Can you cut straight? Even with a penciled line drawn against a ruler, my shapes turn out looking like they’ve been nibbled by an ant.
When I started card-making 10 years ago, I wanted to layer ink-stamped images onto pretty, shiny card and pass it off as a professional greeting.
But the finished product always ended up resembling something produced by a pre-schooler.
But then I discovered the Cuttlebug!
I went from irritated, wannabe crafter, to confident, happy card maker who actually sells on Ebay!
Whaoo! People actually wanted to part with their hard-earned cash to purchase one of my glittery creations and give me positive feedback.
It made me feel like the tallest giraffe in the zoo.
And it was all thanks to this wonderful invention by Provo Craft.
As I had already spent a fortune on craft tools that I never ended up using, one year I asked people to give me money for my birthday instead of a gift. That way I could try the Provocraft Cuttlebug and if I didn’t like it, I needed feel so guilty about it becoming a white elephant.
But I was not disappointed and my precious little tool is certainly not gathering dust in any corners of my house. Since that time of purchasing it 3 years ago, this little green ‘handbag’ has become my best buddy and certainly my favourite item in my craft room.
Previously to obtaining this amazing die-cutting and embossing machine, I had used trimmers, but they quickly became blunt, leaving frayed edges on my pieces of card.
Guillotines gave a sharper cut, but it was impossible to make small shapes with them because the paper shifts. They are just not made for the job.
I wanted squares of all sizes. I wanted scalloped-edged rectangles. I wanted professional looking labels,
I needed perfect circles to sit on top of larger perfect circles. I desired shapes that had holes in the middle so that I could use them as dainty picture frames for my scrapbook pages.
Most of all, I craved to be able to present my friends and loved ones with embossed envelopes – patterns and lovely textures that made my stationery stand out from the rest.
I takes less than 50 seconds to cut out a shape and embossing is even quicker!
My hands have a tendency to go stiff if I have to crank handles, but this tool gives me no bother.
There is a point when turning the handle that it becomes a little stiff, but it loosens up again quickly as you keep turning to complete the cut.
It is so simple to use that even a child (I recommend about 11+ for saftey) can have fun with it. I can’t begin to tell you how delighted my 9 year old daughter was when under my supervision, she created her first scalloped square to use a a birthday party invite. To her, it was like she’d made a masterpiece and it looked so pretty!
Pros and Cons
So here are the pros and cons of the Provo Craft Cuttlebug die-cutting and embossing machine.
*Great value for money as you can create thousands of different designs.
*It is portable and lightweight.
*It folds up small for easy storage. The sides fold up so it doesn’t take up much room.
*It is very easy to use and the instruction booklet makes sense.
It produces shapes and textured paper, card, foil & acetate very quickly.
*Cutting dies from other leading brands can be used with it, including Spellbinders, Nellie Snellen, Tim Holtz, Scissix.
*Easy to turn handle even for those with weak or painful wrists
*Suction cups at the base of the machine prevents it from sliding about during use.
*Beautiful design and looks great on your table.
*It doesn’t accommodate sheets of A4 paper nor A5 envelopes. (A5 envelopes are made slightly bigger than A5 card) A5 card fits well and so does DL size envelopes and all A6 stationery.
This is not too much of a problem as most greeting cards contain shaped layers that are smaller than A4, so unless you want to make an extra-large card, it won’t matter. Similarly, scrapbook pages look more presentable when divided into 4 sections and if you did desire to place a single photograph on a whole 12 x 12 sheet, you can layer it up with smaller pieces of card that will fit inside the Cuttlebug.
But it would not be right for me to not warn you of this if you were planning on cutting out very large shapes.
*The suction cups do not work on soft material surfaces such as tablecloths and carpet. But they work well on most table top surfaces such as plastic, wood, glass, lino, formica & marble.
*The final con is the bending B plate. Be assured, this happens to every user and all crafters I know are not really bothered about it as you can adapt accordingly. There are three perspex blocks used as a sandwich that enter the machine with your die and come out again at the other end with your cut shape.
It comes with full instructions, but you soon get used to remembering that for cutting shapes you need a thick A plate, followed by a thinner C plate, then your die with your card, then lastly your B plate. This top B plate soon becomes bent with regular use (I’ve been using mine regularly for 3 years and it has never cracked nor broken. Therefore this is only an aesthetic problem because all crafters get round this by turning it over each time they use it – thus preventing it from mis-shaping into a complete curve.
Do you want to cheat?
Take some old shop-bought greeting cards and make them into beautiful new toppers.
Just look at what you can produce, bent B plates or not:
I would never, ever swap my Cuttlebug for a different die cutting tool, as I love it so much and have had hours of fun producing scrapbook pages and handmade cards that I’m very proud of.
You can obtain your own Cuttlebug companion here:
Be warned – once you start using it, you will not want to share it with another crafter – in the same way that you would never want to share your husband. Yes, this tool will bring out your possessive side and you’ll be telling them to get their own!
If you have any question, please do not hesitate to ask and I will be pleased to help.