Review of Cricut Mini by Provocraft

December 27, 2012

Craft Product Reviews, Crafty Tools

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A few years ago the Cricut Mini debuted at CHA at it was quite the sensation- after all of the whistles-and-bells upgrades to the Cricut Expression resulting in the Expression 2 (digital screen, more functions) and then the Cricut Imagine (printing and cutting capabilities) the Mini is a stripped-down, computer-based die cutting machine perfect for those with space concerns and who are comfortable with creating & editing their projects using software.



Cricut Mini

So let’s take a look at how the Cricut Mini is described on the Cricut.com website:

Unleash your creative best with the Cricut Mini™ machine. Even if you’re new to crafting, this powerful inspiration wonder makes it easier than ever to design, cut, and bring your ideas to life in ways you never thought possible. You can connect to Cricut Craft Room™ to give your next craft, décor, party, or DIY project a spin that’s entirely you.

The Cricut Mini™ is the fun and easy way to cut paper, fabric, vinyl, and so much more. Plus, it?s small, lightweight, and portable.

  • Cuts up to 8.5-by-12-inch paper and other materials. Cut small shapes and fonts from 1/4-inch to larger cuts up to 11-1/2-inch.

  • Extremely precise and detailed cutting capability.

  • Requires a standard internet connection via a laptop or desktop computer, or to be connected to Cricut gypsy.

  • New, quiet cutting technology.

  • Small, portable, and lightweight for ultra space savings.

At the time of this writing, the Cricut Mini can be found for under $110 USD.

Cricut Mini Overview from CraftTestDummies.com

 

OK… let’s take a look. I created a video to show you a few things.

Cricut Mini Overview from CraftTestDummies.comS

Of course, the big deal with the Cricut Mini is that you MUST have a computer and installed software to make it work. This is a stark contrast to the selling point of the Cricut some years back- that it was a cartridge-based system and you didn’t need a computer or any technical skills to use it.

Cricut Mini Overview from CraftTestDummies.com

To set up my Cricut Mini, I had to install the (free) Cricut Craft Room software. I found that I had an old beta-version of it on my drive already (I have a PC, by the way) and I had to completely uninstall and then re-install the Craft Room Software to make it work. But once I did, the screens popped up so that I could link my software to my Cricut Mini and within moments I was cutting my first image.

Cricut Mini Overview from CraftTestDummies.com

I like the that Mini has a certain bank of images linked to it, so you can use it right off the bat without any further downloads. However, there are a ton of cool downloads that are free to use for a certain period of time, and you can “rent” bundles to use, too. (That is, you can cut them for a time but then the files expire.)

Cricut also just announced that you will be able to buy certain popular images one at a time instead of having to buy a whole cartridge or a full digital download of a cartridge. So I did! I found a single card image that was on sale for only $.74 and purchased it, along with a holiday ornament set for $7.99. Wow! What a difference from having to by a full cartridge to get the one image you like- usually for between $35-$90.00!

Cricut Mini Overview from CraftTestDummies.com

Oh- and if you have  Cricut machine already and a stock of cartridges, don’t worry- you can use them with your Mini, too. If they haven’t been linked to a Gypsy, the first time you use the cartridge in the Mini it will prompt you to link it with your Cricut Craft Room account. After that, you’ll be able to use those images with the Craft Room (remember, that is the software you use to set up your mat for cutting.)

So let’s recap some pros and cons of the Cricut Mini:

PROS:

  • Small footprint.
  • Lightweight/portable.
  • No cartridges needed- you can purchase images digitally.
  • You can use with with your Gypsy.
  • Easy to set up and use if you have some intermediate computer skills
  • Cuts beautifully.
  • Cuts all kinds of paper except tissue/giftwrap. Will also cut fabric  that has been prepared appropriately.
  • Excellent price point- around $100 USD most places!

CONS:

  • Smaller cutting area- 8.5X 12 inches- so not so great for larger things.
  • You MUST have a computer for the Cricut Mini to work. (Not necessarily a con, but you need to keep that in mind.)
  • You must be somewhat computer savvy and comfortable with installing and downloading  software and files. (Again, not really a con.)

I’m just starting to explore what the Cricut Mini can do for me…but there is a good chance my Expression 2 will be headed for Ebay. The Cricut Mini is smaller, lighter, and I can free myself of buying full cartridges in favor of just the images I like!

I’d love to hear your thoughts/questions in the comments section- I’ll do my best to answer and respond. Right now, I’m heading off to play some more with my Cricut Mini.

Cricut Mini Overview from CraftTestDummies.com

Disclosure: Sample provided for review purposes. If you’d like to purchase a Cricut Mini, please use the link below and support free content on CTD. Thank you!
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About Jenny

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

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11 Responses to “Review of Cricut Mini by Provocraft”

  1. Lynda Says:

    Jenny, What about Macs? Also, guess it doesn’t cut stencil material??

    Love your reviews!

    Lynda

  2. Jenny Says:

    Lynda- there is also a version of Cricut Craft Room for MACs (remember, the software download is free.) I don’t know if it will cut stencil material because I don’t have any to try- but if you’ve used it in a Cricut before, it should work just the same. Vinyl works! -Jenny

  3. Carol L Says:

    I just replaced my Cricut this past year with the older model, and now I wish I’d have waited until this came out! Thanks for the detailed tutorial on how it works!
    BTW, who won the $100 gift certificate?

  4. Mary Lee Says:

    OMG, I want it. I don’t use my Cricut near as much as I might. I find it more trouble than it’s worth since I don’t have room for it. This I could do. Thanks. Love your reviews.

  5. Rebecca Bidine Says:

    Jenny, this is marvelous I’m deffinately going to work on get this. I really like that it works off of software, and isn’t so complicated. Thank you.

  6. Ann in PA Says:

    Thanks for the review. I had been wondering if this might be the electronic cutter for me. After reading your review, it seems like this might finally be the one. The price point is great.

  7. Jan C Says:

    I got one last weekend, and love it. Plugged in a cartridge I already owned, cut at my desk, and I didn’t have to get up go to the other room (where the old cricut is) to change paper. I was cutting a design that was about 7×6 so it was perfect. Really think I’ll use it more than I use my big one.

  8. JoAnn Says:

    I won a Cricut Mini last month, and though I’ve been sick the past week and haven’t been able to use it much, I already know it is perfect for me. I was borrowing my mom’s Expressions machine, but I can now give that back to her. For the amount of crafting I do (mainly card making), and I love anything computer, I think it’s a perfect fit.

    The only question I do have is so far I haven’t seen anything that Expressions can do that the craft room can’t also do. Have you found that to be true also?

  9. Jenny Says:

    JoAnn- the difference is working on the machine (Expressions/E2) versus working on Craft Room. Actually, I found working with Craft Room easier that just using my E2. I’m a convert.

  10. Kelly Says:

    I think one con is customer support is closed on the weekend. I am having trouble downloading the craft room … its been itializing for over 3 hours and I can’t get help.

  11. Njscnm Says:

    A big downside is that you MUST be connected to the Internet (not just the computer) to use the Cricut Craft room. So if you have sketchy Internet or go on a retreat (you may not have internet ir have to pay a lot for it) you may not be able to use it. That really limits me, wont be getting this one.

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