Top

Tag Archives | Cricut Expression

Cricut E2 vs. eClips

Reported by Marti Wills

Cricut Expression 2
Sizzix eClips

When it comes to making the jump to an electronic die cutting machine there are a lot of choices. It is quite an investment and there are so many things to consider. Most importantly, you want a machine that will cut well and is easy to use.

Today I want to tell you about the results of my comparison of two of these machines, the Cricut Expression 2 by Provo Craft and the eClips by Sizzix.

Most important is how well the machine can cut. So I began by testing both on a variety of materials. Both cut cardstock and paper just fine but I wanted to see what else they could cut.

First I tried chipboard – actually the backing from a paper pad. This is slightly thinner than regular chipboard but it is free, it is a great way to recycle and it WORKS. First I cut a cupcake – these are on the large size – 4″:

Both machines cut the chipboard perfectly. I decided to try a smaller and more complicated design with the chipboard next:

The results with the eClips were not as clean as the Cricut.

Next I tried some acetate – another recycled material – I used the plastic covering that my embossing folders come in – you can use any type of plastic clamshell packaging but I like the embossing folder and Spellbinder types because they are so flat and easy to store.

I cut the same cupcakes first – nice basic larger shapes. Both machines did a great job, however the Cricut cut cleanly through whereas the eClips required some punching out. However this did not effect the final result.

I also cut the smaller more intricate images again:

Once again the eClips did not quite get the smallest detail cut all the way through:

Those teeny pieces on each tip would not come out without doing some damage to the overall shape. The Cricut did not have this problem:

even the tiny circles/dots required no punching out.

Finally, I cut out some fabric appliques with each machine. Before you can cut fabric you need to add something to stabilize it and keep it from stretching as the blade makes the cuts. I tried Steam a Seam Lite first but this was not enough and neither machine cut through. Next I used Heat ‘n Bond Ultra which is much thicker.  Both machines cut the fabric perfectly:

One advantage the Cricut Expression 2 had was the ability to set it to cut each image twice which is probably why it cute through more successfully.  One of the features of the eClips is the pre-set cut settings for various materials. I used these pre-sets to do all of the cuts above. Better results might be gained by adjusting the settings manually, but I have not tried that yet.

In addition to the cutting ability there are a lot of other considerations when comparing cutters. Here is a table with some of these other things to compare:

Sizzix eClips
Cricut E2
Price – Starter Kit Machine
$499 – includes 2 blades, 1 cartridge and 1 mat
$349 – includes 1 blade, 4 cartridges and 1 mat
Footprint
22 1/2″ x 5″ x 7 1/2″
Price/mat
12.99 – 2 pack
12.99 – 2 pack
Price/blade
9.99 – 2 pack
9.99 – 2 pack
Price/cartridge
39.99 –  25 designs plus features
24.99/34.99/55.99 – 68 images/168+ images/200+ images
Cartridges available
36
228
Cardstock
5
5
Fabric
5
5
Chipboard
4
5
Acetate
4
5
Store avail.
1
4
Ebay
4   29.99/53.99
5    15.00 & up – open bidding

Both of these machines have a viewing screen. The eClips screen is on a separate handheld device and is controlled by buttons that allow you to scroll through menus and make your choices. The Expression 2 screen is mounted on the machine itself and is a touchscreen controlled with a stylus. I personally preferred the screen being attached to the machine as I have limited space and found the separate screen and its cord was always in the way.

Pros:

  • Easy to set up – Both
  • Easy to use – Both
  • Great mats and sharp blades – Both
  • Ability to save cut settings for future ease of use – Expression 2
  • Huge selection of cartridge images – Expression 2
  • Free web-based program that allows you the freedom to design and customize shapes on Cricut cartridges you already own – Expression 2

Cons:

  • Separate screen/control device – eClips
  • Cartridge based system – Both
  • Price – Both
  • Cutting pre-sets did not work on smaller more intricate items – eClips

Had I compared the eClips to the original Cricut Expression the eClips would have come out ahead. However, with the vast improvements made on the Expression 2 recently released by Provo Craft, I found the Expression to be a better machine – the cutting ability was better, the price is lower, and the image selection is vastly larger.

Do you own either of these machines? What do you think of them? Do you own a different one? Let us know!

Event | The Scrapbook Expo

Reported by Maria Del Pinto

The Scrapbook Expo has several shows across the country; each one features a fun crop event where folks get together and crop the day and night away.

For those who have never attended a crop, here is how some of the crops work. Each person rents a table workspace and brings all of their supplies and pictures that they may need to work on their projects.  

The point of this type of event is to create the opportunity for an individual to work in a very creative atmosphere with other folks who share their enthusiasm to create memorable pages. The shared creative ideas are a lot of fun, and people often make new friends at these types of events.

Each day of the crop part of the show has a different theme. In the one I recently attended, Friday was a fun “Old West Crop Party” theme. There are prizes for creativity, enthusiasm and more. The show also offered attendees of the crop event some great equipment like die cut machines, paper trimmers, scrapbook software (compliments of Kodak), cricut machines, and more for croppers to use during the crop.

They even had pre-packaged scrapbooking kits that scrappers could order to make during the event.

The Expo also offered a broad selection of classes in digital scrapbooking and media.

On the show floor, there were many “Make & Take” opportunities for attendees to participate in. the projects were varied and had a wide range of appeal.

There were also plenty of free Technique Demonstrations to watch throughout the show, one of which was at the JudiKins booth.

Judy was on hand to demonstrate her technique of combining cool stamps with other products to create fun mini works of art. My favorite stamp was her new “Galaxy Spiral Stamp” which is from her retro collection.

For this project, she combined dye-based inks, glitters, and

Diamond Glaze to create a fun effect on glass and plastic. The soda can lid (project on the right in the picture below) is stamped, then the color is heat set before adding the diamond glass (which is allowed to air dry).

The JudiKins booth featured a vast assortment of new rubber stamp images. Here is a sampling of some of the new images 

and the sample card project. She has more project ideas , directions, and instructional videos on her website.

The next booth to catch my eye was the Button Farm. I just loved their wall of products, which included 7 Gypsies, Tim Holtz, and some very interesting curios. 

They also offered pre-packaged altered album kits. All the supplies need to complete the project are in the kit. They offered some fun designs. I like the fact that I would not need to hunt out various unique products on my own to finish the kit like the one below. For those who do not have time to plan a project, the complete step-by-step directions are always included in these kits.

My next stop was the Little Windows Brilliant Photo Jewelry booth. Their display of photo jewelry just made you want to stop and look closer.  

Their fun jewelry making kit includes an epoxy resin that is not toxic and does not have the usual strong odor that most epoxies have. Plus, it is created to work well with photo prints.

Here is a sampling of the different types of pieces you can make with this product using a variety of techniques.

Quick Quotes had a fun “Make & Take” that featured their flip flop shoe book. This kit features a real pair of flip flops as the album cover. Then the pages are attached in accordion style. This is a very fun and cute kit.

They also had a fun display from their Club Q which offers crafters a choice of either a page kit or an altered art kit.

Technique Tuesday, featured ideas and kits that were geared towards toward the busy crafter. They had page layout kits, chip board, clear stamps, and more.

Another booth that caught my eye was the Charity Wings.Org booth.  They were hosting a fund raiser “Make &Take”  event at the show, where they were making cute cards to raise money for charity.

Charity Wings is a non profit organization (California Non-Profit Org. 501(c)(3)) that empowers creative people who want to make a difference in other peoples lives and help raise funds for various charities and organizations (this show raised money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society). I enjoyed the wide selection of “Make & Takes” mini workshops,

scrapbooking classes, and digital media imaging workshops.

This show offered an abundance of paper craft supplies. The selection of embellishments was more tempting that you can imagine. They also had basic rubber stamping supplies, chip board books, altered art supplies, stencils, embossing powders, glitters, adhesives, and incredible deals on patterned paper.

It turned out to be a great mix of altered art, stamping, and scrapbooking combined. One of the things that really stood out at this show is that the “Tim Holtz” line is extremely popular and people are finding lots of creative ways to use the products. I also noticed the pre-packaged scrapbooking and altered art kits were widely available. No matter what your experience level is, there was a kit to suit your needs.

For more information on upcoming workshops, 2011 show schedule, discount coupons, or vendors,  I would recommend checking the Scrapbook Expo show website.

Have you attended any scrapbooking shows? What was your favorite project or workshop? We would love to hear your thoughts on these type of shows?

Cardstock Comparison

Reported by: Erin Bassett

With so many brands of premium cardstock out on the market now, I thought it would be nice to really look closely at some of the major brands and see if there was any big differences between them.

I decided to compare the ones I use most often: American CraftsBazzill, and Stampin’ Up. Here’s some of the similarities and differences you’ll find when purchasing them. You can download the chart below here:

Since I’m comparing them using the stash I have on hand, I don’t have all of the same textures for them. So, I was curious to see if that would play a part in my testing. I used the “orange peel” textured Bazzill cardstock, the “smooth” Stampin’ Up cardstock and the only texture that the American Crafts cardstock comes in (which is similar to a canvas texture).

Now as far as actual use goes, I didn’t really notice any major differences between them when I cut out some die cuts with my Cricut. I cut out the same shapes using the same settings and they all cut out about the same….not really a surprise since they are all the same weight of cardstock. (Although the Stampin’ Up cardstock seems a bit stiffer then the others.)

I also tested how Copic markers would work on them. As expected, I didn’t notice a difference.

One other test I performed on the cardstocks is how well they folded. Nothing ticks me off more then paper that cracks when it’s folded. It can make cards and other paper crafts look a bit tacky. Well, I’m happy to report that none of these cardstocks did that!

Basically I think a person’s choice between these cardstocks would boil down to the color and texture of cardstock needed for a craft project and how much it costs.

Pros:

  • American Crafts cardstock tends be the most inexpensive
  • Bazzill cardstock has a huge variety of colors and textures
  • Stampin Up has smooth cardstock that is perfect for stamping
  • All three cardstocks performed about the same
  • All three cardstocks are available for purchase online.

Cons:

  • With so many great papers you may run out of space!

Resources:

Do YOU have a favorite cardstock? Tell us what it is and why it’s your favorite.