PRT110 – Clash of the Die-Cutting Machines

This week’s show is all about die-cutting machines, electronic ones and manual ones. Come listen!

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  • Whoo Hoo!  I keep hitting my refresh button.  Major PRT nerd here & non-schmo-ish (I had a 6 month membership to Paperclipping & I buy lots of BPC classes & love both).

  • Katie Scott

    PLUS I have to work in my closed file storage room today – so I will definately be tuning in this afternoon :)

  • Eek! I was so excited to hear my comment being read! HURRAH! Thanks for giving some more advice on how to use some “older” products!

  • Robin

    I think some of the panelists were overcomplicating learning to use and then actually using the Silhouette. It is pretty simple to cut shapes with the machine. Sure, you can design your own shapes and explore the possibilities of altering shapes. But, at the very beginning you can get a lot of satisfaction from cutting shapes from the Silhouette store or Kerri Bradford’s store or those of a lot of other designers. It is really simple to begin using the Silhouette and there are a ton of wonderful shapes out there to use. And I find it a lot more affordable that the Cricut, which I also have. And, if you want a bunch of one shape it is actually a LOT faster to plug in your Silhouette and cut them than to crank them out one by one on a manual machine. All the die cutting machines are useful in their own ways but my vote goes for the Silhouette.

  • Very helpful comment — thank you!

  • Caroline D

    Big investment? How far can it go?

    I am one cheap ass scrapbooker and that’s one of the main reason that I LOVE my cameo.  Ask me when the last time I bought Thickers was? Uh…never.  Nor do I find the need to buy tons of embellishments – I can create what I need in exactly the color (and size) I want.  And then I can mist it, add Glossy accents, emboss it…whatever.  I do have the Cameo out on my desk full time (and the Silhouette before that), but you know what isn’t taking up space on my desk? Letter stickers. Stamps. Tons of embellishments.  And it’s not that I don’t use embellishments, I do.  But I don’t have to depend on them.  You amortize your stamps? I pay 99¢ for a shape and I can customize it 100 different ways.  And when I bought that 99¢ shape I didn’t waste any gas, it wasn’t wrapped in needless plastic packaging and I didn’t buy 20 things I didn’t want just to get 3 I did want.Sorry. I’m feeling so defensive while listening to this episode.  Izzy had an open minded approach to the topic but everyone else seems to have shut down.  It makes me sad, not just because electronic die cutters are so cool, but also because we’ve really come along way towards respecting the individuality of this hobby (think Cm vs. non-CM, digital vs. paper) and I feel like the panel took a huge step back in that level of acceptance that I thought we had long ago achieved.

    I love my Cameo. A lot.  It’s fun, economical, versatile. user friendly, etc etc etc.  It’s earned a space on my desk permanently and used on 98% of my layouts.  If your’re interested, you can take a look at my blog to see what it can do:  

  • JillT

    I have been coveting a Silhouette (but holding out for 12″) since observing a friend use hers and just got one in January.  If people are familiar w/ the ‘old’ they might remember complicated software–even though I craved, I also worried about my patience in learning this software.  But the new software means you can die cut w/in an hour of opening your pkg.  This is not an exaggeration.  I don’t scrap every week, but so far:  can ALWAYS find a specific shape to fill an empty spot, did easter baskets for grands, made a peeps diorama, made several cards for specific occasions, made masks.  I do scrapping, crafts, cards, decor.  Just this week the free shape was peacock feathers. . .how in the world did they know that I have a favorite pic of the grand that includes a peacock at a zoo.  That’s next on my list but have to get the right cardstock :)  Forgot to say I’ve been having one of those “crazy times” and don’t get to listen to PRT much.  Am having fun catching up.  THANK YOU for these great discussions.

  • Rachael

    I don’t have a cameo yet but I want one so much that even my none crafty work collegues are saying ” when she gets her paper cutting machine….”. I did think the discussion missed some of the good points that from the research I have done so far I have seen. I SO agree with Caroline D about the cost. I’m in the UK and the machine with the designer software will cost me around £330 yes that’s a LOT of money BUT a single packet of thickers has just cost me £5. One long title has pretty much depleted some of the letters and anyway how many pages will I want with the same stickers? A diecut sheet of paper costs £1 at least. With the cameo I could cut a 49p sheet of bazzill.If I want just one packet of something I will have to pay about £3 minimum postage which is NOT cost effective!

    Also if you don’t already have a lot of equipment it could save you a lot of money and space I imagine. For instance lately I’ve been watching loads of tutorials not just from this site and I’m amazed at how many punches people have!! I have a corner rounder and a tiny tag and that’s it. If I wanted to cut a circle I would have to use a compass or draw round something and use a  pair of scissors and  my cutting abilities are not that will look rubbish! Border punches..again pricy and take up room and impossible to do by hand.

    Stickers and tag layering…again expensive to buy and sizes and colours are limited. When I get the machine I’ll be able to layer tags for England!

    Also I agree with the comment made by Robin about overcomplicating the software. I know for a fact that I will have no problem using it from watching a few you tube tutorials and honestly I’m not the most computer savvy person in the world.I don’t think all the panel realsised what a huge array of ready made stuff there already is in the shop and it’s my understaning  (correct me if I’m wrong someone and I may change my mind about geting one ) that most of these designs can be further tweaked  and changed to get more designs out of one.

    Anyway thanks for an interesting discussion. I have just recently discoverd the roundtable.I originally thought “what kind of nutter LISTENS to people talking about scrapbooking? as it’s such a visual hobby but am really enjoying all the discussions and I can actually scrap at the same time as listening. I’ve also joined the premium feed of podcasts and got so many good ideas that I’ve been able to use. Especially in using old and unloved stuff in new ways as I’ve had a break from scrapping since 2005 and pretty much hate most of my existing stash! Just wanted to say I am loving the shows in case my original point about the Cameo non-love sounded negative!

  • I agree with both Robin and Caroline that I was a little surprised that the Silhouette seemed to get a reputation for being complicated in this week’s discussion. I’m *not* a big die-cutter but I do have and use a Silhouette (I have the SD rather than the Cameo, and I feel my ‘not a big die-cutter’ status means I don’t really need to upgrade) and I find it so very simple.  I love letter stickers and have no plans to ever give them up (you can pry them from my cold dead hands, maybe!) but that is just me, and I fully appreciate plenty of people who prefer the flexibility of cutting a title in the perfect size, colour and font for their page every time because it REALLY is that easy to do.  I like how I can choose just the shapes I want rather than trying to find a cartridge or collection that I will use enough to get its full value, that I can cut plenty from fonts without buying a single shape from the store if I want, or that I can choose to go with something quick from my library or take more time to hand-design exactly what I imagine in my mind.  Like Kerri said – so much freedom.

    There’s a little thing that I think would make a huge difference to anyone looking for something to do this sort of thing but isn’t sure if things would be too complicated or suit their specific needs: go to a crop where you can try one for yourself.  Several years ago I was at a crop where one person had a Cricut and another had the machine that then became the Silhouette (it was under different branding then) and I just asked both of those ladies if they could show me how it worked and let me cut a little something for my layout (I provided my own paper, of course).  They weren’t salespeople – they were real scrappers who used their machines, so I knew they would be able to tell me what they liked.  I knew on that very day which machine was right for me and I had a feel for the different features of each.  It cost me nothing. There was no hard sales pitch.  It was just real world experience that made the big difference.  

    I know not everyone goes to crops or finds it easy to scrapbook with others, but for a high price item, it really might be worth changing that rule for just one day or evening.  My biggest advice when people say they are considering two cameras is to go to a shop and pick both of them up – one will inevitably feel better to you.  I think the same goes for cutting machines, and really they are in a similar price bracket.

    And just for good measure, the one that that makes me really giggle about digital die cutting tools in this industry is that we call them ‘die cutters’ when there is um… no die.  We are a funny old group sometimes! ;-)

  • Hi, Caroline! From your comment it seems like our own lack of desire for the Cameo hit you at a personal level. When some of us expressed why we’re not interested in it, instead of getting that we have different tastes, interests, and processes of scrapbooking, you misheard it as us slamming it.
    I’ve had a very open mind about the Cameo for a while now, and clearly the other non-electronic die-cut users have, too, since they’ve tried them. I’ve spent a long time wondering if it’s something I would enjoy. But so far I don’t see that I would use it enough to make it worth it’s cost. All those reasons you gave for loving your Cameo are some of the very reasons I don’t want it — I LOVE letter stickers. I wouldn’t use die cut letters in place of them if I could. It seems like you’re upset that we don’t want and love the same machine you do. We’re not putting down the machine — we just don’t want it.
    Not once did we ever communicate that we were against the machine (I’m responding to the last sentence of your main paragraph). The point of the episode is to share why we all do or don’t find various die cutting systems useful in an effort to help others clarify which die cut machines are best for their own situation. After hearing the discussion, those who are more similar to Kerri and like the benefits she shared will have a better idea that the Cameo might be a good purchase for them. Those who are like me and only want to cut grungeboard or chipboard, who love letter stickers, who don’t have room for the machine, and who don’t like to turn to their computer during the scrapbook process, might consider a manual cutter instead.
    There’s nothing wrong with either or those choices. I think it’s unfortunate that by sharing our own personal tastes and interests you felt like we were criticizing. Please understand that we weren’t.

  • Thanks for your membership! :)

    It’s good to hear more reasons not mentioned on the show why someone might benefit from the Cameo. Since we can’t have 20 people on the show at once, listeners can come here and get more info from comments like yours! Once you get yours, Rachel, you should come back and tell us if it’s as easy to use as it looks to you to be. A lot of people so far are saying it’s easier than we thought, and that’s great to know.
    I’ve had the Cameo on my “Do I want this?” list for a long time, and it’s still there (meaning I haven’t moved it to my “I definitely DON’T want this” list). To answer this question I’m looking for times when I might use the Cameo for pages I’m working on and I haven’t once felt a desire for it. I DO like to use mostly the same few letter stickers on my pages. But that’s just me, I’m sure I’m unusual that way.
    I also know that my scrapbooking changes over time and I quickly start wanting to do things I had no interest in before. So it’s still a possibility for me in the future and I still continue to ask if I would yet benefit from the Cameo.

  • Ha ha — I never noticed that we’re erroneously calling them die cutters! :)
    I’m 95% positive that if I get an electronic cutting machine it will be the Cameo (unless there are new machines to choose from by that time). But I think that’s a great idea for people to go to a crop and try them out if they’re not sure which they want.

  • Rachael

    Yes I will definitely come back and tell you if it’s as easy as I think it will be!!
    Actually I’m a bit ashamed to admit to this  but it was seeing the cameo that has started me scrapping again! I had given up and was only going to do blurb style books but for some reason came across the machine and got so excited about it that it re-ignited my interest in scrapping! I’m slowly getting back into it and can’t understand why I ever stopped..despite not having enough letter stickers LOL.
    Thank you for taking the time to reply!!

  • No need to be ashamed of that! All kinds of things excite and inspire us and it’s awesome you’re scrapbooking again! :)

  • Rachael

     :)  and you should definately check out the butterfly section in the store!

  • Oooh — there’s a temptation…

  • Christine

    Just to clear up my position on the Silhouette/Cameo – I don’t think it is difficult to use.  I had a Silhouette for a couple years and I just barely used it.  I love the designs, but I didn’t fit it in to my work flow.  I personally prefer to use manual dies and machines.  I have eliminated all digital cutting systems from my scrapping room and haven’t missed them one bit.  However, if a digital cutter works for you, then the Cameo is a good machine.

  • Anonymous

    I think that the discussion of complexity came from the fact that the panelists were all people who would want to really push the machine to its limits. With all the capability that the machine has, you can do some amazing things but to do that requires some advanced techniques that are more time-consuming than just the basic cutting. 

  • Anonymous

    Caroline, I’m sorry that you thought we were disrespecting your choice by expressing our own preferences about what equipment we use and why it works for us! As I believe I expressed on the show, I actually really like a lot of things that I am seeing done with the Cameo by a lot of designers and it has tempted me to consider investing in the machine but I’m just not convinced yet that it would fit MY work style as Noell mentioned for herself as well. I tried to stress during the show as well that I believe the serious case of ADHD I have affects my choice of equipment in this case – what may seem simple and no fuss to you can seem like a completely different experience to me. 

    Bottom line: We don’t all have to like or use the same things! This is an art and of course we can use different tools to express ourselves! Otherwise, it would be very boring because all of our stuff would look the same! 

  • Caroline D

    Nancy and Noell,

    Sorry for my defensiveness.  I certainly get that we all don’t have to like the same thing.  I feel the same way about stamps that you guys feel about the Cameo – they yield great results, but they’re just too expensive and too big of a pain to bother with for me.  I don’t know why this got to me so.  Maybe because there were three of you chiming in with various negatives (all valid, mind you – I do get that) and poor Kerri was vastly outnumbered?  I’ve been on the Silhouette bandwagon since the beginning and I really want to see them succeed.  I’m so happy that they’re gaining market share and that some really “cool” scrappers are coming on-board.  I just want to see this momentum keep going.  I guess the 3-to-1 ratio scares me a little.  So again, I apologize for my defensiveness.  But just for the record, you’re missing out.  ;)And I didn’t mention it before, but I do love the show!  Thanks for your responses.

  • Thanks for coming back! I’m glad you understand that we weren’t AT ALL trying to be negative about the Cameo itself. But I do get that we might have made it sound like it’s harder to learn to use than it is, and I wouldn’t want to scare away someone who is interested in it.
    I also totally get your desire to see this company stay in business — I feel that way about certain businesses too, so I now see why you were feeling the way you were. I do believe that with Ali and Heidi Swapp and others all on the bandwagon, the Cameo is going to go far.
    As we got into the discussion it did become clear that the panel was off-balance on the issue (this inevitably happens at times) and I was very glad it was Kerri who was on the Cameo side because she did a great job getting her voice heard and even being a bit feisty. She was perfect and I hope you heard me encourage her to stand up for her cutter! :)

  • JillT

    I don’t think Caroline was the only one feeling defensive.  I understand the I like vs. you like, but (how do I put this?) there seemed to be just a titch of “something” that put me on the defensive too.  I’m not invested in what you buy vs. what I buy.  I just didn’t want anyone to get the perspective that the Silh/Cameo is difficult.  There seems to be that lingering negative idea that it is, but I believe it is because of the old software.  If you don’t have space fine, if it’s further down your list that’s fine too.  Just don’t check it off because it is difficult.

  • I’d be happy to clarify in the next episode that according to many commenters, we made the Cameo sound more difficult to use than it is. I definitely don’t want to discourage anyone from buying the Cameo. While I’m still not interested in purchasing it right now, I’ve been considering an electronic cutter for a couple of years and the Cameo would probably the be one I get.

  • Anne Walterich

    Just listened & no one mentioned the Pazzles electronic cutting machine.  It cuts, it colors, it embosses and works on multiple materials. I received one as a gift (it’s Seriously expensive!) and like the idea of it more than I actually like using the machine.  The software is a pain in the butt (but you get used to it) and, like any other cutter, it can get jammed up, glitchy, the mats can be too sticky and the software can crash.  The lousy customer service from Pazzles makes me “meh” about it, but it has SO much potential!

    I also have a Big Shot (used) and don’t really love it either.  I like the freedom of creating my own designs and not being tied into a manufacturer’s design, but it’s good at chomping through chipboard.

    Hand punches work on scrap paper and I tend to use those the most, but if I had to make Sophie’s Choice, it’d be the Pazzles.  Despite its issues, I DO love it.

  • Angela

    Hi everyone, Thank you for the brilliant podcasts. I only found you about 6 months ago and am working my way through the past episodes. I have learned a lot from you.. I often laugh out loud and my husband wonders what is going on. I just finished listening to this latest episode and I am very impressed. Izzy you asked some very good questions of the panel, well done. I have been using a sizzix big shot ( before that I had the old sizzix cutter the one with the handle, now that was hard to use). A couple of months ago my husband convinced me to get a cameo (I must add that I have gone on about the value of having a die cut machine hooked up to the computer and that you can design your own cuts) I love it. I am signed up to Kerri’s class just because I want to make sure I get the most from it. But, it is not hard to use at all. And I found a use for my manual dies.I cut them out using the big shot in card stock, then scan them in photo shop and save as a PNG file. You can open PNG files in the silhouette studio then using the trace facility, which is not hard to use ( Heidi Swapp did a tutorial on her new site) you can make your own cutting files. Then they can be any size you want. Noell, imagine making a 12″ wide birdcage in vinyl to put on your wall.  Last week my friend had a Tiara and  Tutu party for her daughter which my granddaughters were going to . I used the cameo to cut out 20 tiaras which I had them embellish with gems and little roses, they all loved doing them and it made a great take home gift. To cut them by hand would have been a nightmare.  
    Like Kerri mine is within arms reach and I polish it everyday.
    Living in the UK it was an expensive buy but there are lots of places like Kerri;s site to get affordable dies,  you pay generally here a £ for a $ for sizzix dies. The sihouette shop charges 99cents a die and I don’t have to wait ages for them to hit the UK..
    When you finally get one Noell you will be amazed,
    This is my first time commenting and I am sorry to be long winded. Thanks again for a brilliant show please keep up the good work. 
    See you next time………………………….

  • This is a great idea! The main purpose for this episode was to help those who were trying to decide which type(s) of cutters best fit them. An unintended result of the both the show and comments like yours was that we’re also sharing the different ways in which people can use these cutters!
    Maybe we need to have another episode that focuses even more on this. Thanks for sharing!

  • I swear I have posted twice and I still don’t see either one. I have a Pazzles Inspiration. I have not upgraded to the newer software as yet. I will say that it does have a lot of add-on kits including one approved for use with food if you like the idea of the Cricut Cake. There are options that make the initial outlay of money less prohibitive.

    I would like to see a show just about electronic cutters. Maybe the woman who does the online classes for Pazzles might want to join in. :).

  • Have you upgraded to the Pro software? I am not keen on spending more $$$ but I think I am going to do that. I have read that it is much better than the original one. I think all the buzz from well known scrappers has put the spotlight on the Cameo vs the other electronic cutters out there. Not to mention the price. 

    I would love to be able to compare the Cameo and the Inspiration side by side but that would require me buying a Cameo, too. haha.

  • Jknapp00

    Love the discussion of die cutters, although I think you barely scratched the surface. I currently use a Gazelle electronic die cutter and a Cuttlebug manual machine (mostly with embossing folders and Spellbinders dies). 

    My Gazelle is a 12″ cutter with enough power to cut grunge board and chipboard and it stays on my computer table just like my printers. I use the Funtime software with it and, while there is certainly a learning curve to the software, it is well worth the time and effort to learn it. I love that you can make your item exactly the size you need. I also never run out of letters for a title – just cut as many as you need. I just learned this weekend how to do print and cuts – so many possibilities with this function. For more basic shapes, I love the Spellbinders dies used with the Cuttlebug – very quick and convenient and come in graduated sizes making it easy to find the size you need. I don’t really see it as an either/or topic – I couldn’t imagine crafting without either.

    By the way, I love the show and almost always learn something. Glad to see (or, more accurately, hear) Kerri Bradford on the show – love her and her designs.

  • Vera

    I find it interesting that this topic comes soon after you all discussed shopping and having too much or too little supplies!  :  )

    I am ashamed to say that I own a lot of different die-cutting machines.  I have a cricut, a 1st-generation silhouette and a slice that I won at a charity raffle.  I also have a big shot.

    I have decided that I like both manual dies for the big shot and a digital cutter.  I am selling my cricut and keeping the silhouette.  The older model is fine for me right now.  I’m also selling the slice.  

    There are so many factors that go into choosing a cutting system.  How much space do you have, are you comfortable working on your computer, how much do you plan to cut, and what do you plan to cut.  For me, I wanted a system that had a lot of choices of shapes available to me for little expense, and I love cutting any font on my computer.  The silhouette wins that debate for me.

    As for cutting embellishments, I’ll never give up my big shot.  I collect basic shapes, and I love to make more elaborate tags for Christmas, so I collect Christmas shapes.  I love finding good deals on dies on ebay and I love how many choices of dies there are out there.  I don’t buy a lot, but it’s fun to buy a handful a year.  I also love embossing folders.  I have, on occasion, cut a shape on the silhouette and then embossed it with the big shot.  The two machines are actually great companion tools!

    Final analysis:  If I were stranded on a dessert scrapbooking island, I would probably choose my big shot.  It seems to fill my need to be crafty with my hands.  


    ps, I have bought quite a few of Kerri’s digital kits.  They are awesome!!!!

  • Vera

    I think Nicole Magouirk would be a great panelist for talking about ways to use different die-cutting machines.  She rocks the die cuts!

  • Hi-dee-ho neighbors! I just had to come out here and see what might be goin’ on. Quite the little ‘after-the-show’ discussion going on here. :) I have to say Angela…loved your ‘polish it every day’ comment. That just made me laugh. And Caroline…girl…ya know I love ya!  I love that you are so passionate about this great little invention…just like me. :) Since the dawn of time…okay, since Silhouette was introduced.

    First off, I wanted to say that I never felt teamed up on at any time. These are a fabulous group of talented ladies and I greatly admire their ability to free-form in their crafting in the way that they do. After the discussion, I realized (well, I knew it before, but it was just confirmed even more), that I am a linear and clean style of scrapper. I so wish (so wish) I had that ability to just spray and mist and ink and be free and all that. But darn my OCD and the compulsion to keep it clean. lol Okay, so I’m not really OCD (don’t look at my house), but you understand.  

    I think we all use what we are comfortable with. And the beauty of this hobby and industry is that there is something for everyone. It’s wonderful! Letter stickers, letter dies, letters with your cutter….it’s all good. I hope I didn’t give off the impression that I thought Silhouette was difficult to use, because, as with anything that has a lot of power to it, you can use it simply or branch out and use more of the fun features. Always something to learn. I just wanted to be respectful of everyone’s opinions and I understand that sometimes a craft cutter like that just doesn’t work for people. And that’s okay. Of course, then the teacher and passionate Cameo user in me wants to ‘show them the light’ and let them know just how easy it really is–or would that be ‘sway them to the dark side’….it’s a toss up. ;)

    And Miss Noell….was I really feisty? lol I hope I didn’t come across as feisty in the true sense of the word…just in the playful come-back-atcha sort of way. :)

    And now for my extra two cents…as if you haven’t heard enough from me already. lol I love my Cameo. It works for me. It’s complete freedom. I love using what I want, when I want, however big I want, in whatever color or pattern I want. (I want a lot. lol) I’ve always found it funny–and I’m guilty of this too–that it’s easier to spend twice as much in the long run when you do it $7-$10 at a time. But dropping down $225 at one time can be a bit tough. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty of this. But one thing I didn’t really talk about was the cost factor difference. Spending that $225 (ish) once and then never ‘having’ to buy any embellishments again is appealing to me. You spend a dollar on a shape vs. $7-$10 on a (die) shape. Like I’d said in the show, I could be stranded on a deserted island with my Cameo and cardstock and be perfectly fine to scrap that way. I don’t use grungeboard or chipboard, so dies aren’t really needed in my life.

    I used to do pages with QVC and you would not believe the product I used to have in my house…available at my fingertips. Hardly used it after those days were over. (We won’t talk about all I bought throughout time too though.) Gotten rid of sooooo much over the years (you have no idea). For me the style of clean cardstock or simple patterns and focusing on the photos and adding a little character appeals to me. But on the other hand I like my home more country style with rich character and old things…and that’s not reflected in my scrapbook style per se. You’d think my home would be the IKEA catalog by the looks of my scrapbooking.

    So when all is said and done, you use what works for you. What makes you happy. What makes you feel artistic. What makes you free-flow. We live in a world of amazing choices and it’s a beautiful thing. It’s what keeps us all unique. I love this hobby and what it does for everyone. After all, it’s keeping those memories that’s most important. And if you get to do it artistically however you want to do it? Beautiful.

    (And if I can sway you into the world of Silhouette? You wouldn’t be sorry. ;) )

  • We do have a limit to how many guests we can have on the show, so unfortunately some machines do get left out of the discussion! That’s why we emphasize so often how much we value the audience participation in the comments — people like you can fill in where we’re lacking! :)
    I’ve never even heard of the Gazelle. Are you limited to pre-designed cuts or can you make your own designs?

  • Jknapp00

    You can make your own designs. You can also use pre-designed stuff (I have quite a few of Kerri’s designs), also any True Type Font including the dingbat fonts, and importing .jpg files and .bmp files to convert to cutting files (like what Ali is doing). I’ve had mine for a while now, but I was able to start cutting almost immediately with fonts and dingbats. Then I kind of learned as I needed to using tutorials found on the internet. I joined the Wishblade group on Yahoo (I had a Wishblade before the Gazelle and upgraded for the 12″ cutting area and the ability to cut thicker materials) and they have the best tutorials and the best and most helpful ladies around! Lately, I have been using my cutter to make vinyl masks to etch glass for wedding gifts. Make gorgeous gifts for not a lot of money.  

  • Scrappinglady

    I loved the topic! I have a small cartridge based machine that I use along with third party software that allows me to cut SVG files. I also have a small manual machine that I use with embossing folders and two sets of nesting dies for shapes I’d use all the time. I go back and forth between using the cartridges and the digital files depending on what I need and how much time I have. I love being able to create a custom embellishment that fits my page just the way I want or quickly using a cartridge to create a simple shape or title. I’m looking for a 12×12 machine that I can use my software on and that will cut through chipboard (between 1mm – 2mm thick) Great topic!

  • Rebecca Nelson

    I have a Cricut Expression and I love it. It was a birthday gift from my husband last year. I bought all my cartridges from Craigslist and I find that glancing through them to find what I need is like choosing the right patterned paper. It fits my workflow. I for one don’t use letter stickers so I use it a lot for titles. But the biggest appeal is to my crafting life in general. Kids school projects, appliques on kids clothes and party favors are what I’ve been using it for the most. I also use it to decorate for the holidays and for other odds and ends. As has been mentioned for the Cameo, there’s really not a big learning curve to get started but as you explore the features more, there’s a lot to discover.

      I’ve been meaning to try out the Cricut Craft Room so I can “weld” together different cuts and customize more. There are also cuts that can be purchased individually which eliminates some of the cartridge concerns. My laptop is not normally near my Cricut so that’s what’s been hindering me from playing around in the Craft Room more.

    Thanks for another great show!

  • Iris

    I’m coming in late to the party and there are already so many great comments and points of view.  I’d like to add mine which is this: why not have the best of both worlds. (budget & space permitting)  Personally I only own a Cuttlebug, which wasn’t discussed at all, but I have BIG Cameo envy!  I’ve had my Cuttlebug for 3 years, but besides the little trial folders it came with, I don’t actually own any  Cuttlebug dies because I don’t like their design aesthetic.  Mine are all over the place: Sizzix, Spellbinders, Quick Kutz, Papertrey Inc, Tim Holtz…..It was funny to me that Christine was talking about how she uses one machine for these dies, and another machine for those dies….I can do just about all on my Cuttlebug.  Thick steel rule dies, thin dies, embossing folders, embossing plates, border dies, nesting dies…..even 12″ long dies.  I love it. My favorite are the Papertrey Ink dies I have that coordinate with the corresponding stamps.  (don’t get me started on how many stamps I own)   I love the simplicity of having designs at my fingertips. 

    I own quite a bit of digital supplies, but with those I like to print papers, journaling spots and tags, and add frames and words to my photos to use in hybrid scrapping.  So for me, the manual Cuttlebug works well in my flow because it’s tactile and paper/felt/fabric/chipboard/grungeboard based.  Most of the digital part of my scrapping is sorta “before” I sit and put the page together.  So when I considered what type of machine to get, 3 years ago, the manual made more sense.  And to be honest I didn’t want to deal with complicated software and the learning curve.    BUT now I covet the Cameo for one main reason – Ali Edwards’ words.  If she partnered up with Sillouette and offered many of her digital word files already converted over, I’d get the Cameo in a heartbeat.  The only thing stopping me is space.  As it is I own a significant portion of her word art and looking at her and Heidi’s and others’ tutorials about converting the files, I think the Cameo would be super easy to learn and use.  I”m also really interested in scanning the stamps I don’t already have coordinating dies for and making shapes for them.  Even that part sounds relatively easy, just a few more steps.  From what even people here have said, the software has really come a long way and the new ability to convert .png files has just opened up so many possibilities.  Sounds like what Kerri says, complete freedom.  Darn it, I need to find more space! It’s only a matter of time before I get my hands on one.  
    So I feel you don’t have to be a one or the other type of person.  You can have both manual and electronic cutters to fulfill different needs.  They can coexist together.  I hope that someday soon I will have the two types coexisting in my scrap space!


  • Iris

    Oh I did forget to mention that when I was evaluating what to get before, the cartridge based electronic machines did not appeal to me either because I just didn’t like their design aesthetic.  That’s a biggie when trying to decide between different electronic cutters.  If you are going for a cartridge type, you’re (I believe with most of those) stuck with their designs.

    And I wanted to mention for people that are debating between different manual cutters, remember with most brands, at least I know Both Sizzix & Cuttlebug, you can use OTHER brands’ dies in them.  Lots of great You Tube videos are out there showing how to use them.  Noell I was thinking that might be one of the reasons you don’t use your machine much, you’ve been sticking to the Sizzix dies and you’ve probably bought out what appeals to you there.  Look around, there are some fabulous designs out there from different brands.  I can’t say enough good things about Papertrey Ink’s ones where they match the stamps.  (though I will say their website re-design messed with their easy way to see what coordinates, and they used to have a button on the side of each listing that lead you to samples of how they used them that was really helpful and now I don’t think they have that anymore. :( )

    Anyway, from the comments here, I get the feeling you’ll need to have another manual vs. digital cutter smackdown in the future. LOL  I would love to have Ali talk about the Cameo (can’t get enough of Ali) and I wonder what if anything Stacy uses? (can’t get enough of her either, love both of them!)


  • KatieK.

    When time is short, I check to see the number of comments the show has generated. If high I know it’s been an interesting show so I go right to reading the comments. I learn more that way. Thanks to this technique – I have some research to do on the Cameo a machine I’ve never heard of and scheduling some dates out a crop just to check out the die cut machines (thanks Shimelle). Gotta get back to work.

  • Thanks, Iris — I actually did already know that I can use any company’s dies. I do use my machine — it’s just that I don’t use a lot of the dies I have.

  • Space is a big issue for me with regards to the Cameo too.

  • I have to agree – if my Cricut isn’t open & accessible, I’m not going to use it. It’s easier to pull out my baby bug & use it with dies instead. I am finally learning to use the Craft Room software to weld letters. I think the final answer will be separating my scrap room from my office though, where I can leave things out if I choose to.

    I do agree – a manual and an electronic die cutter are both “musts.” Why? Because of the resizing of the electronic & and the embossing of the manual. Both have their places. And if you keep waiting for the “perfect” machine, you’ll always wait or always be replacing what you have.

  • Susanna Boyd

    I LOVED this episode, but I was stunned that Kerri was so alone on the Silhouette side of the table.  I can justify the expense of the Silhouette in one easy word “DIES”.  The Tim Holtz tag die alone is $25 at Amazon.  Buy 10 of big utility dies, and you can cut 10 things  for the cost of a Silhouette.  Izzy touched on the ability to cut alphas/titles — that will save you tons of money in stickers right there.  Now, cut your own masks for your sprays and you’ve started to justify this machine big time.  Did anyone tell you that you can cut grunge paper?  You can.  

    Izzy, Noell needs this for Mother’s Day.  I honestly don’t know how she’s gone this long without it. Can I ear mark my Paperclipping membership dues go to Noell’s Silhouette slush fund….?

  • Diane Louise

    I would really like for you to have an episode where you compare the different brands and models of electronic die cutting machines.  I felt in a way that this show was an advertisement for the Silhouette Cameo, and in my opinion, it is not the best machine out there.

    The software for the electronic machines if very similar to other graphics software, such as Photoshop.  Anyone who is familiar with Photoshop will find the transition to Sure-Cuts-Alot, Make-the-Cut, or Silhoutte Studio software painless.

    Having an electronic die cutter has really upped my enjoyment of scrapbooking.  Like a previous listener mentioned, it is nice to always have just the right embellishment available, and to produce them on an as-needed basis, rather than having to stockpile supplies.

    I now use the Sizzix Eclips, and keep it set up.  I find it very quick and easy to use.  The time spent on the computer is really minimal, and my scrapbooking process is still very tactile.

  • Caroline Hackney

    I’m a couple of weeks behind in my non-schmo PRT listening catchup mode, and only just listened to this episode. After reading all the comments so far feel like I’ve had a bonus episode tacked on after the main show – wow!

    I own the Slice. I had a first-generation one and then I got the Elite, along with a pretty good selection of design cards. True, the Slice doesn’t offer the same oomph or flexibility as its bigger sister machines like the Cameo, but it is portable. And cordless. And great for crops. AND it will draw and emboss. The price point is also lower – both initially and ongoing. I vastly prefer the style of the shapes on the Slice design cards over some of the other cartridge-based systems that I’ve seen. I find them to be very versatile and flexible, not pigeonholing me into using a shape or design for only one particular type of project. I appreciate being able to use the designs in multiple different ways, because that helps me get more bang for my buck, and exercises my imagination.

    I agree whole-heartedly with Shimelle’s suggestion of “try before you buy” at crops. I admit – that’s not what I did (my husband actually bought me the Slice and he loves to show it to his guy friends “disguising” it as a CNC cutter!) but I’ve been asked at crops to show it to people when they ask what it is. What better marketing for a company to have its customers demo its product for them? I’m quite happy to discuss why I like it as well as its limitations, to help other people make an informed decision.

    I really think the whole die-cutting issue is a personal choice, like so much of our scrapbooking. We can all fight furiously in our little corners, defending whatever product or tool we think is “right”, but when it comes down to it, all that matters is what works for you (price and functionality wise)and the kind of crafting you want to do.

    Great discussion everyone – keep ’em coming! Gotta have my regular PRT fix! :)

  • Jersey Girl Anne

    I just have to agree with Nancy when she said that Bo Bunny does not get the respect that it deserves. They make beautiful products and even though i only have a few, I tend to hoard them because i love them so much.  Oh and just for the record, I have been scrapbooking for 10 years and I still have no desire to own  a die cutting machine! I still found the subject interesting to listen to though.  keep up the great work!

  • Thank you for making the point about not needing the die cutting machine! It’s always blown my mind that so many scrapbookers seem to feel like it’s scandalous not to have one, lol!

  • Danielle C.

    I am a huge die cutter.  I actually own a Cricut, Cameo, AND a Big Shot.  I haven’t had my Cameo very long, but I do love it.  I can’t say I love it more than the Cricut yet.  I can say for the Cricut people who can’t decide how much they love it, I didn’t love mine until 1) I bought a Gypsy and 2) I could leave it out all of the time.  I also didn’t fall in love with my Cameo until it was hooked to a computer that it didn’t unhook from.  So for anyone that wants any of those types of die cutting machines I would say if you can’t leave it out, don’t even bother buying it.  My Mom has a Cricut and she hasn’t even turned it on because it’s not in a room where she can leave it out, but that will change in the next few months since she’s finally designing her own scrapbook room.  What I love about the Silhouette is that I can get a shape any time I want even if it’s 2 in the morning.  What I don’t like is that it won’t cut everything.  I was working on a project and I wanted to cut a piece of the My Minds Eye Lost and Found paper that had glitter circles on it.  Needless to say that ruined the blade on my Silhouette.  I actually thought it was something that I had done wrong as a newbie so I ran by my LSS to pick up a new blade and ask about it; the girls there said everyone there had the same problem.  Well we can’t all be crazy so we all came to the same conclusion, we’re happy that our Cricuts will cut anything!!! There are a lot of good things about all types of die cutting.  As long as their hooked up and ready for me to use I don’t have to decide to use them it’s just automatic. Before that yes, they were a complete pain in the butt.  I don’t take my silhouette to crops because I have to take my laptop and I’m just not the type of person that needs/wants their laptop around while scrapbooking, besides, your laptop will take up a good portion of your scrapbook table space at a crop and who wants to have less space.  Anyway, I think they’re all great.  Just know who you are before you buy.  The Cricut is a massive investment with all of the cartridges.  Financially the Silhouette is probably better because you pay per image or you buy a subscription so it’s cheaper.  But, I can’t imagine I’d ever cut them all so it probably has some waste involved as well. 

  • daney

    Gypsy + Cricut is my winning combo, too – I love being able to weld, rotate, resize and flip on the fly.  I just have the basic bug and i can rock it like a much bigger machine (turn letters the “long” way, etc)   my computer isn’t part of my workflow for scrapping – I print in advance, I don’t scrap near our big new lovely mac – so thinking about a digital machine that is computer driven isn’t realistic for me.  I also love to go to crops and do a couple weekend long getaways each year, so the cricut and the gypsy make for an easier option to bring along (not millions of cartridges and I don’t have to have my laptop).  When there’s a machine I can run from my iPad, then I will be SORELY tempted.