Best die cutting machine for beginners

best die cutting machine for beginners
Looking for the best die cutting machine for beginners? This article compares the two most popular machines: the Cricut Explore Air 2 and the Silhouette Cameo 3. They use blades and markers to create amazing custom vinyl stickers, t-shirts & home decors, cards and other really cool things. The tedious job of cutting shapes and patterns becomes a lot more fun, easier, and faster with the aid of these beautiful machines.

 

The best die cutting machine for beginners

Materials
+100 materials incl. vinyl, cardstock, fabric…
+100 materials incl. vinyl, cardstock, fabric…
Cut up to
2mm deep
2mm deep
Max cutting size
12 in. x 24 in. on a cutting mat
12 in. x 24 in. on a cutting mat
12 in. x 10 ft. with a lined media
Matless cutting capability
No
Yes
Price
$224.99
$195.99
Built-in bluetooth
Yes
Yes
USB port
Yes
Yes
Customer rating
4.2 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
Learning curve
Can be set up to print and cut within an hour
Might require hours or more
Little support from website and customer service

 

Both the Cricut Explore Air 2 and the Silhouette Cameo 3 are powerful machines.

They can cut 100+ materials including paper, cardstock, vinyl, faux leather, and bonded fabric…up to 2mm thick with high precision. Many beautiful iron-on T-shirts, pop-up cards, spectacular stencils, and amazing leatherwork … are created through die cutting, hence the limit is your imagination. A lot of Etsy sellers and small business owners consider them must-have equipments due to their reasonable pricing, durability and flexibility.

The Cricut Explore measures 24 x 9.5 x 9.5 inches so it will definitely fit nicely on your crafting table. The Cameo is slightly smaller and lighter. They both come with built-in bluetooth option, making wireless cutting a breeze. USB cables are also included if you prefer a more traditional connection.

The Silhouette Cameo 3 boasts its matless cutting capability while with the Cricut, you will need to use their mats in order to cut materials. The largest mat the Cricut offers is 12 x 24’’, while with the Silhouette you can cut up to 12’’ in wide and 10 feet in length. If you want to do larger projects, the Cameo 3 might be the better option.

What really sets them apart is the software solution each brand has to offer.

Cricut’s software Design Space is simple to use. Since Cricut employs a free cloud-based design platform, it is possible to create designs on and have them synced across multiple computers and iOS devices. There are also many tutorials on the Cricut website and their Youtube channel to get you started quickly. Cricut Access, a subscription based membership starting from $6.99/month, gives you access to more than 400 beautiful fonts and over 30000 cut-ready images. The only downside is you will need a reliable internet connection to get any cutting done from your laptop, but the offline feature is available on the iOS app for pre-downloaded designs.

The Silhouette, on the other hand, comes with the Silhouette Studio software which can be downloaded onto your computer; this means you can prepare, print and cut your artworks without having to go online. Moreover, the Silhouette’s library Silhouette Cloud allows you to upload your own designs and designs you have purchased online so they are accessible through other devices. There are more than 130000 designs on their Design Store that can be bought individually or on a subscription plan. However, the learning curve is steep. Silhouette does not offer great tutorials, so be prepared to read a lot of how-to articles and watch many Youtube videos in the beginning. Unless you are familiar with Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop, you will need to dedicate hours, if not weeks, to get used to its software. To be fair though, Silhouette Studio is a lot of fun once you’re comfortable. It is also more advanced than the Cricut’s Design Space so you can do way more complicated tasks with it. In other words, beginners might find the Silhouette Cameo intimidating at first, but if they’re willing to put in some effort, the results are quite amazing.

Conclusion:

The best die cutting machine for beginners is the Cricut Explore Air 2. The Cricut’s software is a lot simpler and more intuitive than the Silhouette Cameo 3’s. Both machines will do a great job though, and in the long run, they can help you save a lot of money. Whichever machine you use, do not let frustration stop you from creating amazing things for yourself, your friends, and family. After all, everything is better with a personal touch.

Below are a some free SVG files you could use to get started right away:

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