Happy Monday! This morning, I’m going to review a paper cutting machine, so if this totally isn’t up your alley, feel free to opt out.
Tomorrow, I’ll be going into details on how I made these fabric and paper gift boxes and decorated them with embroidery stitches, and since the machine was a central player in the project, I figure I better show you what it is, first.
Silhouette actually gave me this machine. I’m not obliged to review it, but I think it is fair to review it, and the fact that they gave it to me doesn’t really change my impression of it. Silhouette is also providing another machine for me to give away to one of you – and that will happen later in March, when the give-away will include some other fabric-related items along with the machine. Well, heck. You don’t get that many perks, reading my blog, so you may as well have the opportunity, right?!
Ok, this is the machine. I had a lot of fun playing around with the thing and seeing just what it would do.
For me, the best part of the Silhouette is the ability to make your own designs for cutting, using their software. I used the software on a Mac, and found it really easy to figure out and get used to. But you aren’t obliged to make your own designs. There’s an extensive collection of designs available through Silhouette, which you pay for and download into your own design library. There are no cartridges for the Silhouette – it hooks up to your computer, or you can download your designs on an SD card and plug the card into the machine. I preferred working right from the computer.
So, on these types of “toys,” it’s always figuring out the software that determines my frame of mind towards the thing. If it’s too complex, forget it. I found the Silhouette software really easy and uncomplicated.
Silhouette makes several kinds of fabric-related products for cutting. I used their “clean cut” fabric interfacing extensively, and it’s pretty darned neat. It ends up somewhat stiff, but still flexible, and it cuts with a clean edge that doesn’t fray. It’s ideal for appliquéing on things like totes and jeans and so forth. You can either just iron it on and leave it as is, or you can hand stitch around the edges. They also make a lighter interfacing for machine appliqué. The really neat thing, I thought, is that you can cut some awfully complex designs in the fabric – things that you wouldn’t necessarily hand cut for appliqué. So that was kind of fun.
If you’re a cross-crafter and you’re interested in a cutting machine, these are my pro-con impressions:
1. The machine is small and light – smaller than most printers and easy to move.
2. The software is easy to figure out and the machine is really easy to use.
3. No cartridges. Everything can be done straight from your own computer, and that includes designing your own cuts and using your own fonts and so forth.
4. They have a really nice design library online, where – yes – you purchase designs, but the individual designs are affordable.
5. The fabric interfacing stuff is pretty cool. I like it. This is not your typical fusible interfacing.
6. The machine cuts really well. I used it on card stock, on embossed card stock, and on thickly interfaced fabric – all on small semi-complex cuts, and got perfectly clean cuts every time.
1. I personally find this type of machine cost prohibitive. At $300, they aren’t cheap. But if this type of paper crafting figures heavily into your hobby, I can see making the investment. It’s kind of like buying a needlework floor stand – it’s a useful tool.
2. Though it doesn’t have to be hooked up to the computer, it’s easier to work on it if it is, which means you have to have space for it near your computer. It’s not a big machine, though, and I solved the problem by setting up a little folding table right next to my desk. It worked fine.
3. Wow! It makes a lot of noise! I had no idea! I found I liked the noise – it runs through all kinds of ranges of sounds, from squeals to chugs and to clicks. If you have a problem with noise, this might bother you.
So that’s the Silhouette. I really like it a lot! I’ve had a little experience with other cutters that are cartridge based (we bought my mom one for Christmas, 2009 – and then we subsequently sold it, after a bit of frustrated use!), and I found this cutter much easier to use. It’s a lot of fun! Next time I fiddle with it, I’m going to change some of my monogram patterns into cutting patterns… and I might even do the same with some of the other hand embroidery patterns here, just to see what materializes.
Don’t forget that in March, I’ll be running a give-away for a free Silhouette. If a cutting machine is on your wish list, keep an eye out for that!
Have a terrific Monday! See you tomorrow!