Creating designs for our craft projects is so much easier with some of the great tools that are now available. I have often wanted to create my own shapes, in a variety of materials, and now I would be able to with a die cut machine.
I don’t own one yet but have been doing my research. Both Cricut and Sizzix look to have great products for accomplishing what I need. Cricut has the Cricut Expression and the smaller Cuttlebug which can both cut through thin metal, which is what I am looking for. Sizzix has the Vagabond and the Big Shot, which can also cut through metal. Cricut’s newer Imagine isn’t getting the best reviews mainly because of the high cost of the ink.
So, here is a run down of the best of what’s out there:
The Cricut Expression:If you have the room for this table top model from Cricut, it has gotten rave reviews. Although it is expensive, ranging from $300 – $400 dollars, any old cartridges or blades that you have from a previous Cricut model will work in the Expression. Not only does this model cut letters and shapes but it also will cut phrases. This can be especially fun for vinyl wall art. It does have the ability to cut through chip board, vinyl and thin metal as well as papers. You can use either the 12″ x 12″ mat or the 12″ x 24″ mat allowing for versatile sizes. This is a stand alone unit in which no computer is needed.
The Cuttlebug: This little guy is smaller and so works well for portability. It has another great function of embossing. I could see having this one along with the Cricut Expression to fulfill all of your crafting needs both at home and on the go. Since, the Cuttlebug can cut through thin metal as well as chipboard and thicker papers, this is a great little model to have for it’s affordability. It may not have as many options for die cut sizes, as a larger unit would, but it would give you a great start for creating your own die cuts.
The Vagabond by Sizzix: This Tim Holtz inspired die cut machine just looks cool. It can cut through probably the thickest materials because it includes the capability to cut through canvas and fabrics as well as metal and chipboard. This model even embosses too. The basic unit sells for around $250 with the stickers to personalize the case being sold separately. A nice feature is that this machine will work with other brands dies and embossing tools.
The Big Shot by Sizzix: This little one is much like the Cuttlebug. Reviews have stated that this will cut through card stock, fabric and thin metal. This one also embosses and is easily portable. Another great machine for starting out.
Both the Big Shot and the Cuttlebug are going to run around $75-$100 or less depending on coupons. Both have gotten great reviews. In a comparison review forum I found about an equal number of people favoring one over the other. Basically, I don’t think you can go wrong with either one. It is just personal preference. One suggestion was to go to a craft store and have both of them demoed to you before buying. I think this is a great idea for all of the models. I do know that these all work great for scrap-booking crafts, vinyl wall art, and so many other creative uses with metal and even fabric.