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.




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…]

DIY Rainbow Loom Charm Valentines with Free Printables

Easy DIY Rainbow Loom Charm Valentines with Free Printables. Easy to make and fun for kids!

My tween daughter recently started making all sorts of charms with her Rainbow Loom with the many tutorials online. Over the holidays, she made me a cute snowflake charm and I attached it to the pencil that I keep at my computer desk. My daughter makes these charms and since they stretch and loop around just about anything, she has charms attached to her backpack, her purse and her pencil case. She also makes them for friends at school.

I thought that Rainbow Loom charm valentines would be a cute idea for tweens since most are no longer buying the character valentines. There are many different types of Rainbow Loom charms and some are easy and others more complicated. If you are making them for the whole class, I suggest choosing an easier design or your tween can make them for siblings, neighbors or just for their close friends as something extra special. Some of the fun ones that I have seen are flowers, hearts, mustaches, animals. [Read more…]

Silhouette Cameo Machine Bundle with Great Extras for $229.99 with Free Shipping

Silhouette Cameo Machine Starter Bundle


This Silhouette Cameo Starter Kit Bundle just dropped to  just $229.99 for the machine, which comes with 2 mats, 2 blades, a set of sketch pens, a pick me up tool, $10 worth of  cuttable designs, plus a CD for easy install of their free cutting software. This deal may not last long as this is a great price with some awesome extras. The Silhouette Cameo  uses digital images from your computer and uses a small blade to cut paper, vinyl, vellum and fabric.  It can cut up to 12 inches and 10 feet long. Just plug this machine into your computer and use the included software to start crafting! What sets this machine apart is it’s ability to print and cut. You can design a label on your Silhouette Studio Software and print it on your home printer. The Cameo has a special sensor that tells it how to cut around your label after it’s printed on your home computer. So cool!  I don’t know how long this will last, but grab it while you can as this is a hot price. [Read more…]

Ed Emberley’s Drawing Books for Kids at Over 40% Off – Summer Fun

Ed Emberley Drawing books Great Gifts


I used to love Ed Emberley’s drawing books when I was a kid and it’s nice to see they are still around for my own kids. What a great summer activity, especially if you are cooped up indoors due to heat! Several Ed Emberley books are currently over 40% off and as low as $3.94. Note that shipping is a little slower than usual on these books. This make great, affordable gifts paired with some markers, pencils or washable ink pads. If your order totals $35 or more, it will ship for free.  [Read more…]

Silhouette Portrait Machine at Just $109.99 With Free Shipping

 Silhouette Portrait


If you are a crafter, the Silhouette Portrait is a fun smaller crafting machine. It is the little sister machine to the Cameo, but just smaller and more compact for those who don’t need the big size. It uses digital images from your computer and uses a small blade to cut paper, vinyl, vellum and fabric.  It can cut up to 8 inches and 10 feet long. Just plug this machine into your computer and use the included software to start crafting! What sets this machine apart is it’s ability to print and cut. You can design a label on your Silhouette Studio Software and print it on your home printer. The Silhouette Portrait has a special sensor that tells it how to cut around your label after it’s printed on your home computer. So cool! Right now, the Silhouette Portrait is just $109.99 with free shipping. This is one of the lowest prices I have seen on this cool machine.

Silhouette Gumball

Shop for the Silhouette Portrait



Huge Savings on Silhouette Machine Bundles & Savings on Brand New Products

Silhouette Cameo Stencil Material

It’s no secret that my Silhouette Cameo machine is my favorite crafting tool and they are offering some nice bundles right now.  If you are looking for a Silhouette Cameo or a Silhouette Portrait, there are machine bundles that include a sleek bag, an extra $25 download card, plus a dust cover for your machine. If you already have a machine, the cool new rolling bags are 25% off. Silhouette also released some new products such as the new stencil material, adhesive corrugated paper, adhesive washi sheets, their new light hold mats and more. These brand new products are 20% off. The pretty monogrammed vase pictured above was made with the new Silhouette stencil material. Be sure to check out our COUPON CODE below to take advantage of these hot discounts. This nice sale ends January 31st. [Read more…] $.32 Flat-Rate Shipping and Refills that Work With the Rainbow Loom for $1.19




Joann Stretch band bracelet loops

There are lots of great items on sale at and shipping is flat-rate for just 32 cents today!  I noticed that these Stretch Band Bracelet Loops are just $1.19 for 500 bands and come in 10 different colors. There are also some fun striped rubber bands, glow rubber bands and glitter bands for just $1.79 made by Loom Bands. My daughter has never tried either of these brandsof rubber bands, but I did notice that they are latex-free and non-toxic. Note that connectors are not included.

Also, if you have a Silhouette machine, blades are just $7.79 at What a great time to stock up and take advantage of the almost free shipping!


Use Coupon Code FRZZ012 for 32 cent flat-rate shipping





Consumables for Silhouette Machines at 25% Off, Stock up on Mats, Blades and More

Silhouette September 25 Off Promo


If you own a Silhouette electronic cutting machine, it is a great time to stock up on mats, blades and more. With the coupon code BARGAIN, From now until September 19th, you can enjoy 25% off all consumables at Silhouette America. This includes mats, blades, tools, Silhouette Designer Edition Software, cardstocks, glitters, vinyl and more! What a perfect time to stock up on products to use with your machine. To use the coupon code,  be sure you are logged in before entering the code. This sale excludes machines, downloads, download cards, subscriptions and gift cards.


Use Coupon Code BARGAIN to receive the 25% off all consumable Silhouette America products




Rainbow Loom Giveaway – Hot New Craft Kit for Tweens


Rainbow Loom Giveaway

 ***** Our Rainbow Loom Giveaway is over, but you can shop the Rainbow Loom store below for looms and refills. Congrats to Leah S.  #Giveaway #RainbowLoom *****


Rainbow Loom kits are one of the hottest new craft kits for tweens.  I first saw the Rainbow Loom at my local independent toy store. I walked in to browse and noticed they were holding a free class on how to create a new pattern of bracelet with the Rainbow Loom. I was intrigued! These loom kits are literally flying off the shelves. They are in such demand that they are getting weekly shipments of refill bands and they only allow each customer to purchase one of each color of refills at a time so that everyone has a chance to buy refills. I have to admit, they are pretty cool. Basically, you take brightly-colored rubber bands and your loom to weave fun accessories like bracelets, anklets, rings and more. The styles and patterns seem to be endless and the refills come in so many colors, including glow-in-the-dark.  [Read more…]