Time never stops, and so does Technology! After 100s of years of manual fine sewing, paper cutting, scrapbook making, home decorating, gluing, sticking, applying, etc, we seem to be facing digitalisation era. It reached even this traditionalists’ land of memories and reminiscence. If before Arts and crafts were 100% reliant on the capacity and effectiveness of human memory, skills and available time and limited by those, we now have more opportunities, but at the same time, new limitations, such as numerous new words, methods and techy terms, which need to be made sense of. Let’s dive in!
In this article we are going to talk about SVG files – short for scalable vector graphic file – which is a standard file type used for rendering two-dimensional images on the internet. With a little bit of help from us you will get around them and start using them in your creative projects in no time!
Introducing a digital die Cricut or Cameo cutting machine
Die cutting machines or card making machines are electronically-powered machines that cut shapes or draws designs out of/on paper, cardboard stock, fabric, film, and other materials, using software from your PC, smartphone or tablet. Die-cutter uses a sharp steel blade shaped into a particular shape. Using it you create a smooth, crisp edge with a specific, consistent finish. There are almost no limits to the possible shapes you can have, since the cut form or ‘die’ is specifically customised for each job.
Most people who die cut fairly often, have personal die cutting machines that come in various sizes and can be the size of a toaster oven, or totally portable and easy to install on your desk. Some machines are more popular than the others, for example, Cricut Explore Air family, Silhouette Cameo line, and the Brother ScanNCut models, and they can have slight variation in operating method and functions, but they all offer a benefit of precision which is highly valued by artists and crafters alike. You can google around for an overview of different styles so you can choose the right machine for your projects.
These machines will save a great deal of time and effort when need to cut out shapes, so they are universally loved in crafting community.
Home printer is somewhat similar to a die cutting machines in that sense that can pick or make a cut design and send it to machine, cutting machine work with all sorts of materials, such as fabrics, films and cardboard. And, of course, paper, but you are not limited to the latter.
Some of the cutting machines have attractive extra features, such as a pen caddy, so if you make a good hand drawing or a piece of calligraphy, you can load a special pen in the slot and have the die cutting machine will re-produce it in ink on the material of your choice.
And of course you don’t have to make a choice between drawing and cutting because some of the flagman ships, such as Cricut Drawing, can combine these two features in one. Imagine how much room for creativity it allows you, the creator, with options line full lace-cut and drawn on greeting cards and personalised memos with calligraphy for your scrapbook and mementos album!
Is electronic die cutting machine good for your project?
Suppose you are planning on developing your business and consider an electronic machine to set your brand apart and make it stand out.
So, when you are approaching a purchase that significant, you need to ask yourself will it be a good idea for your business [at this moment of time] [for types of projects you are planning to work on] to purchase a die cutting machine? Ask other crafters around you – some will say it was a great idea, and made their brand to stand out. Others say they would not make the same mistake again.
But in the end this is up to you, evaluating your short-term/long-terms plans and the scope of your projects, to determine if this device will advance your brand.
Is it economically sound to use a die cutting machine?
We can start really down-to-Earth here and take an example of a generally loved appliance which is a dishwasher. Say, you live by yourself, and have a limited number of dishes/cups/cutlery available. Would a dishwasher be a good idea for you? Probably not, and you be better of handwashing a couple of plates and a mug rather than sending your dishwasher for a full cycle to wash those. Even if you decided on accumulating more dirty dishes and only then pressing the button, it may leave you without crockery and cutlery for considerable time, and who knows what life may bring you in those hour and half? So, think about your production scale first, do you really need a die cutting machine with specifically shaped blades? Because it is less cost-effective if you are not using this technique that often and only need low volume.
Good news here! While you can produce big, bold and beautiful layouts for albums and posters, you can scale those down to a miniature “thank you” card! So pretty much, you can size your design, pattern, calligraphy or shape to any size you need.
What Materials Can You Use to Bring Your Designs to Life?
As we already said, you have almost endless ability here, with over 100 types of fabric, and can achieve very complex shapes, with multiple cuts and multiple layers, with kiss-cut technique which does not cut through both layers of adhesive vinyl designs for crockery, or can cut for wall décor, with high precisions shapes – or with creases. Everything is allowed.
Speaking about the structural strength, and what it exactly it means for you, the Cricut Maker machine can cut over 125 types of fabric and materials up to 2.4mm thick! Depending on how sharp or deep your dies are, you can deal with paper or cardstock up to 310GSM. This is a fairly thick cardstock, but anything up to that weight should easily be cut by your favourite dies.
As we already said, you have almost endless ability here, with over 100 types of fabric, and you can achieve very complex shapes, with multiple cuts and multiple layers, with kiss-cut technique which does not cut through both layers of adhesive vinyl designs for crockery, or you can cut for wall décor, with high precisions shapes – or with creases. Everything is allowed.
What are you planning to cut out?
If you are slightly worried about crafting a specific blade shape to cut out your scenes, fear not, scrapbooker! This function of the Brother ScanNCut machine is right in its name!
You might have a page of stamps or critters that coloured in, to liking, and want to assemble them in a specific way. You just need to scan it using the Brother machine, and once it is done, can look at the displayed digital scan of page and program the machine so it cuts images out exactly as would like it to.
Or say you want to cut out a really intricate orchid flower. If you don’t have a die cutter, You need to very carefully cut this out using a scalpel or a pair of scissors. While trying not to crease paper. This will be very time consuming, even more so, if you need several of those orchid flowers. But it is a piece of cake with a die cutter! Once you selected a shape, the cutting machine will cut out images with high precision and fantastic results!