Which Die Cutting Machine Should I Choose?

Ah, a post about one of my favourite crafty subjects – I love my diecutting machines. I have/have had various machines and each have their different advantages.

I started off with a Sizzix Sidekick – this is the smallest of the Sizzix machines which uses the thin cuts dies. I only stuck with this a short time as I soon realised that I was too restricted with what I could do. The bigger cutting dies were tempting me and I wanted to try out some of the embossing techniques.

Sizzix Sidekick

So literally a few days later was a visit to Hobbycraft where I purchased a Sizzix Big Shot and I can honestly say that I’ve never looked back. The Big Shot is so versatile, you can use it with the various brands of cutting dies, embossing folders, cut&emboss dies and you have a much larger surface to work with.

After a few months of my Sizzix Sidekick doing nothing, I decided to sell it. But not long after that I discovered the Sizzix 35-die alphabet die sets, these are the thin cuts dies so ideal for using with either the Big Shot or the Sidekick. Working with them at home with my Big Shot was great but what about when I went to a friends for a craft session or at a craft fair?

Sizzix Bigshot

The Big Shot isn’t very portable, so I re-invested and purchased another Sizzix Sidekick so I could take it to craft fairs with me to offer the option of personalising our ranges ‘there and then’ and within just a few events it really proved it’s worth.

I love both my Sizzix Sidekick and my Sizzix Big Shot as they are both so versatile, yet they each have their own advantages. The Sidekick is great for crafting on the go while the Big Shot is fab for versatility for using with other brands, embossing and everything else. I’m glad I have both as they each have their own jobs.

In January 2009, I saw a fellow member of a craft forum selling their Craft Robo… I’d been looking at these for quite a while, thinking how fab they looked and had lots of ideas of what I’d be able to do with one. It was being sold at quite a reasonable price so I decided to use the money I’d had for Christmas/my birthday to treat myself. This is probably the only crafty purchase that I regret.

The Craft Robo and I just did not get along. I persevered for a few months but just grew more and more frustrated and in the end, the machine was sitting on a shelf gathering dust. I decided that it was time for it to go. I sold my Craft Robo and thanked my lucky stars that I still had my Sizzix machines… I had thought of selling these but decided to wait until I was confident with the Craft Robo before doing so, I’m so glad that I didn’t sell them right away!!

Craft Robo

So here I was back to working with manual die cutting machines and I have to say, I much preferred it like this – I knew what I was doing with these, there was no frustrating software to deal with. No worries that the machine wouldn’t co-operate. It was just me and my Sizzix. Fab 🙂

Last Christmas, hubby bought me the Sizzix Texture Boutique without knowing that it was pretty much the same as the embossing capabilities of the Big Shot. I must say though that although my Big Shot is able to use all the various embossing folders, etc that I have been more experimental with embossing since having my Texture Boutique – I’m not really sure why, but I love it and it was definitely a great pressy.

Sizzix Texture Boutique

Yes, I have three Sizzix machines but each has their own little jobs… the Sidekick is mainly used for die cutting on the move (at friends houses and craft fairs/events) while the Big Shot is used for all of my manual die cutting at home and my Texture Boutique does around 90% of my embossing so although people may look and wonder why I need them all, each one is used regularly and each has their own little perks.

I can hear you all saying now… enough is enough, surely you don’t need anything else? I’m afraid you’re wrong lol.

February 2010 saw my single most expensive craft purchase to date. The Cricut Expression electronic die cutting machine. I paid just over £300 for this machine which included two of the cartridges plus the Design Studio software and I have to say I love it. Not only can you adjust the size of the shapes you want to cut (with the Sizzix you can only cut the size on the single cutting die) but you have various options too… you can cut out shadows of the shape, different layers, etc and it cuts shapes/letters up to twelve inches!!

Admittedly, the Cricut Expression isn’t practical for portability but seeing as the majority of my crafting is in one room of the house it’s perfect. Initially I thought I would have to buy dozens of different cartridges (which can be quite expensive), but since I bought my first six or seven cartridges I haven’t purchased any others as hubby bought me the Inkscape software and Sure-Cuts-A-Lot software, so with them and Design Studio I can pretty much design what I want – it’s fab!!

Cricut Expression

If you don’t feel confident designing your own shapes/designs right away there are lots of website on the internet offering free SVG files to download. SVG is the file format needed to use in SCAL to cut out on your Cricut.

So as you can see I love my various machines as each has it’s own benefits and advantages. To non-crafty people my selection of machines may seem excessive but I’m sure fellow crafters will understand my need for variety and versatility 🙂

Hope this may help some of you who are unsure about which machine to purchase and if I can be of any help (or you have any questions) please don’t hesitate to give me a shout!!

Love Laura xxx

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5 comments

  1. I already have a Silhouette SD machine for cutting, which I am really happy with, but I’d like to have a try at embossing. I can’t afford a big investment at this stage, but I have seen the Sizzix Texture Boutique at quite a reasonable price and I’m thinking of giving it a try. Can you give me an idea of the maximum size that you can emboss with the Texture Boutique?

    BTW, the above article is really informative and helpful.

    • The maximum is around 5″ x 7″ for going through the Texture Boutique – you can use pretty much any brand of embossing folder too so lots of possibilities :o)

  2. Really helpful thank you – I’m about to invest in my first die-cutting machine and was lost for choice – fantastic to get an independent user expert view!

  3. Hello, great article. I am thinking of purchasing a die cutting machine and was curious if these machines cut trough heavy felt of 4 mm or on thicker cardboard ? Maybe you can tell me this? It would be helpful to know. Thank you

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