Great design can go a long way. However, sometimes a piece of art isn’t just about the design. It’s about how it’s brought to life, either by die-cutting or by embossing. The best die cutting and embossing machine can help automate the creation of new shapes and give your work depth and dimension.
Die cutting is the process of using metal molds, or “dies,” to create consistent shapes out of various materials like paper, fabric, or even vinyl. Embossing is the process of stamping material to raise your design and give it texture (Source).
The best embossing machine can execute these processes either manually, or automatically. With a manual die cutting machine, you must place the die on the material with padding overtop. You’ll then need to physically activate the cutting. With an automatic die cutting machine, you can use software to digitally create custom shapes, so you don’t need dies for craft at all (Source).
Die-cutting and embossing machines are perfect for creating scrapbooks, envelopes, gift bags, stickers, greeting cards, and so much more. If you consider arts and crafts a hobby, or own a crafts based business, a die cutting and embossing machine is a great investment.
Prior to purchasing an embossing and die cutting machine, you’ll need to choose between manual and automatic. You’ll also need to consider what materials it works best with, and what die plates it’s compatible with.
Start your next project with one of these top-rated die-cutting and embossing machines.
What Are Die Cutting Machines?
Table of Contents
- 1 What Are Die Cutting Machines?
- 2 What Are Die Cutters Used For?
- 3 Comparing The Best Embossing Machines
- 4 1. Cricut 2003782 Cuttlebug Machine – Best Overall
- 5 2. Sizzix 660425 Big Shot – The Best Embossing Machine for Versatility
- 6 3. Cricut 2000293 Cuttlebug Machine – The Best Die Cutting And Embossing Machine for Small Size Designs
- 7 4. Sizzix 662500 Big Shot Foldaway Embossing And Die Cutting Machine – The Best Foldable Embossing Machine
- 8 5. Spellbinders GC-200 Grand Calibur, Teal Die Cutting & Embossing Machine – The Best Embossing Machine Below $150
- 9 6. Sizzix 656225 Texture Boutique Embossing Machine – The Best Cutting/Embossing Machine Below $50
- 10 7. Gemini by Crafter’s Companion Die Cutting and Embossing Machine Bundle – Best Automatic Die Cutting and Embossing Machine
- 11 8. We R Memory Keepers Evolution Advanced Die-Cutting and Embossing Machine – The Best Lightweight Embossing Machine
- 12 9. Spellbinders PL-001 Platinum Cut and Emboss Machine – A Unit With Reliable Power
- 13 10. Fiskars Fuse Creativity System Starter Set – Best Machine for Thick Materials
- 14 Types of Die Cutting Machines
- 15 How to Use a Die Cutting Machine
- 16 Consider These Factors Before Buying an Embossing Machine
- 17 FAQ’s About Embossing Die Cutting Machines
- 18 Ready To Buy The Best Embossing & Die Cutting Machines?
A die cutting machine cuts materials such as fabric, paper, foam, and thin plastic into specific shapes. The cutouts are then used in projects like homemade cards, decorations for a party, scrapbooking, or quilts.
A die cutting machine can either be manual or digital. A manual die cutting machine is similar to a cookie-cutter in its working. That means it has sharp edges that facilitate the cutting of materials into particular shapes.
For this, one has to purchase the cutting dies used in the machine separately. Note that these cutting dies come in all sizes, shapes, and designs.
On the other hand, digital die cutting machines work similarly to a printer. That means they accept designs in two ways. One, the designs can be sent into the machine from a cartridge.
A cartridge is a device that plugs into the die-cutting machine after being preloaded with designs. The designs can originate from a computer with special software for designing and downloading them.
What Are Die Cutters Used For?
Whether you want to buy a model with the latest bells and whistles or stick with one that is simple and straightforward, both will serve as a very useful tool. Most die-cutting machines can handle different materials.
When designing a project, it is important to consider what types of materials are available.
Besides die cutter embossing machines, having a mess of sticks, branches, leaves, pine needles on your property can be a very frustrating and time-consuming mess to clean. In such a case, you need a quality wood chipper that can turn piles of sticks and branches into small chips.
However, we have put together a list of materials that can be used as resources for die cutters:
- Fabric – backed with interfacing
- Metallic card stock
- Sticker paper
- Magnet paper
To make things easier for you, here is a review of top-rated embossing machines.
Comparing The Best Embossing Machines
|Cricut 2003782 Cuttlebug Machine|
|Sizzix 660425 Big Shot Cutting/Embossing Machine|
|Cricut 2000293 Cuttlebug Machine|
|Sizzix 662500 Big Shot Foldaway Embossing And Die Cutting Machine|
|Spellbinders GC-200 Grand Calibur, Teal Die Cutting & Embossing Machine|
|Sizzix 656225 Texture Boutique Embossing Machine|
|Gemini by Crafter’s Companion Die Cutting and Embossing Machine Bundle|
|We R Memory Keepers Evolution Advanced Die-Cutting and Embossing Machine|
|Spellbinders PL-001 Platinum Cut and Emboss Machine|
|Fiskars Fuse Creativity System Starter Set|
1. Cricut 2003782 Cuttlebug Machine – Best Overall
This machine is relatively versatile, having been designed to work on materials like acetate, tissue paper, thin leather, and ribbon.
Additionally, this Cricut machine features a compact and lightweight design as well. Hence, it is aesthetically appealing, portable, and efficient at the same time.
2. Sizzix 660425 Big Shot – The Best Embossing Machine for Versatility
As a matter of fact, this unit can cut through any material that scissors can. Some of the materials you will be able to work on with this embossing machine include card stock, paper, foam, felt, fabric, craft metal, and flexible magnet.
Moreover, this model is capable of cutting several layers of thin materials at once. Hence, it simplifies your cutting and embossing process.
Additionally, it also offers you thousands of different embossing folders and dies, which gives you a lot of flexibility when you are designing.
3. Cricut 2000293 Cuttlebug Machine – The Best Die Cutting And Embossing Machine for Small Size Designs
Moreover, it boasts a handle as well, making it highly portable. Thus, with this machine, you will have an easier time embossing on curved designs. In this regard, you are guaranteed to not experience any tearing or folding while working.
Therefore, if you are looking for a professional finish on your designs on leather, paper, tissue paper and ribbons, this is your pick. Its pack features two cutting pads, one spacer, and an efficient flower embossing folder alongside a storage compartment.
4. Sizzix 662500 Big Shot Foldaway Embossing And Die Cutting Machine – The Best Foldable Embossing Machine
It also features a design to give you creative output whenever you want by just releasing the base and adding sheets of various sizes to create beautiful embossed designs and die cut layouts. The ergonomic lever can be easily stored in the built-in compartment when you do not need to use the machine.
Furthermore, it can be partnered with an array of embossing and die-cut pads that give you intriguing designs for all your crafting projects. Fold it up and store it safely once you are done with your project without worrying about space problems with this unit.
5. Spellbinders GC-200 Grand Calibur, Teal Die Cutting & Embossing Machine – The Best Embossing Machine Below $150
Notably, this machine allows you to replicate charms and set eyelets alongside cutting and embossing. In addition to that, it also carries out image transfers and smashes bottle caps.
For high-quality results, this product uses brass stencils to emboss. If you’re after the best manual die cutting machine that’s budget-friendly and flexible, this is your pick.
6. Sizzix 656225 Texture Boutique Embossing Machine – The Best Cutting/Embossing Machine Below $50
Hence, you can easily transform regular cardstock into stylish embossed art with its manufacturer-made Textured Impressions Embossing Folders.
Additionally, this unit is one of the best small crafting machines out there. It is compact, portable, lightweight, and barely takes up much space.
7. Gemini by Crafter’s Companion Die Cutting and Embossing Machine Bundle – Best Automatic Die Cutting and Embossing Machine
Moreover, the platform used on this machine is large, measuring 9 x 12.5 inches. Hence, you will be able to cut and emboss on A4 materials. It is compatible with a good number of embossing folders and dies for craft in the market, too.
8. We R Memory Keepers Evolution Advanced Die-Cutting and Embossing Machine – The Best Lightweight Embossing Machine
Its main goal is to offer you a universal crafting platform. Hence, this machine may also be used for letter pressing. Consequently, it has a height adjustment system that allows you to adjust the height of the machine to suit every project.
9. Spellbinders PL-001 Platinum Cut and Emboss Machine – A Unit With Reliable Power
Although it is a manual model, it offers reliable power and cutting pressure. Hence, you can cut six to eight layers of material at once.
Additionally, this machine is compatible with embossing folders, etched dies, contour steel rule dies, and texture plates by other brands, too.
10. Fiskars Fuse Creativity System Starter Set – Best Machine for Thick Materials
Although this is the heaviest product in this guide, it allows you to cut and create unique die-cut embellishments on thicker materials.
In this regard, the steel-rule dies used on this unit can easily cut layers of cardstock, foam, chipboard, foil, balsa wood, and magnet. Additionally, it may also be used on fabric materials like handmade clothing.
However, to be able to use embossing folders and dies for craft by other manufacturers on this machine, you should consider buying the Fuse Adapter Kit (sold separately).
Types of Die Cutting Machines
Die cutting machines are usually divided into 3 main categories: manual, electronic, and computer operated. Depending on the type of project and your needs, you should choose one that will do the job just fine and work best for you.
It’s best to pick one that can suit almost every project. Let’s shed some light on each type of die-cut machines and see what they can do:
- Manual die cutting machines: This type of machines usually uses some kind of handle to push the dies for craft through during operation. They are also useful when you want to make impressions using embossing dies. To operate them, you do not need a computer or electrical outlet.
- Electronic die cutting machines: As you may assume, it’s necessary to plug these machines into a wall outlet to operate them, as they use electricity as a source of power. So make sure there is a wall outlet in the room where you’re planning to work.
- Computer operated die cutting machines: Some die cutting machines need a computer to operate. You will also need an internet connection sometimes. These machines allow you to download shapes, designs, and fonts. That means you will be able to cut just about any design regardless of the size.
How to Use a Die Cutting Machine
If you’re eager to purchase a die cutting machine but have no idea how it works, follow these simple steps:
- Choose a die set design and material for your DIY project – Many die-cutting machines come with die sets. No matter what kind of fabric you’re going to cut, there will probably be various forms to pick from. Select your first die design and go from there.
- Follow a layered pattern – There will be a few layers between the material you wanna cut and your die. You will notice a dense layer of foam or rubber at the bottom. Place a piece of paper on the top and position your die according to your needs. Then top it with an extra layer of foam/rubber.
- Turn the crank slowly – Once you get your layered sandwich arranged, you will need to turn the crank toward the press. As the tray moves through the press, the machine will cut your material. Keep cutting and embossing until the tray reaches the other side.
- Raise the top layers – This will let you know whether your material is properly cut in place. If so, simply take out the shape and you are good to go. If it’s not fully cut in shape, you should move it back and continue the process.
- Turn the crank of your machine in the opposite direction if you should cut again – Sometimes it will be necessary to cut the shape one more time. Make sure the crank is turned the other way. Lay your pieces back and cut them again.
If you didn’t get the final cut even after repeating the process several times, it’s likely that the material is too thick for your die cutting machine.
Consider These Factors Before Buying an Embossing Machine
Whether you are buying an embossing machine for personal or business use, you need to ensure that you have chosen the right unit.
These are some of the main considerations you should make:
As of now, you may be looking for a machine that can carry out the embossing task at hand. However, your embossing needs may change in the future.
Therefore, it is advisable to buy an embossing machine that is versatile — with regards to its capabilities. When it comes to the versatility of these machines, the first thing you need to consider is the materials they can emboss.
Some machines are specifically designed to emboss a specific material, such as paper. Buying such a unit will limit you to embossing paper only.
Additionally, you also need to check the number of embossing patterns your preferred embossing machine can produce. In this regard, you should go for a unit that allows you to produce multiple embossing patterns.
What is the best size for an embossing machine? Rather than buying a unit that can only work on items of a particular size, consider getting one that can emboss both small and large items. Some of the leading models today can accommodate items up to 12 inches wide.
Hence, the machine you choose should be versatile enough to emboss materials of different sizes, depending on the project you are working on at any given time. You may realize that the machines that offer more options are relatively big.
Additionally, remember to get a unit that offers substantial clearance to cut through several layers in a single pass.
3. Ease of Use
You do not want to end up buying a machine that is hard to calibrate and operate, right? While some of the machines available today are relatively easy to use, others are a bit complicated.
In this regard, you need to choose between manual and automatic embossing machines. If your preferred embossing machine is manually-operated, you need to ensure that it is easy to operate.
4. Compatibility with Powders and Dyes
What embossing powders and dyes do you intend to use with your embossing machine? Ensure that those dyes and powders are compatible with your preferred embossing machine. Basically, the leading models come with different dyes and are compatible with accessories from other manufacturers.
You would not want to buy a model that only works with specific dyes and powders because the functioning of the machine will then depend on the availability of the specified dyes and powders.
FAQ’s About Embossing Die Cutting Machines
Q: What Are the Primary Operations of an Embossing and Die Cutting Machine?
As the name suggests, a die cutting machine has two key operations — cutting and embossing. Cutting has already been discussed above. Embossing, on the other hand, is the process of creating raised designs on a surface to generate the “pop-out” effect.
In addition, some machines can have extra operations such as drawing, piercing, and engraving.
- Drawing—Some die cutting machines allow the blades to be replaced with a marker for drawing instead of cutting.
- Piercing—This is the process of making holes in any given material such as fabric.
- Engraving—The cutting or carving of designs on a hard surface.
Whether a machine offers these extra features is dependent on its quality. A high-quality machine has more features than a low-quality one.
Q: What Are Die Cutting Machine Best Practices?
When using a die cutting machine, there are some practices one can implement for best results. First, it is advisable to use a wax paper between the die and cardstock, especially for the more intricate dies. Doing so helps prevent tearing.
Second, when changing the distance between the rollers, you should opt for an adjustable dial. The dial ensures you can cut different materials without having to purchase extra plates.
Finally, using a sticky tape will enable you to get more out of your dies. For example, you can create a frame by sticking a small and large die together.
The only downside of using sticky tape is that it tends to adhere to the materials. Hence, to prevent this, sprinkle a light dusting of talcum powder.
Q: What Are Die Cut Stickers?
A die cut sticker is a sticker that is cut into a unique shape so that it can fit a logo or a given piece of artwork. Because custom dies tend to be time-consuming to make and expensive, most manufacturers offer a collection of stock shapes made from pre-made dies.
If the stickers do not fit with your intended aesthetic, then manufacturers allow people to order custom dies at an increased price.
Ready To Buy The Best Embossing & Die Cutting Machines?
While there are numerous die-cutting and embossing machines in the market today, choosing the right die cutting machine can be challenging. The best embossing machine should be versatile, compatible with embossing folders and die-cuts, and able to work on small as well as large items.
Hence, if you happen to be looking for an affordable option, the Sizzix 656225 Texture Boutique Embossing Machine is a great choice. However, if you want a machine that can cut and emboss thicker materials, consider buying the Fiskars Fuse Creativity System Starter Set.
Also, are you searching for a machine that can transform any variety of wood into different shapes? Consider also buying a quality wood lathe out. And, if you’re in your office and want to shred unwanted documents, consider also buying the best paper shredder.