Cricut Explore Air 2 Review & Beginner’s Guide

Cricut Explore Air 2 Review & Beginner’s Guide

It’s the funniest thing (and the most awful thing sometimes) that I am seriously such an impulse buyer… but I am, and I’m just grateful that my husband is as understanding and supportive as he is. This time, we were at Michaels, and I found myself standing in front of the Cricut Explore Air 2 - the Martha Stewart Bundle and thinking to myself, “Damn, I could make invitations, and earrings, and cards, and vinyl freaking everything…” Later that night, I was at home making leather earring (and you can, too, right here).

I’ve had my Cricut for two weeks now, and it’s been so much fun. I’ve made those earrings, custom envelopes, and paper boxes, and I’m still exploring with it! So, I want to walk you through what exactly you can make and do with a Cricut machine, and what comes in this particular bundle—which is only available at Michaels.

Cricut types & what they can do

With Cricut machines, you can cut, write, and score on a variety of materials including cardstock, vinyl, iron-on, glitter paper, cork, and bonded fabric.

In general, you add different pens or blades to your Cricut to make different projects! It’s crazy fun!

There are four Cricut machines at this time:

Cricut Maker ($399) - the high-end, ultimate Cricut machine; made with metal interiors & stronger tools; has 10x more cutting power than other Cricut machines; double tool holder & bluetooth wireless technology
Cricut Explore Air 2 ($229) - up to 2x faster cutting and writing than other machines (aside from the Cricut Maker); double tool holder & bluetooth wireless technology
Cricut Explore Air ($217+) - replaced by the Explore Air 2 and really only found by third party sellers at this point; double tool holder & bluetooth wireless technology
Cricut Explore One ($167+) - also really only available from third party sellers; has only a single tool holder & lacks bluetooth wireless technology

getting started

Cricut machines are incredibly easy to use! I was worried at first but I promise you—this thing is so simple! Here are the short steps for completing a “project” within the Cricut machine:

  1. Launch Cricut Design Space & create your project - an online platform & software where you “create” your projects! Often, you simple search for a project, and click make! To get an idea, head over to my leather earrings tutorial.

  2. Adhere your material onto your grip mat - the mats are adhesive, so you simply need to place your material onto the mat!

  3. Turn your dial to the appropriate material to be cut or drawn

  4. Load your pen and/or blade - the pen goes into the left, and the blade goes into the right!

  5. Load your mat into the machine by pressing the arrow button on your Cricut

  6. Press the Cricut symbol on your machine, which means “Go!”

  7. Watch your machine cut or draw your project that you made in Cricut Design Space!

  8. When it’s finished drawing or cutting, press the arrow button again to unload your mat

  9. Use your tools to remove your project from the grip mat

  10. Admire your new project!

I’m telling you, it’s really that easy! The only learning curve is getting a hang of Cricut Design Space—and for me, it took an afternoon or so.

Cricut explore air 2 - Martha Stewart Bundle

I purchased the Cricut Explore Air 2 Martha Stewart Edition & Bundle that is exclusive to Michaels and I love it! While in store, I went back and forth with the idea of purchasing the Explore Air 2 without the bundle, leaving me with simple colors, no tools, no grip mats, etc., and saving me costs initially, but once I calculated what I would be paying in purchasing mats and tools, I decided going with a bundle would be a good idea! Not to mention, the Martha Stewart edition is a shimmery pearl colored machine with champagne/gold accents—you can’t beat it.

This is what comes in the Martha Stewart Special Edition & Bundle:

  1. Cricut Explore Air 2 - shimmery pearl in color with champagne details; accompanied by usb cables & power adaptor

  2. Premium Fine Point Blade + Housing

  3. Fine Point Pen - 0.4 mm in black; my go-to pen for most projects

  4. Basic Tool Set - includes scissors, tweezers, scraper, spatula, & weeder; all are white with gold metal accents

  5. LightGrip Cutting Mat, 12x12 in. - perfect starter mat for basic projects

  6. Welcome Book - great info on basic start up, including how to complete a basic project with your Cricut

  7. Free Trial Membership to Cricut for two weeks!

  8. 50 Free Ready to Make Projects 

  9. 25 Free Ready to Make Martha Stewart Projects - these are primarily paper crafts, and super cute!

I’m incredibly happy with this bundle, and with the Cricut Explore Air 2 in general!

You can get this bundle right here.

There are other great bundles out there for the Explore Air 2! Check them out:

Cricut Explore Air 2 with 40 Sheets of Vinyl/Trasfer Tape and Basic Tool Kit ($249)
Cricut Explore Air 2 with StandardGrip cutting mat, Basic Tool Kit, 8 sheets vinyl, 2 sheets of transfer paper, 12 Vinyl Designs; Vinyl project inspiration and technique book ($289)

pens, blades, & tools for cricut

I mentioned previously that to make different projects, it’s best to invest in varying tools for your Cricut Explore Air 2! Here’s a short list of what I think it good to have on hand for your Cricut depending on the type of project you’ll be doing (please note that these are mostly only for the Explore Air 2 and below, and not for the Cricut Maker!):

For general projects:

Fine Point Blade + Housing ($29)
Fine Point Pen Set, 0.4 mm in black, 10 pack ($17)
Basic Tool Set ($12)
LightGrip Cutting Mat, 12x12 in., set of 3 ($17)

For Fabric-related projects

Bonded-Fabric Blade ($20)
Washable Fabric Pen ($6)
FabricGrip Cutting Mats, 12x12 in., set of 3 ($14)

For Paper-related Projects

Variety Pen Set in Black ($13)
Multicolor Ultimate Fine Point Pen Set, 30 pack ($19)
Scoring Stylus ($7)
Paper Crafting Set ($13)
Essential Tool Set ($32)

For Leather, poster, or chipboard-related Projects

Deep Point Blade + Housing ($13)
StrongGrip Cutting Mat, 12x12 in., set of 3 ($17)

There you have it! A quick run down of my new Cricut Explore Air 2 its sister machines! I hope you enjoyed this post!

If you have used a Cricut before, please let me know in the comments or by messaging me directly what projects you have made with it! I’m still learning and I would love to hear about them! Thank you!


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