Our Review Of The Cricut Cuttlebug Embossing Machine

The Cricut Cuttlebug Embossing Machine is one of the most popular embossing and die-cutting machines on the market. Die-cutting is a method used to create unique designs among hobbyists who enjoy scrapbooking, card making, and other DIY (do-it-yourself) projects. The Cricut Cuttlebug can cut out any shape, design, or font out of paper, fabric, or metal, that isn't possible using scissors alone.

WHAT IS THE CRICUT CUTTLEBUG EMBOSSING MACHINE?

The Cricut Cuttlebug Embossing Machine is a manual embossing and die-cut machine that is a simple, low-tech way to add texture to any material or design. Using different cutting plates, called cutting dies, the machine can emboss and cut materials such as card stock, tissue paper, foil, leather and many others. Additional cutting plates can be purchased to change the shape of the designs. Your material goes between two plates in a "sandwich" like form and a hand crank moves it through the machine, creating the design.

DIE-CUTTING BASICS

a person holding a cutter to smoothen the shape of die cut flower pattern produced by a die cutting machine

Image by ID 422737 via Pixabay.com

Die-cutting is often compared to using a cookie cutter. A hand-operated, die-cutter uses steel die shapes to cut through a wide variety of materials quickly and easily. The process makes replicating the same shape over and over very simple, saving time, and maintaining consistency in the shape of the item being created.

EMBOSSING

The Cricut Cuttlebug is one of the few machines that can die-cut and emboss. Embossing can add fun, elegant, or dynamic texture to cardstock and other materials. For many designs, including items like greeting cards or invitations, being able to complete both die-cutting and embossing at the same time is economical and timesaving. The embossing feature is designed to produce deep, consistent embossing patterns for professional-looking results.

With the popularity of crafting and DIY projects, the technology of manual and electronic die-cutting machines is rapidly expanding. In-home usage of these products is popular among teachers, parents, and everyone with a love for creating their own designs and products. The Cricut Cuttlebug is one of the top-rated designs in the Cricut product line.

PRODUCT SPECS

The basic Cricut Cuttlebug package comes with the machine, 1 A Spacer, 2 B Cutting plates, instruction booklet, and 1 5x7 embossing flosser. The Cricut Cuttlebug can also work with other manufacturer's die-cut plates. The larger embossing area lets you emboss A2 and 5" x 7" size paper from edge to edge. Each folder features a coordinating border which works well for smaller projects and to give projects a consistent look.

WHAT CAN THE CRICUT CUTTLEBUG CUT?

Cardstock, thin metal, thin wood, thin felt, some fabrics, poster board, chipboard, tissue paper, and fun Foam. Materials over 1/8" thick should be avoided.

WHAT TYPES OF CRAFTS CAN BE MADE ON THE CRICUT CUTTLEBUG?

Everything from wedding invitations, party decorations, iron-on t-shirt designs, wall artwork, quilts, etched glass, leather items, and more. The consistency in shape can make any project look professional.

MAINTENANCE

The machine should be kept clean but no other maintenance should be necessary so long as nothing is forced through the opening.

DIMENSIONS

The dimensions of the machine are 14.4 inches long, 7.2 inches wide, 12 inches high, and weighs 7 pounds.

PRICING

The Cricut Cuttlebug is available for purchase on the Cricut company website, Amazon, and at craft stores such as Michaels or Joann's. The unit ranges from $60-$150. There are some versions that come in a "bundle" adding paper, materials, and other add-on items.

WHAT WE REVIEWED

We picked a few similar products available on the market to see how they compare.

  • FISKARS FUSE CREATIVITY SYSTEM STARTER SET
  • CRICUT EXPLORE AIR 2
  • SIZZIX ECLIPS2 STARTER KIT

CRICUT CUTTLEBUG EMBOSSING MACHINE

Cricut Cuttlebug Die Cutting & Embossing Machine
  • Bonus! includes one A2 embossing folder and two metal dies
  • One 6x8 a plate and two 6x8 b plates included
  • One 6x8 rubber embossing mat included. Features a collapsible handle and compact fold-n-store profile

EASE OF USE

This easily portable machine can be stored and used, anywhere. On the go, or in your home, this machine is compact, portable, and easy to set up and put away. We rated the Cricut Cuttlebug high because you don't need a big space, or a permanent space, to use this machine. You can use it and then store it just about anywhere.

ASSEMBLY TIME

The machine comes fully assembled. The die-cut plates and cutting materials can be easily changed out.

DESIGN QUALITY

The machine is portable, weighing in at only seven pounds. The handle and the sides fold in for easy storage. Because a variety of fabrics can be used in this machine, we really liked its versatility and sleek, compact appearance.

WARRANTY

The Cricut Cuttlebug comes with a 1-year limited warranty from Cricut.


​FISKARS FUSE CREATIVITY SYSTEM STARTER SET

Sizzix Big Shot Starter Kit Manual Die Cutting Machine with Extended...
  • The Big Shot die-cutting and embossing machine is the perfect tool for a wide range of creative pursuits and caters to...
  • Die-cuts and embosses many different materials up to 6" (15.24 cm) wide. Compatible with the entire Sizzix product...
  • The Big Shot Machine measures approximately 40 x 29 x 24 cm (14 1/4" x 12 3/8" x 6 5/8") and weighs 4.52 Kg (7.50 lb).

The Fiskars Fuse Creativity System Starter set is a workhorse among die-cut machines. It can cut a shape, press a textured pattern, and ink the pattern all in one pass through the machine. Being able to do an all-in-one pass is time and labor saving. Fiskars also offers coordinating letterpress plates from their expansion packs to create virtually limitless end results.

WHAT CAN THE FISKARS FUSE CREATIVITY SYSTEM CUT?

Standard crafting papers, plus mixed media materials like cork, balsa, chipboard, fabric, foam, felt, aluminum and more.

  • MAINTENANCE
  • DIMENSIONS

Regular cleaning is recommended.

EASE OF USE

The machine is hand crank operated and once set into position, it can cut a wide variety of materials. Due to its weight, it will be harder to transport from place to place, so we gave it 4 stars because it would be easier to have a permanent place for the machine rather than moving it around often. However, it does fold up and offers a carrying handle, so it is portable for anyone who can lift 26 pounds. We also liked the one-pass functionality.

ASSEMBLY TIME

Once the unit is unfolded, it is ready to be operated. The manual crank is also easily movable.

DESIGN QUALITY

The Fiskars design is heavy-duty and high quality. It might not be as portable as some other models, but if your materials require a stronger, thicker cut, this machine can meet those needs. The roller height is also not adjustable so it is difficult to use plates and lettering from other manufacturer brands.

WARRANTY

Fiskars offers a 3-year limited warranty which is the longest warranty of any of the die-cut devices reviewed.

Pros

  • The machine can handle larger cutting plates up to 12"
  • Heavy-duty design can cut thicker materials
  • Storage compartment in the machine
  • It can use a wide variety of thicker materials

Cons

  • The unit is heavy, not portable friendly
  • Not compatible with non-Fiskars design kits
  • Limited accessory options

​CRICUT EXPLORE AIR 2

Cricut Explore Air 2 Machine Bundle Iron On Vinyl Pack Tools Pen...
  • MACHINE BUNDLE: Cricut Explore Air 2 Machine bundle with tool kit and vinyl in assorted colors. Air 2 die-cutting...
  • USER-FRIENDLY: Machine has built-in Bluetooth for wireless cutting, writing, and scoring. Smart Set dial adjusts to...
  • ACCESSORIES: Tool Kit contains Spatula, Weeder, Scraper, Scissors, and Tweezers. 9x12 inch sheets (8) Cricut Vinyl...

The Fiskars Fuse Creativity System Starter set is a workhorse among die-cut machines. It can cut a shape, press a textured pattern, and ink the pattern all in one pass through the machine. Being able to do an all-in-one pass is time and labor saving. Fiskars also offers coordinating letterpress plates from their expansion packs to create virtually limitless end results.

ELECTRONIC VS. MANUAL DIE-CUTTING

One method isn't preferred over the other, but figuring out which one is best depends on your project needs. Manual die-cutting is limited to the shape of the die-cutting plates offered, but electronic die-cutting can cut virtually any shape. Manual units are much cheaper and don't require the use of a computer, while the electronic versions require a fair amount of familiarity with designing on a computer-based program.

PRODUCT SPECS

The Cricut Explore Air 2 package comes with the machine that has built-in wireless Bluetooth; Cricut design space software and app access; German carbide premium blade (already installed in machine); accessory adapter (already installed in machine); USB cord and US Standard Power Cord; 100 free images and 50 free project ideas from Cricut's website; the getting started guide; pen and cardstock sample; 12 in. x 12 in. cutting mat; 5 Cricut Pens; Cricut spatula, scraper, scissors, hook tool and needlepoint tweezers; 8 sheets of vinyl; 2 sheets transfer paper; 12 vinyl designs; project inspiration and technique book (digital); 4 sheets of glitter heat transfer; 12 heat transfer vinyl designs and project inspiration and technique book (digital).

WHAT CAN THE CRICUT EXPLORE AIR 2 CUT?

It can cut over 100 materials, from cardstock, vinyl and iron-on to specialty materials like glitter paper, cork, and bonded fabric.

  • MAINTENANCE
  • DIMENSIONS

The unit is 24.8 x 10 x 10.2 inches and 14 pounds.

EASE OF USE

Once the unit is connected via Bluetooth or USB, and the program is downloaded, the machine is ready to go. Bluetooth technology makes connecting the unit very simple. The design program provided by Cricut is also simple to use and once that is mastered, nearly any design can be created on this unit. We like this because it is as close to plug-and-play as you can get.

ASSEMBLY TIME

Like any standard piece of computer equipment, once the unit is installed and connected, it is ready to go.

DESIGN QUALITY

The unit is compact enough to fit in small spaces and can be folded in when it is not in use.

WARRANTY

The Cricut Cuttlebug comes with a 1-year limited warranty from Cricut.

Pros

  • Design capabilities are more flexible than manual versions
  • Compact design
  • It can cut all the same materials as a manual model but with more precision
  • It's about the same size a small, in-home, standard printer

Cons

  • You must have a computer with the capability to run the program
  • It is more expensive than manual models
  • It can take a longer time to learn how to design on the software in order to create designs
  • The software is only available online, meaning you can't download the program directly on your computer, you must create an account

​SIZZIX ECLIPS2 STARTER KIT

The Sizzix eclips2 Starter Kit is also an electronic die-cutting machine. This is the company's flagship electronic model boasting some of the most precise cutting technology available. It also does not require any cartridges to operate.

PRODUCT SPECS

The package includes the eclips2 machine, universal power supply, 2 cutting blades, blade holder, power cord, 6' USB Cable, 12" x 12" cutting mat, eCAL lite software download, and a user's Guide.

WHAT CAN THE SIZZIX ECLIPS2 CUT?

It can cut over 100 materials such as: cardstock, craft, plastic, grungepaper, vellum, chipboard, mat board, fabric, leather, vinyl, felt, poly, foam, wood veneer, cork, flexible magnet, rubber, craft metal, grungeboard, shrink plastic, and more.

  • MAINTENANCE
  • DIMENSIONS

The cutting deck size is 12" x 12" and it weighs 17 pounds.

EASE OF USE

Once the machine is connected, and the software is downloaded to your computer, it's ready to use. With the ability to use nearly any material, we love the flexibility of this machine.

ASSEMBLY TIME

Once the unit is connected to your computer, it is ready to use.

DESIGN QUALITY

We like it's compact, portable design as well as the ability to connect via Bluetooth or USB. Its software is also very robust in its design offerings.

WARRANTY

Sizzix offers a 6-month limited warranty. On a machine with so many moving parts, we'd prefer a longer warranty.

Pros

  • Design capabilities are more flexible than manual versions
  • Compact design
  • No cartridges are required
  • The software can be downloaded onto your computer

Cons

  • You must have a computer with the capability to run the program
  • It is more expensive than manual models
  • It can take a longer time to learn how to design on the software in order to create designs
  • In order to access a wider array of designs, an additional software package must be purchased

CONCLUSION

The Cricut Cuttlebug is an affordable, versatile machine that can accommodate the design of many DIY projects. With its lightweight and portable design, ease of use, and space-saving size, the Cricut Cuttlebug earns its distinction as one of the best manual die-cut machines on the market. We give the product 5 stars.

Featured Image by steinchen via Pixabay.com

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