Mar 10, 2011

Slice die cutter by Making Memories - Review

I was in the JoAnn's Monday buying grommets when I happened to notice their original model Slice machines were on clearance. I had just seen the new Slice Elite at Hobby Lobby the previous weekend and noticed there was an applique' card you could buy for it. Also, I Have A Notion reviewed the new Slice Fabrique on their blog earlier this month. They will be carrying them & the accessories.

The Slice is a die cutting machine by the scrapbooking company Making Memories that is very hard to find info about online, except at their site, even though it has been around since 2008. They are now branching out into the quilting and fabric crafting hobbies with their 2 new models but it turns out the original model  can use the new design cards. The older model on clearance was $80, at my local JoAnn's in Grapevine, TX, while the new models run at $150 and it looks like they haven't gotten the bugs out of them yet. The biggest differences between them that I've read about online are the new models are faster and quieter, the older model will be faster with the upgrade on the new design cards, will cut mediums up to 1 mm thick as opposed to .5 mm with the older model and may cut more precise. My husband let me get the one on clearance so I was sold! I can put up with the other stuff since it's my first time using this machine.

You can browse the videos on their website here. They show what comes in the box and how to operate it. I forgot to take pictures of the un-boxing but took a whole lot more so if you're interested click.

The Slice is a small die cutting machine that does not use a roller or feed system. You put it on top of your paper or fabric with paper back fusible web and it's blade rotates and moves around to cut out the design. I began by cutting on paper since I wasn't sure about cutting on fabric yet. To prepare to cut, the machine has to be plugged in or charged for an hour for about an hour of cordless use. It comes with a glass cutting mat and re-positionable adhesive that needs to be applied to the cutting mat and dry for a couple of minutes. I happened to have some scrapbook paper around and smoothed it onto the 6"x6" cutting mat. I plugged in the Slice, homed the blade, chose my design and chose the largest size, 4 inches. The Slice will cut between 1 and 4 inches at 1/2 inch intervals, seven sizes.



I chose the letter N in a circle. It needs to be lightly held in place, just to keep from shifting, while cutting.



That came out awesome so I chose a G in a square at 2 inches and some words at 4 and 3 inches. They sell a special little spatula to pick the pieces up from the mat but I just used a pin. I've seen others use an X-acto knife.



As you can see, my paper looks like Swiss cheese. It's easy to position the Slice so you can make the most of your paper but I bought this primarily for the fabric applications. I set up some different samples to test. I first used fabric that I heavily starched.



It did not stick to the adhesive on the mat very well and the knife ended up dragging it around part way through cutting this 2 inch hexagon.

Second, I used fabric that was ironed onto freezer paper and cut a 2 inch hexagon. It didn't cut all the way through so I cut another one.



The second one I cut grabbed the fabric and pulled it off the freezer paper.

For the last sample, I fused fabric onto lightweight fusible like it is suggested. I just used some Heat & Bond light that was laying around. Since this was the recommended way to use it, I switched shapes to a 4 inch heart.



I forgot to mention this machine is fairly fast. It cut this out in a few seconds and only had a small section that was scored but not cut all the way through. I clipped it out with a small pair of scissors. I cut a flower shape out of the rest of this piece next.


You can see in this picture that it shows the position of where the knife will start so you can make the most of your fusible backed fabric.

 

I had to snip this one out in one spot also but I'm not bothered by it. I may be able to adjust the knife so it can cut a little deeper. I really liked how fast and easy this was. The only slight drawback is that intricate shapes may not cut out well in fabric but all of the basic shapes and letters should be fine. The new applique cartridges are specifically designed to cut shapes out of fabric so you don't have to guess.

So now that I found it would cut fused fabric well, I took the fabric off of the freezer paper & cut that



This is a 1.5 inch flower. The freezer paper can be ironed down on a t-shirt and used as a stencil for painting. i then went back to scrapbooking paper that was just white cardstock and cut some 1.5 inch hexagons.



I had to re-home the blade before cutting these. Getting caught on the fabric may have shifted it too much out of whack. These are fairly accurate & I may be able to calibrate my machine to make them more accurate but I think they might work for English paper piecing my hexies. It cut these out in no time. I wished it would have cut the un-fused fabric better to make my hexie prep quicker. It may work if I find a stickier adhesive.

i did throw together this potholder today and used the flower applique, just for kicks.



I'm still refining the design and process of this potholder but this one should be usable.

I think me and my family will find a lot of uses for this machine from cutting appliques to cutting words for posters and making collages. I think it was a good investment for $80. The design cartridges run around $50 for the new ones but have extra options, like mirroring and shadowing, that coupled with the varying sizes makes it a decent value compared to other cutting systems.

If anyone has any questions, I'd be happy to answer them. Be forewarned, I have very little experience with this and I may not get around to them quickly though because my Mother-in-law will be visiting next week. Thanks for reading if you've gotten this far.

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