The GM Crafty Press is a tiny heat press device designed to help sewists, quilters and crafters with intricate jobs and small projects. It follows on the heels of one of my favourite heat press machines, the Cricut EasyPress Mini, but at almost half the price the GM Crafty Press is an enticing little gadget.
I scored 5/5 in my Cricut EasyPress Mini review, so the GM Crafty Press has a big task ahead of it – that price point of £31.99 is enticing. On paper this little heat press has some good features, such as three heat settings (190°C / 374°F, 160°C / 320°F, and 140°C / 284°F) and a smooth Teflon coated base.
Heat press machines like the GM Crafty Press are generally used to press designs onto fabrics, we have a guide to the best heat press machines to get you started. I'd also recommend reading up on the best Cricut materials to gauge the kind of heat transfer vinyl you'll need – these materials can be used with any heat press machine.
Continue reading to find out what I think of the GM Crafty Press. To review this product I used it on a number of craft projects over the course of two weeks, if you want to find out more about our general review process read how we test craft and sewing machines.
GM Crafty Press review: in the box
As you'd expect the GM Crafty Press is very basic when it comes to what's in the box; the heat press is small and well packaged to avoid damage. What is nice is the GM Crafty Press comes with a heavy fabric cotton storage bag to keep the heat press clean and tidy when not in use.
Also, this heat press comes with a small water spray bottle for filling with ironing water to make pressing seams a little easier. Of course, when heat transferring designs onto fabrics you won't need this.
GM Crafty press review: design and build
When it comes to design and build the GM Crafty Press stumbles. While it's a sturdy and well-made product that meets all of the required safety standards, I find the moulding is too thick and chunky – in use the gap to fit your fingers isn't as large and well-placed as that of the Cricut EasyPress Mini. This may sound like a small detail, but when you're using this heat press device to iron down small seams and fiddly pieces of fabric, you can't grip it naturally.
The base is thicker than the Cricut EasyPress Mini too, which again means that it's harder to work on intricate sewing and quilting projects. The GM's base measures 10.6cm x 6.2cm making it larger than the 8.2cm x 4.8 cm of the Cricut EasyPress Mini, and it also doesn't come to a neat point like the Cricut device; instead the GM Crafty Press is rounded to a blunt curve so not ideal for sewists.
I also find the base a little rougher than the smooth finish of the Cricut EasyPress Mini, which will make heat pressing designs onto fabric less efficient. It's a small irk but one that crafters will come to find irritating as it can cause wastage.
GM Crafty Press review: in use
As I've covered earlier, the GM Crafty Press has a larger and more rounded base than the leading small heat press, the Cricut EasyPress Mini. This means that while it's a good size for pressing designs onto fabrics using heat transfer vinyl it's not the best gadget for sewists and quilters looking to flatten open seams and press small sections of fabric for stitching.
Heating the device takes a couple of minutes, which is longer than the seconds it takes the Cricut. More importantly, while Cricut is all about ease-of-use with automatic heat settings, here you need to manually adjust the heat across its three temperatures and it's a little unclear. Some will find this more helpful as you can control the settings, but if you're pressing vinyl it's a little unnecessary.
Fundamentally it's the larger, chunkier and heavier design that fails to grab me; the Cricut EasyPress Mini's neat build means I can adapt how I hold it per my use – from as an iron to an almost pen-like approach – whereas the GM Crafty Press can only be held like a typical iron.
GM Crafty Press review: price and verdict
When it comes to price the GM Crafty Press holds a trump card; at a bargain $39.99 / £31.99 roughly half the price of the Cricut EasyPress Mini ($69.99 / £59.99). If you're simply after a small heat press to use with heat transfer vinyl then the GM Crafty Press is an okay option, though I have issues with the slightly rougher finish to the base and the three temperature settings feel needlessly complex.
Personally, I use a small heat press device like this to help with pressing open seams in my sewing projects. For this the GM Crafty Press can't compete with Cricut's device, which is smaller, pointed and heats faster and more evenly.
If you're just looking for a good heat press machine, I'd also recommend something like the smallest Cricut EasyPress 2 mode, which is now reduced as the newer Cricut EasyPress 3 has been released. And if you're after a tiny heat press device, the Cricut EasyPress Mini is still the best around.