Create Beautiful Holiday Decor with a Cricut Expression 2

I like to pretend that I’m a crafter. Before I had kids, I actually made my own soaps for a long time because it was fun. I did a lot of rubber stamping, and I made my own cards – especially Christmas cards. Once I had kids, however, my time and energy decreased greatly. Though I liked to pretend that I was still crafty, I really wasn’t until I received a Cricut Expression for Christmas a couple years ago. Quickly, I was able to create fun cutouts for everything from making cards to special touches for teacher gifts to creative gift tags. I rocked.

Now there’s a Cricut Expression 2, and I have to say it’s even better. With the original Expression, you had to insert a given cartridge, then put a flexible rubber like overlay on the keyboard to know what each button meant in order to choose what design you wanted. The Cricut Expression 2 has simplified this by no longer requiring those overlays – meaning I don’t have to constantly search for where I put them – and instead using a touchpad full color screen for the menu.

 

 

Pros

The touch screen menu fortunately doesn’t require a special stylus, so my finger works just fine which also means I don’t have to worry about losing something else. It’s really easy to flip between any cartridges you have inserted or the two that come preloaded in the Cricut Expression 2 to choose which image you want to use. This is a huge advantage because when you create images from both the preloaded cartridges and a cartridge you insert, you can choose images from both those sources and cut rather than having to start over again with each new cartridge. You can also rotate images so that they fit better on the page and preview your paper cuts prior to actually cutting them so that you can again move images around to better utilize your space. I love these features because I detest waste, especially when I’m using an expensive paper. There is also a paper saver mode you can use that will do maximize your cuts on a paper.

 

While the images appear small and sometimes hard to see when showing up in the gallery of images, you can zoom in on any image to ensure it’s the one you want prior to adding it to your items to be cut. You can also copy images, making it easy to do repeats, as I did when making the thank you cards for Mister Man’s Boy Scout wreath sales.

While I’ve so far only used this for smaller sized projects, I love that the Expression 2 offers not just the 12×12 mat but also the option (not included) to use a 12×24 mat for much larger projects. I can see the wee ones using these for school projects and me for posters going forward. The Expression 2 also has a feature where you can cut a character on a center point, meaning I can cut around already created images for some special effects. There is also a multi-cut function which cuts the same image in the same space more than once so that you can cut even thicker materials, such as thin chip board. You can also adjust the speed of the cutting so that more delicate and intricate cuts are cut more slowly, leading to less ripping of paper which has always been a frustration for me with my original Expression.

 Cons

The one big change that continues to throw me is that the blade starts in the top let corner of the page with the Expression 2, where I’m used to it being on the top right side of the page. This is more of a habit change for me, but one thing I truly miss from my old Expression was the ease with which I could adjust the blade position. There were times when I’d make a cut and check it then reload the paper to cut more. It was easy for me to use a navigational arrow to move the blade where I needed it to be. Now to adjust the blade, I need to go into the start menu and use the Increase and Decrease buttons. It isn’t as intuitive, and I’m still struggling with this to some degree. Another feature that was highly touted as a benefit of the Expression 2 was the light on the cutting area so that you could see what was being cut. I’ve never had a problem with this in the past and really haven’t noticed it as a benefit.

The Expression 2 also has a slot in the back for future wi-fi functionality, though this hasn’t been introduced yet and I have no idea how it will work. I haven’t quite decided if I wish this weren’t there at all and the price were reduced or if I wish they’d held off on releasing it until they perfected whatever wi-fi technology they much be playing with or if I’m ok with it as is.

Giveaway Time!

Provocraft is providing one lucky winner here a chance to win their very own Cricut Expression 2. To enter, just leave a comment telling us what neat little craft you would make.

This giveaway is a part of the 5 Minutes for Mom Christmas Giveaway 2011. Please follow the link for more information, as well as for a complete list of all giveaways as they post throughout the month of November. Entries for all giveaways will close Saturday, December 3rd at 7pm CST. Winners will be drawn randomly and we will announce the winners Monday, December 5th. We will email winners at the address accompanying the winning comments.

 

In the interest of full disclosure, I received a Cricut Expression 2 for review purposes. I was compensated for writing this post, but all opinions remain my own.

Written by 5Mnutes4Mom contributor Michelle who has dreams of being far more crafty than she really is. She’s only mildly disappointed that many of her excuses have just vanished thanks to the Critcut Expression 2. While she procrastinates in making teacher gifts, you can find her at her blog Honest & Truly! or on Twitter as @HonestAndTruly.

Be sure to subscribe to 5 Minutes for Deals e-mail or RSS newsletter so you don’t miss a single Christmas holiday deal.  And, to join in on the conversation (plus get more deal updates),  “Like” 5 Minutes for Deals on Facebook and “Follow” us on Twitter!


Comments

  1. kate heckman says

    I have made napkin holder..with little turkeys on then
    also snowmen, and for graduation ..lots of fun. Went to store to pick up holiday plates. But didn’t have enough. So come home and made these ..every one love them. So have been making for all special occasions.

  2. Jenn says

    I’d use it for scrapbooking, school crafts, sunday school crafts and I’m sure I’d find even more places to use it too :)

  3. says

    I’ve wanted one of these for a long time but have never owned a Cricut. I’d use it with my kids for all sorts of homeschool projects and crafts for holidays. I love the pillows and I know we’d make ornaments with it. Thanks for the chance to win!

  4. Wendy O. says

    I would love to make personalized gift tags for Christmas presents! We have to ship a lot of our presents, and bows don’t hold up in shipping. Doing decorative tags for everyone would make the gifts look nicer than one of those cheap sticker “To: From:” labels I normally use. :)

  5. says

    What neat little craft WOULDN’T I make with this? I have project lined up from simple cards to pillowcases for my couch and bed and I could go on and on! I would LOVE to win this!

  6. Jenna Caslin says

    Since I have had 2 children, and work 3 jobs, I don’t have long periods of time to sit and craft anymore! This is something that I have been wanting to get for a while (before the 2 came out!) it would really help me make items quickly! And make my me time feel more productive!

  7. Bree says

    There are so many uses for it…from fabric to wall art & gifts, cards, or home decor. Everyone I know would get gifts from my cricut.

  8. Jennifer Thomas says

    WOw.. one craft? I would do some vinyl wall art to start.. I have been wanting a Cricut for forever.. Hubby told me to get one last year.. but I put it off to get things for the kids.. Now he is in school FT and was laid off from his PT job.. so no cricut UNLESS I win!! ;)

  9. Jill L says

    Where would I even begin!!! I know I would be making lots of cards, but I can see me doing lots of crafts with this. Vinyl lettering??? My creative juices are just bubbling!!!

  10. Trista says

    oh my! so many crafts – first off I would do a lot of xmas decorations on the gifts – embellishments :) always too pretty to open makes them take extra notice!

  11. Anna Yates says

    I would use it to start making cards again. I love making stamped cards and this could add that extra dimension. This could also help me with some extra income if I could sell some cards at local shops.

  12. Lonna says

    My gosh, between Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, School, scrapbooking, parties and holidays I could use this nearly everyday! I have wanted one for a LONG time, but there are always other priorities for the money. I can only hope I win this one.

  13. Sherry Lochner says

    I have been eyeing a Cricut for a while. One big project would be to finish my daughter’s photo album before she graduates which is in only a year and a half. I stopped doing her album several years ago and only have finished through kindergarten, so I have a LOT to do! This would help speed up the process tremendously. Thank you for the great giveaway!

  14. Shari Lynn Alligood says

    I’d love to use this to help me finish the scrapbooks for my kiddos & to also help me make cards. So nice thank you!

  15. Kenia says

    I have always wanted to get on of these. I would lots of crafts with it from one of a kind Christmas items to my twins room. I would also label some stuff. Thanks for the opportunity!!

  16. Sarah Ellis says

    I have always wanted 1 of these so I can make crafts like I would like but never have time for, but the price has always held me back. Would make wonderful b-day invites!

  17. Annette D says

    Wow! There are so many uses for this machine, I would have a hard time choosing! I would love to try some scrapbooking!

  18. Dana says

    I love my Baby Cricut & use if for most everything – except scrapbooking! I make vinyl letters for mailbox letters/numbers, custom print shirts, even made a custom stencil for our front door mat!

  19. Laura says

    I would use the Circut Expression 2 in my 3rd grade classroom for bulletin boards, crafts and learning projects. Thank you for this opportunity!

  20. says

    Cards. Lots of cards. Millions and millions of cards! And then vinyl lettering for the walls! And then I’d finish my scrapbooks. It’s so fun just to think about it!

  21. says

    I’d like to do a frosted vinyl privacy design for my kids’ bathroom window, which is smack dab in the middle of the bathtub wall. It’s going to be a bit open when they start showering instead of taking tub baths!

  22. Rebecca C. says

    My daughter and I enjoy sewing projects and making paper and fabric collages, so this would receive a lot of love at our house!

  23. Sarah Morgan says

    I would use this to do a scrapbook for my baby. I am pregnant now and due at the end of April 2012. This would be so awesome!

  24. Kristin says

    I would love to use this to help make invitations. I love making all kinds, birthday, wedding, baby shower, etc. This would be a life saver :)

  25. Jeanette Jackson says

    I would not be using this because I would like to win his to give to my daughter-in-law for Christmas. She does scrapbooking so she would use it all the time.

  26. Glenda says

    I would use the Expression 2 to make lots and lots of cards! I love sending cards to sick friends, for birthdays, etc. Handmade ones would be even more special!

  27. Lisa Talberg says

    Since my two oldest have gone to college I have finally started taking out all the buckets full of memories and making them into scrapbooks. It is very expensive to buy all the stickers and other things to make them “cute” so this would help me save money. I hope to get as many done before they graduate.

  28. Linda Kish says

    This would be for my sister who does scrapbooking. She has 5 grandchildren and is soon to have another one, plus she has a great grandchild. So, I am sure she would put it to good use.

    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

  29. Lucy says

    Me and my daughter love to do Christmas wall decorations. Last time we did a beautiful collection of shiny comets, stars and other Christmas motives which twinkled in the dark. We hanged them all around her bedroom and it was the most beautiful Christmas decor we´ve ever done.

  30. Tara Lienlokken says

    This would be so much fun to have around! As a homeschooling mom and business owner there would be endless uses for this. I love creating and diy projects! Fun, fun!

  31. Megan Weber says

    I have been wanting one of these for a while. I make my daughter’s both their own scrapbooks and this would be awesome for that. But I also make all my own invitations for their parties, decorations, thank you cards, etc. This would bring them to another level!! I love doing all sorts of crafts so this would expand that too!

  32. dwnbonner says

    I would make a book for my husband who is deployed so he can be with us every night he is away. I miss him so much…

  33. Pauline says

    I like to start my daughters on scrapbooking so I would like to create a starter one for them – (emscout9 at Hotmail dot com)

  34. says

    What WOULDN’T I make! I would make designs and words for scrapbooking. I would use it to make letters for my son’s handmade books. I would use it to cut stickers for my laptop. I would use it to cut banners, sewing patterns, greeting cards, banners, place card holders, photo mattes, decorations, gift tags, birthday and holiday embellishments…. :)

  35. Cheryl Lund says

    My son is taking Art at school and this would be a nice gift for him for Christmas, he love to make homemade cards and crafts, this would give it a special professional look and feel to his homemade items. He would like to learn how to sew and make some manly items.

  36. Liv says

    my shower gift to my close friends is making the invites this would make that go soooooooo much faster and maybe I could make more

  37. Jill Myrick says

    I would use the Circuit Expression 2 for making birthday party decorations and crafts, scrapbooks of special events for my children such as a special vacation of show, and wall decorations for their rooms just to name a few. But I can definitely think of many, many more.

    jweezie43[at]gmail[dot]com

  38. tiffany says

    This would be great for scrapbooking! I have the original cricut and would donate mine to someone else if I win!!!!

  39. Meagn Parsons says

    I would make all kinds of stuff for my scrapbooks. I have been putting my scrapbooking off because I want to get a cricut so bad. It’s been on my Christmas list for the last 2 years! I would flip out if I won!!!!

  40. says

    WOW!!! I would make SO much with this! I have ALWAYS wanted one!!! I would use this mainly for my scrapbooking! SO, my first craft would probably be something like a bear or some sort of animal for a scrapbook page!

  41. Veronica Szymankiewicz says

    I have always wanted a Cricut! I would make so many different crafts to beautify our home. Thank you.

  42. says

    My husband just said to me yesterday, “you know, you could do so many things if you had a Cricut.” LOL! He’s right, I would love to do more scrapbooking and home decor crafts. It would definitely keep me busy!

  43. Deena says

    I love to scrapbook, it is my way to relax and unwind after a long day of work, and caring for my three daughters. I would most definitely add a circuit to my scrapbook must haves!

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