a perfect Christmas for DIY

Compact, versatile and accessible to all, the Cricut Joy promises to transform our interior into an Instagram account dedicated to decoration and DIY. Gadget or revolution?

Since last year, successive confinements have provided an opportunity to learn how to bake our bread and dishwasher tablets. As a direct consequence of our forced confinement, the DIY trend has exploded on social networks, making us want to get started too. For that, we were interested in the Cricut range, cutting machines that reign supreme on Instagram, through hashtags. #DIY and #Crafting. For little to have a little budget and talent, the brand promises us to make almost anything and everything, from sparkling decorations to kitsch Christmas socks to slip in gifts.

The hardest part is choosing

Available from € 189.99, the Cricut range is available in 3 distinct models: the Cricut Joy, which cuts materials up to 11.43 cm, the Explore (€ 289.99), more versatile, and finally the Maker (€ 499.99) intended for professionals or true enthusiasts.

More accessible and above all more compact, our choice fell on the Joy model. Obviously, with a price lower than the other models and a greatly reduced size, the little sister of the range allows less things than the Explore and the Maker. While the rest of the range allows cutting of fabric, cork and wood, but also grooving and engraving, the Cricut Joy is satisfied with the drawing, cutting on about fifty materials, and – this is new – gilding. Without being perfectly exhaustive, it is already quite sufficient when you start. Especially since its small size and light weight of 1.75 kg allow it to be stored almost anywhere.

Because this is the ambitious positioning of Cricut, and more particularly of the Joy: to offer DIY enthusiasts, even novices, all the tools for a made worthy of a professional creationwithout having to sacrifice hundreds of dollars in investment or spend hours on opaque design software.

Getting started: not so easy

Presented in its box with its power adapter (North American and European), the Cricut Joy comes with its cutting blade, a black fine point pen (0.4 mm) and a standard cutting mat. Samples of cardstock and vinyl complete the package. Without physical buttons, the use of the machine is based solely on its Bluetooth connection. Coupled with a smartphone or a computer, the Cricut Joy indeed requires the installation of the Cricut Design Space software to function. The latter not only serves as a connection bridge, but it is also thanks to it that it is possible to create the most ambitious projects.

Despite its ease of installation and connection, the Cricut Joy does not escape a trial and error period of getting started. The first tests are sometimes laborious, especially when using a new cutting medium. Also, do not expect to immediately succeed in realizing the works of your dreams, you will undoubtedly need some hiccups before making your projects a reality.

On the Cricut Design Space interface in particular, it will probably take you a few hours to get used to it. Unless you opt only for turnkey designs, which will quickly lack interest, the software has many subtleties that you need to understand to take advantage of all the features offered by the machine. Regulars of the Adobe suite (Photoshop and Illustrator) should not be too disoriented, but for beginners we still recommend to browse the many tutorials that exist on YouTube, or better, to call on a brand ambassador for a Private lesson.

While the Cricut Joy seemed particularly complicated to learn, it only took a few hours (and just as many fails) to definitely get to grips with the Cricut Design Space interface, which quickly turned out to be simpler. that it seems. Once the design is validated, the machine then takes care of all the creation part, telling you precisely what materials to load on the cutting mat and when to change the tools. The most complicated at this stage will remain to make your choice between the different materials offered by the brand.

Machine to do everything, or almost

Even offering a much smaller field of action than the Explore and the Maker, the Cricut Joy allows a wide range of operations: in addition to being able to draw almost any pattern, the machine is also compatible with around fifty materials for cutting. Among them, we find the most classic, such as cardboard and paper, but also more original mediums, such as self-adhesive vinyl, HTV iron-on adhesive, gilding sheets for the card making, as well as sublimation Infusible ink sheets. , which emerge as a small revolution.

With so many materials, and an almost endless creative prospect, the Cricut range can do almost anything. We also salute the quality of Smart materials designed by the brand, which make it even easier to create, by offering a wide range of suitable materials, and compatible without cutting mat.

The only regret, even if the range of mediums offered tends to overwhelm us with possibilities – sometimes even leaving us undecided in front of so many choices – we quickly realize that with the exception of paper and cardboard (that it is possible to ‘buy from any brand), vinyl, iron-on and Infusible Ink materials sometimes lack diversity. In addition to the few fancy models that exist, we would have preferred to benefit from a range of colors “Classic” more extensive. Especially since the Joy suffers from a smaller catalog than the Maker, which will sometimes have forced us to resize certain materials ourselves to the dimensions of the small machine. Finally, and this is a problem specific to France, the official resellers of Cricut materials are often poorly stocked, which is quite frustrating when you have a specific project in mind. It will thus be necessary to juggle with the stocks of Amazon (and in particular the US version), Cultura and Zodio to be sure to find happiness.

Perfect for Christmas (and the rest of the year)

After a few weeks of getting started, the approach of Christmas will have finally motivated us to make a series of creations as kitsch as they are thematic. From greeting cards, to personalized baubles, to Advent calendars, there’s not much that Cricut can’t do.

Especially since coupled with the Easy Press 2, the Cricut Joy allows even more options. In addition to the card making and cutting, the machine allows you to cut, then fix, iron-on materials on any fabric (and in particular on sneakers). Thanks to Infusible Ink technology, based on sublimation ink, the result is even more impressive: at high heat, the pattern turns into gas and directly impregnates the fiber of the fabric (be careful, the latter is mainly composed of polyether), for a rendering worthy of a professional, and above all much more durable than with iron-on adhesive. Very capricious, the material requires on the other hand a much more delicate handling than the rest of the consumables in the range, under penalty of obtaining a faded effect not really successful.

While many designs are available directly from the main interface, the whole point of the machine lies in its ability to perform our own creations. For the simplest projects, it is possible to work directly from the Design Space interface. For complex drawings and cuts, it is also possible to import an SVG file directly into the application. Especially since the “turnkey” creations offered by Cricut are for the most part paid, either by direct purchase or via theCricut Access subscription, offered at € 9.99 per month. If the option (offered for one month with the purchase of a machine) makes it possible to take control of the tools made available, it therefore quickly turns out to be limited.

In fact, and well beyond Christmas, the Cricut Joy also allows you to carry out many projects to make everyday life easier. Labeling jars, making last-minute decorations or creating personalized gifts… provided you have a little time, a lot of imagination and the right consumables, the machine offers almost limitless possibilities.

The price of creativity

No need to prolong the suspense, the Cricut Joy is a success. Versatile, easy to learn and capable of providing fairly incredible professional results, the brand’s entry-level machine has been eyeing us for a few years now, and it’s been a real crush. After several months of testing, our only regret is not having opted for the Maker model, because it must be admitted: if the machine is to be reserved for enthusiasts of creative hobbies, it brings real added value compared to any manual creation, to the point of quickly becoming essential.

However, the purchase of a Cricut machine represents a significant cost, which must be placed in perspective in relation to the use that you will make of it. In addition to the machine alone (€ 189.99 to € 499.99), it will also be necessary to add the cost of tools and accessories (a few tens of euros), but especially consumables. Because as with a traditional printer, it is to renew its stock of materials that it will regularly be necessary to go to the cash register. Fortunately, in the midst of this ocean of spending, the brand has the good taste not to push for consumption on its Premium subscription. While artists at heart will be able to create their own designs, the less creative will only have to search the Internet for loads of free, original content for free.

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