Reported by Taylor Usry
The folks at Sizzix were kind enough to include several other goodies with my Vagabond. I received a butterfly die, a set of Sizzlets, and a Little Sizzles mat board pack. I was all set to get crafty!
Inside the Vagabond package is:
- the machine itself
- a set of stickers to decorate it with
- a pair of standard cutting pads
- one solo platform
- one solo shim
The Solo Shim is a thin piece of plastic that fits securely on top of the Solo Platform. They both measure about 6 1/4″ x 13″ and are to be used when cutting a Sizzlet, embossing with a Texture Folder, or using other-brand dies (i.e. Spellbinders Nestabilities). One thing that I immediately loved about the shim and platform was that it clearly stated right on it when you should use the Solo Shim (with thin materials), and when you should use the platform alone (when cutting folded card stock or materials thicker than card stock such as chipboard, Grungeboard, etc). There was no fumbling around for the instruction booklet or racking my brain to remember what I should or shouldn’t do!
The Solo Shim attaches to the Solo Platform in two spots on either end with metal clips. The plastic tabs on the Solo Shim slide right in and out very easily.
On either side of the handle at the top are burnished brass buttons. One side’s buttons are just for decoration, the other side has a motor button and a forward/reverse switch. Now, this won’t work unless you get out the power cord and plug it in. Where is the power cord? Tucked into a nifty side compartment for storage! That is one of my pet peeves about some other electronic machines I have – there is no cord storage. The Vagabond corrected that oversight and included a compartment with a slide-down switch that will house the power cord when not in use.
The machine opens with the slide of a button as well (it is located in the center of the top of the machine, just under the handle). The “flaps” easily lower themselves with just the push of this button. The rollers located inside the machine are serious business – check them out!
The very first thing I tested was some foam. I sandwiched, from the bottom up, one cutting pad, the big die (foam side up), my foam, and another cutting pad. I made sure the forward/reverse switch was set to the proper direction and pushed my sandwich into the roller opening as far as it would go. Following the instructions, I gently pressed the guide flaps (the brown sides that stick up) inward until they made contact with the sandwich. I pushed and held down on the motor switch until the sandwich came out on the other side.
I was instantly floored by how easily the sandwich went through the machine. And my husband commented that the motor made a “cool” sound – so it appeals to the guys, too!
The Vagabond cut through foam like, well, butter. Seriously. No fraying, no nothing!
It made a beautiful butterfly for my daughter, who is hounding me for more.
Next up I cut some vellum, using the Sizzlets. I put all four Sizzlets through at once (my sandwich looked like this, from the bottom up: Solo Platform, Solo Shim, one cutting pad, Sizzlets foam side up, vellum, other cutting pad) and repeated the same alignment process I used with the big die. There is a note on the Solo Shim that more than six Sizzlets should not be put through at a time, or damage to the machine could occur. The vellum cut fairly well; you can see above that some of the edges were a bit frayed. I’m fairly sure I was using vellum from Stampin’ Up (which seems to me to have a medium thickness). Overall, the larger, less detailed pieces came out better than the more intricate pieces.
The word Tweet looked like it cut through just fine, however, when I started trying to remove the word from the paper, I realized it did not cut all the way through. The wrinkles evident on the vellum is proof of how much pressure those rollers put on the sandwich, though.
I know this isn’t the greatest picture, but it is another illustration of how much pressure the rollers place on the dies and materials being cut. After one pass through, the Sizzlets left these impressions on a cutting pad – and the sentiment didn’t even cut all the way through the vellum!
I tried a Tim Holtz Texture Fade folder next, with another piece of vellum. Just look at that deep impression! It was so deep that in places the paper actually had some holes in it.
I also tried a piece of folded card stock (taking care to remove the Solo Platform, as advised) and it turned out well, too. The card stock that was in the embossing folder actually came out of the machine with a slight curve to it, and was noticeably flimsier than the backside of the card, which had not gone through inside the folder.
While I was working on embossing, I also tried out a transparency sheet (the kind you’d use on an overhead projector – remember those?) and an embossing folder from Cuttlebug. Worked like a charm!
Next I wanted to test out acetate, but my stash was mysteriously missing. Not one to be deterred, I cut up the packaging from the Texture Fade folders and used that! Paired with a big die, the acetate cut beautifully – crisp edges, clean cuts. Makes a beautiful butterfly, doesn’t it? (I won’t mention how much glitter ended up on the floor from doing the edges like that – I’m still cleaning it up!)
- easy to follow instructions
- great design
- cuts through and embosses all types of materials
- hefty price tag
- very heavy machine
- I wish the adapter for competitor’s products came with the machine (although I understand why it doesn’t)
It’s Sizzix Week at Craft Critique! Our friends at Sizzix have graciously provided some of their products for us to giveaway to our very lucky readers. We have a Big Shot and an eClips to give away, both of which you can read about in upcoming reviews. Just answer the following question to be entered in the giveaway:
Do you have a Vagabond? If so, tell us how you feel about it! If you don’t, which features make you want to buy it?