Getting to Know my Cricut Expression 2 (E2)!


This is going to sound weird, but I really like my Cricut Expression. I got it about 3 years ago, and we’ve been through a lot of crafts together! I’m so familiar with my machine that, at this point, when I need to cut something, I can just load my mat and GO- I don’t have to think too hard.  I wasn’t sure I was going to like the new Cricut Expression 2– or an E2, with all of it’s fancy touch-screen business…..but let me explain.

I have  a Gypsy, too…and I really, really, REALLY tried to like it. I loaded in all my carts, I got familiar with the touch screen, I practiced linking images and coming up with new images to cut….but I never really BONDED, you know? At the end of the day it just seemed like an extra step, so I put it in the drawer and went back to using my Expression.

Now…enter the E2! Don’t get me wrong- I love that it’ll accept the Cricut Imagine carts….but would I like the touch screen? Would I get familiar with it quickly enough to enjoy using it? Or would it end up in the back of the closet?

Well, I’m happy to share that after a few frustrating moments and smacking my head on my learning curve, I’m feeling like my E2 and I have a future!

So here are a few things to keep in mind if you are either a) deciding whether or not to make the investment in the E2 or b) haven’t taken it out of the box- because you are intimidated like I was.

  1. It’s pre-loaded with 4 cartridges straight outta the box. To be honest, I only really like the artwork in two of them (you can guess which ones I like- I’ll never tell)- but free fonts/images are great. And you don’t get the physical cartridge or the overlay- it’s just IN THERE…but you do get the book with all of the images so you can see what you’ve got.
  2. There is no DVD on how to use your E2 included. Unlike the other Cricut machines, you must go online to watch the demo videos. Which I certainly recommend….because….
  3. Not all of the icons on your touchscreen are intuitive. I’m so used to seeing words- like “Fit to page” or “Quantity.” The touchscreen has a menu of icons, and I couldn’t immediately figure out what they were.  I had to watch the video TWICE to remember where the “size” buttons are. It was at this point I REALLY missed my size wheel….sigh! Which leads me to..
  4. Everything you need to do is done via the touch screen. There is a stylus and holder built into the cover and I almost missed it!To edit your image- like to change the size of the image you want to cut- you tap the image and that puts you into an “edit” mode. In this mode, your stylus is a life-saver- it’s way easier to use a stylus than your fingers. Or maybe my fingers are just pudgy. You only have to do a 2-step calibration to use it the first time. This is really easy and after that, you are good to go!
  5. To actually cut, you have to press the “cut” icon multiple times. This was frustrating for me- it felt like it really slowed me down. But after you select “cut” the first time, it’ll take you to the screen where you’ll set the image size, the weight of the paper, the speed, the depth, etc.. all of the functions that used to be done by wheel on the old models. There are 3 defaults- light weight paper, medium weight paper,& heavy weight paper. If you select one of these, the E2 will automatically select the right depth, speed, and pressure for you. So it’s a wash between things that take MORE time and things that are pre-set for you.
  6. You can save custom cut settings. Now this is a real time-saver and n0-brainer.  Later, you’ll see that I needed to customize my settings, and the E2 noticed that it was custom & offered to save them for me for the next time. So I can now select “Veneer” or “Vinyl” and the E2 will remember the settings for me. No more “cheat-sheet” Post-it’s stuck to my Cricut!
  7. The E2 starts cutting on the upper right portion of the mat. Now I’ve spent years telling folks that it starts cutting on the upper LEFT, so this is taking some getting used to!!
  8. The E2 doesn’t automatically power off after 2 minutes like my Expression. I left it on, went down to dinner, and it was STILL on with the cutting light on after an hour. I may need to figure out how to tweak that!

So here’s my photo-by-photo journey of cutting some wood veneer:

Home Screen. You see a fiew of the mat on the left, and the folder represents the images on the cartridge or the ones included on the machine. The “wrench” opends a new series of screens for settings. You also see the “cut” icon and “load mat” icons.

After tapping the “file” icon, it pulls up the cart that’s loaded in the machine. In this case, “Songbird.”

I selected the birdcase image, then tapped the image of the E2 on the screen. This takes you to this screen- the print preview screen. You can see how big the image will be on the mat and where exactly it will cut. To resize the image, you tap on the image ON THE MAT, and click the “Pencil” icon. That’s how you change the size. I was satisfied, so I tapped the “cut” icon.

This is the cut menu. Here you can select what kind of paper you are using, or make a custom setting.

It recognized I was making a custom cut setting & prompted me to save it and name it. Now it’s in the menu for good, so I don’t have to remember it.

After tapping the “cut” icon, it popped this screen back up. Seriously, you need to tap the “cut” icon 3 times before it actually cuts. Sheesh.

Finally, the light goes on and the blade goes to work!

The light actually is a great idea. You can supervise the cutting more easily.

Finished cut of Real Wood Veneer!

I hope you feel a little more familiar with the E2 now, or at least I gave you some good info to help your decision-making process.  I’m looking forward to more Expression 2 creative adventures!

Disclosure: I received the Cricut Expression 2 as a promotional item, and was not obligated to write a review at all, let alone a favorable one. Like always, I just want to bring you the crafty scoop.

About Jenny

Chief Craft Test Dummy, Craft Evangelist, Founder, Editor, bottle-washer, trouble-maker, and creative whirlwind.


  1. Stazzi says

    I’ve been a little frustrated with mine. I feel the same as you about the gypsy. I loaded all my carts to it but don’t really use it except as an extended jukebox. I will design with DS, transfer the file to the gypsy and then cut from there. BUT with the E2 there is some bug that even though the gypsy is now supposed to work with the E2, it is just a roll of the dice if it actually will… No idea when they are going to fix that bug. They are aware of the problem though. I really *really* want to be happy with my E2.

  2. says

    Since I’ve got a Gypsy, I’ll make sure to try it out with my E2 next month & I’ll let you know how that goes, k? Thanks for your honest comment/feedback!

  3. Jackie says

    I got a cricut expression about a month ago. With the craziness of Christmas I just had time to get it out of the box last weekend. I agree, it takes some time to get used to, quite different than my old cricut. I’m glad you mentioned the stylus…I couldn’t find mine and have been using my son’s ds stylus! You mentioned that it starts cutting on the upper right corner of the mat, but mine starts on the upper left corner like my old one.

  4. Jessica says

    I have a original cricut and am looking to upsize to the expression. I can’t decide between the expression and the E2. I really like using my design studio on my computer or the cricut craft room online. Any idea which would be better to use? I am thinking that the added features of the E2 won’t be necessary with the computer but just not sure. Don’t know if it is worth the price difference since I am quite confident I will continue to use my computer with both machines. I really just want a wider machine to cut larger items.

  5. says

    Jessica- it’s kind of a personal choice. But if you already like using MDS or CCR, then go for “cheaper” and just get the Expression. Use the extra $$ you save and get the 12X24 cutting mats!

  6. becky says

    I am very frustrrated with my Expression 2…it’s my first Cricut but I had used a friends Cricut alot before getting this one for christmas last year. I’ve had a new grandbaby that I take care of 3 days a week so scrapbooking has been on the back burner this year and I’m just now really getting ready to start using it….the manual that can with the machine is very difficult for me to follow and I find it more frustrating than helpful. Is there a “cricut for dummies type of book out there that will give me step by step instructions to use until it becomes a habit for me????????? please tell me there is a better guide than the book that came with this machine! Do you know of any classes that might be available that teach you how to use this machine? I need help! alot of help! I’m so disappointed with my new cricut!!!

  7. says

    I think that Above Rubies Studio has a video instruction guide- you might want to check them out. Also there are videos online at That’s what I used. Good luck, Jenny

  8. Mitzi says

    I receivved the cricut expression2 for Christmas last year. We are decorating an employee’s desk and I took it out to use, for the first time. I am very happy with the first cutting machine. I am having a frustration trying to figure out how to connect it to my computer to cut. Is there a program I need to buy so the cricut can read what is on the computer?

  9. says

    Mitzi- The Cricut Expression does not need a computer to cut…but it also doesn’t “read” what’s on your computer, either. You need to use either the cartridges to cut OR download the Cricut Craft Room Software and design from there. Either way, you need to use Cricut images/fonts to cut- which means you need to buy them. Only the Silhouette will cut fonts from your computer for free. I do hope this helps! Best, Jenny

  10. sharal says


    please help me. I’m new to Cricut. I brought Cricut E2… I was able to go thru all the funtions but when I gave cut command it just ejected the mat and went back to home screen…. I tried to reset and followed every instruction but no help. Should I be returning the machine back… please… please help

  11. ciya says

    hi, since i’m so first timer knowing these kind of cutting machines… i need your suggestion about which kind of cricut that i should buy for my works. i’m a party organizer and a graphic designer too.. so i need a cutting machine that can do any cutting for my customize artwork from my software/computer.

    thank you in advance,

  12. says

    ciya- then you DO NOT want a Cricut Expression. Or Explore, or Air. They are meant to be used with their images and software. If you are looking to do custom work and can create SVG files in Adobe, then I’d suggest the Silhouette Brand- probably the Cameo for party supplies, as you can buy the 12X24 inch cutting mat for larger-scale objects. Good luck!

  13. Donna Violette says

    My expression 2 just stops mid cut. I’m up to date on frimware…..ant ideas of what to do to correct that? Please help if you can. Thanks

  14. Sharon says

    Jenny, Just got my expressions 2 and have already used it to cut letters for wooden signs. The vinyl
    from Hobby Lobby does not stick on wood. When I paint it with sealer the letters lift off and curl. I will try outdoor vinyl letters next time. My question is , how do I load the cartridges and see the extreme fonts on the screen? I am using windows 8. Also what is the overlay that was in the original box used for? Cannot figure it out.

  15. says

    Sharon- two things that might be helpful. First, vinyl only adheres to smooth (shiny) non-porous surfaces. It would only stick to wood if the surface were completely smooth and primed with paint. And adding a sealer only makes the “cling” aspect disappear entirely.

    Next, the expression 2 was pre-loaded with carts, and I’m guessing that “Extreme” was one of them. You just have to go to the list and scroll to find it. Not sure what overlay you are speaking of, so I can’t help there. Good luck!

  16. Emily says

    Jenny, I have the cricut E2. I am trying to link my cartridges thru the CCR and am not able to do so. Looks like I need to update my firmware. Do I do this through design studio? I see there is only a “free trial” download on the Internet. Am I better off just buying the program? ( it’s frustrating to know this didn’t come with the CE2 ? when I got it). And how do I go about linking my cartridges so I can work from the computer ( which I find so much easier). I have done this before with the help of a friend ….. But, I can’t seem to figure it out now! Thanks for the help!

  17. says

    Emily- the thing is, Cricut is really not supporting outdated machines like the E2. They have moved on to the Explore and the mini, and are trying to drive folks to new products. Update your firmware first- that’s a free update. (You will do this through the Provocraft website.) Then download Cricut Design Space- it’s free and it’s a web-based application. Once you are logged in, you can go under the drop down menu that says “link Cartridge” (it’s green on on the left-hand top bar) and you can go ahead and link away! Hope this helps, -J

  18. says

    I just got expression 2. First machine I’ve ever owned. I read above that there us 4 already installed cartridges. I only see 2. I’m not sure if I’m doing it correctly. It says….
    Not bids cage etc..
    By going on your 2nd picture, how do I find that??
    Thank you in advance

  19. says

    The Expression 2 is an older model machine- and when it was new, they offered many different configurations. Mine came with 4 free fonts- but I can’t speak for the bundle you got. You may not have it. :( Contact Cricut support to see, maybe? Best, Jenny


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