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Vendor Spotlight & GIVEAWAY: Slice Elite by Making Memories (2 of 2)

Reported by Heather Strenzwilk


Last month I had the opportunity to review the new Slice Elite Cordless Design Cutter from Making Memories. The Slice Elite weighs less than a pound, is cordless, measures 5″ x 5″ and can cut shapes, shadows and emboss a variety of surfaces, including cardstock and fabric. Shapes and letters can be cut to size in half inch increments ranging from one to four inches. The portable unit comes with a rechargeable battery and has about 60 minutes of cutting time when fully charged. Making Memories generously provided a pink Slice Elite starter kit plus paper and accessories from their two new product lines: Dilly Dally and Tie the Knot.

Products from Making Memories’ Tie the Knot and Dilly Dally lines

Since I had purchased the original model of the Slice just a month earlier, I was eager to find out if the Slice Elite really did cut 40% faster, cut materials twice as thick, and cut more precisely than its predecessor. The portability and ability to cut to size convinced me to purchase my original Slice, and I find myself using the Slice daily for crafting.


The latest model (the Slice Elite) is the same size and weight as the original Slice and is available in two new colors: pink and baby blue. The starter kit contains: the machine, power cord, glass cutting mat, 5 extra cutting blades, re-positionable adhesive, Basic Shapes design card, hex tool for adjusting the cutting blade and instruction manual. The machines work the same way but the Elite is faster and has a quieter motor and cuts more smoothly. Because I don’t own the optional “Hands Free” accessory kit, I hold the base of the Slice with both hands while it cuts.

The Slice Elite can easily cut through textured cardstock

My original Slice did a good job cutting paper and embossing cardstock. At times the cut shapes and letters were distorted or did not cut completely through the paper. This is especially true for textured cardstock. As you can see in the photo above, the old Slice didn’t cut completely through the cardstock but the Slice Elite cut through it easily.

This is the underside of the Slice Elite. The cutting blade can be swapped for embossing tips.

Either version of the Slice is easy to use. Each unit comes with a brief instruction booklet (nearly identical between both models) but I initially learned more from watching online videos. The written documentation was adequate for basic cutting, but I felt it was lacking for the more advanced tasks such as adjusting the blade and replacing the blade with embossing or drawing tips.

The Slice can cut perfectly proportioned shadows for the butterfly and snowflake above.

The Slice Elite is very easy to operate. The machine arrives partially charged but the manufacturer recommends charging it for an hour prior to its first use. Spread a thin ribbon of re-positionable adhesive on one end of the glass cutting mat and spread it coat the entire surface and let it dry (about two minutes). It has a slight odor and it will turn clear so you’ll know when it is ready. Making Memories also has a spray re-positionable adhesive which I have not tried yet. Place your media (paper, cardstock, etc) on the glass mat. Smooth it so it is firmly adhered to the mat.

Insert a design card into the slot on the rear of the unit. The power button is adjacent to the design card slot. Prior to cutting for the first time the Slice Elite requires a simple calibration process (the machine cuts a sample pattern). Then you can select a category and a shape to cut. Once you have selected a shape, adjust the size (default is two inches and most shapes range from 1-4 inches in half inch increments.) You can also toggle the image style between normal, shadow and mirror. After you have made your selections, press the select button in the center and the blade will rotate to the starting position and a small “x” will appear on the screen to show where the cutting will begin. You can pick up the Slice and place it where you prefer on the paper. When you are satisfied, press the large button on the upper right corner of the gray frame and firmly hold the base of the Slice in place while it cuts.

When cutting is done, the Slice will display a completed message on the screen and ask you to press the Menu button which will lift the cutting blade. If you do not turn off the Slice it will automatically turn off after 15 minutes of non-use. Lift the Slice unit off the glass mat and gently lift an edge of the paper and pull it off the glass. It will easily lift off the glass. To remove your diecut you can use the Slice spatula, a fingernail or a razor blade. I’ve tried them all. The Slice spatula works best on thicker mediums like cardstock but can sometimes dent the rounded edges of a diecut. Personally, I prefer a razor blade because it is so thin.

Re-positionable adhesive is spread on the glass cutting mat

The re-positionable adhesive on the glass mat can be re-used multiple times before reapplying. I can get anywhere from 5-12 (maybe more) uses before cleaning the mat, drying it and reapplying the adhesive. The adhesive is water soluble and I find it easiest to wet the mat with water and gently rub off the used adhesive into the trash.


Because embossing tips don’t come with the starter kit, I didn’t extensively test them or create projects for this review. However, I did have to contact Making Memories customer service due to the lack of documentation about embossing settings. I had a crafty friend who had never used a Slice help me perform some speed and image quality testing between both Slice machines. We embossed perfectly with the old Slice but continually tore to shreds cardstock with the Elite model, despite numerous adjustments.

A customer service representative from Making Memories assured me that my embossing tips were compatible with both models and she suggested that I decrease the Tip Height Setting by one to help prevent paper damage while embossing. The Tip Height Setting is a new adjustment on the Elite model and is the last adjustment, after Radial Home Offset. I didn’t see a reference to this setting anywhere which was disappointing. But after adjusting the Tip Height Setting I had much better results while embossing on cardstock.

Digital stamps from In A Scrap Creations

While preparing this article I cut many, many shapes and letters out of many weights of paper, cardstock, vellum, vinyl and lightweight cardboard. Because the old Slice and the Elite both come with the same “Basic Shapes” design card, my friend and I were able to cut simultaneously. These “races” did in fact verify that the new Slice Elite is faster than the older model. It is also quieter and you don’t have to hold the base while cutting quite as firmly as the older model. In side by side image comparisons, we found the cuts from the Elite to be more precise. Curved areas and open areas were in general more cleanly cut and straight edges were straighter.

From upper left: Design card, hex tool, extra blade holder, embossing tips Bottom row from left: Cutting blade (and housing), extra cutting blades, embossing tip

Here are a few of my tips for optimal Slice use: I think the Slice works better when it is plugged in versus running on the battery. I prefer a razor blade to the Slice spatula because I can lift the die cuts with less edge damage. Although I cut most media “pretty side up”, I find colored Slice vellum (discontinued product) works better cut pretty side down resulting in less white edges. The cutting tips are small and can get lost on a craft table. When I replace a cutting tip with an embossing tip I put the sharp cutting tip in the embossing tip box so it doesn’t get lost. Design cards are the same size as cards from my digital camera and can be stored in Nintendo DS game storage cases (don’t tell your kids!) The Slice has three cutting speeds and I use the low or medium setting because I find the images to be the most precise and the unit is easier to hold in place while it is in use. Lastly, with a little practice you can cut images very close to each other for maximum usage of paper and cardstock.

I can fit another image in the upper right hand corner

I am very happy with my Slice Elite and have used it during every craft session since receiving it. I find the portability and small footprint to be helpful in my craft space. I’m able to maximize use of my designer paper because I can cut anywhere on the paper. The themed design cards are small and easy to store. After waiting for several years to invest in an electronic die cutting machine, I’m very happy with the Slice Elite by Making Memories.

Digital image from Squigglefly

Pros:

  • Lightweight and portable
  • Flexibility to cut designs or emboss anywhere on a page
  • Themed design cards are small and easy to store and are available in many varieties
  • Very easy to alter image size or special effects such as mirroring or shadows
  • Design cards can be used on both the original and newer Slice models

Cons:

  • Written documentation is brief, users without access to online demonstration videos are at a disadvantage
  • Maximum size for output is four inches
  • Unit tends to slip while cutting slicker surfaces such as vinyl, vellum and metallic paper
GIVEAWAY!
The great folks at Making Memories are giving away the newest member to the Slice Family, the Slice Fabrique to one lucky reader. Just answer the any of the following questions in the comment section of this article on this blog to be entered:

Do you have a need for a portable electronic design cutter? What die cutting machines do you own? Do you create die cuts and emboss on one machine or do you use different machines? Are you a current Slice owner- would you upgrade to the Slice Elite?

Thanks for sharing your opinions, we love to hear what YOU think!
You have until Monday, April 18th at 6pm CST to leave your comment.

Disclosure

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

Vendor Spotlight & GIVEAWAY: Slice Elite by Making Memories (1 of 2)

Reported by Taylor Usry

I recently had the opportunity to review the new Slice Elite Digital Cordless Designer by Making Memories. This is a little machine that packs a big punch! The Slice Elite weighs less than a pound, is 5″ by 5″ of creative power, and can cut. emboss, and draw on a variety of paper, card stock, and photos. As advertised, the Slice Elite can cut shapes and letters from one to four inches, in half inch increments. The machine can be powered by its rechargeable battery (works for about an hour), or by plugging in the power adapter.

Making Memories sent me an amazing package for review. It included the Pink Slice Elite Starter Kit, which comes with:

  • Pink Slice Elite Digital Cordless Designer
  • Basic Elements design card
  • Basic Elements design card booklet
  • 6″ x 6″ glass cutting mat
  • five blades
  • blade replacement tool
  • blade adjustment wrench
  • power cord
  • re-positionable adhesive for the cutting mat
  • foam brush
  • user manual
  • quick start guide

They also threw in some great paper and embellishments from their Dilly Dally and Tie the Knot product lines – what fun!

I read through the included User Manual a couple of times, and was surprised at the lack of information it provided, especially with regard to embossing and drawing. However, the tips to utilize those features were not included with my starter kit, so I didn’t get to test them out anyway!

I went online to check out the how to videos, and they were super helpful. As instructed, I began by putting a thin line of repositionable adhesive down the left side of the glass cutting mat. I then used the included foam brush to spread it out thinly all over the surface, and waited the recommended two minutes before applying my paper. An interesting note – I thought the adhesive smelled awful. My husband and daughter couldn’t smell a thing. Weird, huh? Regardless, it leaves no residue on your paper and washes off the glass mat easily with soap and water.

Once you’ve made you choice about shape/letter, size, etc and are ready to cut, the process is fairly simple. Place the machine on the desired location on the mat (it is easy to determine placement, as there is a small “x” on the screen where cutting will begin), press down with light pressure, and push the “cut” button (pictured above, just under the handle – it is the small pink button toward the rear of the machine). The button is perfectly placed to press while you are holding the machine to keep it steady. There is an optional Hands Free kit you can purchase, so that you won’t have to hold the machine while it cuts. But really, it cuts quite quickly and it isn’t difficult at all to hold it!

It’s easy to tell when the machine is done cutting, because it tells you. Down the left side of the screen you can see that it is “working”. Once the cut is completed, a large check mark appears, indicating the machine can be picked up and your die cut can be removed from the mat.

If you don’t wait the full two minutes for the adhesive to dry, or if you apply a bit too much and it doesn’t dry in the specified time frame, this is what will happen when you try to pick up the paper. A total mess. It washes off with a bit of warm soapy water and some scraping.

When applied correctly, your paper will peel off the glass mat very easily and leave your die cut behind. You can purchase a spatula to lift it off, but my fingernails worked just fine. When placing the paper on the mat, you want the side you want to use to be facing up (so, you will be looking at the “right” side). You do not have to wash off the re-positionable adhesive each time you use it. You can store the glass cutting mat with a scrap piece of paper covering it, and gently peel it off for the next use. Once it begins to lose its tackiness, wash it and reapply the adhesive. Making Memories also offers some spray adhesive, although I did not test that out either.

The Slice beautifully cuts out words! And using the shadow feature, you can make an outline in no time. The machine also has a mirror image feature, which is a great idea for shapes. I did change the cutting speed from high to low. When I cut my first word on high speed, the edges were a tiny bit jagged.  I did not have to adjust blade pressure at all. The Slice just cut what I wanted – no fuss, no stress, no feeding the paper in and positioning it the right way. No making sure I had tons of space behind and in front of my machine so the paper could work back and forth. That, I think, is my favorite feature about the Slice – the compact size. Easy to store, and the cartridges are the size of memory cards for a camera. So they just don’t take up as much space.

The Slice is so easy to use that I let my five year old try it out (with very close supervision, of course). I talked her through the steps, and let her watch me do it. She was able to pick out her shapes, choose different sizes, and position the machine on different areas of the paper to cut out the heart and the flower. Then she cut out the word giggle. All three die cuts took her maybe ten minutes, and most of that was deciding exactly which shape to do next. So in my opinion, this makes the Slice great for kids crafts and projects. Many of the design cards are kid friendly!

With the included Basic Elements design card, my favorite thing to make was the tags. What a super useful option! On the tag above, I paired stamps from Lizzie Anne Designs with the tag (and shadow) I die cut, a paper flower from the Making Memories Dilly Dally line, and some Making Memories ribbon. The card stock is Neenah Solar White and Papertrey Ink Kraft – I wanted to test out how the Slice cut different wights of paper. It cut through them just fine!

I mass produced this tag, using stamps from Stampendous, and more paper flowers from Making Memories. I left off the ribbon, so I can use them on a variety of gifts. I think I made about 30 of these! I’m not sharing samples I made using textured card stock (Stampin’ Up), vellum, and acetate, but the Slice cut them all perfectly. I do want to stress that I used the low speed to cut with, but the Slice still seems faster to me than my Cricut.

I could not be more thrilled with this machine, and plan to invest in more design cards to further utilize it. Check out my quick list of pros and cons:

Pros:

  • compact size and portability
  • ease of use; wastes less paper than a Cricut
  • online support and video help – great resource!
  • wide variety of accessories available

Cons:

  • the user manual could be more descriptive
  • I wish the starter kit came with at least one embossing tip
  • can’t cut an shape or word larger than four inches (which is fine for card makers, but maybe not for scrapbookers)
GIVEAWAY!
The great folks at Making Memories are giving away the newest member to the Slice Family, the Slice Fabrique to one lucky reader. Just answer the any of the following questions in the comment section of this article on this blog to be entered:

Do you own a Slice Elite? How do you like it? If not, what are you currently using for your die cutting needs?

You have until Monday, April 18th at 6pm CST to leave your comment.

Disclosure

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

CHA -Tools: Making Memories Slice Elite

Reported by Simone Collins

At CHA Summer 2010, Making Memories unveiled its brand new Slice Elite. The Slice Elite now cuts more precisely, so your die-cuts look even better, cuts up to 40% faster, AND it can cut through thicker materials (up to twice as thick). The Slice Elite works with all your Design Carts and Accessories, and comes in original blue and pink. The Slice Elite will make its debut at your local scrapbooking store this September. Just in time for all of your holiday scrapbooking projects.

Here’s a little demo of the Slice Elite in action:

There are also a whole bunch of new cartridges that will work on the original Slice as well as the Slice Elite.
Here’s a look at some of the cool fabric crafts you can do with the new Slice Elite since now it can cut fabric.

Bring your craft to a whole new level! Join the MyStik Community today!
www.scrapbook-adhesives.com/mystik

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!