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Digital Die-Cutting Tools

Before you invest in sometimes-pricey digital die-cutting tools, watch our review of the pros and cons of the current systems.

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Hi, I'm Janna Wilson, member of the 2007 Scrapbooks Etc. Creative Team. Electronic die cutting machines are one of the hottest tools on the scrapbooking market. Great for creating the perfect title or 022. If you've been thinking about taking the plunge and purchasing one then you've come to the right place. We'll be talking about the features of 5 different models available today. I've got the Xyron Wishblade, the Cricut from Provo Craft, the Xyron Personal Cutting System, the Creative Cutter Mini from Pazzles, and the Silhouette by QuickCuts. Let' get started. Let's start with the least expensive out of the 5. At about $160.00, the Xyron Personal Cutting Machine is a portable tool that does not require the use of a computer. Included in the purchase prize, you will receive a basic shapes book and the shape removal tool. You can add to your collection by purchasing other shape and design books for about $50.00 on that. So let me show you how this machine works. Open the design doc and insert the design book. The cartridge pops right in. Remove the cutting tray and place a 4 x 4 paper onto the tray. The tray is adhesive in order to hold the paper firmly while cutting. Place the tray back into the machine. Select a size with the minus or plus key, and choose the design. I'm gonna cut this cute flower. Press the green check button to start cutting. When the cutting process is finished, remove the tray and take the paper off. Your super cute die cut is ready to go. This machine is a user friendly economical choice for someone wanting to create their own die cuts and letters. The Xyron Personal Cutting Machine is incredibly easy to use and great for croppers on the go. I'm gonna fill you in on the Cricut by Provo Craft. This machine retails for about $245.00. It doesn't require the use of a computer, and with the purchase price, you're gonna receive the George and Basic Shape set. You can purchase additional design cartridges for about $70.00 on that. Let me show you how easy it is to get started with this machine. First thing, open the machine and power on with a touch of this button. The heart of the system is the cartridge. Place the design cartridge in the machine. Each cartridge has an overlay for the keypad so pop that on as well. Now, we're ready to place the paper onto the tacky cutting mat and press to firmly adhere. Place the mat gently against the roller bar and press the load paper key. Choose which designs you would like to cut with the touch of a button. I'm gonna cut a simple scallop tag. When you're ready, press the cut button and watch the Cricut go to work. After the cutting stops, lift the paper away and there's your scallop tag. So easy to use. This tool is compact, lightweight, and moderately prized. The Cricut is easy to use and inexpensive to maintain. Now I'm gonna tell you about the Wishblade from Xyron. For about $450.00, you can cut just about anything you wish. This machine does require computer connection, but it is both MAC and PC compatible. You can cut any true top font or design you already have on your computer. Or you can add to your design collection by purchasing design sets, set started about $40.00 on that. Let's cut out a title with the Wishblade. Open the Wishblade program on your computer. Create a new document by clicking the New Document icon. Click the Text button. On the textile or box, choose a font, type in your title, and make sure the outline box is checked. This is what creates the cut lines. Click OK. Place your word on the screen by clicking once on the page. Now you can re-size the word if you like. You are now ready to cut. Place your paper onto the carrier mat and roll it into the machine. Make sure the blade is adjusted for the thickness of the paper you are using. Click Cut to send the item to be cut and follow the instruction shown. That's it. Now understand there will be a bit more of a learning curve to using this machine than say the Cricut or the Xyron Personal Cutting Machine, but the creative possibilities and features are worth it. One feature that I love about this tool is that it cuts adhesive-backed paper, which makes it easy to remove intricate designs. The Wishblade is a great option for the computer savvy scrapbooker. Let me introduce you to the Creative Cutter Mini from Pazzles. The basic package starts at $475.00 and includes almost a thousand design images, and you can purchase additional images for as little as $1.00 each. For now, the Creative Cutter is only compatible with windows basic computers. This is a great tool for the serious scrapbooker. Let's draw and cut a shape with the Creative Cutter. First, apply the paper to the cutting mat and press firmly to adhere. That's it. Insert the mat into the cutter from the back. Use the paper feed knob on the left side of the cutter towards you to load the paper. Launch the cutting software on your computer. Open a new document. Type the length and height of the paper you're cutting in the appropriate boxes and click OK. At the top of the screen, click Draw, and then click on the arrow. When you do, the cursor changes to a plus sign. Hold down the mouse and drag the cursor to draw the shape in the size that you want. At the top of the screen, click the Cut Panel icon to open the cutting control panel window. Set the cutting options and click start to initiate the cut. Once the machine is finished cutting, unload the mat and remove the design. Another machine that will require the use of your computer is the Silhouette from QuickCuts. At about $370.00, this machine will give you instant access to all of your true top fonts and dingbats. 50 solid shapes are included with the software. You can go online and purchase design sets for $10.00 a piece to add to your collection. Let's get started with the Silhouette. Let's try to cut out a more intricate design with the Silhouette. First, place your paper on the cutting mat and press firmly to adhere. Load the paper into the machine following the guideline in front of the machine's rollers. Launch the Silhouette program on your computer. Create a new file. Select letter from document settings window. Choose your design by clicking Mild Library. Ensure that Graft Tech logo is located on the output settings window, and adjust the cutting conditions if needed, and click Cut. When the cutting is complete, unload the paper by turning the feed knob and removing the design. And there you have an intricate cut design with the Silhouette. Overall, the Silhouette is a good value and it's easy to navigate and use. It's a great choice for the computer savvy scrapbooker. So there you have it, everything you need to know before purchasing electronic die cutting machine. Check out each manufacturer's website for lots of information, tips, and even video tutorials. Thanks for watching. I'm Janna Wilson.