Have you ever thought about how nice it would be to have help cutting out your items? Maybe it’s time for you to look at adding a cutting machine to your wish list. Maybe you already have one, but it’s still in the box. Maybe you’ve heard a little about them but haven’t decided if they are worth the investment. This month, we will look at a few basic projects and uses for a cutting machine as it applies to items for your doll to help you decide if a cutting machine is a good addition to your doll sewing and crafting world.
So – what is a cutting machine and what can it do? In general, it is a digital craft cutter. I think of it as an automated or robotic craft knife, but today’s machines can do so much more. Some can also draw, score, or perforate lines. Some can cut fabric as well as paper, and some can cut thicker materials such as leather or even wood.
A few brands you may have heard of include the Brother Scan N Cut, a Silhouette, or a Cricut Machine. There are many models and brands available, and each machine is different, so you’ll want to do a lot of research to decide which machine is right for you based on what you want to accomplish with your cutting machine. I suggest you compare the information available straight from each manufacturer’s website.
You can also learn a lot from the many comparisons available online, but a word of caution here - new technologies and models are being introduced all the time, so take note of the publishing date on the article or video you are viewing. Most of the comparison videos I found are a number of years old, and many new products, models, tools, and upgrades have been introduced since those videos were made.
I have a Cricut Maker, so that is the model I will be using for this topic. With the Cricut machine, the designing is done on a computer or other device which then sends the information to the cutting machine and tells it what to cut. The file format used is SVG which stands for Scalable Vector Graphics. This means the design size can be changed without getting blurry or pixelated, so if I want to create a design to put on a doll shirt and then put a larger version of that same design on a girl’s shirt – it will turn out just fine.
Once you have decided on your design and are ready to cut, in most cases, you will apply the material or paper to a cutting mat designed for use with your machine. These cutting mats are sticky, to hold the material in place as the machine is working. They come with a clear protective cover sheet that you need to remove when you are ready to use the mat. There are various levels of “grip” or “stickiness” available, and you want to choose the one that is best for the material you are working with. One thing you need to be sure to remember is to avoid touching the sticky part of the mat with your fingers because the oils in your skin can break down the sticky part. Use tools like a little spatula or tweezers to help get things off the mat to help extend the life of the mat. Another thing you’ll want to do is to put the cover sheet back on the mat when you are finished cutting to protect it from dust and pieces of thread.
Join us for a month of information and fun and let your creative ideas blossom into wonderful projects you might not have considered without this tool.