Die-cutting isn't just for professionals anymore. "Pro-sumer" personal electronic cutting machines, used for years by avid scrapbookers, are small, affordable, and easy to use. And when matched up with stencil paper, adhesive vinyl, or fabric, these machines can cut shapes and patterns to create impressively polished home projects and gifts for cheap.
What to Buy
Two popular brands and models that dominate the die-cut market are the Cricut Expression 2 and Silhouette Cameo. Machines from either manufacturer run between $200-$300, but each has their pros and cons. (For a great review, Brittany of 32 Turns compares the two machines).
Personal electronic cutting machines like the Cricut Expression 2 can be used to make a number of accessories, such as customized phone cases.
In a nutshell, the Cricut Expression 2 can handle larger projects (as tall as 24") but requires you to buy and use Cricut's cartridges, which are essentially disks with cutting patterns and shapes pre-loaded onto them. The Silhouette Cameo is smaller, but can cut custom shapes that users design themselves in the included software, which can import art from editing software like Adobe Illustrator. Before investing in either die-cut machine, read reviews online to discover which model is right for you and your skill level.
10 Die-Cut DIY Home Projects:
- Polka-Dot "Wallpaper" Walls, Sarah Hearts
- A Custom-Patterned Record Player (or anything else), Shrimp Salad Circus
- Geometric Placemats, Cricut
- Etched Glassware, Whimsey Box
- Bar Bottle Labels, Lovely Indeed
- West-Elm Inspired Gold Glasses, Sarah Hearts
- Vinyl House Numbers, Homebody Holly
- Numbered Stairs, House to Home
- Labeled Bathroom Dispensers, Keep Calm and Decorate
(Images: As linked above; Provo Craft & Novelty, Inc/Cricut)