This machine helps to cut designs from paper and fabrics

picture of cycle design (right) cut out of a paper sheet using this machine (on left)
machine to cut designs out of paper cycle shape

There is a machine, Silhouette Electronic Cutting Tool, which is very useful for kids interested in arts and crafts as it helps to create and cut different designs. This machine looks like a printer and it can be connected with your computer or laptop via USB cable provided. You also get a free Silhouette studio software (associated with this cutting machine tool) which need to be installed in your computer using the CD provided. First, the software has certain tools to write any text (in different fonts) or create any type of geometrical shape (like circle, square, rectangle etc) on a platform, called cutting area, which will automatically come up on the computer screen once the software completely loads after double clicking the icon, of the software, on your desktop.

Suppose, using the tool in the software, you created four different shapes > circle, square, triangle and rectangle. You can also give the desired length and breadth to each shape. Now if you want these four different shapes (with desired width and height) to be cut from within a sheet of paper than this can be easily done using the Silhouette cutting tool. That is what this tool actually does.

What exactly you need to do is to place the sheet of paper (which you will be using to cut shapes out of it) on the cutting mat (this will come along with the Silhouette machine you will buy) so that it align itself without living any space on top left corner of the cutting mat. Then simply insert the cutting mat into the, printer like, Silhouette cutting machine tool and give command in the software using the CUT button to start cutting the shapes. The machine should also be in the ON mode during this process. As soon as you give this command, the operation will start and soon you will find all the cut designs ready on the cutting mat. Then simply remove the sheet of paper from the cutting mat, and you will find the cut pieces there on the cutting mat in different shapes which you created using the software. See the product in action in this youtube video. Similarly, any written text (of desired font) in the software can be cut from within a sheet of paper.

But there is also something more this tool can do when you need to cut custom designs of your own from a sheet of paper. There are also certain (100+) pre-loaded designs within the software itself (in show all designs folder). For example, there is a pre-loaded design in the software which is a flying bird. This design is useful if you want to cut the shape of a flying bird out of your sheet of paper. Similarly, there are different designs (like the cycle design you see in above picture) and those can be cut and used for your school project. If the design is colorful the shape will also come out colorful. The procedure to cut is same as mentioned above.

But kids can also draw their own colorful designs on a drawing sheet and this design can then be scanned (using mouse like Iris Mouse Scanner) and converted into an image and saved on to computer. The kids can also create a new folder and give it any name (like My Library) within the Silhouette software and then all your own designs on your computer can be inserted or uploaded into it. Once your custom design is within the software it can be cut from within a sheet of paper using the Silhouette tool as mentioned earlier. This is actually a very useful product for school projects related to arts and crafts and a great gift idea for any arts and crafts lover.

Drawing and then cutting the shape out of a sheet of paper can also be done using a scissor but it may not be precise. Also it may be a time consuming process as you will need to concentrate a lot while working with the scissor. One more reason to use this machine is that you can, not only use paper, but cardstock, vinyl, fabric and more up to 12-inch wide and 10-feet long can also be used to cut shapes out of them. All these materials can be placed on the cutting mat to insert into the machine. Also the Silhouette software can be integrated with your home printer to take and cut your printed designs as well. This is really an awesome product to use by students involved in arts and crafts work.

But this product is actually nothing as compared to another similar product called Cricut. Here is a nice video review of cricut. With cricut it is also possible to cut different geeting cards designs which is not possible in Silhoutee machine tool. But both have their pros and cons about which you can know more at Below is the picture of cricut.


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Written by: Rajesh Bihani

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