This is the second part to my Cricut reviews. As mentioned before in my Cricut Maker review I was planning to buy a Maker machine for myself but ended up partnering up with Cricut as an influencer- a dream come true! I’m a complete and utter Cricut newbie so it’s been a really exciting and steep learning curve. For one thing, I knew that cutting heat transfer vinyl was a *big* selling point of the Cricut cutting machines- I can’t be the only one obsessed with all the personalised Tees and baby grows right? But if I’m honest, I didn’t really know what the process of making it was. So for those of you who are completely new to this as well, here’s a low down from what I’ve figured out so far (though please remember I’m a beginner! Always check in the instructions yourself):
Heat Transfer Vinyl
Also known as HTV by all the cool kids*. It’s a type of vinyl which will fuse to the surface when its applied with heat. This makes it different from sticky/adhesive vinyls which are a bit like sticky-backed plastic, and different from removable vinyls (neither need heat, and just stick on). Although it’s most commonly seen applied to fabrics, it can also be applied to wood, corkboard and chipboard.
(*may not necessarily be true)
It comes in all sorts of finishes, mesh, plush/velvety, metallic, holographic, neon, reflective and in every colour under the sun.
The way it works is that you create a design and cut it out, hand cut or using a cutting machine like the Cricut Maker.
NB: When using a cutting machine it won’t cut all the way through the sheet- only cutting through the vinyl and leaving the mounting plastic uncut. You peel away the excess (‘weeding’) and then apply to the project.
This is where the heat press comes in…Depending on your vinyl it will need to be applied at a certain heat and for a specific duration of time (normally 20-30seconds)
And this is where the Cricut EasyPress 2 shines…
So what is it?
It’s a heat press! Which is essentially it a giant flat bed iron. It comes in different sizes and shapes, from the brand new and rather adorable mini (1.92×3.24”- which is rounded/iron shaped) up to the biggest in 12×10”. The prices range from £55 (mini), up to £240 for the largest.
I was gifted the 9 x 9” which is square shaped.
What comes in the box
- Cricut EasyPress
- Safety base
- Quick reference chart
- Welcome booklet
- Practice project materials
If there’s one thing I love about this brand its that they include a practice project! This means you can get going the second you get the product out of the box. In this case it’s a vinyl to press onto a canvas bag which you then store the EasyPress 2 in. Win-win.
Ok…so it’s a glorified iron?
It’s a lot smarter than that: The temperature is digitally selected (up to 205C) to make sure you get an accurate heat for your vinyl and crucially, the heat is evenly distributed unlike the household iron. Importantly it’s also dry- no steam, which could otherwise effect your application.
On top of that there’s a timer- you adjust the seconds and when the press is ready for use it will count down how long you apply heat for you- no more faffing around with a clock or stopwatch!
Mmm… I still don’t get it? Still sounds like a fancy iron, and I have one of those…
I’m gonna be honest, when I first started using HTV I used my iron. It’s ok, but I found myself faffing around trying to get the heat just right. Now I always reach for my EasyPress 2 (unless the item is tiny). In fact, I’ll let you in on a secret…I even use it to press out fabric when I’m sewing!
Why does it work better? I just find it more convenient! For one thing, you can’t use an ironing board as your pressing surface as its too unstable when applying pressure. For me this meant having my iron around the dining table which came with added stress as I’m always paranoid it will topple over. The EasyPress 2 comes with a super sturdy heat resistance stand that it sits on, which means I can rest a bit easy.
The EasyPress 2 also has a safety feature and will turn off after 13min of inactivity- again, if you’re paranoid like me is great (I’ve actually made us turn around on the motorway and add 40min to our journey just to go back home to check the iron was switched off!)
But mainly it takes all the brainwork out of vinyl pressing for me! Cricut have an online heat guide which is bookmarked on all my devices- you select your EasyPress 2, the type of vinyl you’re applying and the material you’re pressing on to and voila! It gives you the temperature and time needed as well as instructions e.g whether to cold peel/warm peel. I find this so much easier than having pieces of paper flapping around with instructions which I inevitably lose…
And when you’ve got those details you pop in the temp and the timings you want and wait for that little Cricut button go from orange to green. With a beep you know you’re ready to go. Press the button, press the vinyl, watch the countdown and with another beep you’re done! It’s that simple.
Things to be aware of
I think the main thing you need to consider the the size of EasyPress 2 to get. The 9×9” is perfect for adult T-shirts and children’s clothes. For baby grows it’s a bit large and needs a bit more manoeuvring to get into to corners. And it’s also a bit too large for pencil cases or anything with awkward corners. You’re not gonna be able to vinyl your trainers with it!
If I had a choice I may have gone down one size to the 6 x7” mainly because of storage (it sits on my craft shelf because there’s no other space for it!) Plus I’ve used it quite a lot for personalised baby grows (buy a multipack of white cotton grows and you’ve got the easiest of baby shower gifts!) so a smaller size might of been helpful. But if I went down in size the downside is having to press multiple times to cover a larger area e.g. on adult or larger children t-shirts. It’s a balance. So have a think about what you’re going to use it for and storage space…
Also I would really recommend getting the heat press mat to go with it. I didn’t have one at first and used an ordinary towel on my dining table. But the mat is well worth it- its lightweight and easy to store and is perfectly flat. The best thing about it is that it really absorbs the heat- before when I used a towel I would fear for my table (it would feel seriously hot underneath) but now you can barely tell I’ve used the EasyPress on it. And also worth noting, if you use the Infusible Ink range you must use the mat because you’re working at such high temperatures.
Is it essential? No. But it will make your life that much easier. If you’re only an occasional vinyl-presser (that’s a thing right?) then it might be too much of an expense. But if you have a Cricut cutting machine (or any cutting machine) then chances are you’re gonna be adding vinyl to things pretty regularly, in which case it is a great addition to the collection.
I’m really conscious of making sure my daughter’s clothes aren’t stereotypically ‘girly’ (she’s currently rocking a winter coat from the boys section because I got sick of furry pink). So instead I’ll go out of my way to look for plain tops/jumpers (which seem to mainly be in the boys section…) and fancy them up with the Cricut Maker and EasyPress 2. It’s cheaper overall and means that I get to choose what slogans/designs she wears, not Mr big-shot CEO who thinks girls can only “keep smiling” and boys be “wild things” *insert giant eye roll*. And the convenience of the EasyPress 2 plays a big part in that.
And as well as using it for clothes, I have actually used it when I’m sewing! The other day I was able to use it to press the creases out of some fabric and the seams as I went along, just because it was to hand and you guessed it…more convenient than going and getting my iron and ironing board out of the garage! I saw they’ve been advertising the Cricut Mini as being easy to use to press seams, and if I’m 100% honest- I’m so tempted!
Anyway, I hope that’s been helpful!
We regularly now have friends and family using the machines when they come over- it even trumped our movie night the other day- instead of watching a movie we all ended up personalising our phone covers/ipad covers! Careful, crafting can catch 😉
Many thanks to the Cricut team for gifting me the Cricut EasyPress 2 in return of a review and the EasyPress Mat as part of the Cricut Influencer Family. All opinions are my honest views.