What comes to your mind when you think of die cutting?
A passion? A way of earning extra cash? A full-time job?
Either way, you want to invest in the best die cutting machine out there. If you’re a professional scrap booker, you need a machine that supports your endeavors. I know the craft is a little expensive, and you might be looking to save money on your investment but still get the finest quality. You want something that will serve you for a long time.
Sadly, getting a die cutting machine that is perfectly suited to your expectations and needs is not an easy thing to do, particularly if you’re buying one for the first time ever.
Die cutting machines come in numerous different types, with diverse speeds, features, and ease of use.
Fortunately, this guide is designed to solve the issue by breaking it all down for you. Here, I will show you how to select the best die cutting machine for business and home use with quality in mind. Apart from that, the review section, which contains only the top-quality die cutting machines, will help you purchase one that suits you with ease.
And, below the review section, you will find lots of tricks, ideas, and tips related to die cutting.
What to Look Before Buying a Die Cutting Machine
Below are the considerations to make to ensure that you buy only the very best based on your needs:
Portability is directly related to the machine’s size. If you intend to take the machine with you from place to place, maybe from your home to your workshop or to retreats, then you need a lightweight, portable machine.
What amount of space do you have? This consideration is critical because you need ample space to store your machine. If you have a limited space, go for a compact model but if you have lots of that, you can go for a bigger model.
What’s the size of the cuts you’re looking to make? With a cheap machine, you might only be able to cut up to 6 inches in width, and that’s fine for embellishments and labels. However, if you can get your hands on a better machine, which is more versatile, you can cut up to 12 inches. Such a machine is ideal if you work with fabric or are into scrapbooking.
Will You Be Cutting Die Cuts from Images or From Dies?
Need a machine capable of working with all those pretty dies and images? This one will come at an extra cost, but you can count on it to make your life much easier. In that regard, it’s capable of cutting stickers and die cuts from any shape. If you like, you can download an image from the internet or even design a shape and use the machine to cut it out.
Warranty and Client Support
How long is the machine’s warranty and what are the terms? Most sellers offer a warranty of one to three years. This is a vital consideration because if the machine develops problems before the warranty expires, you can get a new one without having to incur more expenses.
You might have trouble operating the machine particularly if you’re a beginner. In that case, you want to ensure that the manufacturer or seller is readily available to give you a hand.
One thing’s for sure – you get what you pay for. If you’re just a beginner and are only learning the ropes, the best manual die cutting machine would be okay, and it will cost you around 80 dollars. However, if you’re after more power, you will need an electronic, automatic die cutting machine. This one will cost you about 300 to 400 dollars.
Best Die Cutting Machine Reviews 2018
This review features only the top quality die cutting machines today. Let’s dive right in.
1. Sizzix 660425 Big Shot Cutting/Embossing Machine with Extended Multipurpose Platform
This one is for those of you who are looking for something very elegant and pleasing to the eye. The Sizzix 660425 presents Big Shot’s brand-new look with a glossy gray and white color scheme.
With the Sizzix logo imprinted on its handle, this model provides you with a classy appeal coupled up with the flexibility and handiness that comes with Sizzix products.
Because of the product’s handiness and flexibility, it is arguably the best die cutting machine for beginners.
As though that’s not enough, this machine is capable of cutting through a full range of materials. That empowers you to make your own unique cards, scrapbook pages, invitations, quilting, altered art, and more.
Some of the items that come with this machine are 2 standard cutting pads and an adjustable extended platform. These are handy in the cutting process and you know what’s more? The components can work with the dies and embossing tools of other brands.
Moreover, there are diagram illustrations on the extended platform to provide you with simple guidelines to making the perfect sandwich.
The Sizzix 660425’s solid core rollers and gears are made of steel while the exteriors are made from ABS plastic. The steel construction makes the machine not just durable but also robust. That’s why it’s able o cut through many different materials. ABS is a kind of plastic that’s safe to both you and the environment.
2. Cricut Explore Air 2 DIY cutting machine.
Cricut is one of the big names in the die cutting industry and is trusted by scrapbookers everywhere.
Cricut Explore Air 2 is the best die cutting machine for fabric. Why?
It enables you to upload your images freely or choose from templates ranging around 3000. I like creating images on my PC or smartphone and uploading them to the machine.
Want to know something cool? The machine supports Bluetooth for those who want to do a wireless cut.
From leather to vellum, the number of materials that you can cut with this machine is over 100. The possibilities are limitless.
The Cricut Explore Air 2 comes with a double tool holder. That way, cutting and writing, and cutting and storing get done in one easy step. Thus, if you need something that helps you complete your projects speedily, especially fabric-related projects, this is the machine for you.
The cutting and writing speeds are adjustable.
ScanNCut is an incredibly innovative cutting technology that gives you the liberty to come up with truly unique creations and guess what? You do that with just the push of a button. Isn’t that cool?
The Brother CM350 uses the ScanNCut technology and makes it possible for you to make a wireless connection or connect the machine with your PC through a cable.
That means convenient, super-fast uploading of images. You don’t need any cartridges or dies, and you don’t need to make any monthly subscriptions.
A most unique feature of this machine is that it lets you scan almost anything from handmade drawings and family photos to home decoration designs and so much more. This is made possible by the machine’s 300DPI scanner (built-in).
Working with the Brother CM350 is very easy as it has a huge LCD touch-screen display. If you choose not to upload any images to the machine, you can choose some from its built-in designs, which range over 600.
Note: you need to buy the ScanNCut online activation card separately but you know what’s good? There are no monthly subscription charges to pay.
4. Cricut Explore Air Wireless Cutting Machine
Time to say goodbye to those needless cables and have more space to create your masterpieces.
With Cricut’s software system, you have the ability to send your designs wirelessly to your machine for cutting.
The built-in image gallery contains more than 50,000 template projects, images, and fonts. That’s more than what you need, right? And if you choose not to use those, you’re free to upload some from your PC or mobile device.
Maybe you want to make party invitation cards, home decors or even gift boxes. This machine is applicable to such and many more projects. You can even use it to add embellishments to your photos.
With the Cricut Explore Air, you’re able to cut a wide range of materials, such as vinyl, cardstock, iron-on, fabric, poster boards, and more for your DIY projects.
This machine has a smart set dial that you can use to accommodate your materials. That way, you’re able to get the best cut without worrying about the complicated material settings that come with other die cutting machines. And if you like, you can preset custom settings for various materials.
With the machine’s Cut Smart innovation, you can cut whatever shapes you have in mind with high-grade precision. The supported sizes range from ¼” to 11/1/2” (width) or 23/1/2” (height).
5. Silhouette Cameo 3 Bluetooth Starter Bundle with 24 Oracal 651 Sheets, Transfer Paper, Guide, Class, 24 Sketch Pens (24 sheets)
The most unique thing about the Silhouette Cameo 3 is that it features exceptional support. In the event that something goes wrong with the product, you can contact the manufacturer’s customer support team, and they are always ready to help.
With the Cameo 3 bundle, you don’t need an internet connection to operate and you need not buy designs or fonts. This machine, is therefore, for those who are looking to incur minimal expenses to produce their designs.
To make your design work easier, the machine comes with 24 sketch pens. Amazingly, these pens contain double the ink that was contained in earlier Silhouette pens.
This machine has an auto-adjust blade that matches the cut you’re making, with excellent precision; the cutting mat measures 12 by 12 inches. Apart from the cutting mat, other handy items that accompany this machine include a vinyl trimmer, a scrapper and hook tool, and a ratchet adjustment tool.
All these tools are very helpful and they help make your work even finer.
Apart from those items, the Cameo 3 comes with an instructional guide made specifically by the Silhouette School. And, with Cameo’s online lessons, learning the ropes is effortless.
6. Brother ScanNCut CM100DM Home and Hobby Cutting Machine with a Built-in Scanner
Here’s another Home and Hobby brand’s masterpiece that uses the ScanNCut technology. Remember, this technology not only makes it possible to scan all your works and cut them out but also helps you do it very fast, with the push of a button.
If you love drawing sketches by hand, this is the cutting machine for you. And not just that. If you saw something on a magazine somewhere, all you need to do is scan it with the machine’s built-in scanner and cut it out.
You don’t need to scan it with a separate machine then upload it to the cutting machine. This machine makes all that an unnecessary process.
Then again, the machine cuts a wide range of materials, including paper, plastics, and fabric. And, the cutting process takes place at the press of a button.
As you soon as you have scanned your image or hand-drawn sketch, the machine’s ScanNCut technology cuts out the shapes you want with superior precision.
7. Silhouette Cameo Starter Bundle
Are you a total beginner? Or, are you looking for a machine for personal use only? The Silhouette Cameo Starter Bundle is ideal for you.
This machine is very easy to use. To get started, you only have to connect it to your PC with a USB cable, just as you would connect a home printer.
It uses a little blade to cut a broad range of materials, including paper, fabric, vinyl, cardstock, and more up to a width of 12 inches and length of 10 feet.
The bundle includes the Silhouette CAMEO2 cutting machine, two 12x12-inch cutting mats, blades, a hook tool, and a sketch pen pack.
When you purchase this die cutting bundle, all you’ve got to do is make a 1-month basic subscription to the brand’s design store and you’ll have access to a full range of templates and images. These will help you kickstart your scrapbooking career.
Silhouette is a reputable brand and so you can trust this machine’s performance. After this review, there’s a section on the trusted die cutting machine brands, where you’ll be able to learn more reasons for choosing Silhouette machines.
8. Silhouette Portrait
Some of us may love Silhouette Cameo very much but then find it a little bigger and heavier that what we’re looking for. If you’re in such a situation, I’d recommend you to go for its smaller, lighter version, the Silhouette Portrait.
Just like the Cameo version, Silhouette Portrait can connect to your PC, giving you liberty to cut whatever shapes or fonts you have in mind, just as long as they are on your computer. You may even download some from the internet and cut them out.
And, this is not one of those disappointing UBS cable connections that transfer data sluggishly. The speeds here range around 2.0.
The Silhouette design store offers you thousands of these. In the package, you will find a 10-dollar gift card that you can use to purchase designs from the brand’s online store.
With the Silhouette Portrait, you can cut through fabric, cardstock, vinyl or paper with the dimensions of 10 feet in length and 8 inches in width.
In fact, with this machine, you can cut printed materials. The fact that the machine’s blades are robust and adjustable makes this possible.
Another amazing benefit of using the Silhouette Portrait is that it’s compatible with heat transfer and rhinestone template materials.
Other things that come with the package include a software disk that’s compatible with Windows and MAC, and an instruction guide to help you use the machine efficiently.
9. Cricut 2003782 Cuttlebug Die Cutting & Embossing Machine
The Cricut 2003782 Cuttlebug is yet another die cutting machine that’s meant for those who are looking for something portable and capable of cutting through and embossing many different materials.
Maybe you want something that gives you excellent, professional results. This machine delivers crisp, clean cuts and uniform embosses of your preferred depth.
In case you have some Cuttlebug dies and embossing folders, you don’t have to buy others or to have any worries, as the machine works with all cutting dies and embossing folders provided they are of the Circuit Cuttlebug brand.
Amazingly, it even works with dies and folders from most of the well-known brands.
Also, this machine cuts and embosses a wide assortment of materials, such as foils, leather, paper, acetate ribbon, and more.
10. Sizzix 660340 Big Shot Plus Cutting/Embossing Machine
Big Shot is yet another big name in the industry. Scrapbookers particularly enjoy the versatility and beauty that comes with using Big Shot machines.
For instance, the Sizzix 660340 has a cutting mat with the dimensions of 8/1/2 by 11 inches. Like the Sizzix 660425 Big Shot, the machine features a beautiful gray and white color scheme along with the Sizzix logo on the handle, which gives a sense of class.
The Sizzix 660340’s blade is capable of cutting and embossing numerous different materials, thus enabling you to make your unique home décor, scrapbook albums and pages, altered art, and virtually anything else you might have in mind.
Accessories that come with this machine include:
- 2 standard cutting pads
- The big shot plus platform
- 2 adapters (a and b)
Some of this machine’s accessories might be sold separately.
Tip: be sure to check the machine’s accessory requirements to ensure compatibility before buying any accessories.
Like other Sizzix models, the Sizzix 660340 provides you with a handy instructional manual in form of diagrams to help you make the best Sizzix sandwiches (from dies and materials).
11. Sizzix 660855 Vagabond 2 Machine Inspired by Tim Holtz
If maximum portability is what you need, the Sizzix 660855 Vagabond 2 is just the machine for you. Its case looks like a stylish luggage bag and when you open it up, a portable yet robust machine is revealed.
When you examine the Vagabond 2 more closely, you’re likely to notice its unique ability to cut and emboss a range of materials with different thickness levels.
Apart from that, the machine has an overload protection element to safeguard it against motor jams.
This machine is capable of working with your tiniest dies as well as your biggest ones, including your plastic-backed materials and embossing tools.
Similar to other Sizzix machines, the Vagabond 2 comes with 2 standard cutting pads and an extended platform. That way, you have a huge working space and you’re able to perform your tasks with high efficiency.
By adding an extended paper-thin die adapter, you give your Sizzix 660855 Vagabond 2 the ability to work with not only framelits but also the embossing tools and dies of other brands.
If you’re a rookie, you might be worried that you will have trouble operating your new machine; you needn’t be. There are diagrams on the adapter and the platform with easy operation guidelines, including illustrations on how to make the best Sizzix sandwich.
12. Sizzix BIGkick Machine with Extended Multipurpose Platform, Periwinkle
Looking to progress your creativity with scrapbooking? You need something that supports those dreams; something like the Sizzix BIGkick.
With this machine, you can advance your creativity in 3 simple ways – you may choose to emboss or texturize materials or you may decide to make home décor.
One of the best aspects of using this machine is that it works perfectly with cardstock, metals, fabric, and other materials you might want to include in your design career.
This machine’s parts are compatible with Thinlits, Sizzlits, Embosslits, Framelits, Bigz Movers & Shapes, and other brands, so you never have to worry about spare parts. And if you have these brands’ accessories, there’s no need to buy others as they will work just fine with the machine.
Being a Sizzix machine, the BIGkick comes with 2 standard cutting pads alongside an extended multipurpose platform.
13. Evolution Advanced Die-Cutting and Embossing Machine by We R Memory Keepers
Ever had trouble operating another die cutting machine because the mat combinations were a little confusing? Time to say goodbye and switch to the Evolution Advanced Die-Cutting and Embossing Machine.
It has a state-of-the-art gear system for height adjustment to eliminate the confusion. That way, you can easily adjust the height to suit whatever project you’re undertaking.
Another awesome advantage of using the Evolution Advanced Die-Cutting and Embossing Machine is that it is lightweight and very portable. That’s why if you need a machine to help you do crafting work on the go, I would encourage you to go for this one.
With this die cutting machine, you don’t need any special materials as it works with most of the common die-cut and embossing folder brands.
Need to exercise your arms from time to time? The machine has a detachable handle that allows manual operation but in case you need an automated system that needs minimal manning, you can buy an attachable motor separately.
The Evolution Advanced Die-Cutting and Embossing Machine is designed to allow maximum versatility. In that regard, you can use it to do a wide range of DIY tasks, include making home décors and cards, scrapbooking, and making gift boxes.
14. Spellbinders GC-200 Grand Calibur, Teal Die Cutting & Embossing Machine
The Spellbinders GC-200 is one of the most user-friendly crafting tools I have come across.
When you purchase this one, you get an instructional manual on use and that’s not all. The machine comes with numerous handy equipment and accessories, including a crank handle, cutting plate, base plate, embossing plate and mat, and more. All these are very helpful in the cutting and designing process.
Although the machine is designed to work with Spellbinders Die Templates, it supports most other dies. Also, it’s capable of embossing with brass stencils, replicating charms, performing picture transfers, smashing bottlecaps, setting eyelets, and a whole range of other functions.
The machine accommodates paper with the dimensions of 8/1/2 by 11 inches.
The dies and folders are sold separately, but the good news is, the machine works well with most die and folder brands out there.
15. Sizzix 660550 Big Shot Pro Cutting/Embossing Machine with Standard Accessories
Here comes another cool crafting tool from the Sizzix brand. With this machine, you’re able to enjoy all the benefits that Sizzix has to offer, including the ability to use the accessories and parts of most other brands out there.
Most notably, it works well with SureCut dies from the Ellison brand.
In addition to that, the 660550 Big Shot Pro offers you exceptional precision. You can cut materials with the dimensions of up to 12 by 14 inches.
The machine’s blades are very sharp and firm, and thus the outlines are just as you need them, or better in fact.
This Big Shot Pro machine has a standard sliding tray that accommodates the motion of most embossing and shape-cutting products, just as long as they lie with the limits of 12 by 14 inches.
The Advantages of Using die cutting machines
Die cutting, which means cutting papers into various shapes, allows you to create complex, unique designs for a range of purposes, like making decorations and business cards.
The good thing about using die cutting machines to cut out your designs is that you’re able to create adorable products that are likely to draw customers or intrigue your friends. Here’s a look into the benefits of using die cutting machines:
Die cutting machines offer you versatility and the ability to create unique designs. Think of it this way – folks are used to rectangular business cards, right? With a die cutting machine, you can create heart-shaped ones or cut them into whatever shape you have in mind.
People regularly hold parties and exchange gifts. With a die cutting machine, you can create wine boxes customized for them.
Such uniqueness is a gateway to catching the attention of clients at open houses, shows, and fairs.
During the holidays, you can create intricate greeting cards and gift boxes for people.
With a die cutting machine, crafting customized designs is not hard, and it’s the key to making people remember your business and keep coming to you.
Fun with own Creativity
Maybe you want a smart way of marketing your business with your products. in that case, you can add an interactive element to the product that offers your clients fun while reminding them of your venture. For example, you can add a pull-out element to their business cards, which exposes your contacts while displaying a hidden illustration.
Also, you can decide to make a fun card that displays a certain picture with unique effects. The picture and its effects will not only entertain your clients but also make the card stand out.
And if you’re looking to offer extra value with your own business cards, you can design them such that they fold into a handy item, maybe a phone stand. That way, your clients will keep your business cards because of their functionality. The more they see your cards, the more they will consider to work with you.
Let’s say you create a die cut cover for a book, making it in such a way that it reveals an interior illustration. The cover will grab the attention of most of the people who see it.
They say don’t judge a book by its cover but most people do the opposite, right? When passersby love your books’ die cut covers, they’re more likely to buy the books.
The best thing about this is that with a die cutting machine, you have a relatively cheap means of making your products compelling.
Most dies out there are cheap and you can use them for a wide range of projects.
What Is a Die Cutting Machine?
It’s basically a machine designed for cutting materials such as fabric, metal, and paper to particular shapes. You may then use the shapes for various projects, like scrapbooking, or decorating t-shirts or cards.
There are two main types of die cutting machines, that is, manual and digital.
Manual ones work more like cookie cutters. You purchase dies and use the machine to cut them into your desired shapes manually.
Digital ones, on the contrary, work more like printers. You can send your designs to the machine in 2 ways. You may choose to send them from a cartridge, which you preload with your designs and then plug into the machine. Or, you can send them from your PC.
Apart from just cutting, some digital varieties can pierce, draw, or emboss.
The History of The Die Cutting Machine
The die cutting machine was introduced, for the first time, in the industrial revolution.
In the 1850s, the die cutting machine was widely used in making shoes. Cobblers found the machine quite handy, as it saved them both time and money.
As time passed and manufacturers gained more insight, a swing-arm clicker press along with a belt system got incorporated into the original model. These additions proved to be very helpful for the guys in the shoemaking industry.
Over the proceeding century, there were lots of modifications on the machine and it was able to produce products in bulk, including plastics, metals and tubing, and even food items.
Today, there are computerized die cutting machines, and they have brought high-grade precision into the production process.
With advancement in technology, this machine has, in fact, risen to take a very important part in contemporary industries. And that is not all. Today, there are die cutting machines that are specially-designed for safe use in schools and homes.
Types of Die Cutting Machines: WHICH ONE IS FOR YOU?
As a designer, I take it you have your unique taste. Maybe you enjoy the ease that comes with technology or maybe you prefer to work by hand. But, if you’re a rookie, maybe you’re yet to figure out what works for you.
The purpose of this section is to inform you about your options when it comes to die cutting machines. I have included the upsides and downsides to each type so you can make informed choices.
With a manual die cutting machine, you should expect to do more physical work. On the upside, you won’t have to spend much to get one. Also, manual models are easier to transport.
Manual machines utilize a crank system. After inserting the die along with your material into the machine’s mouth, you just turn the handle recurrently to feed the die through the rollers. This presses the die into the material.
Need a machine that doesn’t require you to do much physical work? Go for the best digital die cutters. But, keep in mind that even though there’s less work to do, such a machine is a little more expensive than a manual one.
An electronic die cutting machine works in a manner similar to a manual one, but rather than using the crank system, it uses a motor.
All you have to do is put your die along with your material, and the machine will do the rest of the work. It automatically pulls them and applies pressure to cut out the designs.
These are digital cutting units that utilize either built-in software or graphics programs (when connected to a PC) in place of physical dies.
The design probabilities that these models have is virtually infinite. Moreover, they can cut a very wide assortment of materials and their speed is unparalleled. Nonetheless, these machines are bigger and heavier and of course, they are much more expensive than the manual or the electronic models.
But if you’re looking to do almost no physical work, enjoy the highest speeds with exceptional precision and versatility, I’d encourage you to go for a computerized die cutting machine.
How to Use a Die Cutting Machine Properly?
A die cutting machine designed for home use is ideal for every day, moderate cutting. Even though the process differs based on the specific model, all machines depend on the same fundamental principles to function.
In most cases, you have to get the machine and buy the dies separately. The cut-out patterns are what people refer to as dies. These come in a variety of sizes and shapes and are normally sold separately from the machine.
Why? So that you can select the dies you desire; the ones that will help you achieve your crafting targets.
After purchasing the dies, you must load them correctly into your machine. This, will of course, depend on whether your machine is computerized or manual. You also need to have your own paper and insert it properly into the machine beside the die.
As soon as the two elements (the die and the paper) are in place, you can then do the cut. In the end, your cutout should look professional and ready to be incorporated into your crafts.
If you’re using a manual machine, you need to place the paper on the machine’s platform. You, then, lay the die on the paper, in the shape you’re looking to cut.
As soon as you have laid the die in the position you’d like to have the cut made, you now place a mat (which is typically clear) on the die to keep the die and paper intact. The three elements create what you hear them calling the “sandwich”.
When everything looks good, there’s a lever on the machine, that you should reel by hand to feed the platform through the die cutting machine.
As the platform, with the sandwich, feeds through the machine, even pressure is applied on the mat, pushing the die into the paper. The die’s sharp edges cut your paper, forming the shape you desire.
The platform, still with the sandwich, comes out through the machine’s opposite side, and you can remove the mat to gain access to your die, the paper, and of course, your new cut shape.
How to take care of and maintain your die cutting machine: To Make it Long Lasting
Your die cutting machine opens a whole new world of design options for you. But, if you want to keep enjoying what your machine brings to the table (and I know you do), you will need to take care of it as much as possible. The same care you afford for you clients’ projects, you ought to extend to your die cutting machine as well.
Here are tips and tricks that will help you maintain your machine better. I have arranged this section based on the type of machine (i.e. manual or electronic).
Manual DIY Cutter Machines Maintain Tips
Manual models are great for beginners, as they are easy to use, portable, and they support an assortment of dies.
Cleaning a manual model is simple; by keeping it in great shape, you will be able to use it for many years.
The following tips will help you take care of your manual machine and keep it working correctly.
With every use, your machine gains dirt and dust. Therefore, after each use, soak a clean piece of cloth or a paper towel in rubbing alcohol and use it to rub the machine gently.
Once the moisture evaporates, use a paper towel or a dry piece of cloth to wipe down the machine till it’s totally dry.
Note: DO NOT use bleaching agents or abrasives to clean your machine, as they will only damage it.
Ensure your dies are clean
Take a look at your dies. Do you see any bits or debris or paper stuck on or in it? Get rid of those. If you put dirty dies in your machine, they will jam it or cause it to work incorrectly, thereby ruining your cuts.
Keep the die cutting plates clean
First wet them down. Then, use some dish soap and a toothbrush to clean the plates.
This strategy, which works for the electronic models as well, will extend the plates’ life and remove any debris that could have collected there.
Feel free to use a little hand sanitizer to make the plates even cleaner.
Don’t forget to ensure that the plates are absolutely dry before you store them away.
Do not force stuff through your machine
In case the plates or your dies and materials get stuck, just move it slowly in a swaying motion through the rollers. Alternatively, you can pull it out gently. Don’t use much force, as that will only wear down the parts and reduce the machine’s lifespan.
Electronic DIY Cutting Machines Take Care Tips
Electronic models are a great choice for beginners and experienced crafters alike, who might be looking for something that doesn’t need lots of calories to man.
Similar to the manual models, they become dirty and require consistent maintenance to keep working properly. The following tips might be very helpful for you.
Clean the machine
Use a soft, dry piece of cloth to clean it. Make sure that you don’t use any water, abrasives or fancy cleaning solutions. Moisture damages electronic die cutting machines, so I advise you to keep it as dry as you can whether it’s in use or in the store.
Supervise the kids
Teaching your kids the craft might be fun. However, it can also be hazardous to both the kids and the machine. Whenever your children are using the machine, keep a close eye on them to ensure they are operating it correctly and safely.
Don’t take out the platforms or the plates while it’s running
If you remove them while your machine is running, there’s a good chance that the moving parts will get damaged. Also, before you switch it off, ensure there are no objects in there to prevent jamming.
Let it take a break in the midst of long sessions
If you’re using it for an extended period of time, switch it off once in a while and let it cool down for about 10 minutes before it resumes working.
And, whenever you are not using the machine, be sure to switch it off.
Those are some of the best ways of taking care of your machine so it stays in great working order. Keep it clean, be gentle on it, store it correctly, and it will definitely serve you for a long time.
How A Die Cutting Machine Can Save You Money?
I believe a die cutting machine is for those smart designers who not only look to produce unique designs but also aim to avoid wasteful spending and save money.
But you might be wondering just how a die machine helps you save money. Think of it this way – apart from using a die cutting machines to cut out designs from materials like paper, fabric, and rubber, you may decide to use scissors, right?
But, how efficient is that? If you’re running a business, you might have to employ several people to help you do those cuts. And, there will be many times when you will have to throw cut outs to the trash because they didn’t come out as intended.
With a die cutting machine, you’re able to do those cuts more quickly, and thus tasks that may have previously required 4 people to accomplish now require just one person and the machine. So, you save the money you would have spent paying workers.
Also, there’s no material wastage, so you save the money you’d have used to buy more materials.
Maybe you need to create business or greeting cards, or even gift boxes. Instead of going to a designer somewhere and having them make those items for you at a charge, with a die cutting machine, you can easily make them at home.
How Difficult Is to Use a Die Cutting Machine?
Today, die cut products rely on the materials, skilled workers, and the rolling platform too. At the center of it all, the die cutting machine gives shape to the incoming materials, refining them into a product that can be used as it is or taken through a folding process.
The entire line of making a die cut product comes to a standstill if the die cutting part fails. The following are some of the causes of this failure.
If your machine gets damaged, you can either choose to replace or repair it but the best option would be to replace it. Why? Some DIY enthusiasts attempt repair only to realize that it’s only a temporary solution.
If, however, the problem is just a die fracture, welding and re-tempering can fix that.
Some machines will work efficiently only for a limited period of time but fail repeatedly once you attempt to increase the volume of operation. A few people adjust the die clearing setting as a way of fixing such machines but unfortunately, this helps for just a short period of time.
The best way of solving the issue is to reset the piston pressure settings.
The pressure that the machine applies, when mixed with the weight of the blanks, weighs heavily on the machine’s components.
If this pressure is too much, the machine’s components get knocked out of shape.
The solution? Return the machine to the manufacturer so they can rectify it. The rectification process involves re-tempering and treatment with heat.
If your machine is faulty, it might produce kiss-cut results that are hard to predict, most of them being of low quality.
Even if you happen to be a skilled operator and are using expensive dies, the machine’s internal mechanism might ruin things for you. If the problem is with the results, hydraulic hoses and electrical circuitry might be the culprits. Have them checked by an expert.
Another noteworthy cause of inconsistent results is mistreated blanks and torn paper. Watch out for those.
With that aside, a die cutting machine is not difficult to operate. It’s actually quite easy. All you need to do is practice; learn step by step and soon, you’ll be a guru.
Cartridge vs. Software Based Die Cutting Machines
At first, only the cartridge based were available. That’s back when the die cutting machines first became commercially available for home use.
The cartridge based models allowed designers to cut just the letters and shapes in the included cartridges.
Back in the day, the internet was limited and computers were only basic and not everyone had them. Therefore, folks deemed cartridge based models convenient.
Even so, these models curtailed creativity as they were inflexible, with limited choices. And, we haven’t even factored in the cost of buying cartridges for every element you want to incorporate into your design.
Software based die cutting machines might involve more learning as they are a little complex but the possibilities are countless. In that regard, the user can import different types of files, including .png, .jpg, .svg and more. With such a broad array of choices, you’re empowered to make your unique shapes. Some machines come with custom software packages that you can use to download files from external storages.
There are third-party programs as well, like Make the Cut. Most popular software based die cutting machines support such programs.
Keep in mind that manufacturers are increasingly designing die cutting machines that are incompatible with printers. That is great news, as you can now print and cut your designs. Could things be any more versatile?
The print and cut technique is a cool means of making elements such as labels, cards, scrapbook albums, and other items that you might want to create.
Just recently, manufacturers have availed hybrid systems that merge cartridges with software. Cricut Explore is one such machine. It offers you the joys of both worlds. That way, you can either choose to use the cartridges of import your designs from a PC or the internet.Even though these hybrid systems require you to dig deeper into your pockets, they are super cool because they offer you a whole lot of benefits, including versatility, efficiency, portability, and more.
What are the Different Uses of DIE CUT MACHINE?
Maybe you want to display some creativity with your new die cutting machine but don’t know where to start. You want to show your friends or even customers that you’re capable of much more than just creating greeting cards. Below are the different ways in which you can use your die cutting machine.
Creating album covers
You may dedicate your time to coming up with great designs for sticking into your scrapbook pages. But of what use is your hard work if the book itself has a plain or dull cover that catches no one’s attention?
Much of the fun that comes with scrapbooking is from showing off your smart work. You might share the pages across the internet but what about when your friends or relatives come over for dinner? You might place your binder on the table but no one notices it. Heartbreaking, right?
But, if it has an eye-catching cover, you can be sure they will be interested in knowing what’s contained in there. Therefore, don’t just use your die cutting machine to cut out great designs. Use it to create awesome covers for the albums that will house your designs.
Outdoor vinyl projects
How about placing personalized stickers on your car or mailbox? Die cutting machines are the best tools for creating custom designs for an outdoor setting. You could even do an outdoor vinyl project to make custom lettering for your front door. Or, you can decide to design attractive ad stickers and posters for your business.
The best models do more than just cut. They have other capabilities, which can make a difference in your projects and bring out functionalities that aren’t related to traditional die cutting. Engraving capabilities enable you to label items in unique ways.
Got some pets at home? Try engraving tags for them with your die cutting machine. You could even engrave chocolate bars.
Looking to give someone a gift? Why not add their name on the gift to make it even more special? And, if your kids are constantly fighting over their crayon boxes, you add their names to the boxes to help them distinguish them.
No matter what you are cutting with your machine, you can add names or initials to virtually anything. It’s possible to add names to shampoo bottles, balloons, toys, and a full range of other items.
As you can see, there are no limits to what you can do with your die cutting machine. If your machine can cut through it, then it can create beautiful designs out of it whether “it” is a heat transfer vinyl or a chocolate bar.
Simple Project Ideas You Can Do with This Machine
Your die cutting machine looks great, you got the dies right there plus splendid paper and all that remains is to get down to work.
But wait – what do I make?
Yep, it can seem like a sticky situation but this section has got you covered. As an inspiration, let’s delve into some of the projects you can accomplish with this machine.
Adding vellum is a fun means of adding depth to cards and layouts.
What is vellum?
It is a special kind of paper made from animal skins, wood pulp or cotton.
There are many ways of adding this multi-purpose transparent paper, but the best, I believe, is to die cut it. With a die cutting machine, you can cut it out in a layout similar to the card and use an adhesive to attach it to the card.
Don’t use liquid glues that can seep through the materials; go for adhesives specifically meant for use with vellum.
Die Cut Window Card
Making layers is fun. While adding vellum as a bottom layer creates a vague impression of what’s down there, a window provides more info in teenier bits. And, what better way of adding windows is there than to die cut them?
Isn’t it fun to have a glance into a card without having to open it?
This is applicable to photos and gifts as well. Folks can have tidbits of the photos and gifts without having to unveil everything first.
Making a window card can seem a bit intimidating at first but it’s actually very simple when you have a die cutting machine there with you.
For a great layout, add fine dies over your watercolors, pictures or anything else you’re looking to use as your background.
You can never go wrong with a conventional aesthetic trend like the lace.
Maybe you’d like to enjoy the doilies or lace effects on your project but don’t want the accompanying weight and don’t want to incur huge expenses. You might also be looking to avoid the adhesive challenge of paper with fabric. In that case, I’d encourage you to die cut lace.
There are so many decorative dies on the internet, and with a die cutting machine, you can constantly come up with stunning cuts.
Looking to add a fun, unusual element to your cards? Creating a spinner card is an effortless means of doing this.
Feel free to cut out any shape from your die, add a string, wind up the two, and the spinning fun begins! This is a fun way of making someone’s day brighter.
Dies and stamps
If you’re like me, then you enjoy ephemera like stickers. And you know what makes an incessant supply of stickers? Dies and stamps.
You have the ability to refabricate the same images time and again in a variety of colors, textures, paper, and more, only by getting dies with corresponding stamps.
All you need to do is get a couple of stamps and dies, cut out shapes from the dies to match the stamps, then color the die if you like. You might need a few markers for this kind of project.
Partial die cuts
When you die cut a material partially, you cut just a part of the image, say the face of a man, leaving the rest of the image intact on the main piece of the cardstock or the scrapbooking paper.
Partial die cutting is a fun style of adding life to your projects. It can make your work appear more complex by incorporating shadows, layers, and other illusions.
Wondering how to do this with your die cutting machine? Google search May Flaum and visit her website. It’s got lots of amazing videos showing how to create partial die cuts, and they are for free.
Whenever people that are dear to me send me cards, I like displaying them in my living room for a while – I am not the only one who does that, am I?
Making a stand up makes it very easy to display the cards you receive from the people you love. This technique not only gives a professional touch to your cards but also helps you safeguard them against damage.
Maybe you need a stand-up layout for a desk. With Carta Bella paper and Sizzix dies, and a die cutting machine of course, you can come up with something pretty amazing. And, it’s so much fun!
Watch this video to know how to make a stand-up card.
Shaker cards will have you wiggling in excitement. What could be more fun than receiving an interactive greeting card that you can shake and have a section with sequins, glitter or seed beads jiggle?
With your die cutting machine, you can easily make shaker cards and fill them up with whatever you like. For example, you can make one and incorporate a fun sentiment into the shaker portion. You may also decide to add minty sequins into the pouch.
Gate Fold Cards
Want to add a fun twist to a conventional card? Create a gate fold. Traditionally, cards open by lifting one side, right? But, a gate fold card opens like French doors or like a book, from the center going outwards.
This gives the recipient the feeling that they’re just about to either receive something amazing or to make a cool discovery in there.
If you’re really looking to try out new die cutting techniques, try creating a gate fold card or journal.
Cards and journals are not the only items that you an give the gate fold opening style; you will be surprised at the new amazing ways in which you can customize your garments and glassware.
Die Cut Foil
Like die cut vellum, another exciting trend with the die cutting machine involves cutting out foiled cardstock with the machine. You could also cut cardstock with metallic accents.
In the crafting world, metallic accents are hot; crafters love reflecting them in their galleries. In fact, even celebrities love displaying them on their blogs. Maybe you’ve seen an excellently-cut gold foil on one of these blogs. Looked luxurious, right? Chances are, the cut was made possible by a die cutting machine and you can achieve the same with the same machine.
Jar Fold-a-Long Cards
Similar to the gate fold cards, jar fold-a-long cards have distinctive folds with unexpected displays.
As they can stand on their own, they make it easy to display and with the proper decorations, you can use them for any event.
When creating one, try adding a great color theme and give it a standing layout.
Maybe you’re wondering where to get the materials for creating a fold-a-long. Fortunately, Sizzix offers you a wide assortment of dies for various sorts of cards, including stand-ups, gate folds, and fold-a-long.
Flip-its present you with yet another fun folding style that allows you to send completely adorable and surprising cards.
Flip it cards look super complex and the recipient will, most likely, find it fun to open and close. But, even with the complicated look, flip it cards are actually easy to make. All you need is a good die cutting machine along with flip-it card dies.
Check out Stephanie Barnard’s amazing online classes on flip-it cards and I’m sure you will be able to make them very soon. Her tutorials are easy to grasp and I believe you’ll follow along just fine.
There’s no reason for you not to venture into gift giving using the die cutting machine. Spellbinders, Sizzix, and other well-known brands offer you a range of dies that you can use to come up with unique gift boxes and bags.
Maybe you’re used to gift box punch bags (which are pretty handy) special dies provide you with a means of creating a personalized gift package.
Why not create your own, unique pillow match and math boxes with fun shapes like diamonds and pyramids? You could choose to give the box a unique lid that opens in an unexpected style.
Don’t know how to make gift boxes with a die cutting machine? Check out Jessica’s tutorials on the How About Orange blog. I bet you will find them pretty helpful.
Die Cut Leaves
Like Ombre, die cut leaves are everywhere. They are for those who love botanical beauty.
Ever heard of SAD? It’s a sort of depression that affects numerous people during fall and winter. I believe one of the ways of alleviating the symptoms is to have some die cut leaves in your house. That way, your mind will be set to believe or perhaps imagine that it’s spring or summer and you might never have to deal with SAD.
But, die cut leaves are not applicable only during fall and winter. People are using them all year round. By altering the color palette, you can easily use them during any season. Some people love using fresh green during spring and cool blues during winter.
You can incorporate leaf dies into any project and give them a unique touch that shows appreciation for nature. If you’re making a paper card, consider giving it some earthy tones with leaf dies and make the recipient want to spend their day on the farm.
As you can see, the possibilities are limitless. All you need is a high-quality, versatile die cutting machine and of course the dies. Check out the review section above (if you haven’t) and go for the machine that suits you. I would go for one that has the ScanNCut technology, as this technology offers great flexibility and supports virtually all projects a designer might have in mind.
Best Die Cutting Machine Brands
Some die cutting machine brands are more unique and better than others as they offer you more user-friendliness, higher-quality results, and durability. In case you don’t have any die cutting experience, knowing the reputable brands narrows down your options and guarantees a worthy choice.
Cricut is a leading electronic die cutting machine brand that’s been around for almost 15 years. From its launching, Cricut’s purpose has been to help folks lead more creative lives by offering them tools to add beauty to their DIY projects in a fun and easy way.
Today, Cricut is a household name that consumers view as a symbol of excellent quality cutter tools. That is, perhaps, due to the fact that Cricut die cutting machines are inspired by the needs of DIY project enthusiasts that have a taste for high accuracy.
For instance, the Cricut Explore Air 2, which is featured in the review section, happens to be one of the best products in the niche, as it is super-fast, compact, and it lets you do Bluetooth cutting.
With Cricut, there’s nothing to limit you; the possibilities are endless.
Brother is a US-based subsidiary of the Japanese company, Brother Industries.
Looking for a brand with a huge experience in the die cutting world? Look no further. Founded in 1950s, Brother has been a leading provider of home, business, and office solutions to make work not just easier but also smarter.
Among their line of products is the die cutting machine, which has earned them lots of credit. For example, the machine’s revolutionary ScanNCut technology led to Brother receiving both CES and CHA awards.
The Brother CM350 uses the ScanNCut technology, and for that, it helps you scan you sketches and cut them out as your unique designs.
In 2015, the PC Magazine announced this brand the winner of its Business and Readers’ Choice awards.
Silhouette is a Utah-based company that s widely recognized as an electronic cutting machines dealer. One of the things that makes their products so popular is that they are simple but original.
Apart from that, Silhouette is one of the brands that care a lot for their customers. That is why their machines come with handy instructional guides to help you use them and in case you experience difficulty, their support team is always ready to help.
We all can agree that manufacturing efficient machines with consistency isn’t an easy thing to do, right? But, Silhouette continually provides you with awesome crafting tools with great accessories. For instance, the Silhouette Cameo 3, which is one of the most versatile die cutters out there, comes with 24 sketch pens, with double the ink.
This is arguably the most popular die cutting machine brand, with customers all over the world.
The firm that manufactures Sizzix die cutters is known as Ellison and its first die cutter was launched in 1977.
Sizzix offers you a full range of models, both electronic and manual. That’s not all; this brand also deals in embossing accessories and folders, and dies, which are all very helpful in various crafting projects.
If your main aim is to get a very elegant machine that produces beautiful results, go for a Sizzix die cutter. For instance, the Sizzix 660425 Big Shot is one of the most stylish products in the industry, offering you excellent features like high user-friendliness and flexibility in that it cuts through many different materials.
What to Do and What Not to Do with A die-cutting machine
A die cutting machine is meant to help you undertake various projects at home or work that involve cutting shapes for different purposes. Once you have cut out your shapes, you can either to use them as they are or combine them with other shapes to make objects like gift boxes.
But, what you can do with your machine depends on its type and model. If your machine is designed for cutting paper only, don’t try using it to cut metals or fabric or anything other than paper.
Also, don’t use your die cutter to cut pizza or other food items. There’s an exception to this rule for some machines, however; some, like the Silver Bullet Cutter, can cut chocolate bars.
Be sure to read your machine’s specs and guides to learn precisely what you can and cannot do with it.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS about DIE cutting machines.
1. What is a die cutting machine?
This refers to a machine that cuts shapes from various materials, including paper, fabric, chipboard, and more. The size of a die cutting machine for home use is normally like that of a toaster oven. You can sit it on your crafting table when using it or keep it in a storage room till you need it.
Like other appliances, die cutting machines are available in an assortment of brands, with slight variations.
2. What is die cutting?
In crafting, die cutting refers to the process by which the crafter uses a machine to produce cutout shapes. Die cutting allows you to mass-produce similar shapes without having to use stencils, craft knives or scissors. This not only saves time but also helps you come up with professional-looking, consistent shapes each time.
4. What is the digital die cutting machine all about?
A digital die cutting machine uses electricity as power and ran with the help of either software or cartridges. Typically, such a machine doesn’t need dies, as it is equipped with a blade, which does the cutting.
The machine allows you to choose the design you want to cut out on your PC or a cartridge.
A digital die cutter normally looks like a printer and connects to your PC through a USB port. You can buy designs from the internet or a cartridge that is preloaded with images.
5. What is a manual die cutting machine?
A manual die cutting machine is one that needs operation by hand. It usually comes with a lever that you can turn to operate it. Also, it uses steel dies to perform the cuts on paper, fabric or other materials.
As the platform containing the die and the material to be cut passes through the machine, uniform pressure is applied, and the die’s edges cut the material into the shapes you want.
6. What is a die?
In crafting, a die is a sharp metal object with raised, sharp edges for cutting materials. It is like a cookie cutter in shape and functionality. The die’s shape is the same shape that gets cut out on your material.
There are various types of dies, most notably steel-rule and thin metal ones.
A steel-rule die is sharp and safeguarded with a plastic or foam to keep your hands safe. Steel-rule dies are usually more long-lasting because it is designed to perform thick cuts or multiple cuts simultaneously.
A thin metal die isn’t as sharp and unlike a steel-rule die, it’s not capable of cutting thick metals. It looks more like a traditional cookie cutter in shape. Even though it doesn’t feature foam or plastic protection, it is easier to store and is lighter/more portable.
Dies are available in a wide array of styles and sizes. There are square ones, circle ones, intricate lacy dies, and so on. with such vast choices, you won’t lack something for your unique occasion.
6. What can I use a die cutting machine for?
What you can do with your die cutter depends on the machine’s model. That’s why it’s important to check the machine’s specs before buying it. However, virtually all die cutting machines can cut paper. Also, most of them vinyl and thin fabric.
NOTE: only a steel-rule die cuts chipboard. Some steel-rule dies can even cut leather, sponge, corkboard, and rubber.
Some commercial die cutters are capable of cutting hard objects like metals.
You can use your die cutting machine to make envelops, stickers, gift boxes, shaker cards, stand-up cards, and other items, by cutting them out into your desired shapes.
If you are a scrapbooker, a card maker, a quilter, a design student/tutor or just a general crafter, you will most definitely find a die cutting machine handy.
7. What do I need to get started with die cutting?
There are a few items you need to obtain, most importantly the die cutting machine. Modern die cutters come with all you need to start living your crafting dream. Most of the time, however, you have to get the dies separately.
A manual die cutter needs cutting pads and a platform to start working. A digital one, on the other hand, needs a software or cartridges to get started.
Fortunately, most machines come with guides that explain how to set up and use the machine and its accessories. Even better, if you need more help using or setting up the machine, there are lots of classes/videos on the internet to help make things more vivid.
Remember, the dies, cut files, and cartridges are sold separately.
Oh, and you’ll need a cutting mat to hold your dies and paper in place.
Software based die cutters normally come with all you need to start crafting your designs. They don’t even need you to get any dies.
8. Which is the best die cut machine?
That highly depends on your needs but the most popular machine is the Sizzix 660425 Big Shot, which crafters (whose target is beauty) deem the best as it is versatile and compact. It also produces exceptional results. You can learn more about this machine in the review section above.
Nonetheless, there are plenty other die cutters with excellent features and high performance, like the Brother CM350 ScanNCut 2 (for those looking for speed) and the Silhouette Portrait (best for portability). Go through the review section to find a machine that works for you.
9. Where can I get the best die cutter?
In case you’re looking for a place to buy a really good die cutter, you can get one either at a crafting store or online. But, why go through the trouble of looking for a good crafting store and still have a limited assortment of products to choose from when you have Amazon?
I believe that Amazon is the best place to shop for die cutters. There, you will find them in all sorts. Moreover, you can shop conveniently from wherever you are (even your bedroom). Also, you can compare the prices, get to know what people who have used the products think about them, and enjoy a whole range of other benefits including shipping and warranties.
The links on the review section offer you a convenient path to the best die cutters on Amazon with the press of a button.
10. How does die cutting work?
That depends on whether your machine is manual or electronic. In case it is manual, you just place a material (like fabric) on the platform. Next, you place a die on the material and as soon as they are in position, you place a cutting mat on the die and paper to hold them in place. This forms a sandwich.
You then crank the lever by hand, feeding the platform with the sandwich through the machine.
As the platform makes its way through the die cutter, even pressure gets applied on the sandwich, thus pushing the die into the material beneath. It is the die’s sharp edges that cut the material into the shape you intended to create.
By now, I’d like to believe you understand the amazing things you can accomplish with your die cutting machine. I also imagine that you have learned the benefits of owning this machine.
A die cutting machine helps you perform various design tasks such as creating personalized greeting and business cards, gift boxes, and even cute pet tags. The cool thing is, this machine proves handy whether you are a scrapbooker, a quilter, a design teacher or just someone interested in unique things that tell your story.