Cut It Out – A Die Cutter Overview

I’m loving the wedding signage and cut outs trend that’s hot right now (Check out Bianca’s Post here for ideas) but I was a little intimidated by trying to cut out shapes myself for signs free handed or trying to take on painting every letter. One option could be to purchase already made signs & shapes. I think this would be great and the most cost effective if you’re only looking to purchase just a few things, but I’m ready to jump full on the signage bandwagon for my wedding and want the whole sign smorgasboard!


My Maid of Honor, Melissa, has a Cricut die cutter she graciously offered to help cut out letters for me using cartridges she already has. But, it was one of those ‘if-you-give-a-mouse-a-cookie’ moments. First I just wanted a few letters cut, then I started dreaming up table place card numbers and designs, then others signs and my list started growing exponentially (Sorry Melissa!) .

So, I decided to look into investing into a die cutter myself and save Melissa from my potential Bridezilla wrath. My first natural inclination was to check eBay for a used Cricut on the cheap. I until very recently I was clueless about die cutting machines and what their capabilities included. After a few brain checks with Melissa (who has done quite a bit of research into cutting machines) she steered me in the direction of the Silhouette brand cutters which is what she would purchase next.

For anyone else out there thinking about purchasing a die cutter for wedding signs, here’s a Reader’s Digest version of what I’ve learned:

Cricut Die Cutters

Cartridge packs which are purchased separately are needed in order to cut shapes. These can be costly at prices of $20-$40+ each.  Cricut machines new run a few hundred dollars, and there are quite a few different varieties to choose from. On Ebay, you can find units under $100 but many of them are older models and, from what I understand, are not compatible with all cartridges. The shapes you cut are limited to the cartridge designs that already exist. I’m sure there are many selling points to using a Cricut, but my investigation stopped here mainly due to upfront pricing costs. I didn’t want to end up with an older machine and not be able to find cartridges to use in it.

purchasing a die cutter Cricuit

The Cricuit Cutter


Silhouette Die Cutters

Silhouette has two types of cutters, the Cameo and the Portrait


The Cameo is the more expensive cutter at roughly $300 which has the ability to cut paper up to 12 inches wide.  The Portrait is considerably less costly but can only cut up to 8.5 inches wide. However, both units can cut 10-12’ in length.


These cutters are also much more versatile as they can cut fabric and vinyl in addition to cardstock and paper.  These cutters do not use cartridges, but hook to your computer like a printer and come with a software package that allows you to create your own shapes from images on the internet, or you have the option to buy images from Silhouette’s online store (most designs are under $1.00). After a little more investigation, I found Pinterest was full of free designs to use! AND included in each cutter is a $10 gift certificate to Silhouette’s online store. As a bonus, the online store also offers a free shape every week!

shape of the week

Set featured image

Another advantage of the Silhouette is that allows you to print an image off your computer, scan it back in then center your cutout design around the printed image (Reference the sparklers in the pic at the bottom of this post).

After scouring the internet for the best deal I found Amazon sells the Silhouette Portrait for $119.99 after shipping (On the Actual Silhouette America site, the cutter is $179.99!). After thinking it over, I decided to invest in the cutter. I felt the price was reasonable, and the reviews were positive. I could use the cutter for my invitations, table numbers, signs, and wedding programs. I’ll figured I’d probably use the cutter in the future to make my own greeting and Christmas cards, too, so it wasn’t a bad investment. I’m hoping that if my signs turn out well, that I can sell a few in my Etsy store to try and recoup some of the cutter’s cost.


So far, the cutter has been quite fun to work with! Basically, the software is a watered down version of the 2D engineering design program I’ve used in school and at work; AutoCAD. I find myself looking for icons that aren’t there which has been a little flustering but I think it will smooth out over time and getting more familiar with the software.  Other than that, I love it! I can layout paper to cut much more efficiently than just measuring with a slicer, so I know I’m saving money on paper costs and not wasting as much. I’m pretty impressed at how intricate it can cut!

Here’s a few of the projects I have planned to create.

cut out shapes

Do you have any tips on using cutting machine or wedding projects you plan to use one for? If so, please share below!

Editor’s note: Due to the pandemic, some of the general wedding planning advice we share may not be applicable or possible due to restrictions on events. Please adhere to all current regulations and stay safe and healthy! Get more pandemic wedding resources here

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