabilities of the Explore Air 2 Machines here → Cricut Explore Air 2 Cutting Machine

Cricut Maker

What can you do with the Cricut Maker?

Everything you can do with the Explore Air 2 can also be done with the Maker, and then a whole lot more. Using the Maker opens up many more possibilities for your projects. There are some blades and tools that are unique to the Maker.   

  • Rotary Blade – comes with each machine and permits cutting through virtually any fabric without having to apply a backing to it. Back in December I made a felt leaf wreath using the Maker and the cuts were so crisp and clean. I would have taken me hours to cut these by hand and the machine did it for me in about 20 minutes. 
felt leaves cut by cricut maker
  • Knife blade – enables you to make puzzles, toys, leather items and more. Here are some of the materials that it cuts through:

    Balsa wood, up to 3/32”

    Basswood, up to 1/16″

    Tooling leather, up to 7 oz

    Garment leather, up to 5oz

    Cricut® Chipboard, 2mm

    Matboard, 2-ply or 4-ply

    Craft foam, up to 3mm

  • Debossing tip  
  • Wavy blade
  • Scoring wheel 
  • Engraving tip
  • Perforation blade

Here’s the felt wreath I made in December. It was my first project with the Maker and I was thrilled with how well it turned out. 

You can get the details for this project here →  How to make a felt leaf wreath with a Cricut Maker

Last week I made these fun pillows for Valentine’s day. It took only a few minutes per pillow!

iron on glitter pillows made with cricut maker

What else do I want to make with my Cricut?

For many years I was in the home decor business and I have a stash of fabric, wallpaper, and paint samples that I want to use on some of my projects. I’ve also accumulated some vintage papers and linens and have some ideas for using them too. I can totally see me making some of the following projects with my stash or some new materials. (Tutorials for all of these are available in the Design Space at Cricut).

fabric flower made with cricut maker

Fabric Flowers

fabric cosmetic pouch made using cricut maker

Fabric Pouch

fabric bunting made using cricut maker

Vintage Fabric Bunting Banner

3d greeting card made with cricut

3D Cards

paper flowers made with cricut

Paper Flowers

recipe box stickers made with cricut

Anna Griffin Recipe Stickers


  1. This sounds corny but I would make ALLLLL the things! I have wanted one of these for years now! Thank you for the giveaway!

  2. Thank you Angie for this post. I have recently seen these machines and wondered what they could do. I am seriously considering on buying one now if I do not win this one. I do like to do arts & crafts. I just bought a farm home and can't wait to decorate with more homemade items. It does make me happy…….

  3. There are so many things I would like to make that I couldn't list them all here! But really, thank you for this chance to win, I'm so excited!

  4. Thank you for sharing about all of the ways you can use the cricket. I’ve been interested in using one. Your ideas are beautiful and great to compare machines and explore their uses.

  5. Ohhh the choices, so hard to decide. But I think I would start with the scoring tool and make boxes or lanterns or…. Thanks so much for the giveaway!!

  6. Oh how I wish I had received one for Christmas. I can think of a hundred ways I would use it – but I think in my attempt to get more organized in 2020 I would start with cut out labels for my pantry. The possibilities are endless ! Thank you for hosting this giveaway.

  7. I would be so excited to make birthday invitations for my grandson and decorations for his party! How exciting that would be!

  8. I always wondered what a Cricut machine could do and now I know. It would be awesome to have one. I need to label soooooo many things. Thanks so much for the chance to win!

  9. I have been wanting to get one of these but have not had the extra money to do so. They look like so much fun and I have so many cool ideas to make!

  10. A Cricut would make my life so much easier!! I would use it to create centerpieces for our annual conference, along with name tags and other conference essentials. It sounds like so much fun!!

  11. Oh I would love to win this!! I don't have one but friends do and they are always making such cute things. thank you for a chance to win one! 🙂

  12. I would like to make 3D cards. I love to send cards and it is so special when you make one special for a special person in your life. Have a blessed day.

  13. What an interesting machine. I think I would go with flowers first, or labels for the pantry, or, or…

    Thanks for the give-away.

  14. I can't even begin to imagine how many things I would make with this Cricut. The sky's the limit! You've inspired me!

  15. I have wanted a cutting machine for a while but have no idea if I would be able to learn to use it! I sure would like to try, though. i'd love to win one of these–probably the simplest one!

  16. Sorry, forgot to say what I'd like to make. I've actually been wanting to make Putz houses and I wonder if I could use one of these cutting machines to do that.

  17. I would use it for everything, but start with stencils for signs and pillows. I would love to try all kinds of projects.

  18. I'd like to make stencils and use them to make signs. I want signs and pretty pillows and cards. I have an original silhouette portrait. I really want a wireless machine because I usually have my laptop in the living room and I really don't want to keep going back to the spare room where the machine is.

  19. I would love to own a Cricut machine so I can make beautifully intricate paper sculptures, a creative dream I have had for quite some time, but alas cutting by hand simply doesn’t give me that sharp professional look a Cricut machine can. Not to mention the fact that hand cutting limits the level of detail. So fingers crossed.

  20. I love all the projects and am very crafty! I have been a little afraid to try a cricut but it sure looks fun! I think t-shirts would be my first project!

  21. Hi Angie, I'm in the midst of a big organization project, so I'd probably start by making some pretty labels and tags. I'd love to make my own cards and gifts, too. Thanks for the giveaway!

  22. I would love a Cricut to add to my wedding planning business. I would use it to make signeage, seating charts, decals for gifts for my clients…the possibilities are endless. It would give me the chance to stop outsourcing these things and also show off my creative side!

  23. I would make tshirt transfers . I follow on facebook and pinterest. Excited to have an opportunity to own one. Thank you

  24. I would love to make stickers and start an Etsy account with it! It would be amazing to be able to use this to start a business, and it would be amazing for my profession as an in service teacher. One more year until I get to teach elementary students, and having a cricut would be so helpful to make projects and decorations for my students!!!

  25. I would love to make many of the items to sell online to make some money since I have ms and can no longer work outside of my home- plus to "dress up" things I already have around here to save money. And it would help work my brain..much needed! Thank you for the chance to win this great product!

  26. First, Thank You for sharing your time and talents! I would love to win the Cricut so that I can use it to make a million different things for my Kindergarten classroom. Classroom decorations, pieces for their individual and group activities, and reward stickers. The list could go on forever! I might even find time to make things for myself or family. 🙂

  27. I would make shirts and other items for all my grandchildren, as well as items for my home and gifts for friends and family! It's crazy what this machine can do!!

  28. I am organizing our pantry and wish I had one to make labels for all the jars and canisters. Plus cute stickers and tags for birthdays and holidays.

  29. Would love to own the Maker to make keepsakes for the cancer patients. I especially love ornaments that were made by school children and brought to the local hospitals. They were amazing, all kinds of words of encouragement, verses for strength, quotes, drawings…etc. I would be able to make so many beautiful designs and cute ones for the children, using the plastic ornaments. I would make banners and decorations for the chemo units that always decorate for the patients for holidays. Would be a wonderful payback for all of the care the nurses and volunteers give us. Thank you for this opportunity. I am a two time survivor.

  30. Thank you for sharing about all of the ways you can use the cricket.When I was a child< in my country they use to sell paper dolls,I would like to make those dolls again and the dressers,shoes,to show to my daughter

  31. Me and my 4 yo daughter make so many things for her room…I have tried to turn it into a sanctuary since she has to stay home so much because she was diagnosed with leukemia on Sept.19th 2018..so when she finally came home we really gave her room a makeover..with what we had and Hobby Lobbies help of course,lol, But if we could make even more she would really enjoy that..I, like every one else who doesnt have one…WOULD LOOOOOOOVE TO HAVE ONE…LOL..I am just imagining the things we could make…oh I would have so many emojis on here but I am on my old laptop in my kitchen!!!

  32. There are so many ideas running through my head….I mean you can do so much….the idea of fully redecorating g a house seems awesome to me. However I got a great idea for kids curtains from the monogram pillows.

  33. What a great post! I've seen these things and wondered what they could do. You have shown me in a way that makes me want one for sure. Thanks for sharing what can be done and for this great giveaway!

  34. I would love to make pretty signs with cute sayings or add monograms to things like mugs etc… so many options!!

  35. I would love to make EVERYTHING! 😂 I have a list a mile long of projects I want to do when I finally get a Cricut. Personalized onesies for my niece, water bottles, wood signs, paper lanterns and flowers, cards, all sorts of home decor, etc!

  36. I would love to male some homemade onesies for my breastfed babies! With cute little boobie and milk sayings😊

  37. WOW, I've always wanted the explore and didn't realize it could do so many things. And your projects are gorgeous Angie.

  38. I have been wanting to get a circuit for a while maybe I’ll luck out! They are so useful if I don’t win the giveaway I’ll get one based on your tips

  39. I love how many amazing crafts you can do with the circuit! I would like to make a whole set of planner stickers for each month and design them each in their own unique way

  40. I'm a braille transcriber for the blind and I've seen a lot of other tactile graphic artists (who make maps for the blind) use these to make touchable maps and art. I would LOVE to win one and start making maps, graphs and art for my readers who are blind!

  41. I haven't used a Cricut yet, but I love all different things you can do! I definitely have ideas for home decor!

  42. Oh the possibilities! I would make shirts for the kiddos, and bags for all my girlfriends. That’s just to start lol

  43. I have been out of the loop in knowing what you can do with one of these machines but my crafty wheels are a turning now!

  44. Love the items you've created. My daughter has a Cricut and has made some awesome gifts. I would love a Cricut Maker to make seasonal pillows!

  45. Oh ! I would love to have one of these! We craft all the time at home and these seem like amazing tools!

  46. I would love to create banners and shirts for all of my daughters activity groups. It would save all of the parents so much if one of us could do this, especially since my daughter is in every group under the sun. I would also love to use this for making wall decor and decorative pieces for not only my home but gifts as well.

  47. I would love a Cricut, I would love to make gifts for my and family and friends, thank for the chance to win

  48. I have 4 young kids and I think we would have so much fun making our own t-shirt designs and stickers to personalize their things! Thanks for the opportunity!

  49. T-shirts and party supplies for my grandchildren's birthdays and the holidays. Plus it would be so much fun to help them to make their own designs.

  50. I'd love to make some fun t-shirts. And i've seen some amazing exploding boxes on facebook I'd love to learn to make

  51. I love to make my own greeting cards and decorations for around my house and a circuit would help me expand my creativity!

  52. I would love to make flower shadow boxes with vinyl quotes on the front and custom tumblers. I have been wanting to get a cricut machine for a while now, just haven't had the budget for one.

  53. Thank you for posting this. I have one that I have never taken out of the box because I've actually been intimidated by it. What I would like to do is make retro and Victorian style tree ornaments.

  54. I would love to make some personalised baby grows for my newborn and use it to make some vinyl organiser stickers for her nursery!

  55. I would honestly go crazy making home decor, ornaments, and even doing clothing at some point. There's so many things that can be done with one of these!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *