Die Cut Machine Brands: Sizzix Vs. Ellison

Comparing the features of the Ellison and Sizzix machines will help you select the best die-cut machine for your needs.

While many people think of elementary school teachers creating bulletin boards when they think of die-cut paper shapes, die-cut machines such as the Sizzix and Ellison systems can be used by anyone who has a need for creativity. Scrapbookers have especially found these letters and shapes handy, but there are any number of other crafting possibilities. Comparing the features of the Ellison and Sizzix machines will help you select the best die-cut machine for your needs.

CUTTING MECHANISM

Both the Ellison and the Sizzix die-cutters use the same basic technology to produce paper cut-outs. A piece of paper is placed on the base of the machine, and the die is placed in a space above the paper that is topped with a lever. A die consists of a metal cutting edge crafted in the desired shape surrounded by foam. When the lever is pulled, the foam is compressed, exposing the cutting blade and resulting in a die-cut shape.

The Sizzix machine has a bonus use that can be helpful for craft projects. By using embossing folders in place of the dies, it is possible to simply imprint a design onto a piece of paper rather than cutting out the outline of a shape



COST

The Ellison machine costs between $300 and $395. Dies vary greatly in price depending on the complexity of the image and whether you are buying an individual image or a themed set such as the letters of the alphabet. For instance, a simple snowflake costs $30 while a puzzle of the continental United States costs $485. If you can't find what you need in the die catalog, you can even have a custom die created.

The suggested retail price of the Sizzix machine is $79.99. The suggested retail price of its dies is $7.99 - $244.99. Folders have a suggested retail price of $5.99 and up, depending on complexity.

CUTTING POWER

The Ellison machine can cut through five sheets of paper at once. It can also handle a number of other materials: fabric and felt, shrink film, poly foam, self-adhesive rubber, foil, paperwood, thin sheet magnet, pop-up sponge, and thin metal. A good rule of thumb is that it can cut through anything scissors can.

The Sizzix machine can cut through three pieces of paper at once, and can cut the same non-paper materials as the Ellison machine, though perhaps not as handily as the Ellison. Sizzix also has smaller dies available that will only cut through one sheet of paper, as well as cardstock, vellum, and thin foil.

OTHER COMPARISONS

Ellison dies come in five sizes, from tiny to double cut. Sizzix dies are available in three sizes in addition to the smaller "Low Profile" die series. The Ellison machine comes with a lifetime warranty, but the Sizzix machine only has a one-year warranty. Both machines can generally be used on any table top and are considered easy to operate. Both machines are produced by the same company, with the Ellison being considered the professional-grade model.

If you are a teacher or other school worker who would like to use a Sizzix or Ellison machine, check with your district or local regional educational consortium about the availability of machines and dies before investing your own money. Otherwise, decide what your budget allows and which features will best fit your needs and have fun with die-cutting!

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