CRICUT EXPRESSION versus SILHOUETTE CAMEO
The CardMonkey’s Review April 14, 2012
Now, I have a little more computer agility than the average 55+ senior citizen – but certainly not as much as a graphic designer or a younger person who has grown up around computers. Even though I loved my newfound ability to cut just about anything, I still found my Cricut cartridges easier to use, less time consuming to set up and get crafting, and more portable when I went to a crop. I never did upgrade my MTC, SCAL or FC software post-lawsuit settlement, so I can still use my Cricut to cut SVG files using any of these programs. Unfortunately, by not upgrading the software, I still have to work my way around some of the original programs’ glitches and cannot use the Help feature when I get stuck in designing or have questions.
There are many electronic cutting machines available now to crafters, ranging (in price) from the Black Cat Cougar (MSRP $749), Pazzles Inspiration ($599), Sizzix eClips ($499), the Boss Kut Gazelle ($419), Craftwell eCraft ($349), and the Silhouette Cameo ($299). The Cameo, targeted in the same price range as the Cricut Expression (also with an MSRP of $299), caught my eye.
Sleek and light, the early reviews I read on the Cameo showed that it offered easier to use “What You See Is What You Get” (WYSIWYG) software – basically, I could set up and go. There are thousands of images are available in the Silhouette online store (many are free, others are typically $0.99 each). And early reviews I read promised a machine with the ability to cut fine and intricate images, and perfect circles. This month, I added a Silhouette Cameo to my craft room.
To contrast, the doily behind the sewing machine was also cut on Core’dinations cardstock, but used my Cricut and the new “Sophie” cartridge, an exclusive to Cricut Circle members. The booklet that comes with the newer cartridges recommends minimum setting sizes for each image – and this one was 5”. While the image is cut cleanly (and I used a new blade for a fair comparison), it is far less smooth than the image cut with the Cameo. The curves are a bit jagged, and some of the smaller connections were more fragile than the Cameo’s tiniest cuts.
ProvoCraft has expanded into a broader per-image market with the introduction of its new Cricut Craft Room (accessed at http://www.cricut.com/craftroom/default.html). If you have some computer knowledge (PC or Mac-based) and want to add to your capabilities beyond the cartridges but don’t want to (or can’t) invest in a new cutting machine, adding Cricut Craft Room (CCR) to your mix might be the next logical step.
But if you are comfortable with your computer and want to move into the world of SVG files, and creating your own files from JPEG images, then you'll need to move to an electronic cutter and its software that supports that endeavor. There are many companies that sell SVG files (and have freebies, too). Here are My Top Dozen favorites:
- SVG Cuts (http://www.svgcuts.com/)
- SVG Attic (http://www.svgattic.com/)
- My Grafico (http://www.mygrafico.com/)
- Lettering Delights (http://www.letteringdelights.com/)
- Paper Threads (http://www.paperthreads.com/)
- Two Peas In a Bucket (http://www.twopeasinabucket.com/)
- Little Scraps of Heaven Designs (http://littlescrapsofheavendesigns.com/)
- Treasure Box Designs (http://www.treasureboxdesigns.com/)
- Visual Designs by Chris (http://www.visualdesignsbychris.com/)
- My Scrap Chick (http://www.myscrapchick.com/)
- Paper Piecings by Nikki (http://www.paperpiecingsbynikki.com/)
- Designs on Cloud 9 (http://www.designsoncloud9.com/)