August 10, 2010

The Silhouette

I've briefly mentioned my Silhouette Digital Craft Cutter in some recent blog posts. I have owned my machine for just about a year. I can't begin to tell you how much I love this machine. Lately, thanks to many blog giveaways the Silhouette has been getting a lot of well deserved publicity. Many bloggers have shown you their projects and told you all about their love of the machine. While I wish I had a Silhouette to give away, I don't. But I'm still going to tell you why I like the Silhouette. Of course, I will be comparing it the Cricut - a good machine in it's own right, but just not as good. So here are the reasons I love my machine:

The Silhouette comes with the easy-to-use software to cut Silhouette images exactly how you want to. You can resize them to precise measurements, edit them, weld two images together or just choose the exact location you want to cut. So while the Silhouette might seem to cost a little bit more initially ($202.11 today on - you don't have to pay extra for the Design Software.

Guess what else you can do in that Software?
Cut any font on your computer or one of the 100's of FREE ones available online.
Cut your own images, photos, or one that you download for FREE online.

For some of you this may mean nothing. For those of you with these programs you know what that means. Any vector image you have can now be played around with and cut. Silhouette does not actually provide the plug-in for this, but CraftRobo, the maker of the Silhouette machine does. You can download the plug-in here: Cutting Master 2 ROBO. It's super easy to use once you install it.

Silhouette has 100's of amazing images available to purchase online. They have a fabulous design team that seems to be constantly growing. And you don't need a cartridge to cut. You don't even need the SD card that the machine takes, unless you are away from your computer. I think the cartridges are what frustrated me the most about the Cricut. I know of few people that buy a cartridge for all or the images on it. So while the cost per image ($0.99) might not seem that much less than a Cricut Cartridge, the benefit of only purchasing images I WANT and WILL USE far outweighs the cost every time. Then consider these benefits:
  • No trips to the store for new images - they're all available online!
  • Your friends are more likely to buy the images they want you to cut for them.
  • It is WAY easier to justify $1 to your husband for something you will use. My husband would agree with that too.
  • They have a free image on their site every week!

It never ceases to amaze me what I can do with my Silhouette. I've cut paper, cardstock, vinyl, heat transfer vinyl, freezer paper (for stencils on fabric) and heat 'n bond for appliques. I'm sure I've cut other stuff, I just can't think of it right now. That's not all you can do though. Silhouette has images called Sketches that "draw" using pens in the machine instead of cutting. Then there's the Rhinestone templates that make applying the perfect rhinestone image a breeze. And there's also the Print and Cut images where you can print it on cardstock, or heat transfer paper then cut it to use in your layout, on fabric, or pretty much any other way you want. Go here to see what else it can do.

Not only is the Silhouette a smaller machine overall but I love the fact that it weights 4.5lbs. The Cricut weighs 9.5lbs and the Cricut Expression weighs 20lbs. Mine sits on my desk for the most part, but I could easily pop it in one of the drawers it's that small!

If you can't already tell: I love this machine. One friend of mine actually returned her recently purchased Cricut and bought a Silhouette instead. She agrees that it's just so much better. If you're looking for a more technical comparison, this chart might provide you with some insight.

BTW - Check out this awesome blinkie they have. Just in case your husband needs a little convincing:

*This post is purely my non-professional, yet experienced opinion. I am not being compensated in any way for my review of this product.