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Review (Giveaway!!): Silhouette Craft Cutter
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.
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…
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.)
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
…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?
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.
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!