Crafts | Cricut

Cricut Explore 3: Get to Know The Ultimate Crafter’s Tool

Learn about the Cricut Explore 3 in this Ultimate Guide to the New Cricut Explore 3.

Get to know the Cricut Explore 3, the ultimate crafter’s tool is sponsored by Cricut but all opinions are my own.

A new machine for the home crafter, the Cricut Explore 3, the ultimate crafter’s tool, is a great option for those who want to expand their crafting repertoire. This machine has all of the features you need to create amazing projects at home. If you are looking for an entry-level machine with more than enough options, then this is your perfect fit!
The Explore 3 from Cricut was designed to be an affordable and accessible way to get into crafting in your own home! With its increased speed and cutting capabilities paired with hundreds of font options, thousands of designs, and the ability to create with 100+ materials – it’s easy to see why this new release from Cricut is such a hit!

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What is Cricut Explore 3

Cricut Explore 3 is the ultimate crafter’s machine where you can cut, draw, score, and more with speed and precision. It’s compatible with Cricut’s Smart Materials, which allow the user to make super-long cuts up to 12 ft (3.6 m) without a mat. Yep, you read that correctly. NO Mats required. (I can’t tell you how much joy this machine brings me.) And it’s 2X faster than the Cricut Explore Air 2. It’s a crafter’s tool.

The Difference between The Cricut Explore 3 and the Cricut Explore Air 2

The primary differences are speed, the cut length, and the ability to cut without using a mat with Smart Materials. See the comparison chart below for more information.

Explore 3Explore Air 2
Two tool clamps✔️✔️
Print Then Cut
On white and colored materialsOn white materials
Smart Set DialNo more dial – Software integrated material settings✔️
Works with Smart Materials✔️No, Mat only
Storage Cup
Lid tray to
hold mobile
with Roll
The Difference between The Cricut Explore 3 and the Cricut Explore Air 2

Smart Materials

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As I stated earlier, the Cricut Explore 3 works with the new Cricut Smart Materials. What are Smart Materials? Well, it’s craft material that works without a cutting mat. So no need to worry about your mat losing its adhesion after a few uses. Simply load the Smart Material directly into your Cricut Explore 3 or Cricut Maker 3 machine and go. Smart Materials come in a variety of material types, including Smart Vinyl, Smart Iron-On, Smart Paper Sticker Cardstock. A roll of Smart Vinyl or Smart Iron-On is 13 in (33 cm) wide with a maximum cuttable width of 11.7 in (29.7 cm). And with a roll of Smart Vinyl, you can complete 1 continuous cut up to 12 feet and 4 feet with Smart Iron-On.


That leads me to the accessories that make the Cricut Explore 3, even more, user-friendly. To add ease of use when using super long rolls of Smart materials, a Cricut Crafter can pair its Explore 3 with a Cricut Roll Holder. It’s is extremely helpful in managing bulky, long rolls, keeping them in place and perfectly aligned for long cuts.

Also given the Smart Materials are wider, the 13 in. Portable Trimmer makes cutting to the exact size a breeze.

Cricut Explore 3 projects

I tested the Cricut Explore 3 using the 3 different Smart Materials. Each material was amazing and cut with absolute ease. But here’s my experience with this crafter’s tool.

Smart Vinyl

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I created a wall mural on my office door using Shimmer Gold Permanent Vinyl. I love the way this turned out but I ran into a few challenges and uncovered a few tips while cutting the vinyl.

Before I cut the long decals for my door mural, I rearranged the images on the cut surface, to maximize the use of the Smart Vinyl. I didn’t want any of it to go to waste. This was a huge saver.

I ran into a bit of a snag when using this particular vinyl with the Cricut Roll Holder. The snug fit and friction cause my vinyl to rip and tear. So for this, I opted to not use the Roll holder. Also, I discovered this vinyl works best with StrongGrip Transfer Tape. Don’t waste your time trying to make the regular transfer tape to work. It’ll only make you frustrated. Hahaha. Trust me.

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Smart Paper Sticker Cardstock

This crafter’s tool also lends well to the woodworker. In the beginning when I saw the Smart Paper Sticker Cardstock, I wondered, what can I really use this with. I had no real interest in creating stickers. And then I realized, I could use this cardstock to create a template for a piece of wood that I am cutting on the bandsaw.

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This Smart Paper Sticker Cardstock literally saved the say. I didn’t need to worry about taping paper to my boards nor use spray-on adhesive to get the paper to adhere to the board while I cut it out. Also, I found the adhesion of the cardstock strengthened the longer it was on the piece of wood. SCORE!

I only ran into one snag, literally when I attempted to cut something large and too much of the smart materials was cut leaving it unstable to go back and forth through the auto roller.

Smart Iron-On

Finally, I tested the Smart Iron-on. This went extremely well.

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I was also able to use the Roll Holder with no issues, what so ever. And like the shirt says, “Shiitake Happens, Cook It!” I just rolled with the punches and at the end of the day working through the user bugs of trying to become adapted to a new machine.

Limitations of Cricut explore 3

I ran into a few hiccups with Cricut Design Space. Currently, you’re unable to view an extra widescreen which would have been perfect for developing murals. My hopes are with the use of larger materials I’ll be able to mock up a full wall-size mural in Design Space and see it fully on the screen without having to scroll to the left or right or up and down.

The cost of materials can be a little bit of a hurdle for some crafters. The new Smart Materials aren’t exactly cheap. But I will say, the cost pans out when you consider the fact that you’ll purchase fewer mats.

Is the Cricut explore 3 a must buy?

If you are currently in the market for a Cricut or a craft machine that is capable of cutting, drawing, and scoring to name a few features, the Cricut Explore 3, priced at $299, is absolutely the tool for you. Now, if you just recently purchased your Cricut within the last year, it’s understandable that you would give it a little time before upgrading. But when you are in the market to upgrade, this is the ultimate crafter’s tool.

Click Here for more information on the Cricut Explore 3 and purchase your own Cricut Explore 3.

For information on other Cricut products and projects check out:

Cricut Explore Air 2: Can It Cut It? and Removable Stair Riser Decals Made with Cricut Explore Air 2

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