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Cut@Home Blog - Scrapbooking & Card Making Ideas

Scrapbooking Product Reviews no image

Published on April 25th, 2012 | by Cut@Home


Die Cutting & Embossing Machine Reviews & Comparison

In this post we have taken the time to show you ALL die cutting and embossing machines or tools out there on the market in a basic review. If you want to read about any of these in more depth you may CLICK HERE and click on which machine you would like to know more about! If you have any questions about compatibility,price,features,etc. please leave a comment below.

Briefly before we begin the review we do not necessarily favor one machine over another. All are very unique and made by different manufacturers. So here are some questions you need to answer before you decide which one is right for you.

1. What will you be using the die cutting machine for? (i.e. school projects,work,scrapbooking hobby,parties, your own vinyl lettering business)
2. Do you have arthritis in the hands or other disability?
3. Will you only be cutting or do you want to emboss as well?
4. Up to what size of scrapbook paper do you want to cut and/or emboss? (i.e. 12×12,8×8,6×6,4.5×6)
5. Will you be cutting other materials?
6. Do you want to scrapbook or make cards from a computer,electronic machine, or manual?
7. Does it need to be portable to go to scrapbook home parties or friends house?
8. Does it need to cut all materials like paper,vinyl,fabric,plastic,cork,vellum, etc?.

These are obviously not all the questions you could ask yourself, but should give you an idea if you are ready to start scrapbooking,doing invitations, or making cards of what you should be looking for. πŸ™‚

Before you go in and take a peek at the reviews I wanted to let you in on a SECRET! If you join the newsletter below you will instantly receive a 40% Spellbinders Paper Arts coupon and/or Sizzix 30% along with all the new products!


ALSO here below is for our visual learners a video of this post if you would rather watch and listen as we go through the different tools.

sizzix big shotSizzix Big Shot Review
The Big Shot Machine measures approximately 14 1/4″ x 8 1/2″ x 6 1/2″. It has a stylish black and pink colors giving it a feminine touch! It will cut and emboss and is very versatile in cutting fabric,cardstock,paper, and mostly anything in between. It has been around a while now and is always a best seller at a price point of $69.00. It will take all Sizzix dies and other leading brand dies with the proper plates and mats. The only dies it won’t take obviously are those that are 12×12,which would be for the next machine big shot PRO!See VIDEO .


sizzix big shotThis machine has been replaced by Sizzix. To see the NEW machine in action and it’s features Click Here. Presenting a brand new look for the Big Shot! With a swirl of powder blue-and-teal colors and the Sizzix logo bursting out brightly, this version of the Big Shot Machine offers plenty of stylish appeal with the same versatility of working with the entire Sizzix product library (with the exception of Bigz Pro dies) and that includes our smallest dies to our big 6″ wide plastic-backed treasures and embossing tools. If that wasn’t big enough, this portable roller machine cuts and embosses many different materials. Create your own one-of-a-kind cards, invitations, scrapbook pages, home decor, fashion, altered art, quilting and much more!

sizzix big shot PROSizzix Big Shot PRO Review
This die cutting and embossing tool is just like the big shot, however it has an opening for using 12 inch paper w/out having to trim. It will take ALL sizzix dies and anything within its huge width opening. Constructed from industrial-strength materials, the Big Shot Pro Machine features a 13 inch opening to cut hundreds of materials. This machine also embosses using the Solo Platform Shim & Wafer Thin Die Adaptor. It price has gone up from what you might have seen it as due to Sizzix Ellison guidelines, however we still have priced at $349.99, which is a steal of a deal. This tool is designed to last forever and could be great for those that want to do school projects or for a teacher. See VIDEO

sizzix eclipsSizzix Eclips Shape Cutting Machine Review
The only die cutting machine out that there has a handheld remote and some pretty robust technology. But don’t let that scare you. Their customer support and video tuturials that we have HERE will help you transition smoothly. It can cut all shapes and letters up to 12 inches and even has the ability to let you design your own. It is electronic and is 22 1/2 inches x 5 inches x 7 1/2 inches. It is very fast and accurate and for those who do take the plunge of paying for this machine absolutely LOVE it! We are yet to meet someone that regretted their purchase. The price is steep at $499, but we do have it at $399. Tim Holtz has also done some cartridges for Eclips that actually match with his line of stamps called stamp2cut. Just click on the links if you want to see those. It weights 16.5 lbs, but can be taken anywhere as it is similar like the cricut taking cartridges and is not attached to any computer! You can also do up to 24 inch boarders in length. Here is more to learn about it as there is a lot that this tool has. Click Here. See VIDEO

UPDATE: There is a new version of the Sizzix Eclips 2 which now comes without the remote and is a lot easier to handle

sizzix vagabondSizzix Vagabond inspired by Tim Holtz Review
This tool is an electronic die cutting & embossing machine with a vintage look to it because it is Tim Holtz who designed it along with Sizzix! It resembles a suitcase and opens up from both sides plugs in and you push the button and send your paper with the die through. The Construction of the Vagabond has solid core steel rollers, unibody cast roller housing, solid steel gears, high torque motor and ABS plastic exterior making it a heavy machine, but will last a long time and makes cutting and embossing pretty much effortless. It does have stickers so you can even decorate it as well. Our Price is around $209. See VIDEO

sizzix textured boutique embossing machineSizzix Textured Boutique Embossing Machine Review
I like this little machine. It is absolutely priced perfectly for the one that ONLY wants to do embossing cards or A2 size paper. This sells on our site for $26.00. It is a GREAT way to get your feet wet into scrapbooking by starting out with simply embossing cards for a low investment. It takes the textured impressions embossing folders and those by Tim Holtz as well. I’ve heard that you can use the A2 Quickutz and Cuttlebug embossing folders as well, but don’t quote me on that. See VIDEO

sizzix big kick vintajSizzix Vintaj Big Kick Review
This is a Sizzix machine but partnered with Vintaj to create a special edition cut amd emboss tool. This Bigkick sizzix tool will cut,emboss, and etch different designs. Using the vintaj dies you can now make jewelry as well with this. The Vintaj line of DecoEtch dies and DecoEmboss dies HERE go with this machine! Priced at $79.99 on our site from the retail of $99.99. See VIDEO

Spellbinders Grand Calibur Review
The Grand Calibur is Spellbinders Paper Arts latest tool that replaced the Wizard. However, this new design makes rolling dies through a breeze! It will accept 8 1/2 by 11 inch paper if you remove the cutting tray. With a turn of the handle and only weighing 10 lbs it becomes now portable. It will cut,emboss, AND stencil if using Spellbinders Dies! It takes all the Grand Nestabilities. The base keeps it sturdy and has color coded plates for stacking. It will also take all other leading brand dies with the right compatibility. Go HERE to see compatibility. It retails for $139.99, but Cut@Home’s price here is only $119.99. This along with the Big Shot is a BEST seller on our site and seems that Spellbinders can’t keep them in stock! See VIDEO

spellbinders presto punchSpellbinders Presto Punch ReviewΒ  [UPDATE: This machine is NO LONGER IN PRODUCTION]
The Presto Punch was a machine the can cut and emboss with the push of a button for those that have arthritis, however it hasn’t really taken off and the Grand Calibur seems to still be the preferred with its ease of the handle. However, I have included it in the review so you can see its features. It sells for around $55.00. It works like a scrapbook punches system, but with the feature of being automatic. It will eliminate the need for all those paper punches and can store up to 30 designs. It is very simple to use, but kind of lound. It is battery operated taking AA batteries. Size? Well it is 5 1/4 x 4 1/2 x 7 inches. There is nothing really like it out there and the only one of its kind. With 7 free die cut templates that come with the machine makes for a good deal. Perhaps it will catch on! See VIDEO

quickutz epic sixQuickutz/Lifestyle Crafts Epic Six Review [UPDATE: This machine is NO LONGER IN PRODUCTION]
The Epic Six cutting and embossing tool is very much like the Cuttlebug I think in size and scope. It will accept all Quickutz dies and other leading brand dies. It is very lightweight making it portable. It does have a 6 inch wide opening and built to last with high quality metal insides. Quickutz also provides a lifetime warranty service commitment to all their customers. It is priced at $79.99 on our site and a very versatile tool. It could be a nice option if you have limited crafting space. See VIDEO


EvolutionThe Evolution is the new 6-inch wide Die cutting, Embossing & Letterpress tool from Quickutz and Lifestyle Crafts which has REPLACED the Epic Six. The Evolution universal craft tool allows you to die cut, emboss, and letterpress! It’s lightweight, portable, and compatible with all leading brand dies and embossing folders. This tool is built not only for scrapbooking and card making, but targeted to do home decor, and all craft types of craft projects as well! Some improvements are the following: sturdy metal handl, a 6×13 inch cutting/embossing platform,Mat A for cutting thin dies,Mat B for cutting thick dies and embossing.

cricut expressionProvo Craft Cricut Expression Review
The Cricut Expression was is the MOST popular of the Cricut line of machines even surpassing the cricut 2. It has the 24 inch long ability to cut even a longer shape. The settings on the lcd screen will give you a nice customization for different units of measurements. This will accept existing cartridges you may already have and compares similar to a Cameo except it does NOT connect to a computer and works soley with cartridges. Pricing is around $249.99 online and we sell it for $199.

cricut expression 2Provo Craft Cricut Expression 2 Review
There is not much to say about the Expression 2 except that it is very similar to the one mentioned above. It does have a more sleek design with new colors and cuts with al lthe cricut and cricut imagine cartridges,wireless compatibility,color lcd screen with a stylus, no keypad overlay required, and a cutting area light priced at $259.99 and can be seen at $299.99 elsewhere.

provo craft mini cricutProvo Craft Cricut Mini Personal Electronic Cutter Review
This is definitely the electronic cutting space saving design Provo Craft was looking to provide to scrapbookers. It works with Windows or Mac and connects right to the computer similar to the cameo except this is designed to cut shapes from 1/4 inch up to 11 1/4 inch on a 8 1/2 x 12 inch cutting mat. It is for the smaller projects with paper,vinyl, & fabric. Very nice option if you still like the Provo Craft brand, but don’t want the cartridges and need something nice and easy scrapbook tool right from the computer. Sells for $129.99 and we offer it at $115.99.

provo craft cuttlebug v2Provo Craft Cuttlebug Machine v2 Review
Lastly, from ProvoCraft is their manual die cutting and embossing machine. This v2 of cuttlebug replaced the old one bringing it a newer lightweight design, however the great components inside that everyone loves have stayed the same making this such a durable tool. Very much like the Epic Six, but has fold up base,more durable and stronger outer casing with a metal handle that can be pushed into the side. It does have the handle at the top making it portable and a breeze to carry. Retails for around $89.99 and we sell it for $69.95, which is the best price we can do!

silhouette CameoSilhouette Cameo Review
Made by Silhouette America, which branched off of Quickutz awhile ago and went more towards the computer electronic tool for home use. This machine plugs into your PC or MAC with a USB cable and instead of a printer it will actually cut paper with a blade or draw with pen. It is loved by those that do vinyl lettering for their home decor or even small home business! One of the distinguishing features from the cricut is that it doesn’t take cartridges. Everything is in the software including the designs! It will cut up to 12 inches wide and 10 feet long. It boasts a quiet motor. See Cameo and Cricut comparison! See VIDEO

making memories slice eliteSlice ELITE Cordless Digital Design Cutter Review
Like the big shot, the Slice Elite by Making Memories has the right color: PINK! Sells for $139.00 and is a cordless paper cutter. It will cut between 1 inch and 4 inch designs. The Elite compared to the original slice cutter is that the “elite” now cuts 40% faster and twice as deep. it will cut vellum,vinyl,acetate,foam sheets,thin metal sheets, and of course paper! With the LCD 2 monitor makes selecting your designs from the digital design cards easy to see and now has a plate that will hold the tool in place if you do not want to hold it. The Slice Elite works with batteries or a cord. This and the Fabrique would have to be the MOST PORTABLE and smallest die cutting machine out there. With 100’s of design cards that are the size of an SD camera card you can store them very easily. See VIDEO

making memories slice fabriqueSlice Fabrique Cordless Fabric Cutter Review
Now this digital cutter takes us out of the scrapbooking realm a bit and into the sewing by Making Memories as well. This revolutionary tool makes fabric cutting FUN that only helps with quilting. It takes digital cards with tons of designs on each. It is cordless like the Slice Elite, the only differences really are that it has some specific design cards that can only be used with cutting Fabric. It prices as $129.99. See VIDEO

I hope this along with the videos and pictures gives you a better idea on how and where to buy a die cutting machine. However WARNING once you start die cutting & embossing your pages or cards, it then becomes an addiction! But a great one at that.


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About the Author

I love Scrapbooking, Rubber Stamping, and Card Making Ideas and Projects,which is why I started! I enjoy offering the Best products,ideas, & videos for Spellbinders,Sizzix,Provo Craft,Quickutz,Graphic 45,DCWV,Hero Arts,Making Memories and much more!

  • Jany Marquez

    Very NICE review and comparison! I love my quickutz epic six and the reason why is because it is simply a space saver. Although seeing the new cuttlebug with the handle that can poke in for easy storage that may just tempt me to look at that one as well. My dislike of the list would have to be the presto punch. I love Spellbinders and all their dies especially the nesties, however that machine just didn’t “cut” it. No pun intended, but it is very loud and just kind of awkward, but that is my opinion. And lastly for computer related crafts or digital scrapbooking as they call it, the Silhouette Cameo is amazing. I saw this at CHA in action and it truly is super quiet and a crafters dream. That’s my 2 cents. thanks!

  • Thanks jany for your expertise advice. Very well taken.

  • In November I purchased the Big Shot Pro and have yet to be able to use it. All of the dies I have are the thin ones and despite the hefty price tag, the adapter plate to cut thin dies is an “option!” You would think for $350.00 they would include all the necessary plates. *grrrrrr* The store where I bought the machine has had it on order since December and it is always back ordered. The machine seems like it would be awesome … but I’m afraid I haven’t been able to try it out. πŸ™

  • Karen, yes Sizzix gets big shipments in of Big Shot PROs in June and then it seems that they have them on order until they hit December or around that time again and they run out. We deal with the same problem. I would shoot your question about the adapter plate stuff to She might have a work around for you. The price was raised because Sizzix was not making any profit off of the machine at such a low price, but didn’t realize it quick enough to where they got themselves in a bit of a hole. But I think going forward they are getting way better at least from what we’ve seen with their PRO machine. They are getting ready to release 12×12 embossing folders for it which we will have soon here at so stay tuned… We feel your pain though and hope we can help you out in any way.

  • Brian

    This is a very interesting article and you have listed a lot of machines here to go through. My son is wanting to start his own screen printing and vinyl shop and I think he is mainly going to be using a machine like these for vinyl lettering and patterns that would come off of a computer. Which one would you say is best for that purpose?

  • Micheal

    There are a lot of machines to go through on your list there. This is not for me it is for my nephew so I am going to pass this on to him and let him go through the reviews for himself. You have done an excellent job on the content for your article. So much so in fact it could take him a while to get through it all.

  • Hands down the Silhouette Cameo. It is a great starter machine and will go up to 10 feet long on feeding a whole vinyl roll. There is no other machine on this list that can do that! If you get into doing industrial stuff obviously this would NOT work, but for now and to test it out and doing home decor it is PERFECT vinyl cutting machine. I hope this helps!

  • Well it is a lot of content, but wanted to make sure that we covered everything there is about die cutting embossing machines, so one doesn’t have to navigate to tons of sites to find this information. πŸ™‚ I suggest to your nephew to watch the video, which is about 18 minutes that will give a nice overview and sit back and listen. Any specific questions just ask. thanks!

  • Ellen

    Thank you for taking the time to reply to my comment regarding what machine to tell my son it the best one for what he wants to do and you are right the Silhouette sounds like the one. I don’t know that he would be cutting anything that long but you never know with him. He wants to do some vinyls for his car and they could get pretty big.

  • David

    I will be using my machine to cut out vinyl. Leather and plastic for the most part. Is there a particular machine shown that is best for these three activities? You have certainly listed a few machines here and I hope that you will do some more possibly different ones. I think you have a captive audience with these machine and they will be very popular.

  • All can basically do these three materials and it is based on thickness obviously. So then it just comes down to preference really and what kind of projects you will be doing.

  • Marshall

    I am looking for more industrial sized machines that you can do multiple projects on at once. This is a very interesting article for the crafty person at home in the basement but I am running a shirt shop and I need a new machine that does more than my old one does right now. I am having difficulty keeping up with the demand. Any suggestions?

  • Michael

    I am going to open up my very own T-shirt printing company and I am going to need a machine that will do vinyl but it has to be quick to or able to cut multiple at the same time. This is something I have wanted to do for a very long time so I am hoping to get all the information on machines right here. Thank you for this that was a big help.

  • That’s a tough one. You will need something bigger. These are more designed for those that do scrapbooking and mainly paper. The Silhouette Cameo does have heat transfer kits and that kind of stuff to do your own shirts, but I would think it wouldn’t cut with what you are wanting to do. Sorry if that is not much help. But thanks for the comment.

  • Alex

    I came to this blog while doing research into printers which can print on pvc / plastic cards. I want to buy a printer that prints this surface and is capable of printing identification / security clearance access cards. Now that I’ve seen what these are, it’s clear these die cutters are not what I seek. But what about other die cut printers like the Cricut? Aren’t those capable of printing on pvc ID cards?

  • Gary

    This was a very interesting article and you have some very cool machines. Michael, I hope that when you get your business up and running that you will post a blog about it so that we can check it out. Obviously you will have a web site right? I wish luck to all of you that are trying to start a business. This economy won’t make it easy but it will be possible.

  • Ollie

    I have to agree with Jany I really like the looks of the cuttlebug and it’s easy storage ability. And I have used a Silhouette Cameo before but I don’t own one. I would really like to because I absolutely fell in love with it the first time I used it. I appreciate the other reviews from other people it helped me make up my mind.

  • Paul

    I didn’t realize there was so much variety of equipment for die cutting. I didn’t even realize that there were still manual cutting machines like the one machine which has the hand crank and which is demonstrated in the video. I thought that all modern die cutters are electric. I thought that today’s die cutting machines are more like ink jet printers. Maybe that is because the CriCut die cut printer is so popular on Tv.

  • You are welcome Ollie! That was the purpose of the review. I think the MAIN question you will want to ask yourself is do you like crafting from a computer/printer OR do you like the more hands on portable option along with embossing features? At least these questions can help you get going but advise you to take a look at all of them here as well: . Thanks for your comment and you are right the Cameo is a dream come true for a lot of crafters especially those who want to do the adhesive vinyl rolls for home decor.

  • YES the cricut by Provo Craft got in the game early and have a huge amount of investors behind it in contrast to smaller companies that are privately owned. Hence, the cricut is all over the place, however there are many women that still love to do the “hands on” scrapbooking approach and have something that is very portable to go to crafting home parties. A lot of people don’t know that Scrapbooking is relatively a new industry still and is thriving in Australia, UK, and in the eastern U.S. with consistent growth. Just a tid bit of info for ya! thanks for your comment.

  • Hmmmm… You will want to contact Provo Craft directly who is the maker of the Cricut Expression about whether it can cut the pvc ID cards. As a retailer of ProvoCraft I can’t recommend their machine and tell you YES you can because then we would be liable if the machine breaks. Sorry about that. πŸ™ Good luck on your search. From what I can tell you is that I know ALL these die cutting machines are used for cutting lots of different materials, but none other than the big shot PRO by Sizzix and the Silhouette Cameo are actually used for home business work because of their industrial strength and parts.

  • Carl

    I went off of your comparison here and I bought one of those Eclips machines and I have to admit that I love it. It is so simple and fast, I am using it for scrap booking and I have never had so much fun. Thank you for this article I hope that it helps out a lot of people like me. I have book marked this page so I can return later.

  • Darrell

    This is some great information for the home crafter unfortunately I am looking for something bigger for commercial type stuff. I have clients that order large quantities of shirts and things that need the die cutting machines to make the dies for the shirts. I can’t afford to run one at a time through there. I will continue my search but I have kept this page for future reference.

  • Victoria

    Your comparison are right on in your article but I think you could have done so many more that would have been helpful as well. I hope that you will do a post on some of the bigger machines in the near future. Thank you so much though I really look forward to getting mine because I will be making a lot of Christmas gifts with it this year.

  • Wilford

    I have one of these smaller machines for crafts and it is great, last year I was able to make the dots easily to put on a huge die that my granddaughter dressed up as for Halloween. I love mine and I would recommend any of them for anyone who likes to do crafts of any sort. This is simply a must have for so many reasons.

  • Luis

    I love mine and I would recommend any of them for anyone who likes to do crafts of any sort. This is simply a must have for so many reasons. You did a great job with the comparisons and I appreciate it very much. I am going to research the bigger machines some more though because my son wants to start his own business making shirts and things.

  • Ronald

    My mom has one of these smaller machines and she really likes it a lot so I am thinking of getting one that is just slightly bigger so that we can come together and make things on both machine in a matter of minutes. She already has a Cricut machine that she loves so now we can make some pretty fancy cards and thing with the embossing.

  • Ya we don’t carry or know much about the bigger die cutting machines. This review was only for those machines that pertain to scrapbooking for die cutting and embossing, but good luck in your search!

  • YEP! Thanks Carl. The Sizzix Eclips machine is probably one of the most if not the most intricate die cutting embossing machines we’ve seen. Where you design your own dies right from the remote control is pretty cool. So were glad to hear that you took the plunge and learned how to use it! We have heard that the technology scares a lot of people from it, but it really is a great machine for scrapbooking. Good luck with it !

  • Linda

    These are some really good comparisons I like them all but I sure can’t afford them all. I am going to have to set down with my mom and go over what we are going to be doing with it so that I can make sure we get the right one for the job. How long is the warranty on these because we’ re going to use it a lot?

  • Michael

    I am getting my machine for the church to use because the women’s ministry is going to use it to make invitations and things like that for the church. Is there a tax break when you are buying one for a non-profit organization? And can you tell me what kind of warranties these carry? With that much use I want to make sure to find that out.

  • Carl

    You did a really good job comparing these machines. And I really appreciate the fact that you included the price of each one as well. This will save tons of leg work on my part all I have to do is check out the warranties on them and I should easily be able to make my decision. Thank you again so much. I can’t wait to get mine and get started.

  • James

    You put a lot of work into this, with the pictures of each one and then to add your personal review and the price that is a lot of work and time that you went to so that we as the common folk would have all of the information we could need at our fingertips. I’m definitely going to get one of those Sizzix Eclips machine because I like the ability to do intricate work.

  • Ya the Eclips is a robust scrapbooking genius tool. It was purely modeled with the technology of the crafter in mind and not a copy of any other machine. You will love it. Be sure to go here if you want to purchase. thanks!

  • You are welcome!

  • Hmmm… we have never had that question before. I’m sure we can make something work for you. Just contact and email stating what machine you are interested in and dies and we will see what we can do! Thanks! As regards to warranties these do vary from manufacturer. It sounds like the Big Shot PRO by Sizzix or Eclips might be the best fit. But go ahead an email us or you can call and leave a message at 801-553-2256 and we will get back to you on Monday about it.

  • Warranty will vary by machine. On most of these pages you will be able to see the warranty information for EACH. Just go here: and then click on the die cutting machine you are interested in and it should have it there. If not, email us at and we will get the manufacturer on the phone to ask those questions. Thanks!

  • Sherry

    Hi, was wondering if the new fiskars letterpress machine could use the ellison wood dies? How does this machine compare to the big shot pro? Thanks, Sherry

  • Hi Sherry, Unfortunately I am not familiar with the Fiskars letterpress machine, so I can not give you a comparison. I can tell you that the Big Shot Pro machine by Sizzix is made to handle all Bigz dies which, I believe, are comparable to the Ellison wood dies in thickness. I love using the Big Shot Pro machine and have found it to be easy to operate and functional for most manufacturer dies. I’m sorry that I can not give you an opinion on the Fiskars machine as you hoped!

  • cc

    I own several Cricut machines, (and the old Sizzix Big Shot that was my first baby!) but was curious about eclips & cameo, differences between all three machines. This was helpful, but I do think I should clarify one thing about Cricut for others comparing….The Cricut Expression, Expression 2, Imagine, cake, and the mini ALL can connect to the computer through the Cricut Craft room, giving you the option to use cartridges or digitally downloaded computer images, with all of their machines. Just FYI πŸ™‚

  • That is great information to know! Thanks for sharing!

  • Lauraine

    Thank you for this great comparison. I am from the UK and having spent hours on the net trying to compare the various machines available, this is the best comparison I have found. You might want to consider adding average costs of dies or cartridges in order that potential buyers can consider not only the initial cost, but also the ongoing costs. However overall very helpful. Thank you.

  • We appreciate your comments and are happy that you have found our comparison helpful! Unfortunately, we are not able to list prices in the comparison as manufacturers change pricing due to various reasons, but you can find the pricing for dies and cartridges on our website.

  • Clownfish

    Thanks so much for the helpful reviews! I’m looking for a digital machine like Silhouette Cameo but for embossing. I need to be able to press my own computer-generated designs onto paper. So I do not want a machine that relies on pre-fabricated folders, templates, dies, or cartridges. Is there a machine that will do this?

  • Have you looked into purchasing the Eclips machine by Sizzix? This machine is amazing! It will work with cartridges OR create your own designs and cut, draw or emboss with the machine using the e-cal software with your own illustrator program! AWESOME!

  • MaxS.

    I have been scrapbooking for a few years but have never really considered a cutting maching until recently. In addition to paper and cardstock, I’d also like to be able to cut fabric, vellum, magnetic “paper”, fabric (both knit jersey for t-shirts and 100% cotton for other uses), and “shrinky dink” medium plastic-type sheets. Maybe metal sheets in the future …

    I’m not really clear on what die-cut cartridges are; a lot of what I want to cut would come from my own designs or downloads via my PC laptop. I am guessing, though, that a cartridge would have just a few images on it, which in my mind makes it not very versatile, and rather expensive (to me) for what you could do with only a few images.

    I’m also not clear on whether or not I’d want to emboss, especially because I’m not too clear on what that actually is.

    I am always on a budget, and I use those big b&m craft store 40% and 50% coupons as much as the stores will let me – I know that the big-ticket Cricuts are usually not included in those 40% or half off discounts.

    Could you give me your opinions on what you think I should get? Much appreciated.

  • Dawn

    Dear Cut@Home, I have recently purchased the cuttlebug w/embossing folders, I love it, but now I guess I will need to purchase the plates to be able to die-cut. coild you assist me in this matter? I do not know what to purchase? What plates do I need? Can they be purchased through you? Thank you in advance for any help you may offer.
    Dawn Bablo

  • If you do not want to be limited to cartridges and you are computer savvy, you may want to look into either the Silhouette Cameo or the Sizzix Eclips machines. Both allow you to cut your own designs from your illustrator program with their software (sold separately). You will want to make sure you put an interface backing on fabric that will allow the fabric to stick to the mats and allow it to hold its shape during the cutting and removing process. Fabric is more tricky with electronic machines, but is doable.

    They are both awesome machines, but you can learn more on our website. We have a lot of video about the Eclips on our YouTube channel, and you can read about the Cameo on our blog!

  • Hi Dawn, You will only need the C adapter plate to cut wafer thin dies with the Cuttlebug. You can find it on our website under Provo Craft Cuttlebug Accessories. If you want to emboss Spellbinders dies, you will also want either the Spellbinders Tan Embossing Mats or Scor-Pals No More Shims Mat. You can find more information regarding the use of different dies and the sandwich formulas by visiting our YouTube channel and typing Cuttlebug in the search box. Hopefully you will find this helpful!

  • John


    I was wondering if any of these machines or some other machine allow you to create your own design on a computer free from the pre-made designs that may come with the machine, so you can cut something completely unique after you make the computer design yourself from scratch? Thanks

  • Great question! Yes, both the Sizzix Eclips and Silhouette Cameo allow you to cut your own custom images that you create in your personal illustrator software! You will need to purchase separately the software that allows you to transfer those images. The software for the Eclips is the e-cal from Sizzix. Silhouette Studio Designer Edition for the Silhouette Cameo. It is amazing what you can do with the software for either of these machines!

  • Mary

    I have the Spellbinders Wizard. Can I cut Sizzix framlits with it?

  • Yes! You will need to use the same sandwich formula for Sizzix Framelits as for cutting Spellbinders dies. They are both wafer thin dies.

  • Thank you for all of the work you have done in providing such wonderful information for us. My partner and I have a small but growing card business. We are now getting sizable orders and need to make the leap into a cutting machine, about which we are very excited. I have done MANY hours of research and feel certain that the Silhouette Cameo is the machine for us. One of the biggest factors is that you don’t need to buy dies and I do graphic arts so having the creative freedom and lack of die/cartridge expense is what we love. However, since we have not made our first million $ yet, it would be great to start out with an inexpensive (under $100) manual cutter that does not require you to buy dies / cartridges and lets you create or download patterns of your choice. I have not been able to find such a machine … do you know if there is one out there? Thank you.

  • I do not know of a manual die cutter that does not require dies to cut patterns. With what you have explained, it sounds like the Cameo is likely your best option. Most other machines either require dies or cartridges. Another great machine is the Sizzix Eclips, but it is a bit higher in price.

  • Shannors

    I have a Big Shot now which up until this point has done what I needed. However, I now need to cut med.weight chipboard. Is there a machine that cuts chipboard?

  • The Big Shot will cut some chipboard with Bigz dies. The dies are what you will want to watch. Steel rule dies such as Sizzix Bigz will cut chipboard much better than a wafer thin die such as Spellbinders, Quickutz or even sizzlits. They are made to cut thinner material. The most important thing to remember when cutting thicker material is to NEVER force anything through your machine, no matter what machine you have!

  • Joy

    Hi, I came across your review and found it really helpful however I am a Preschool Teacher and I am looking for an inexpensive machine to create shapes for the children to use as well as create classroom decorations. Any specific help in making the right choice is greatly appreciated.

  • Hi Joy, If you are looking for a machine to make shapes for your preschool children, you would most likely prefer an electronic machine that you can adjust the size of the die cuts to fit your projects. You can read our review and comparison HERE.

  • Joy

    Hey, I am getting An error message when I click on your link. Thanks.

  • Oh no! Well then, go to our website, click on the BLOG tab, then type in die cutting machine comparison in the search box and you should find it there. Sorry!

  • Joy

    Hi, I am still not sure as to which would be better suited for my needs. Trying to understand the different dies etc is very confusing(at least for me it is, lol). Do I have to buy something to cut hearts, circles, etc or can the machines do this on their own? I must seem like a complete dud but I really don’t have a clue when it comes to these things, just figured it might be less work for me in my classroom. Thanks.

  • Hi Joy, If you purchase a manual die cutting machine, you would have to buy separate dies for the different projects. Dies are very limiting to size, which is why I recommend you look at an electronic machine, as they have the capability to adjust the sizes of the images you choose. The Cricut and Eclips both take cartridges which have images on them. They do not require hook up to a computer. The Silhouette machines do require a computer, but you only purchase the images you want from the Silhouette Store, or, if you have your own designer software, you can cut your own images. The Elips has this capability as well, but to do that, both machines require a separate software which you can purchase separately from their manufacturers. There is a slight learning curve to all of the electronic machines, but they are not hard to learn and I personally think an electronic cutter would be more beneficial to your needs. I hope this helps!

  • Shelley johnson

    I am looking to replace my red crank sizzix machine because it kills my elbow after awhile. I have tons of the red dies and sizzlets and would like to be able to emboss for cards. Suggestions? Thank you

  • Shelley, If you are looking to replace your Original Sizzix with something easier, but sturdy, you might want to look at the Sizzix Big Shot, as it is a sturdy machine, but with a turn crank which is easier on the elbow. This machine will work with your original dies and Sizzlits as well as embossing folders and other manufacturer dies, such as wafer thin dies.

  • Katie

    I got a Cricut Expressions 2 this year from my hubby as my big (read: all holidays) gift and I love the stuff it can do. I’m very slowly building up my cartridge collection (because obviously that is a big investment in itself). What I’m looking for now is something that can do textures. I don’t understand all this “die cutting” vs “embossing” speak yet since I just really started using my Cricut in August and then again since November (moved in there). I really love making cards and gift tags and just fun little crafts but nothing has been super big. I love that you’ve given me a starting point here but as I don’t understand the machines really I’m not sure which ones I should look into further. At most I’d probably need a 6″ wide paper option (?) I’d think but overall I’d be using it as embellishments on cards I’d make.

    I’d also prefer not to spend an arm and leg on machine just to be restricted to their texture/patterns but that is even harder to find info on. Any suggestions and/or links to help me along in my searches would be AWESOME! Thanks πŸ™‚

  • Katie, This is a great question! There are several machines that will work great for embossing embellishments for cards and other projects. All have advantages,so the main issues will be price point and storage. The following machines are what I would suggest; Provo Craft Cuttlebug, Sizzix Big Shot, Lifestyle Craft Evolution. These not only have the capability to emboss with embossing folders, but will cut dies ranging from thick Bigz dies to wafer thin dies like Quickutz and Spellbinders. I would start by looking at the details for each of these machines to see which would best suit your needs!

  • sara

    I have just started a home business , doing party supplies . i have an epic6 atm , and i want to move on to an electronic machine which will not just cut but emboss too , i want the machine to cut the designs i make my self and similarly emboss them , you said that the sizzix eclips embosses as well.. but when i go to their site it doesn’t say so in the product details.
    i also just heard of the ebosser by craftwell where does that stand ?

  • Unfortunately we do not carry Craftwell products, so I can not tell you anything about that machine, as I am not familiar with it. I don’t belive there is an electronic cutter that will emboss. The Eclips is able to score and draw, but I do not believe it will emboss as you need different mats for embossing to allow the design to be imprinted into the paper.

  • Anne Franc

    I am a cardmaker. I am looking for the perfect machine that will do the work of a cuttlebug (emboss and die cut thin dies) cut thicker dies like the Big Shot and a machine that we can use 8 1/2 by 11 paper and the larger embossing folders. Am I dreaming or is there such a machine?

  • Sheree

    I just received the Silhouette Cameo for Christmas, and it’s my very first die cutting machine. I liked it because I didn’t have to have a gazillion cartridges to deal with.

    I found out after the fact, that even though you buy the “images” from them, you also have to “buy” a commercial license, per image, if you plan to sell any of the crafts you make using their images that you bought. Some of the images are not for commercial use so you can’t sell those at all. Of course, if you “design” your own image you don’t pay for the commercial license.

    Do all the die cut machines have the same terms?

    I just noticed that someone else commented that the Cricut Expression, Expression 2, Imagine, cake, and the mini, can hook up to the computer for images too. (Wish I had seen that earlier.) πŸ˜€

  • At this time, I am only familiar with one machine that will fit your description of the perfect die cutter, and that would be the Big Shot Pro! With key accessories, it will cut and emboss wafer thin dies as well as thicker Bigz dies, AND enables you to use up to 12 x 12″ paper and the larger embossing folders! It is a larger version of the Sizzix Big Shot, and enables the user more flexibility with dies and embossing dies.

  • Yes, all die cutting machines, and for that matter, dies in general have basically the same terms. You may want to check to see if the manufacturer has an Angel Policy which permits certain sales of craftworks. Most do, which allows crafters to make and sell crafts at craft fairs and such, using their products, but can not commercially mass produce. Each manufacturer’s terms may be different, so it is best to check each manufacturer’s policy.

  • Kathy

    Thanks for such comprehensive info on die cutting machines. Great job! Will either the Sizzix Eclipse or Silhouette Cameo cut through upholstery weight leather as easily as he Sizzix Big Shot?

  • Unfortunately, I don’t know the answer to that question. They might cut through upholstery weight leather if you did multiple passes with the blade, as long as it would stick to the cutting mat and fit under the machines rollers, but I would check directly with the manufacturers first as it may void the warranty if it were to break the machine. I have never tried it, so I do not want to give you incorrect information. I say that if it is not on their list of approved products to cut, you are taking a risk.

  • Judy Lemrick

    I’m new to all this, so please bear with me. I want a machine that will cut small items, from clipart designs that are license free. I have some Dover clipart cds. I would like a machine that will import those designs, let me choose the size (smallest size would be 1/2 inch probably), and cut them on cardstock or paper or fabric. Also, something that won’t bankrupt me. I don’t plan on selling anything, I’m just doing it for my own amusement. Can you steer me in the right direction?

  • I really don’t know anything about transporting clip art, but if they are in the right format, you might be able to transfer them to either the Silhouette Cameo or Sizzix Eclips if you also purchase their designer software, then cut out with the machine, however like I said, I have not tried clip art. If anyone else has tried it, please let us know how that works!

  • Jenn C.

    I do not know anything about die cutting or embossing. What I am looking for is a machine that will be able to I think, die cut and emboss images that I have on my computer to make cards. I am interested in making repro vintage valentine cards, and things of that nature. Can you please point me in a direction? Thank you, Jenn C.

  • The best machines that will enable you to cut images from your computer are the Silhouette Cameo, Silhouette Portrait or Sizzix Eclips machines, however, electronic die cutting machines are not able to emboss. You will need a manual machine and embossing folders or plates to emboss the images cut from the electronic machines.

  • Amythest

    I am an art student looking to buy an electronic cutting machine that will be very durable since I indent to cut large quantities at a time. I would like to get one that can cut heavier papers and fabric but the most import is I would like to design my own image to cut on the computer. I am looking at two products on your review the Sizzix Eclips and the Provo Craft Cricut Expression. Would you recommend one over the other for me or is there another machine that would be better? I like that I can insert any pen into the Eclips but I like the larger size to the Provo.
    Thank you for your help,

  • Stephanie S

    Thank you for your review. I’ve seen these in action but never used and am now considering purchasing. Two questions – which is the best for cutting fabric? Also, do any of the cartridges offer compatibility with many machines – meaning, can Sizzix dies work in Cricut machines? or vice versa or …?

  • I own both machines, and I would recommend the Sizzix Eclips if you are wanting to cut your own designs! You will need to purchase the Designer Edition software separately which will enable you to cut your own designs from your computer, but in my opinion, the Eclips is a better machine. Sizzix also has a wonderful tech support if you need help and are much easier to get through to. The Eclips just has some nice features and is pretty user friendly.

  • To answer your first question; All of these machines will cut fabric, however I would use an iron on interfacing to stabilize and hold the shape during cutting. it will also be helpful in removing the fabric from the mat. Fabric will wear off the sticky from your cutting mats much faster than paper, so you will want to get a spray on adhesive to get the most out of your mats. Sizzix has a great spray on adhesive specifically for this and it works fabulously!

    2. No, cartridges are NOT compatible with other machines. They are created specifically for the individual machine. Sizzix will NOT work with Cricut or vice versa. If you do not wish to use cartridges, and only purchase individual images, then you may want to research the Silhouette Cameo or Portrait more closely.

  • karen

    i want to start my own card/invitation home business what machine would you recommend to use?

  • Well, That all depends on your work space and storage space and if you prefer manual machines or electronic machines. We carry several really great machines. I suggest you go to our blog and look up our blog on die cutting machine comparisons so you can get more information on each machine. Then, when you have narrowed it down to which machines would work best for your needs, I can help you with additional questions you may have.

  • Cindy Kimball

    Hi! I got a Sizzix eClips for Christmas. So I am still experimenting with it but I can’t seem to find the right font that is smaller and a little more intricate that will cut cleanly. I am making “Save the Date” cards for my daughter’s upcoming wedding and would like a font similar to nuptial that I will use for their names. I want the words to be welded preferably. Do you have any suggestions for fonts and other tips that may help me? Thank you!

  • Hi Cindy, I have had my Eclips for some time, but the only way I think you can weld the letters together is if you have the designer software and you weld them in your illustrator program first, before sending it over to your machine through the designer software. Unfortunately, I’m not sure what the nuptial font is. Sorry!

  • Trudy

    I have a Bigshot and use it regularly for cutting and embossing. It is a very sturdy machine and it great for home crafters!
    Unfortunately I pushed my machine too hard and the smallest cog has broken. My husband can easily put that little part in himself, but where do I get that spare part from?

  • You will need to contact Sizzix directly for parts. Sorry to to hear that it broke!

  • I am trying to help my granddaughter with some ideas she has and my area of expertise doesn’t cover embossing on metal (although I work with silver and copper). I am looking for a machine that will emboss alpha letters on a circle of 24-26 ga copper, silver and aluminum. The letters need to be font size 12-16. I have been reading about the Sizzix machines and found one site that said one model could be used on 24 ga metal. I need to keep the costs as low as practical since this would be a startup for her and I hope to eventually move her into working with Precious Metal Clay and metal fabrication (for which the Sizzix also sounds like it would be helpful). Does anyone out there have any insight into this? ANY help and information would be very much appreciated.

  • Jeannie Huff

    I am looking for a machine that will print, cut and emboss in one pass through, not three. I haven’t seen a machine that is advertised to do so. Can you help me? We make and send hundreds of handcrafted cards each mo9nth and are looking for all the ease and cost saving we can find.

  • As far as I am aware, there is not a machine that will do all three. You will need a separate machine for embossing, as most electronic cutters do not have that option and the manual machines don’t print. Sorry!

  • Amber W

    My school is having a fundraiser and we thought it would be cool to allow people to customize their own silicone wristbands onsite at our carnival (Just text like their names and whatnot) – I like the embossed style, but I am unable to find ANYTHING online to tell us how we can do this at home. One site said to get an embossing machine but all those I look at only talk about embossing paper and fabric ? I’m new to this so I am unsure of what I would need. Could I use one of the machines in your review? Any info you can provide would be great, thanks!

  • Unfortunately, I don’t know of any way you could use one of our machines to emboss individual names. You would need individual embossing plates that for names and we don’t carry anything like that. I’m sorry that I can’t help you further. You may want to try a commercial printing or embossing company to see if they can refer you.

  • Georgina

    I have a Vintaj machine. Is there a cross reference guide or compatibility chart that can tell me what different plates I need to use other company’s dies in my machine. I have heard that you can use all dies in every machine so I would like to make sure that this is possible

  • We have been told by Sizzix that the Vintaj machine components are just like the Big Shot machine, so you can use the same sandwich formulas as the Big Shot for the different dies and embossing folders. We don’t have a compatibility chart, but lots of video tutorials on our YouTube channel, which should help!

  • Mary

    Hello from UK. Thank you for a really informative article and super reviews. I have problems with my hands and arms and am thinking of replacing my Big Shot with an electronic die cutting machine (have a Cricut Expression). The only machine I can find is the Vagabond. Can you tell me if it is noisier than the Cricut?

  • The Vagabond is a great electronic replacement for the Big Shot. Everyone I have spoken to who has one is very pleased with its performance. It is hard to compare it with the Cricut as their functions are different, but yes, the Vagabond is more quiet than the Cricut. If you watch any of our tutorials with the Vagabond, you will hear how quiet it is.

  • Mary

    Thank you so much for your reply. Have watched the videos and ordered a Vagabond. By the way I purchased my Cricut Expression and cartridges from you when it came on the market. The exchange rate was good at the time!!!!!!

  • Janet

    What is the difference between Sizzix Big Kick and Sizzix Big Shot. Thanks.

  • Great! I’m glad that the videos helped you with your decision. I personally like having both manual machines and an electronic machines. You have a lot more flexibility in creating projects!

  • Basically there is no difference as far as the components. Just the look. They both have the same opening width and will cut the same materials using the same types of dies!

  • Janet

    Thanks. JoAnns has it on sale and Michaels has the Big Kick on clearance. Wondering if the Big Kick will be around?

  • Since the Big Kick has the same components as the Big Shot, this machine will still last the user a long time and will be a great machine! If you prefer to stick with the Big Shot, then you can find the new blue and teal machine on our website for a great price!

  • Holly


    I am looking for a recommendation. I want to use a die-cut for a wedding invitation. I’m hoping to keep the invitation as a fold open/close but with the front being an image or appearing like lace over the inside part of the invitation. I have specific images in mind an would love to not be tied to a cartridge. I want it to work with a computer and hopefully I’d be able to upload the die cut image of my choosing for it to cut out.

  • If you don’t want to be tied to a cartridge, have you thought about the Silhouette Cameo or portrait? You can actually design your own images to cut with these machines if you have an illustrator program and Silhoutte’s Designer software. You can also alter the image to the size you need!

  • Hello, Interesting blog you have here. I have osteo arthritis in my hands, so I am looking for a machine that will both cut and emboss my own designs, there are also one or two designs that I would also like to be able to use, made by other people/companies.
    I have designed my images firstly with a pencil, then scanned these into the PC and cleaned them up in Photoshop, I then printed them out and cut the stencils on acetate kindly donated by a technician at the hospital where my husband works.

    I recently did a stencil of a cityscape, based on London, but not geographically accurate, as Big Ben isn’t really sitting next to the Gherkin in London, no matter what I’ve depicted it as…, cutting it out was hard and took me about 2 hours, and my hands ached afterwards. So that’s why I’m thinking of a machine…

    I don’t have a lot of money so I think of these machines as astronomically expensive, no way could I buy 2 of them, one is hard enough to save up for. So I must make the right decision at the beginning.

    I’ve been thinking of the Sizzix Eclips and the Silhouette Cameo – do you compare these two?
    I’ve seen the comparison between the cricut and the cameo, but I’d never considered the cricut anyway because you can’t do your own things with that.

    People keep saying the Cameo lets you design your own things, but I’m suspicious because no other normal PC software is mentioned, like PhotoShop or PaintShopPro and nor is the type of files that the Cameo accepts, (like *.jpegs, or *.bmps etc) it’s starting to sound like you only get to design stuff in Cameo’s own software so mightn’t that limit you to big basic shapes with no intricacies?
    I’m thinking of some flower photos that I’ve taken which might make glorious stencils, I’ve seen some companies offering wonderful flower stencils probably from photos, and I’d love to do that myself too.

    I’d like to be able to either cut (for a stencil) or emboss, to create impressions in card etc for later texturing…

    Is there a machine that can cope with all this?

  • Wow! You go to a lot of work to incorporate your own designs in your work. I am impressed! Unfortunately, I am not aware of any machine that will both cut and emboss images designed from your own design software. Electronic machines have the capability to cut, but not emboss.
    Both the Sizzix Eclips and Silhouette Cameo have the capability to cut your own designs from your illustrator software, but you will need to purchase their designer edition softwares separately from the machines. Both are extremely fantastic machines, however, the Cameo is a bit cheaper in price.
    We have tutorials on the Sizzix Eclips on our YouTube channel for you to see the different features if you would like to compare the two.
    If you don’t want to use cartridges at all, I would suggest the Silhouette Cameo. For the price difference, you may be able to get a manual machine and some embossing folders to emboss your designs once they are cut. I hope this helps!

  • richa

    i want to know that u will delivery ur product to india…. i want to buy a big shot machine (pink and black)… if u delivery it so plz its an request to send me details of it as soon as possible……

  • toni

    I am looking for a machine that I can make rhinestone templates with. My daughters are cheerleaders and the cost of glitz clothing is crazy I know that I can make it cheaper on my own for them. I need to be able to do custom designs since 3 little girls can never make up there minds. I would like to be able to re-use the templates as clothing gets stained and out grown. What machine would you recommend in order to create custom templates. I have been looking at the Cameo but am not really sure if it is going to allow someone to simply re-use the same template several times or if they are simply one use and throw away also the need to do a custom design is of extream high priority

  • Dina

    what about FISKARS? I don’t see anything about them?

  • Unfortunately, we don’t have a comparison for Fiskars as we do not carry them, so we are not able to compare.

  • We do ship to India, however, the Pink and Black Big Shot machine is discontinued and no longer available to us. You can find the new model on our website under Die Cutting Machines. You will be able to know your total cost including shipping, during check out, but before submitting your order, so you will know all of the details before you decide to submit.

  • I most definitely recommend the Cameo to create rhinestone templates. You should get quite a few uses from your templates, depending on the application of your rhinestones and treatment of your templates, however, you will also need to purchase the Silhouette Studio Designer Edition software separately from Silhouette America to enable you to cut your own designs from your design software. I hope this helps!

  • I’m not that much of a online reader to be honest but your blogs really nice, keep it up!
    I’ll go ahead and bookmark your website to come back down the road. All the best

  • Kazba

    Wow, great comparisons. Really helpful information. Have you heard of the Silver Bullet, it can supposedly cut and emboss.

  • Thank you for your comments. I’m glad you found our information helpful. I have not heard of the Silver Bullet, so I am unable to compare that machine with those we carry. Sorry!

  • georgina

    will the vintaj or the cricut cut shrink dink plastic?

  • I’m not sure if the Cricut will cut shrinky dink plastic, but the Vintaj will cut it, as most dies will cut through that medium.

  • Joyce

    Such a comprehensive review! πŸ™‚ I’m selling small handmade items, and I am using the Big Shot to cut out my small product tags. The Big Shot works fine, except that I wonder if I could be saving time by getting one of those electronic cutters. Will the Cricut or Silhouette be able to cut e.g. 10 of the same shape all at once?

  • Yes! Most of the electronic machines will cut multiple shapes at once. All you need to do is tell the machine how many, or copy & paste the image on the mat (depending on the machine). It is SO nice to be able to do that for multiple images!

  • georgina

    the Cricut machine will cut a page of the same item but wont cut many items at the same time,as in, layering a bunch of paper on top of each other to make one cut. The Sizzix is your best bet to cut multiples in one pass.

  • Thanks for your input. We appreciate your comments!

  • Megan

    What is a gypsy? I’ve seen one but don’t know what it is, I do know its in this type of category. Please help! Also thank u for making this page it’s helped ALOT!

  • A Gypsy is a hand held device that coordinates with the Cricut Die Cutting Machine. They Gypsy is portable, so you can create images, phrases, alter, weld, enlarge, and various other things to the images on the virtual mat with the images you wish to cut with your machine. You do have to have the cartridges of the images you are using in order to cut, but it is quite handy, as you can take this anywhere with you and have it ready to go when you get back to your machine! I recommend getting a DVD that will show you all of the things you can do with this device as they are helpful in instructing you on how to use it. The instructions that come with it are not helpful at all.

  • Marcia

    They are getting ready to release 12Γ—12 embossing folders for it which we will have soon here at so stay tuned…
    This was posted last April. Do you in fact have 12 X 12 embossing folders for the Big Shot Pro (which I have)? I am looking for MORE for that machine. Thank you.

  • jess

    Hi there,

    I have an e craft electronic cutting machine and have had lots of problems with it. The first one I had for 6 months and the pressure settings broke and it wasn’t cutting where it was meant to, so I sent it away to craftwell for a new machine and got one. its been about 6 months now and it is ripping the paper and I’m needing to replace the blade constantly to get a good cut. Don’t get an e craft!

    So my question is does anybody know which electronic die cutting machine cuts intricate images well without ripping the paper? Is the silhouette cameo or cricut what Im after?

    I just cut out from scrapbooking paper no other materials.

    Thanks πŸ™‚

  • Unfortunately, the 12 x 12 embossing folders have been put on hold indefinitely, as the quality of production was not up to standards. Until they can find a manufacturer who can produce the quality that is expected, they will not be releasing embossing folders for the Big Shot Pro. πŸ™ Please know that if and when they do, we will put them on our site!

  • I’m sorry that you have had such problems with the e craft machine! I am not familiar with the use of the E-Craft, however, I personally own both the Cricut Expression and Silhouette Cameo. Personally, I would recommend the Silhouette Cameo over the Cricut, as it seems to cut intricate patterns much better and it doesn’t require cartridges! You can also cut ANY font that you have downloaded on your computer, which is SO nice! Professionally, our customers seem to generally prefer the Silhouette machines over the Cricut as well. It has been a very popular machine and performs well overall. I hope this helps!

  • Jess

    Thank you very much πŸ™‚ it’s good to talk to someone that owns one! Thanks very much I think I will get the silloette πŸ™‚

  • Great! I hope that the information was helpful to you!

  • wendy


    I am looking for the best machine for vinyl lettering for our business. Any guidance would be greatly appreciated.


  • I would say that the most popular machine for vinyl lettering is the Silhouette Cameo, as you can cut any font that you have downloaded onto your computer. There are no cartridges involved and it connects directly to your computer. You can also purchase separately the Design Studio Software to create your own designs which is a perk for small businesses. Its sleek design requires little space to store on a table or desk. You can read more information either on our blog or on the machine details on our website. Thanks!

  • I am looking for a machine that can easily cut through felt, from very thin fabric up to 1/4 inch thick. Is this only possible with the Big Shot or others? Do I need to go with the Pro?

  • 1/4″ thick is pretty thick, so you would HAVE to use steel rule dies to cut that thick of material, and then it may be difficult to work with that thick so as to fit it through any machine. When you use materials that thick you run the risk of getting it stuck in your machine, or worse, breaking the machine. Even the Pro would run the risk, as most of the personal die cutting machines can safely cut materials up to approx. 1/8″ thick.

  • Gena

    I am seriously shopping for a die cutter. Which one works best with leather or faux leather like the vinyl fabrics. Also, I would like one that will accept paper, leather or vinyl at least 15″ wide

  • Hi Gena, The Sizzix Big Shot and Big Shot Pro machines will cut thin leather and vinly fabrics with their steel rule Bigz dies, however, if you are looking for a machine that will cut materials at least 15″ wide, I would suggest you look for an industrial machine as we carry personal die cutting machines of which a select few will cut up to 12″ but only one of these will cut leather. I wish you luck in finding what you need!

  • Kim

    I am a bit lost in the world of machines. I already have an electronic cutter, so that’s not an issue. I am looking for the most versatile of the machines. I definitely want to be able to emboss. I would like to be able to use the widest range of embossing folders, etc. and it would be nice to have the ability to cut if needed. Am I best with the big shot, Grand Calibur, Cuttlebug, or texture boutique?

  • If you want versatility in using a variety of manufacturer dies and embossing folders then I recommend the Sizzix Big Shot. It is a durable machine, stable, and will cut a variety of materials with various dies. Most manufacturer dies and embossing folders will work in this machine. The only dies that we carry that will not work in the Big Shot are Spellbinders Grand (and there are even a few of those that will) and Bigz Pro dies. I have used (and owned) a lot of different machines and the Big Shot is my favorite, as it is so reliable in great cutting and embossing, AND the sandwich formulas for different dies and embossing are shown right on the platform to help alleviate guesswork! It is also easy to take to crops and you can find replacements mats just about anywhere, including our website! One tip-The Sizzix Texture Boutique will emboss only. It will not cut any manufacturer dies, so it is not a versatile machine.

  • Michele

    I am wanting to get my daughter one of these paper cutters for Christmas. She is a first grade teacher and cuts paper all week long! Bulletin board, projects, lessons, centers, always cutting! I’m just not sure which to get! Would love to be able to cut sheets of paper one time and sizes up to 8 1/2 x 11. She also laminates quite a bit and then cuts. Any suggestions?

  • Getting a die cutting machine really depends on personal preference and what the machine will be used for. A lot of teachers prefer electronic machines as they are able to adjust the image sizes out of one image. The Silhouette Cameo is probably the most popular as it will cut any font that is downloaded onto the computer, and it connects directly to the computer. It does not require cartridges, so you don’t have to worry about storage space. It has a 12 x 12 cutting mat and will cut a variety of materials. It will cut vinyl up to 10′ long. You can find more details on the item description on our website.

  • Ron

    I’m looking to letter emboss on fabrics sucha as leather and velvet. Which machine would u recommend?

  • Since we specialize in paper crafting supplies, we are no experts as to materials that will emboss on leather and velvet or other fabrics, as fabrics normally don’t hold impressions well unless used with an interfacing. Leather will hold impressions better, but unless it is thin enough to emboss with an embossing folder, then we can’t suggest any other options. Sorry!

  • I think the Sizzix Eclips Shape Cutting Machine is going to help me a lot. Are there any other die cutting machines or stansen (punching) for heavy products? Most of the machines mentioned here are for light and small work.

  • If you are needing heavier materials cut, you may want to look at manual die cutting machines and Steel Rule dies such as Sizzix Big Shot Machine and Sizzix Bigz dies, as they are designed to cut thicker materials such as leather, chipboard, felt, thin metals, etc.

  • Rachel

    I have the old red sizzix machine, and I was wondering if it can do embossing as well as die cutting. I’ve never had trouble using the thicker dies, but when the sizzlits came out, they were supposed to work in this machine. I say, supposed to because they didn’t work very well. I guess what I’d really like to know is whether or not I need different parts for a machine I’ve had for a very long time, or do I go ahead and purchase something new?

  • Thank you for your comments! I know that people do use embossing folders and Sizzlits in the Sizzix Original Press, but unfortunately, I do not have any personal experience with this machine to know the adapters to recommend. I do know that there are adapters needed to use these items You may be able to find what you need on our website under Sizzix Accessories.

  • Leslie

    I create huge bulletin boards every month. I need a due cut to cut letters ranging from 6″ to 1″, but lots of them! Do I have to feed them in one page at a time? I saw the sticky board.. Can the Cameo cut several pages at a time?

  • Hi Leslie, Unfortunately no, the Cameo can not cut several pages at a time unless you had a 24″ mat which would allow 2 sheets of 12 x 12″ paper. You would need to feed the paper through the machine one sheet(s) at a time, however, you can fill the sheet with letters of various sizes so it will cut multiple letters. Any personal electronic die cutting machine will only cut one sheet at a time. Some manual machines allow more than one sheet, but you are then limited to the die size, so it sounds like an electronic machine is best for you.

  • gail

    Question, i’m trying to cut foam board letters, about 1/4 ” thick will any of these machines do this?

  • Meri

    I bought a Cricut Mini, thinking I could use my own art to cut images. Surprise!! The information is deceiving when it says “It works with Windows or Mac and connects right to the computer ……. Very nice option if you don’t want the cartridges and need something nice and easy scrapbook tool right from the computer.” I didn’t realize, at the time, that it did connect to my computer but I had to buy the images from Provo Craft. Currently, I am looking for a machine that I can actually use some of my own designs to cut, as well as the varied cut files available on the internet. Is there any one machine that you would recommend for under $400?

  • The Vintaj advertises that it embosses metal for jewelry making. I have a Big Shot. Can I accomplish the metal embossing using the Vintaj embossing and blanks on the Big Shot?

  • We have been told from Sizzix that the Vintaj and Big Shot are basically the same machine, so their functions should be the same. If you are not sure, it is best to contact Sizzix customer service directly, as they know the capacity of both machines.

  • Definitely the Silhouette Cameo! You will also need to purchase their Designer Studio Software which is sold separately, which will enable you to cut images you designed in your illustrator software. You may want to contact Silhouette America to verify if the software you are using to create your images will work with their software before purchasing, but it is the best machine we have found so far for what you are wanting to do.

  • 1/4″ thick is pretty thick. Unfortunately, I will have to suggest you contact the individual manufacturer’s customer service directly as they are better able to determine if their machine will work for your needs.

  • Heather

    So if the silhouette can cut up to 10′ long, where do you find a mat that large or how do you go about cutting something large? All I have seen is mats that are up to 24″ long.

  • To cut material with the Silhouette machines up to 10′ long, the material needs to have a backing, such as adhesive vinyl. You will need to be sure that your blade is set so as to not cut through the backing.

  • spencer

    I want to make my own stickers. Do i need a separate color printer? Which machine would you recommend?

    thank you

  • It would be best to have a color printer, as die cutting machines technically do not print. Some have accessories which allow pens or markers for a drawing feature, but for printing stickers, a printer would be best.

  • Tilly

    Hi from the UK!
    I’m wanting a relatively simple die cutting/embossing machine for paper, light fabric and card. I’d prefer something which doesn’t have to be used with a computer. My daughter and I make our own family cards and fabric gifts. I’d be very grateful for any advice. Thanks!

  • I personally recommend the Sizzix Big Shot machine as it is compatible with most manufacturer dies and embossing folders. It is a manual machine and user friendly. You will need to purchase dies and embossing folders separately, but the electronic machines do not emboss, they generally only cut. The Big Shot will cut a variety of materials including fabric, however, for some materials I recommend using the Sizzix Bigz dies as they are steel rule dies and have a better cutting surface. You can read more about this machine on our website along with Sizzix dies, accessories and various other products!

  • Elaine

    I have the epic 6 but need new cutting base light grey, do you know if I can get these or do any of the other machines plates fit?

  • Sue H

    Hi, Cut@Home. Wonderful information! Can you specifically compare and contrast between the Big Shot and the Grand Calibur? I currently have the Cuttlebug, which has worked just fine, mostly. I would like to cut with larger dies, so am thinking about the Grand Calibur. I can’t justify splurging on the Big Shot Pro, but I haven’t seen much discussion of the Grand Calibur. However, it seems like so many people really like the Big Shot, too. Any help is greatly appreciated!

  • Unfortunately, we know of no other machine’s plates that will fit the Epic 6 and it is no longer in production. It was replaced with the Evolution Machine by Lifestyle Crafts which was bought out by We R Memory Keepers. You may try contacting them to see if they are producing accessories for the Epic 6 or try Ebay.

  • Thank you for your comments Sue! Depending on the size of dies you wish to use will determine which machine will be best for you. If you are planning on using mainly larger wafer thin dies then the Grand Calibur will work, however, if you wish to use larger steel rule dies, which are much thicker, then you will need to look into the Big Shot Pro, as steel rule dies will not work with the Grand Calibur.
    The Big Shot Pro will enable you to use pretty much any other manufacturer dies on the market. To use wafer thin dies and embossing folders with the Pro, you will need to purchase the 657435 Big Shot Pro Solo Platform, Shim & Wafer Thin Die Adapter separately.
    Both machines are great, but the Pro definitely is more versatile.

  • Elaine

    Thank you for replying, will check them out or buy a new machine.

  • I hope this will help you in determining what will work best for you!

  • Martha Murphy

    Hi, Thanks for the reviews!

    I like your “questions to answer” and would like to see a chart or check-list showing how each machine answers up to those questions. I rarely do scrapbooking or make cards but I do a wide variety of paper crafts and don’t like to be limited by the dies that are available, so the electronic models are sounding good to me right now.

    Right now I’m into making journals for Christmas giving using all sorts
    of “found” paper. I also love to make Christmas ornaments.

    I’ve been hand-embossing paper, so I have quite a few of the metal embossing stencils. Versatility is most important for me and I don’t need to carry the machine around much.

    Happy holidays!

  • Thanks Martha! We need to update this as there are so many more machines then when this post was written so many years ago! We will keep your suggestions in mind! Happy Scrappin!

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