Which Scrapbooking Machine Should You Choose?

Carmen D. Lade

If you are considering buying a cutting machine to enhance your crafting projects, you have probably noticed there are a wide variety of machines from which to choose. How do you decide which machine will be the best for you? Price, of course, is the biggest determining factor, but where do you go after that? Do you want a manual machine or an electronic system? Do you want to purchase individual dies, cartridges with multiple images, or do you want the extreme versatility of a computer based machine? Here are a few facts about the types of cutting machines available.

Manual Die Cutting Machines

Manual cutting machines require no electricity and are operated by hand. They are the least pricey of your options. Some of the manual cutters include the Cuttlebug, the Sizzix, and the Quickut Squeeze or the Quickut Revolution. You will need to buy individual dies for these machines, one for each shape you want to cut. The Cuttlebug, one of the newest models of manual cutters, will use dies from most manufactures and has a nice embossing feature. Both the Cuttlebug and the Sizzix will cut fairly thick materials like chipboard, fun foam and felt. The Sizzix, however, is one of the oldest die cutting machines available and is limited to one or two fonts. All of these units are portable for taking along to crops or vacations.

Electronic Cutting Machines

You can choose electronic cutting machines that stand alone or ones that require the use of a computer. The Cricut and the Cricut Expression do not need to be plugged in to the computer. These machines use cartridges designed specifically for these machines. Each cartridge much be purchased separately but contains multiple images. There is optional software available for the Cricut if you want to supplement the versatility of these systems.

There are several computer-based models available for home use, including the Quickz Silhouette, Xyron Wishblade, and Craft Robo. All three of these machines are basically the same, allowing you to cut any true type font you have on your computer. The Wishbone is the most expensive of the three, but it does come with extra designs and software. Your design possibilities are wide open with any of these machines. If you have trouble learning exactly how to operate the system, there are support groups online where you can find experienced crafters willing to help. You can also store your designs online or e-mail them to friends. Of course, these machines are more expensive than stand alone or manual machines.

Which cutting machine is best for you?

Now you must decide which cutting machine is the best match for your requirements. Do your research and be honest with yourself. How much are you willing to invest? How much time do you have to use your machine? Will it be too difficult for you to learn the techniques of the more sophisticated models? Will buying individual dies or cartridges restrict your creativity and cost more in the long run than a bigger up front investment? Once you answer these questions, you will be better prepared to choose a cutting machine that will best suit your personal needs.

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