Craftwell eBosser Review

The Craftwell eBosser Embosser and Die Cutter machine is an electronic motorized craft machine that can die cut and emboss. This means no more hand cranking! It uses a wall outlet and is able to cut and emboss full-sized 8-1/2″ x 11 pieces of paper. So far, it is the only motorized machine that we’ve reviewed with such a wide opening. Let’s get started with this eBosser review!

Craftwell ebosser

Amazon Price

Machine Features

The Craftwell eBosser electric cutting machine comes with some pretty neat features that other motorized machines on the market don’t have. For example, one complaint about the Sizzix Vagabond machine is that users must be careful not to jam the machine by creating a sandwich that is too thick. Although you still have to be careful with the eBosser machine and it can still get jammed, it does have built in a safeguard to kick plates back out if the sandwich is too thick for the machine. The machine also has a carrying handle, making it easy to carry around.

List of features:

  • Fully automatic
  • Strong motor for embossing and cutting
  • Die cut and emboss full size 8 1/2 x 11″ paper
  • Cut multiple layers of fabric at once
  • Stable base for cutting

Unlike some other machines, when using the eBosser, there is no need to constantly hold the feed button. The machine automatically feeds in the material for you. The machine weighs about 15 pounds and has a wide base, making it very stable when cutting.

The eBosser machine comes with a manual to help you decide what sandwich you need to use. See the eBosser platform chart.

What dies and folders can the eBosser use?

The eBosser can use die and folders from various manufacturers. Here is a list of some below:

  • Craftwell eBosser Embossing Folders
  • Sizzix
  • Spellbinders
  • Cuttlebug
  • AccuCut
  • AccuQuilt
  • Ellison
  • QuicKutz
  • Lifestyle Crafts
  • Fiskars Fuse

What can the eBosser machine cut?

Anything that scissors can cut, the eBosser machine can cut as well, and even more. The machine can even cut several layers of fabric at once. If you are a quilter, this can save you a lot of time.

Here is a list of materials that the eBosser can cut:

  • paper
  • cardstock
  • vinyl
  • plastic
  • balsawood
  • metal
  • leather

Check out the video of the eBosser cutting 8 pieces of fabric at once.

Overall Review

Overall, the Craftwell eBosser is a decent machine. It’s strong, can take dies and folders from different companies, and has built-in safety features to prevent materials from getting stuck in the machine. Even with this safety feature, users must still be careful, as the machine can still get jammed. When it comes to quilting and cutting fabric, the eBosser can save a lot of time.

Another similar machine that is motorized that may be cheaper is the Vagabond machine. The Vagabond cutting machine by Sizzix is also powerful and folds up. Check out the Vagabond Review.

Amazon Price

Are you interested in buying the eBosser? What have been your experiences? Let us know and leave a comment!

Spellbinders Grand Calibur Review

Update: Spellbinders has discontinued the Grand Calibur but the Spellbinders Platinum is an excellent machine that is sure to cover all your die cutting needs. Learn more in our full review of the Platinum.

The Spellbinders Grand Calibur Die Cutting Machine has been around for a while and is still well known in the craft circles. The Grand Calibur machine by Spellbinders is similar to other manual die cut machines on the market such as the Cricut Cuttlebug and Sizzix Big Shot, but it does have its own advantages and disadvantages.

Spellbinders GC-200 Grand Calibur Die Cutting & Embossing Machine, Teal

Amazon Price

Now, if you are used to seeing the raspberry red colored machine, this teal version is Spellbinders newest machine. The only difference between the teal machine and the red machine is that the teal machine is stronger. The teal version has been given stronger support beams and gears

Machine Features

The Grand Calibur can cut, emboss, and stencil. Stenciling is a unique feature of Spellbinders that no other machine has. Another unique feature is that is can take full size 8 1/2 x 11 pieces of cardstock without trimming.

List of features:

  • Cut, emboss, and stencil
  • Cut 8 1/2 x 11-inch pieces of paper
  • Stability base that suctions to the table
  • Compatible with Cuttlebug and Sizzix dies and folders (excluding Sizzix Bigz)


One of the biggest advantages of using the Grand Calibur is the width of the machine. It can take full-size pieces of paper. This isn’t the only machine that is wide enough for this, though. The Sizzix Big Shot Plus also has an 8 1/2″ opening, and Sizzix Big Shot Pro has a 13-inch wide opening.

Using the Spellbinder Grand Calibur is simpler than some of the competition. Because dies are limited, it’s a lot easier to figure out how to create your sandwich and not deal with shims and various sized plates.


One of the drawbacks of the machine is that it isn’t as small as some of the other machines like the Cuttlebug. The Cuttlebug folds up to save space, but the Grand Calibur is bulkier.

Another drawback of the machine is that the old machine has had a bad reputation of failing. Users have had handles break and loose screws come undone inside the machine. The new machine has stronger gears, but users still encounter problems. Surprisingly, though, despite these issues, some users still love their Calibur, and some say it embosses better than some of the other machines.

Overall Review

The Grand Calibur isn’t the best machine, but it still has its purpose and there are users who still love the machine for its size and how well it can emboss. The machine often fails, and even though it does come with a 1-year warranty, it is an inconvenience to replace the machine.

My recommendation is that you try out the Sizzix Big Shot, which is a lot more reliable and versatile. You can read my full review of the Sizzix Big Shot to find out why we like this machine better.

If you are in the market for a machine specifically for cutting fabric and felt, check out my article Best Die Cut Machine for Fabric and Felt.

Amazon Price

Cricut Mini Review

UPDATE: The Cricut Mini is discontinued, Cricut has released a different smaller cutting machine the Cricut Joy. Learn more about it in my Cricut Joy Review. Another awesome option is the Silhouette Portrait 3, read my review for more details.

The Cricut Mini is one of the few die cutting machines in its class, the other being the Silhouette Portrait. Weighing only 5.25lbs, the Cricut Mini is easy to travel with, especially with a laptop. The die cut machine is moderately strong, being able to cut 1.5mm cardstock with a cutting size of 8.5 x 12″. Not only can the Cricut Mini cut, but it can draw too.

Note: As of 7/16/18, the Cricut Mini will no longer be usable. The Cricut Mini must use Cricut Craft Room which is no longer available. You might want to consider the Cricut Explore or Cricut Maker instead.

Cricut Mini Review

Amazon Price

Cricut Mini Features

  • Cut and draw up to 8.5 x 12″
  • Portable and lightweight
  • Works with Cricut cartridges
  • Connects to Cricut Craft Room online software

One of the main advantages of this machine besides the portability is its simplicity. There are only two buttons on the machine, one for the power and one for loading the mat. The blade depth and blade pressure must be set manually, but everything else is controlled through the computer. Except for the few seconds when the roller spins without a mat, the machine is moderately quiet.

Cutting and Materials

The Cricut Mini does a decent job at cutting materials. Here is a list of some of the materials that the Mini can cut:

  • Vinyl
  • Light, Medium, and Heavy Cardstock
  • Cricut Stencil Material
  • Fabric (with fabric stabilizer)
  • Cricut Magnet Material
  • Cricut Material
  • Chipboard (1.5mm)
Since the Mini is smaller compared to the other Cricut cutting machines, it requires its own sized mat. Cricut mats are known to be quite sticky at first. If this is the case, press a clean towel or shirt against the mat to make it less sticky.

The Mini will cut as small as 1/4 inch, and precise too. Besides cutting, you can also draw with the Cricut Mini by replacing the blade with a sketch pen or marker.

Cricut Craft Room Software

The Cricut Mini uses the free Craft Room Software. It is important to know that to use the Craft Room Software (and your Cricut Mini), you’ll need an internet connection. The machine does take cartridges, but to use the cartridges, they must be linked to your online account.

If you try to use the software without an internet connection, you will see the following screen:


One downside to the Craft Room Software is that users are not able to create their own designs from scratch. Users must link their physical cartridges to the software, or buy designs (most are 99 cents) from Cricut’s design store. What’s handy is that Cricut saves the designs you buy in your online account, so if you are connecting your Cricut Mini to a different computer, you will still be able to access all your designs.

If you will be buying a lot of designs, you can save money by using their subscription service.

Cricut Craft Room
Cricut Craft Room

Overall Review

The Cricut Mini is a decent machine that cuts and draws well. One drawback of the machine is the limitation of the Craft Room Software. The Craft Room Software does not allow users to create their own designs. One the upside, the machine is great for portability, as it can be easily carried around or stored on the shelf, saving space in your craft space.

Another portal die cut machine similar to the Cricut Mini is the Silhouette Portrait. The Silhouette Portrait can cut up to 8 inches wide and 10 feet long, and weighs only 3.5lbs. If the Portrait sounds more appealing, read the Silhouette Portrait Review.

Amazon Price

Silhouette Portrait Review

Update: There is a new version of the Portrait called the Portrait 3. The Portrait 1 is no longer available for sale by Silhouette. Read my full review of the Portrait 3.

The Silhouette Portrait is one of the most affordable and portable digital die cutting machines on the market. Not only is it one of the more affordable options, and portable, weighing only 3.5lbs, but it also cuts well and is used with powerful software to create or import your own designs. If you are looking for something affordable, portable, and accurate, this Silhouette Portrait review is for you!

Silhouette Portrait Review

Amazon Price

Silhouette Portrait Design and Features

  • Cut and draw
  • 8″ x 12″ (20.3 x 30.5 cm) cutting area with mat
  • Cut up to 10 feet with a lined media (such as vinyl)
  • 210 grams of cutting force
  • PixScan™ technology compatibility – create designs from pictures
  • Print then Cut
  • Weighs only 3.5lbs, making it great for travel

Differences between the Cameo and Portrait

If you are looking at the differences between the Cameo and Portrait, here is a list of major differences:

  • The Cameo is a larger machine, cutting up to 12″ wide
  • The Cameo can work without a computer, reading directly from a USB drive

Both the Cameo and Portrait cut equally well with the same amount of cutting force (210 grams), so they will be able to cut the same types of materials. They will also run on the same software, so both machines can share the same files.

Using the Silhouette Portrait

Using the Silhouette Portrait requires a computer. Unlike the Silhouette Cameo which has an LCD screen and can work without a computer, the Portrait can’t. Designs are created with the included Silhouette Studio Designer (basic edition).


The Portrait machine isn’t designed for heavy use, so you won’t be able to cut materials like balsawood. This digital cutting machine is more for cutting paper and cutting vinyl. There is a ‘double cut’ feature to help cut heavier materials.

Below are some materials that the Silhouette Portrait can cut:

  • Paper/Cardstock up to 350 gsm thick.
  • Tissue paper
  • Vinyl
  • Iron-on transfer
  • Cereal box chipboard
  • Craft foam
  • Light weight fabric
  • Rhinestone template material

As far as the quality of the cuts, the Silhouette machines cuts are top-notch. Designs can be complex and intricate and the Portrait machine will do a fine job of cutting them.

If you are cutting materials such as paper or fabric, you’ll need to use the included cutting mat. The cutting mat stabilizes the material when being cut. One of the biggest complaints about the Silhouette cutting mats is that they are too sticky. When mats are too sticky, it can be difficult to peel the material off from the mat without ripping. If this is the case, press a pillow a t-shirt against the mat to make it less sticky.

Some users have reported upon purchasing the machine, that they had trouble with the blades. If this is the case, contact Silhouette’s Customer Support to receive a new blade, which should be free.

Print and Cut

One feature of the Silhouette Portrait is the Print and Cut feature. Images can be sent to your printer to be printed off in full color. Registration marks are printed around the image. Once the paper is loaded into the machine, the Portrait will detect the registration marks to know where to cut around the image.

PixScan Technology

Another feature of the Portrait machine is the PixScan technology. This feature is similar to the Print and Cut, except that images are placed on a special mat. Once the image is on this special mat, you can take a picture with your camera or smartphone, and upload the image to the Design software for the image to be cut.


Drawing is another neat feature of the Portrait machine. This is great if you want to sketch designs or sign cards for wedding invitations.

There are two ways you can sketch with the Silhouette Portrait.

  1. You can purchase the Silhouette Sketch Pen Starter Kit
  2. Or, purchase the Silhouette Pen Holder

The Silhouette Sketch Pen Starter Kit comes with an array of 24 colored pens. To use these pens, simply swap out the blade and insert the pen. It’s that easy.

Silhouette Sketch Pen Starter Kit
Silhouette Sketch Pen Starter Kit

The Silhouette Pen Holder allows you to use your own standardized pens. To use the pen holder, swap out the blade, insert the pen holder, and then insert your favorite pen.

Create custom designs with the Silhouette Portrait

One of the biggest advantages of the Silhouette cutting machines is the powerful software that comes included with the machine. This means there is no money to spend on cartridges. With the included Studio Design Software, users are able to create, import, or purchase their own designs.

There may be a learning curve if you are creating your own designs, but there are plenty of Youtube videos and tutorials online to help you learn. If you do have some design experience already, you catch on more quickly.

The basic version of the Studio Designer is free. To use the more advanced features, you’ll need to upgrade. See the Silhouette Design Software feature chart below:

Silhouette Cameo Studio Designer Versions
Silhouette Cameo Studio Designer Versions

The software is compatible with Windows Vista and higher, and Mac OSX 10.6.8 & higher.

Overall Review

If you like the size and portability, the Silhouette Portrait is an excellent machine. The price can’t be beaten. It’s not the most powerful machine, but if you want to just cut vinyl or paper products, you’ll be happy with the machine.

One of the cheapest places I’ve found to purchase the Silhouette Portrait is from Amazon. Click below to read reviews from Amazon and purchase, or leave me a comment!

Amazon Price