Gwen with you on the blog today, I hope you are well. I get asked all of the time about what I would recommend to anyone looking at getting an electronic die cutting machine for the first time. There is a lot of info out there and it can be overwhelming, so, today I thought I’d share my personal recommendations for starting out; what you DO and don’t need.
Before I get to my 5 essentials, you will want to be sure to grab this FREE digital design, direct from my store… FREE designs are perfect for beginners and it will give you a file to have a play with once you get your machine.
Ok… so now here are my 5 essentials, get these and you’re ready to get creating!
First things first, you need a cutting machine!
My recommendation will always be a Silhouette and in particular a Cameo. I personally cut with a Cameo 3 however there is a new model recently released – Cameo 4. I haven’t heard enough reviews at this stage to confidently recommend the Cameo 4, but I’d definitely recommend the Cameo 3. You can see the Cameo 3 features here. I’ve found specifications for the Cameo 4 here. You will want to have a think about the types of projects you will be working on to make your choice. Currently, Cameo 3 is doing a stellar job of meeting the needs of CUT to YOU and myself.
Also, you will need a computer of some sort as well as the FREE Silhouette Studio Software which you can download here. A great idea is to download the software before you even buy a machine and have a play. Check out the features and see if its right for you.
You can also go with a Cricut cutting machine, another very popular choice. I don’t personally recommend one because I’ve never used one, I have only ever used the Silhouette. The remaining items on this list refer to the Silhouette machine but rest assured there will be Cricut versions of these supplies as well that are easy accessible.
Next, cutting mats. Now if you are under warranty, you should not use anything but genuine Silhouette parts. Doing so will void your warranty! Once you are out of warranty, I’d recommend the Universal Crafts 12 x 12 inch sticky Cutting Mats. Currently, these are $6.99 compared to the Silhouette mats at $17.99, so a great cost-saving especially if you are cutting a lot like I do!
Next, blades. Now, this is tricky because I’m still on the fence about the auto blade. Cameo 3 and 4 now work with an automatically adjusting blade called the Autoblade (Side note! **The Cameo 4 auto blade is different to the Cameo 3 auto blade) and in theory, it’s great in that you don’t have to adjust the blade to different settings for your different materials. My experience though is that it is fickle… it’s very sensitive and I have had a couple last only a few weeks! I pretty much only cut on white card so I don’t need to adjust blade settings much at all, so, I’m personally thinking of switching back to the Premium blade. The Auto blade is $17.99 and the Premium Blade $26.99 but the Premium blade does last 3 times as long as the regular blade. Deep cutting and fabric blades are also available, you don’t need these to start… but hey, if you are feeling adventurous go for it!
Next up.. Accessories. The only one I think you 100% need is the scraper. You can buy them individually or as part of a tool kit. The weeding tools are handy if you are planning on cutting vinyl but if your machine is just for papercraft, you absolutely don’t need them. The scraper, on the other hand, is a must-have to help get your files off that sticky mat.
And lucky last cardstock… I have been using American Crafts basic cardstock but I am considering changing over to their new Precision option once I’m out of my current stock. I am getting some issues with the paper splitting as I pull it off my cutting mat and I’ve heard this will fix that. You can see more about that here. I’ll update with my thoughts once I’ve had a chance to fully trial the Precision card. Remember too you can cut on any pattern paper as well which is always a really nice effect. My favourite pattern paper to use are by Cocoa Vanilla Studio and Pink Fresh Studio – both beautiful quality and nice and thick.
And that’s it… the 5 things you need to start cutting your own digital cut files.
OK… so not quite it… I get so so many questions about the glue I use when working with the files so I’ve added here my two favourites. The first is the Scotch Quick Dry Tacky Glue. I actually take mine out of the bottle it comes in and put it into a ‘Fine Liner’ Bottle (make sure you get the Yellow one, not the Blue one). The second one is Nuvo Delux Adhesive. I think I prefer the Nuvo now to the Scotch. I did a review on my YouTube channel comparing the two which you can watch here:
If you’d like to learn more about backing cut files, watch my Tutorial playlist on YouTube here:
Now, that really is it creatives! The six things you NEED when working with cut files 🙂
Until next time,