Sunday, June 13, 2010
Cricut cartridges vs. SCAL (Read this if you love your Cricut, but want to save money!)
If you are considering purchasing a Cricut, but hate the high price of all the cartridges, I have good news for you! Since I spent a small fortune on my Cricut Expression, I decided that I did not want to spend a small fortune purchasing supplies and accessories to use with it. Shortly after purchasing my machine, I learned about a program called Sure Cuts a Lot, or "SCAL." This software can be downloaded for around $70 (which is what Michael's charges for one cartridge) and can be used to make all sorts of stuff without actually buying more cartridges. How is this possible? With the use of cut files! To view or purchase SCAL, go here
Okay, don't be intimidated! I am not a tech-person and I figured this out all on my own. So once you download this software, then what? How this is done is to first decide what you want to create. Say I want to make a baby shower card. So I google "baby shower svg file." SVG files are cut files that are available out there on the web. They are oftentimes free, and sometimes only cost a few dollars. There are "techy" people out there who actually design and post their own files, and there is also a great website that sells them: http://www.svgcuts.com/ mostly for around 5-6 bucks. When you find a file you like (make sure it is an "SVG" file) when you download it!
I highly recommend making a separate folder for all your SVG files, so they are easier to find. Okay, so now what? Before you can use your new file, make sure it is unzipped! Open the file you created and you will see an option at the top that says "Extract all files". Click this. It will ask you where to send them. Just send them to the default location.
You are almost done! Next, open SCAL. At the top left hand side of the screen, click "file" and the dropdown box will open. Click "import SVG file." Find your file, and click on it. Voila! It appears on your screen. Once you have done this, you can begin playing with your file and creating your project! There are great tutorials for SCAL on youtube. One I have watched is here.
You will need a short USB cable to connect your Cricut Expression to your computer. Of course, Provocraft will tell you this voids your warranty. Seriously, how would they know? You can worry about this if you want to, but I'm not! I do love some of the cute cartridges they have out there, but I have always been able to find something similar, if not better for SCAL. The possibilities are truly endless! If you decide to take the plunge and buy your Cricut, let me know. I am thinking about starting a local crafting group to get together once a month or so and share ideas. Good luck and happy crafting!