Are you a Cricut fan, fanatic, or just curious about Provo Craft’s Die Cut Machine? My review today isn’t about the machine itself, but an accessory called the Deep Cut Blade and Housing. If you need some background information click HERE for a previous review on the Cricut as well as some other die cutting machines.
So back to the Deep Cut Blade… love the name, it just implies mystery huh? No, in actuality this little accessory was created to enhance the versatility and provide more cutting options for both the “Baby” Cricut which many fans call the original die cut machine and for the larger machine called the Expression.
It doesn’t matter which version of the Cricut Die Cutting machine you own, the deep cut blade will work in all machines. The key factor in using this blade is making sure you have the correct housing. The original housing is green and the deep cut blade housing is blue. The configuration of the deep cut blade housing is made to work specifically with the new blade. In the picture below, I’ve got the deep cut blade housing already inserted into my machine.
Here is the exact information from the Cricut website about this little accessory:
Speed 3 (medium)
Pressure 5 (max)
Multi Cut 4Chipboard (0.059″/1.50mm thick) with the recommended settings of
Speed 3 (medium)
Pressure 4 (high)
Multi Cut 5Stamp (0.0415″/1.05mm thick) with the recommended settings of
Speed 3 (medium)
Multi Cut 1
Well, let me tell you that once I found this particular information on the Cricut website, it was very helpful. As a Cricut owner, I realize that the information given above for settings is really just a guideline, but its a good base to start with. I have to say that my settings vary based on all sorts of miscellaneous factors such as type of cardstock, or how sharp my blade is, or the type of cut I’m trying to do with my machine.
I also wanted to add that there is another significant difference between the original (green) housing and the new (blue) housing. The original has 6 different depth options all based on single digit increments (as in, your options are 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6). The new housing is set up to offer you depths based on 1/2 digit increments (as in: 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 3.5 all the way to 6), which should theoretically give you more control. In the picture below, I’ve set the depth at 1.5.
So, what I want to do is share some of the things that I played with after I obtained my housing and blade. The deep cut blade and housing has been on the market for about 5 or 6 months, give or take, but I had been unwilling to spend the full retail of $30. I was ecstatic to finally see it in my local craft store where I could use a coupon. I had managed just fine without it, but I was definitely looking forward to opening up my options and simplifying.
I had finally found a great source for what I considered the “perfect” acetate and I was anxious to see how it would cut with the deep blade. I wanted my own “ghost” shapes and letters, but on my terms. I have posted a picture of a new mat (not too sticky either) and my acetate sheet and the depths that I practiced with. I picked one shape, kept my pressure on MAX and speed on HI for each cut. My circle was cut at 1 1/2 on the George Cartridge (came with the original Cricut).
From the picture below you can see at which settings worked best for this particular acetate. And this is the neatest part! I did not have to use the multi-cut option. If you look closely, even though it cut at depth 2, the acetate was ripping and much harder to pull out. It was much easier at the 2.5 depth.
Now, my next tests all have to do with “chipboard”. It’s important to note here that I own a Cricut Expression that has the multi-cut option. I have the ability to have my machine cut the same cut several times, giving me the option to cut slightly thicker materials to start with. I liked this option, but to be honest, it was kind of time consuming. What I generally did if I wanted a “chipboard” look was to cut 3-5 cardstock pieces and glue all the layers together.
Below, I’ve got what we all have around the house and usually lots of it – the cereal box. In my case – Special K! I decided to cut a nice easy shape.
For my next test, I went and found the thickest chipboard in my stash. I had purchased it, but had never done anything with it because it was too thick. I believe at some point, I did cut into it to make book covers, but I remember I had go over my cuts a couple times with my craft knife. This stuff is thick!
This next picture is what happened before I found the Cricut website and the guidelines I listed at the beginning of the article. It was ugly and I was getting worried. Both times I attempted to cut a circle, the machine essentially bound up and I stopped it because it made some very unladylike noises!
*** please don’t mind the marks – thank you to the little kiddos for that****
Here’s a close up so you can see the thickness. In my opinion, this stuff was thick and definitely counts as “real” chipboard. I had my pressure on HI, speed at MED, Depth of blade at 6 and Multi Cut option at 3
Now, I had one more piece of material that I wanted to try. Earlier, I said I had found the perfect acetate, but in my stash I had even thicker acetate. It is too thick for me to use as a card base, and up to this point I couldn’t cut anything with it, so I thought I would test it with the deep cut blade.
Unfortunately, I was not successful at cutting all the way through. It did cut it, but I had to then take my scissors to cut the rest of the layer. It wasn’t bad, but not what I was looking for. What you are looking at is where I took off the protective film and that is why one part is clear and the other part is filmy.
I do have a little something fun to share with one of the shapes I did cut using the deep cut blade and the thinner acetate as well as a chipboard letter. I cut a small purse from the Tags, Bags, Boxes, and More Cartridge and then decorated it.
I am definitely glad that I purchased the deep cut blade, even more so that I was able to purchase it with a coupon. Overall, I think it did a great job, and of course, I didn’t test it on a huge variety of materials, but rather focused it on the things that I would use my deep blade for – basically thick paper or paper-like products.
One thing to keep in mind is that just like the regular blade, the key component (I believe) is that you have to be able to keep your material stuck to your surface. It doesn’t matter how thin or thick your material is, it won’t cut unless it stays put on your mat.
As I was doing my cutting, I kept a mindset that the regular blade was for “regular” things and that the deep cut blade was for “special” things so I found that I had to keep changing my housing for specific cuts. For example, I cut my chipboard letter, but I wanted a designer paper to cover it up. I wanted to do the same cut while my cartridge was in so I had to change the housing. My thinking is that maybe you wouldn’t necessarily have to change out the housing and blade if you set the depth very shallow. What it means is that you have to have your project planned out and make notes of sizes, depths, pressures, etc. to make the most of your time.
Here are some pros and cons and my final thoughts on this item.
- It does indeed cut deeper
- Is now available (at least in my area) locally
- Easy to put in and take out of the machine
- Best results are with the machine that has the multi cut option
- The blades are very consumable items meaning that if you cut a lot and depending on the materials you cut, the blades will dull quickly
- I would have preferred that the cutting guidelines were included in the packaging
As I stated earlier, the deep cut blade should be available in you local craft stores, but here are 3 online sources where you can also purchase the deep cut blades and housing.
- Retail Value for housing and one deep cut blade is $30.00
- Retail Value for a package of 2 deep cut blades is $14.95
- Very easy to use (read conclusion)
- Excellent Value (read conclusion)
- Rating of 9 out of 10
In conclusion, I’m very happy that I purchased this item. I was excited to see it at the store and am still excited after I used it, but I would not have have purchased it for the full retail value. You can easily find it for much cheaper on line or by using a coupon. The same thing applies to the blades, especially if you are a heavy user. I also have to state that the housing and blade are quite easy to use once you get the quirks worked out with your machine and the types of materials you cut. As most Cricut users would attest, sometimes our machines have a mind of their own. I feel as though mine changes when I change mats and blades. It also depends on the types of cuts you are using too. I would definitely say there is a slight learning curve for new Cricut users; experimenting is part of the process.
Thank you for visiting Craft Critique; I hope that if you have any additional information regarding your own experience with the deep cut blade and housing please share it with all our readers, or if you have any specific question about this item please ask.