Choosing the Best Electronic Craft Cutting Machine – Compare Silhouette, Cricut and More

Choosing the Best Craft Cutter Silhoutte Cricut Sizzix Eclips2 Brother Scan n Cut


Buying a craft cutting machine can be a big decision. There are several different types of cutters on the market and they all have very unique features. Most crafters opt to purchase a Silhouette or a Cricut machine, but there are more options out there. Your choice will heavily depend on what type of crafts you want to do and what type features you will want in a machine. I will highlight the unique features of each machine to help to make your decision easier.


Silhouette Machines

Silhouette Machines

Silhouette machines are great for the person that likes to design and manipulate their own projects. There is a small learning curve to the Design Studio software, but you can easily change projects to fit your needs by erasing something here and there, adding text or drawing new lines. The Silhouette design store offers turnkey images and projects at a low price, but as you get better, you can easily tweak these projects to fit your needs. You can also cut any font that is installed on your computer.You can work within the free version of the Design Studio software or you can upgrade the software the Designer Edition and this unlocks new features like the ability to cut both Studio and SVG (vector files). The best part is that you do not have to have an internet connection to use your software. If the internet goes down, you will still be able to use your machine.

Tracing is another unique feature of the Silhouette machines. You can trace and cut images that you upload to your computer. For example, if you have a logo that you want to make “cuttable”, you can use the trace feature to make it into a cuttable file. My husband owns a small business and I was able to trace his logo and create vinyl decals, shirts and more for his business. Another example is if you have an image like a cute panda jpg file that you want to cut out, you can upload it to your software, trace it, and use the “print and cut” feature to print the image.  Then you cann have your machine cut around the outer edge of the panda. This is one of my favorite features of the Silhouette machine as you can create truly unique projects.

Silhouette has a whole line of machines in different price ranges and with different features:


1. Silhouette Cameo 1 & 2

The Silhouette Cameo is my favorite machine in their lineup. It cuts a variety of mediums such as vinyl, cardstock, vellum, acetate, paper, thin cardboard and more. The cutting area is 12×12, but it will cut longer items by feeding it into the machine without the mat. It also has an SD slot for cutting images without your computer. There is only a slight difference with the Silhouette Cameo 1 vs. the Silhouette Cameo 2. Silhouette made a few upgrades to the control panel and the overall look of the Cameo, but both machines cut essentially the same.


2. Silhouette Portrait

The Silhouette Portrait Machine has many of the same features as the Cameo, but it has an 8-inch wide capability. You can get this machine at a lower pricepoint and it will take up less space in your craft area. However, if you think  you will want to do larger 3D projects like boxes or gift bags or cut tall vinyl lettering, go for the Cameo. It’s worth it!


3. Silhouette Curio

The Silhouette Curio is a cool little machine, but the software is advanced and I believe it is meant to be a machine that compliments either the Cameo or Portrait. It’s cutting area is 8.5 inches wide, but you can feed thicker materials into the machine. It also draws and embosses and stiples. New tools are still being released for the Curio machine, so stay tuned. If this is your first Silhouette machine, I would recommend the Cameo.



Cricut Explore Machine

Cricut Machines

Cricut’s latest and greatest machine is the Cricut Explore Machine and it blows away the older Cricut Expression machines. It is best known for producing turnkey projects easily and for it’s quiet cutting. Cricut has created a simplified software and you can purchase files directly from them for a minimal cost or you can upload your own SVG files. You can also cut any font that is installed on your computer. It cuts up to 11.5 x 23.5 and it is fairly simple to replicate the projects from the files that you purchase. While the design software is fairly easy to learn, it does now allow lots of manipulation of your own projects. If you are the designer type you will be disappointed with the limited design features of the software. Also note that you have to have an internet connection to use the Explore. If you have spotty internet, using your machine will be an issue. There have also been some computer compatability issues with the Explore. Check if your operating system will work with your Explore.

You can cut all sorts of medium such as vinyl, cardstock, paper, chipboard, leather, thin wood and much, much more. The Cricut Explore  has a very strong motor and will cut a variety of thicknesses. The ability to cut thicker mediums is one of the main unique features of this machine and it sets it apart from the Cameo and other machines. I am most impressed with it’s ability to cut wood and leather.

Another feature that sets it apart from other machines is that the Explore  can draw and cut at the same time. It has slots for both a blade and pen. This will be a huge time saver if you are making cards and such that require both of these features. The Silhouette also draws and cuts, but you have to stop and change from the blade to pen and vice versa.


1. Cricut Explore Air Wireless

The Cricut Explore Air Wireless Cutting Machine is just like the regular Explore machine, except it has bluetooth capability that is built in. This enables the user to manipulate and cut images wirelessly from a PC, Ipad or MAC. This makes cutting easy without wires. Just be sure to check whether your PC or Mac’s operating system is compatable.


2. Cricut Explore

The Cricut Explore One Cutting Machine is the original Explore. It includes all of the great features of Cricut’s newest technology, but does not have the built-in wireless. However, you can purchase a Cricut Explore Wireless Bluetooth Adapter for a very affordable price and enjoy the bluetooth technology with your original Explore machine.



Sizzix Eclips2

Sizzix eclips2 Machine

Most know Sizzix for creating metal dies that get run through a hand-cranked machine, but then they got into the electronic cutting machine market with the Sizzix eclips2. This easy-to-use machine has simple software and you can cut all sorts of images that you can purchase for a nominal fee from their design store or you can upgrade your cutting software for a fee to be able to cut SVG files. You can also cut any font that is installed on your computer. This machine will cut paper, vellum, cardstock and more and is perfect for the papercrafter, however you are limited to what will fit on your 12×12 mat.

One of the unique features of this machine is that it will truly score your project for fold lines. This is great for boxes as most cutters only cut perforated lines for scoring. This machine does a true score line.



Brother Scan N Cut

Brother ScanNCut

The Brother ScanNCut Cutting Machine with a Built-in Scanner is very unique in that you can scan an image and cut it out without computer connectivity. This makes cutting shapes very easy and you can even do some editing, right on the provided screen. The brother will cut paper, cardstock, vinyl and chipboard, however and you can use either a 12×12 mat or a 12 x 24 mat to cut your medium. Use the free software to use either pre-loaded designs, designs that you scan or you can covert SVG files to work with this machine. While this machine has been the clear underdog of the cutting machines, if you love the scanning feature, this could be the machine for you.

While the scanning and cutting feature is what makes this machine unique, there has been some trouble with this machine. It only recognizes dark, crisp lines when scanning, so this will be necessary to access this feature.

Another unique feature is that you can also use this machine similar to how you use a regular scanner. You can scan documents or photos and save them right to a USB drive.


Getting Started with Vinyl for Electronic Cutting Machines

If you love this post about comparing electronic cutting machines, check out our posts about Vinyl for Electronic Cutting machines or Where to find Supplies for your Cricut Explore Machine.




Justice Free Shipping On All Orders, Plus Extra 30% Off Clearance and B1G1 Free Clearance Accessories

Justice Back To School


Back-to-School shopping is here and if your tweens love Justice, they are offering 24 hours of free shipping on all orders.  If your Justice store gets picked over, this is the perfect time to grab the sizes you need. There are also deals in the clearance section with extra 30% off clearance at Clearance accessories are B1G1 Free as well.  [Read more…]

Tilly’s 4th of Summer Sale with an Additional 50% Off Sale with Free Shipping – Nike, Vans, Volcom, Roxy and More

Tillys Logo BlackTilly's

Tillys Sale with Nice Deals for Tweens and Teens

If your tweens and teens love surf and skate clothes, then you need to check out the great Summer sale at Tilly’s for boys, girls and teens and young adults. They are having additional 50% off of clearance prices which makes for some sweet deals and things are going quick! The additional discounts are taken once you add the items to your basket. My boys love Vans and Nike skate shoes and you won’t believe the great prices with the extra 50% off. My daughter loves their styles for girls and Tilly’s clothes are so popular at her middle school. There are so many items on sale,  starting at $4!  There are lots of great brands like Vans, Nike, Volcom, Roxy, Full Tilt and more at rock bottom prices and there are many long sleeve and jean styles that will work for fall. There are also great Summer styles as well. Shipping is free on all orders with coupon code SLICKDEALS.

If you are shopping full price items for back to school, you can get 20% off one full price item and shipping will also be free. I just love the Disney Vans collection for kids! Use coupon code 20FS for 20% off one item, plus free shipping.


Vans Disney Collection for Kids


 Use coupon code SLICKDEALS for free shipping

Shop Tilly’s 4th of July  Sale with Additional 50% Off








DIY Quick Easy Father’s Day Gift -Free Printables Necktie Bottle Tags & Cupcake Toppers

Father's Day Free Printable Bottle Tags from BargainShopperMom

 Father’s Day is coming up soon. It isn’t too late to make these cute printable ties!

Are you looking for a simple way to make Father’s Day special for the Dads in your life? Then check out these adorable, free printable necktie-shaped bottle tags and cupcake toppers . I included four different tags. Some are more elegant and some are more playful and you can choose which ones fit the Dads in your life. These are so easy to make that even the kids could help cut these out or help assemble them. Plus, you probably already have most of the supplies to complete this project at home! [Read more…]

DIY Hair Tie Tutorial with 3 Free Printable Tags and Free Template

DIY No Snag Hair Ties


I’m sure you have seen these no-snag hair ties at stores like Anthropologie, Sephora and Claire’s. They are great because they won’t cause breakage to your hair or leave big dents in your hair like regular hair rubber bands. They are made of fold over elastic, which is gentle to the hair and this type of elastic comes in so many fun colors, prints, and textures. I saw some of these hair ties at my local bookstore the other day for $11 for a 4-pack. It costs pennies to make these yourself, plus they are quick and easy to make. You can also attach beads or flowers to jazz them up or just leave them plain. If you scroll down, you can see a hair tie that I made for my daughter with a pretty silver, rhinestone-studded flower attached. They also double as a bracelet until you are ready to put your hair up in a pony. I made this pretty blue set for my good girlfriend and exercise buddy. We go walking together while our kids are at school and I know she will love these for walking and biking. I used the printable template to make a pretty card to hold this set of hair ties, put them in a cellophane bag, tied them with some twine and attached a fun tag. [Read more…]

Simple and Affordable Iced Tea Cup Teacher Appreciation Gift or Year-End Gift with Free Printable Tag

Affordable Teacher Gift Tea Double Walled Cup

 This year Teacher Appreciation week is May 4-8 2015.  It is coming up soon so we thought we would share this cute and easy gift idea.

Are you scrambling to find affordable gifts for Teacher Appreciation Week? I just love these double-walled cups and I made this one into an iced tea themed gift for around $5! I use these cups all summer long when I’m on the go and they wash up so nicely. You can fill them with water or any other beverage and I like that they are double-walled and don’t sweat. This one fits perfectly in the cup holder of my car too. This iced tea gift for teachers would make a great year-end gift too or if you have aids or other teaching staff to recognize these won’t break the bank. [Read more…]

Fun & Unique Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Fun & Unique Mother's Day Gift Ideas from EverydaySavvy

Fun & Unique Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Whether you do something small or big for Mother’s Day, Mothers and Grandmothers love being appreciated on their special day. If you need help with finding the perfect gift this year, we have some very unique gift ideas that the women in your life will love. We chose fun things in all price ranges, so you are sure find something special for the mothers in your life.  [Read more…]

Where to Find Supplies for Your Cricut Explore Machine

Where to Find Supplies for Your Cricut Explore Machine

Where to Find Supplies for Your Cricut Explore Machine

The Cricut Explore and the Cricut Explore Air are the newest generation of Cricut machines from Provocraft. These cool machines have a 12 x 12 mat size and they do so many things like cut shapes, score your items for folding and you can even put pens into your machine to draw and write with your Explore. If you are considering one of these fun machines, check out both models to see which one works best for you.

Finding supplies for your Cricut Explore machine isn’t always easy. While you can find some things at your local craft stores, I feel like I can get better prices on supplies from internet stores, plus everything arrives right at your doorstep. For some supplies like vinyl, I prefer the quality and pricing of other brands of vinyl. I have included lots of tips and resources below to finding the best supplies for your machine. [Read more…]

Sewing Machines and Supplies for Tweens and Teens

Sewing Machines and Supplies for Tweens and Teens

Sewing Machines and Supplies for Tweens and Teens

Sewing is a great life skill and if your tween or teen is showing interest in learning how to sew, they would love to receive a machine of their own to learn on. I bought my daughter her first machine at age 11 and, with a few classes, she learned how to do lots of fun, simple projects on her own. There are a lot of machines that are marketed to kids and while they are affordable, most break easily and are a waste of money. There are a few highly-reviewed starter machines that are under $100 and a several that are just over $100, with a variety of great features. We found some great solid machines that will make learning to sew easy and fun, not frustrating. There are also lots of great sewing supplies that your tween or teen will love so they can start this fun new hobby.

My daughter started off with classes at our local Joann fabrics store.  They offer sales on their classes and you will receive a list of supplies, plus one of their coupons. One of her first projects was a pillowcase and they she branched out to a simple pair of PJ shorts, a pair of PJ pants, an apron and more. You can also check out if your local community center has classes as well. If your sewer prefers to venture out on their own, one of our best finds was the simple sewing patterns offered at Walmart stores, in the fabric department. They offer a variety of beginner patterns for just $1-3. There are patterns for purses, bags simple clothing, doll clothing and more. My daughter loves to save her allowance money to fund her next project and I love that she is learning a new life skill. Sewing projects are perfect for staying busy on weekends and over Summer break.  [Read more…]

Fun & Unique Easter Basket Ideas for Tween Girls

Fun & Unique Easter Basket Ideas for Tween Girls

Tween girls can be hard-to-please and if you need help filling Easter baskets this year, we have lots of great ideas they will love. My tween loves arts, crafts, games and other fun activities. I like to fill her basket with a few non-candy items for her to enjoy. We have filled this list with lots of great Easter basket ideas for tweens at all price points.

To save this cool list for later, press the “pin-it” button at the top of the page to save it to your Pinterest boards.  [Read more…]

Stylish Easter Clothes for Boys

Stylish Easter Clothes for Boys and Where to Buy Them

Cool Clothes for Boys – Easter

I’m always looking for stylish Easter clothes for boys as I have two boys to dress for the holidays. Plaid, pastels and brights are on trend for boys Easter attire this year. As far as pants, flat-front chinos will give you that dressy look, but will still be cool. My oldest son loves wearing jeans and I think jeans with a nice shirt and vest is a nice compromise for a casual Easter. I also love all of the fun ties, modern bow ties and blazers offered this year for boys. Check out some great looks that we have chosen for babies, toddler boys, young boys and tween boys for Easter. [Read more…]