I missed the original Cricut insanity a few years back when the original model debuted. My friends went NUTS for it, raving about what a great addition it was to their crafty tool supply. On Black Friday, I watched as shoppers knocked each other down trying to pick up sale-priced cartridges. But no Cricut craziness for me. As different models debuted, I still passed for no real reason. Even when the self-propelled Cuttlebug debuted, I wasn’t interested. My fiance desperately wanted to buy the fondant-slicing Cricut Cake, but I passed.
And then there was the Cricut Mini.
The Cricut Mini is a smaller, scaled-down version of the fancier models offered today. At $129, and frequently on sale through Cricut’s website or major craft stores, the price is easier to stomach compared to that of the Cricut Expression. Curious, I reached out to Cricut and asked to review their newest cutter.
Taking it out of the box, Cricut Mini measures about 15.5″ long and around 7″ wide. It’s very light and easy to pick up – there’s no handle. There also aren’t a lot of frills upon first inspection. You have the power button, the load button, and the plastic cover to open and close. Inside, there’s room to add a Cricut cartridge. Unlike other larger Cricut models, there’s no digital display or a keyboard.
The Cricut Mini comes with access to the Cricut Craft Room. It took me two tries and a reboot on my computer (a 2008 MacBook) to finally get the software to load and for my machine to recognize the new hardware. However, once that was set, the machine was ready to use. Cricut’s website claims it takes just minutes to start a project from the box to your craft table, and that’s fairly accurate.
The Cricut Craft Room gives you access to about 400 images to work with before having to purchase additional images or cartridges. I wasn’t aware of this at first glance, so I immediately started adding all of the Martha Stewart Cricut Cake images (shocking coming from a Martha fan, right?) to my first project. It wasn’t until I hit “cut” that I was told I needed the missing cartridge.
Once that was figured out, I stuck to basic letters and shapes to start on some Halloween garland. Cricut Mini comes with a starter pack of paper, one mat with cover, and a pre-made project for you to enhance. The set-up instructions also walk you through making a thank-you card for the first time.
The Cricut Mini cutting mat I received measures 8×12.” I’ve made a lot of cuts so far and the mat is definitely not as sticky when it first started, of course, and shows a lot of wear.
Curious about how the Mini would work with cartridges, I purchased a Cricut project cartridge to experiment with. No problem having the cartridge recognized with the machine or the outcome.
I also experimented with different types of paper. I tried some of Martha Stewart’s Halloween paper and trimmed the paper to size. Worked well without any problems.
Overall, I really enjoyed the Cricut Mini. I picked up some tool sets and have my eyes on some other cartridges to experiment with. The smaller size is also helpful with storage here in my craft room. Should you get one? If you’re new to Cricut and curious to try it out, absolutely. For veteran Cricut users, reviews I’m reading seem to find many of them missing some of the enhanced functionality the bigger machines provide. But if you’re looking to take your paper crafting up a notch, the Cricut Mini will get the job done.
If you’ve tried Cricut Mini, make sure to share your thoughts here.
Disclaimer: The Cricut Mini was sent to me at no cost for review purposes.