Wednesday 10 April 2019

Retro Cool Cricut Mug & Coasters

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

Floppy Disk Mug


Happy Wednesday! I'm back with another fun project created with my Cricut Maker - I've explored testing out this sweet machine with fabric as I start my sewing adventure, glitter iron-on materials as it joined forces with the EasyPress 2 so what's left to try out? Yup, good ol' vinyl.

I've always been a fan of a vinyl project, mainly because it's such an easy medium to work with that's super-quick for adding a personal touch to objects. So, without further ado you'll see hat I've used new technology to celebrate old technology with this floppy disk mug.

It was sooooooooooo easy to create; the floppy disk design can be found on Cricut Design Space and all I had to do was resize the image to fit my mug. I'm impressed at the accuracy and intricate detail the Maker cut from white vinyl - I mean, have you seen that tiny decimal point on the reference to the size of the floppy disk?! Amazing! I'd always recommend using the Cricut Transfer Tape to transfer the vinyl design with ease and precision - it makes sure that all of those teeny, tiny elements stay in place *wink*.

This mug was designed for my husband; Mr Gray is a geek at heart and has a soft spot for retro technology. Given that I'd designed this for the front of the mug, I couldn't resist adding a sentiment to the reverse side:

Old School Cool Mug

I was happy with the mug as it was, but decided to go just one step further and create a co-ordinating double-sided coaster. Well....I actually made two so I could shoot both sides of them in one go for you!

Old School Cool Coasters
The coasters utilised the EasyPress 2 and must have taken all of 10 minutes to make, if that!

I can confirm that Mr Gray loves his new mug and co-ordinating coaster and he's fully aware not to pop the mug in the dishwasher. With vinyl it's best to always gently wash any decorated items for longetivity.

Now you don't have to go all 'old school cool' with this technique. The beauty of Cricut Design Space means that there are literally hundereds upon hundreds of designs you could use and so many different colours and varities of vinyl that the looks you can create are endless! So next time you're out and about, grab those inexpensive coasters and mugs and discover just how fun it can be to customise them!

Speaking of coasters and mugs, I think it's time I signed off to fill my own mug with a cuppa. Thanks so much for stopping by today!


Wednesday 27 March 2019

Cricut EasyPress 2 Review

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

Cricut EasyPress Project


Happy Wednesday - we're halfway through the working week, though mine is proving to be a busy one this week as I'm heading away for a business trip to Germany tomorrow. Kinda hoping I may find some yummy pretzels on the way...*wink*

Anyways, enough about my working week, I'm here with a review of a hot product on the crafty market (I mean literally H.O.T.) - the Cricut EasyPress 2 9" x 9" plus the Cricut EasyPress Mat in size 12" x 12".

Cricut EasyPress and Mat

Cricut kindly gave me these product to review and here is my honest account of them. Firstly, let's take a closer look at the Cricut EasyPress 2. Now I'm a convert when it comes to playing with Cricut iron-on materials as you may see from past projects here, here and here. In fact, I still treasure this 'Hello' bag I made at the Cricut event waaaaaaay back in 2014.

hello tote bag

For these previous projects, I'd cut my project on my Cricut Explore and use my iron to apply the iron-on material. Completely logical, right? So what's different with the Cricut EasyPress 2 and why is it better over a regular iron? Well let me list the many reasons why:

This EasyPress 2 features a super-smooth ceramic-coated heat plate in sizes beyond that of your regular iron in three sizes: 6" x 7", 9" x 9" and 12" x 10". There's a size for every project, but for me and my needs the 9" x 9" is juuuuuust right. No more moving the iron around over an iron-design to make sure it's all received the same application of heat - hurrah!

Now I'm not saying an iron is hard to use (well...if it gets me out of regular ironing then I'd argue it!) but this machine is so incredibly easy to use. Simply use the interactive or downloadable guide to say what material your Cricut iron-on material is and what you'd like to apply it to and you'll be told the exact temperature required and pressing time. Simply input that in the EasyPress 2 and you're ready to go!

Now, this is the biggy for me. An iron will apply iron-on material just fine, but you need an even heat and pressure over the design if you want it to be durable wash after wash. The EasyPress 2 does just that - especially when combined with the EasyPress Mat.

Another biggy here - especially for accident-prone peeps like me! The EasyPress 2 comes with an Insulated Safety Base that protects the heat plate. As an added bonus it's pretty too! I mean, have you ever seen a prettier Insulated Safety Base? I thought not.

Cricut EasyPress Base

This base means you don't have a hot plate exposed to accidental touching like I do with my iron. Even better, the EasyPress 2 will also automatically turn off after 10 minutes of inactivity as an additional saftey feature.

When you open the EasyPress 2, Cricut share in the excitment with their fun branding and design:

Cricut EasyPress - Lets do this

I love how Cricut make you feel so special when you open one of their products - it's that attention to detail that gets me smiling like the Cheshire Cat!

You can get started straight away as Cricut kindly include a cotton drawstring bag and a sparkly green Cricut logo iron-on design! I'm saving the bag for a future project, I just need to decide what to put on it...

Cricut Easypress Contents

So that's the EasyPress 2. Now let's look at its partner in crime: the Cricut EasyPress Mat. Now this is not complusory to have alongside the EasyPress 2, but it definietly aids in achieving that professional finishing result thanks to the technology it incorporates. You can use a regular folded towel under your projects, but the EasyPress Mat features five layers of heat-resistant, moisture-wicking insulation and this is key for achieving that durability with iron-on designs. The mats come in three different sizes, each one complementing each size of the EasyPress 2 family.

Now, let's have some fun and combine the Cricut EasyPress 2, the EasyPress Mat, the Cricut Maker, some gorgeous gold glitter iron-on material to show just how easy it is to create your own iron-on projects!

Whatever you're going to apply your iron-on to, it's recommended that you pre-wash it without fabric softener. This helps to improve the durability of the finished project.

There are soooooooooooo many designs you can choose from in the Cricut Design Space library - many specifically designed for iron-on designs. Some of them are free, some you have to pay a small price for. I wanted to customise a black tote bag with artwork I'd purchased from Etsy by liliumpixelsvg, and the joy of Design Space is that you can do this with no problem whatsoever and for free!


Don't forget to mirror your design when cutting it from iron-on material! Also place the iron-on material shiny side down onto the mat.

Cricut Maker Cutting Glitter Iron On

You can leave the Maker to it, but I can never resist watching the cutting process  - it's quite hypnotising!

Basically, remove the background from the cut design. This is easy done when combined with the weeding tool. I find it quite theraputic!

Weeding Process

Simply access the interactive guide here or download a guide to determine the settings required on the EasyPress 2.

Cricut EasyPress Interactive Guide

Input the required temperature and timing into the EasyPress 2.

Cricut EasyPress On

A green light will show and it'll  beep to let you know when it's ready (another feature I appreciate!)

Place the base material (in my case, a tote bag) on the Cricut EasyPress Mat (or alternatively a towel) and apply the EasyPress 2 on top for five seconds to withdraw any moisture. This step is really imporant to achieve that durability - don't skip it!

Position the iron-on design on the project and press the EasyPress 2 on top for the required amount of time by pressing the Cricut button to activate the timer. You don't need to press down super-hard. Then flip over the project and press the reverse side of the project for 15 seconds.

Cricut EasyPress Action

Again, this is an imporant step for durability purposes so don't skip it!

Depending on the material used, peel the shiny backing of the iron-on design away while the project is still warm or when it's cooled. The interactive and downloadable guide will inform you whether to adopt a warm or cold peel for you project.

Your project is complete!

Hustle Hard

Allow 24 hours after application before washing and always wash and tumble dry the project inside out.

I think I'm going to find it hard to part with this bag, much like the first 'Hello' bag I made back in 2004, this one is going to stay with me. *wink*

I hope you found this review and project useful! I'll be back with more in the future for sure. Thanks so much for stopping by today!


Wednesday 13 March 2019

Making it with the Cricut Maker...

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

Cricut Adventure

Happy Tuesday! How the heck did it get to March already? Spring is waiting ever-so patiently to arrive here, but winter wanted the last word this past weekend which was fine by me as it gave me the perfect opportunity to play with a new crafty toy: the Cricut Maker!

Now those of you that follow me on my crafty adventures know that I'm a huge fan of Cricut since I got my crafty mitts on the Cricut Explore One waaaaaaaaaaay back in 2014. I loved that it opened doors to experiment with a wide variety of crafts and introduced me to fun with iron-on materials, vinyl and more.

When Cricut reached out to ask if I would review and play with the Cricut Maker I was thrilled. I've been eyeing up these mystical Makers and wondering if it was something I was missing out on. I didn't make the jump from the Cricut Explore Air to the Cricut Explore 2 as I felt that I could get along just fine with my Air. But was I right in thinking that I was missing out with a Maker?

In a word, yes. That's the short answer and based on the fact that this machine opens a whole new world of creative opportunities with the cutting capabilities and tools available. At the core of this is the Maker's amazing adaptive tools system that can hold tools such as the rotary cutter and knife blade:

Maker Rotary Cutter

That rotary blade cuts through fabric like a hot knife through butter with extreme precision. It's also a much safer option than your traditional rotary cutter for accident prone peeps like me! I found that I normally had to add a backing or stabiliser when cutting fabric with my Explore, but with the Maker and this blade I simply pop my fabric on my FabriGrip mat and let the Maker do the rest. No stabilising required whatsoever! I can't wait to find time to play with felt - hello, felt flowers!

The knife blade (not included with the machine) cuts with 10 times more pressure than the Explore Air 2 so thicker materials are no problem for this machine. If you like experimenting with materials such as leather and wood then this a the game changer. Don't be fooled by its strength though: this machine can also handle delicate materials too such as crepe paper.

That adaptive tools system hosts a variety of other tools that can be purchased separately. Along with the knife blade I’ll be eyeing up the scoring wheels. The good thing is that I can use my scoring stylus from my Cricut Explore Air while I wait as it fits the Cricut Maker.

If you're already familiar with the Cricut machine family, then you'll know and appreciate that extra detail they go to upon opening the box to guiding you through your first project. It's no different with the Maker.
Cricut Maker Get Started

Cricut Maker First Project

Oh, and did I mention it also features a handy stand for your iPad/tablet? Don’t even get me started on how much I love designing on the Cricut Design Space app on the iPad: I can be designing on the go (or curled up on my sofa) whenever inspiration strikes! :)

Cricut Maker iPad

Here's a breakdown of what's included with the Maker:
  • Cricut Maker® machine 
  • Rotary Blade + Drive Housing 
  • Premium Fine-Point Blade + Housing 
  • Fine Point Pen, Black 
  • FabricGrip™ Mat, 12" x 12" (30.5cm x 30.5cm) 
  • LightGrip Mat, 12" x 12" (30.5cm x 30.5cm) 
  • Welcome Book 
  • USB cable 
  • Power adapter 
  • Free trial membership to Cricut Access™ (for new subscribers) 
  • 50 free ready-to-make projects, including 25 sewing patterns 
  • Materials for a practice project

Now, it wouldn't be right if I didn't share a project with you that I created while testing out this machine. I set myself a real challenge as I wanted to test that rotary blade with fabric. I wouldn't call myself a sewist, but I do have a sewing machine and I've found myself wanting to play with it so I was hoping that the Maker would make this easy for me. Typical Aimes here picked not a beginner but an intermediate project, but the fact that the cutting was all done for me by the Maker and that full instructions were provided through Design Space gave me the confidence to try. Well....the instructions that showed all I needed to do was stitch straight lines anyway!

Cricut Maker Coaster

Now don't look too closely at the stitching, but that fact I was able to whip this up as a total newbie to sewing got me excited!

Anyone for tea? 

Time for Tea

I'm now eyeing up the rest of the fabric I've hoarded along with all of the other materials I've got stashed in my craft room and feel totally inspired to cut into it and make something of it!

So, do you need a Cricut Maker? In my honest opinion it depends entirely on what kind of crafter you are and your budget. The Maker is more expensive than the Explore Air, but offers so much more versatility. This is a machine that is going to grow with me as I try my hand at projects beyond papercraft and vinyl. That's exactly what I thought I was missing out on by not having one. I know that I am going to get some serious use (and fun!) out of this machine.

Right, I've shared one project with you but I have so many more crafty Maker adventures to share with you soon....Watch this space!



I am on various design teams and receive free product to use and promote. I geniunely love the products of the companies and all opinons are honest and my own.

I'm flattered if I've inspired you and you want to CASE anything of mine, but please don't enter it for commercial publications or competitions.
Thank You!
All designs, text, and photographs on Crafting Confessions are ©2009-2016 to Amy Gray unless stated otherwise.