Review (Giveaway!!): Silhouette Craft Cutter

27 Sep 2010

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UPDATE: The giveaway is now closed. Enjoy the review!

Some of you may remember last Summer, when I was busy exploring the Cricut cutter. While I liked the machine overall, its one big drawback (to me, anyway) was its reliance on premade "design cartridges." You couldn't create any original designs with it, you had to keep buying designs other people created.

So, when the nice folks at How Does She invited me to review the new Silhouette digital cutter, I was stoked. Because, you see, this machine lets you come up with your own designs and then cut them.

Today, I want to share my overall impressions of the Silhouette, and in the coming two weeks, I'll share some things I've made with it. Ooooh, there's a lot of possibility here…

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So, the basic set-up looks like this. The Silhouette connects to your computer. You install some image-making and cutter-controlling software on your computer (Mac or PC, by the way). (The USB cables and software are included with the unit.)

As with the Cricut, you lightly stick the material you want to cut to a plastic carrier sheet. The Silhouette can cut materials 8 1/2 x 11 or smaller. (Or, if you're cutting vinyl, you can cut up to 8 1/2 x 40.)

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The software is pretty easy to use – the unit comes with several hours of video instruction, but since I'm a hands-on learner, I just banged around and tried stuff instead. And I was able to figure out the basics pretty easily.

You can use the software to build your own original designs, or you can consult the built-in library of simple shapes. (And there are lots more you can purchase in the Silhouette store – as digital downloads or CDs.)

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What's especially awesome is, you can take these library shapes (including envelopes and boxes) and endlessly combine and manipulate them. So even if you have no drawing skills, you can still make original art.

I took the simple leaf from the library shot up above, repeated and moved it, and welded it to a basic circle to make this shape. Easy peasy. Once you have your design, a couple mouse clicks sends it to the cutter.

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As if that weren't enough, you can take those library silhouettes, and in many cases, deconstruct them so you can cut different sections out of different papers.

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But let me show you where the Silhouette really excels. Another big problem I had with the Cricut was in figuring out where, exactly, it was going to cut my design. If I had a small piece of paper, it was trial and error to feed it into that machine and land the cut in the right place.

With the Silhouette, I get to see the cutting mat and paper right on my computer screen. I can position my designs exactly where I need to, and size them to fit my paper. I can even run a sheet of paper through the cutter several times, cutting a different design out of it each time. Brilliantly useful.

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Just to widen the scope a little, I'll tell you that the Silhouette can also draw your designs - here's an accessory set of colored ballpoint-style pens.

The machine is designed to cut paper and card stock, adhesive vinyl, and iron-on transfer material. Silhouette claims that cutting anything else could damage the machine – but if you have some other material you're interested in cutting, you can mail them a sample and they'll test it for you.

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In addition, the Silhouette will cut any True Type font on your computer! You can change the size, character spacing, and line spacing before cutting.

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…So I was able to create this fancy border by using a character from a dingbat font and then repeating and joining it. I'm all excited because I have a number of Christmas dingbat fonts. Christmas zine, anyone?

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So, right - liking the Silhouette! (You can get more info on it over here.) And, thanks to Silhouette, I have two cool things for you…

First, the special offer:

Silhouette is running two bloggy specials, in case you've been reading this and thinking "Christmas Gift." If you order a machine through their website and use our special discount code, POD, you can score:

  • $50 off the Silhouette Craft Cutter (which comes with a cutting blade and two cutting mats)
  • A roll of flocked white adhesive vinyl
  • A roll of light blue smooth heat transfer material
  • A roll of yellow flocked heat transfer material
  • A Home Décor design CD (Valued at $50)
  • A $10 Gift Card to the Silhouette Download Store

All of this for $249.99. which is a savings of $137.97. You can get this deal from September 23 - 30. (Hurry!)

From October 1 - 4, if you order a machine with the POD discount code, you can get:

  • $50 off the Silhouette
  • 2 rolls of heat transfer material
  • A $10 Gift Card to the Silhouette Download Store

All that for $249.99, which is a savings of $79.98.

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And then, the Giveaway!

The Silhouette folks have also offered me one of these dandy machines to give away here! (Quite possibly, the most stellar thing I've ever been able to give away on this blog.)

To enter your name, take a look at the project possibilities on this site and leave a comment here, telling me which is your favorite. You have until midnight on Thursday, September 30th to enter. Good Luck!

(Sorry, international readers. This giveaway is US only.)

UPDATE: The giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to Kelli Jones, our winner!

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Comments

The first thing I would make with the Silhouette would be baby announcements. I can just picture how unique and special they'd be! Beyond that, I'd be looking at Christmas presents. The glass etching is beyond fantastic and the vinyl decor would be a big hit.


The temporary tatoos!! I have a great idea for using them as part of a fundraising activity for cancer research. This is a great review resource - I had some reluctance about investing in it, since I did not like the Cricut for my purposes, but this looks terrific. Thanks!


Thanks for the opportunity to win!! I found you thru How Does She? and I cannot wait to take a look around your blog. . . seems right up my alley. I want to win one of these machines, download the cute bird outlines (love that you do not need cartridges) and then cut those birdies out of vinyl and put them on the door frames, window sills, and base boards of my home. They would make me smile every time I walked by.


I'm so excited about the temporary tattoos! I'll be the coolest aunt EVER! :)


Oh holy cow! i'm loving the etched glass fishbowl! So cute and not cutesy at the same time. And I have to say the vinyl on the front door is pretty great too.


I've been wanting one of these - and only this exact machine - for the same reason you mentioned -> being able to create my own designs rather than rely on premade stuff. I can see myself using this mostly for hybrid scrap albums, esp the covers, but I'm sure I would come up with all kinds of other excuses to play with it!! Thanks for the chance to win... (And just a totally unrelated sidenote - I finally got myself a cheap mp3 player so I can listen to podcasts when I walk. The first one I tried was yours ... and I'm hooked! It made the walk go soooo fast - and I got a ton of ideas at the same time. So thanks .. .and keep em coming!! :)


I loved the vinyl on the tile. I can see using this idea for a bridal shower I'm throwing, not to mention all the other cool ideas.


I loved the vinyl on the tile. I can see using this idea for a bridal shower I'm throwing, not to mention all the other cool ideas.


I am dying to have one of these! I imagine that making a set of beautifully cut cards to give as Christmas gifts would be amazing.


Wow - I love the vinyl design "Welcome" on the front door. Maybe it's the color palette or the way it's set up with the wreath, but that's a striking image, and a great look. What a fun way to customize your home!


I am dying to have one of these! I imagine that making a set of beautifully cut cards to give as Christmas gifts would be amazing.


While I loved the cards, the apparel projects were off the charts! WOW. It would be so very cool to be able to use this to make stuff for the grandkids for Christmas. ~chris


While I loved the cards, the apparel projects were off the charts! WOW. It would be so very cool to be able to use this to make stuff for the grandkids for Christmas. ~chris


I'd love love love to win this! I'm getting married in December and I'd be able to do so much with this for the wedding. I'd especially like to use the adhesive vinyl to decorate the hotel vases - which would save time and money. And I could use it for the table settings, decorating the church pews, use it for the mass booklets ... I'd really love one!


I'd love love love to win this! I'm getting married in December and I'd be able to do so much with this for the wedding. I'd especially like to use the adhesive vinyl to decorate the hotel vases - which would save time and money. And I could use it for the table settings, decorating the church pews, use it for the mass booklets ... I'd really love one!


Somehow, I totally missed this. I don't think I've ever heard of this machine. I do have the Cricut, but after reading the review I admit I didn't think about self created designs. That's basically awesome that the Sillouette allows you to do this! Now to figure out what to do...keep up w/ the Cricut or sell it and buy something new. LOL


So I always kind of wanted a Cricut, but had the same hang-ups about purchasing. But this, this I need! So I wonder, will it cut fabric? Or fabric that has been attached to fusible web? I LOVE the option for vinyl wall decor. I think I would probably go a little nuts creating things for the walls of my home. Oh, and of course heat transfers! I'd be ironing onto all sorts of fabric projects! I love that you can download new images, instead of only being able to buy CD's or cartridges. It sounds like a great product!


heat transfers! i'd really like to try those, sounds super cool. thanks for the chance to win this amazing giveaway!


Oh I would love to have one of these babies! I would totally make some holiday decor with the vinyl


I just love the idea of the Silhouette! I have a cricut, but like you said, the cartridge thing is really annoying. I have purchased Make The Cut software for the cricut, which is awesome, but I really really think the Silhouette has it beat any day!
I would love to start with the fabric projects, like making my kiddos some custom shirts :)


Will do, Tracy - just awaiting an email.


Luv the vinyl letters for Home Decor! "Live, Laugh, Love" phrase to put on the wall in my home.


Diane, I would love it if you could post any info you find out about Illustrator/Mac compatibility. On their site they mention nothing about MAC's just PC's but in your photos you are clearly hooked up to the MAC laptop ;0)


This machine is AWESOME!! It does evereything. I would make my girls some totally cute t-shirts and with the holidays coming up.... it makes my head spin thinking of everything I could do with it!


I love the glass etching, so cute! I also think the heat transfer is really cool.


i love the aloha card and the cupcake liners. the etching glass is really interesting, but it would probably be too hard to figure out :)


Wow! The giveaway blog posts do get the most comments. :) I make leather books and leather wallets and would use this amazing Silhouette machine to create designs to add to my eco friendly journal covers. The possibilities look endless here! Thanks for sharing all of the tips, the super user-friendly tutorial and the coupon codes! I will pass these on to my scrap booking friends. Cheers. --Megan


Oh, the possibilities! Holiday crafts, gifts, cards - what WOULDN'T I do?


Oh, the possibilities! Holiday crafts, gifts, cards - what WOULDN'T I do?


I love the idea of the vinyl for etched glass. I've always wanted to do that since my 6th grade art class. I wonder if you can use your own artwork, like stuff you've drawn in illustrator? This is coolio.


Well what to start with, vinyl wall stuff, heat transfers, etching, the list goes on!


I love the idea of the vinyl for etched glass. I've always wanted to do that since my 6th grade art class. I wonder if you can use your own artwork, like stuff you've drawn in illustrator? This is coolio.


Oh, I'm dying to get my hands on this machine! I would be making T shirts like crazy AND plastering awesome vinyl designs on all my walls!

Corinna


I was given a cricut for Christmas 2 years ago and have accumulated about 15 cartidges trying to find images that match what I want to create. I get so frusterated when I cannot find what I need. I had no idea this machine was so customizable! My favorite projects that it does (based just on their website) is the custom apparel. Clothes look so generic lately! I'd love to be able to change up some onsies for my son!


Oh, absolutely want! My sister-in-law has a cricut and this looks way better to me... The vinyl decals are something I've wanted for a long time, and the thought of getting to do something that would specifically be my design for my bedroom would be awesome. Paper crafts are also favorites of mine, doing something with my logo for my business would even be neato. Thanks for the opportunity :)


Branding, branding, branding.
I'd use the machine to make all sorts of items for my new biz - stickers, pie boxes, signage, packaging, the works.


I would just love to win one of these machines it is amasing on all of the things it can do, but if i where to win one the first thing I would just go crazy on making is vinyl. I LOVE IT.. it is one of my favorite things and it would be great to make it your own.

thank you for having this giveaway.


I would just love to win one of these machines it is amasing on all of the things it can do, but if i where to win one the first thing I would just go crazy on making is vinyl. I LOVE IT.. it is one of my favorite things and it would be great to make it your own.

thank you for having this giveaway.


Oh I have lusted over this machine...I am grandbaby obsessed and there are just so many tutus and hairclips one can make. Its time to make some adorable boys onesies and t-shirts. With this machine I can do anything!


The project possibilities are almost endless but my first one would be vinyl!!!!


The project possibilities are almost endless but my first one would be vinyl!!!!


I love the heat transfer and glass etching capabilities. And I love that it hooks right up to the computer!

tiffer25@hotmail.com


Oh my God! If I don't win this, I'll have to go buy it. I love the vinyl wall decor you can make with it. Also love the candle holder and bookbag/purse pictured on the front of the site. This is so neat!


I love the heat transfer and glass etching capabilities. And I love that it hooks right up to the computer!

tiffer25@hotmail.com


Love all of it!! I think I would decorate and label like a mad woman :) I love the freezer paper possibilities too! and I am glad it works well on a Mac


The vinyl is amazing!


I want to make some adorable shirts for my kiddos!


I would decorate t-shirts. I love that you can create your own design.


pick me pick me! I need one of these!!!! so many great projects in mind, love the wall vinyl letters!!!


My favorite is the vinyl WELCOME - can't wait to add one to my front door.


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