Material Moms, Small Purchase

[Material Moms] For The Love Of Crafts – Selena Quah

Love creating crafts with your kids? Read on to find out what Material Mom Selena Quah thought of the new Brother’s ScanNCut machine.

I remember cutting out ‘Happy Birthday’ alphabets for my son’s 4th birthday party and my husband rolling his eyes at me for putting in so much effort.

“Why don’t you just buy the bunting?”

“But it’s more meaningful to do it yourself. Plus, I can make my own design!”

That was just one of the many times I spent time and effort cutting things out manually with a pair of scissors. To be honest, I did wish I could magically zap it out so I could finish up and go to bed early.

Well, someone at Brother must have heard my wish, and the wish of many crafters out there I’m sure.

The Machine

The ScanNCut with the materials for making the card.

The ScanNCut with the materials for making the card.

Brother, better known for their sewing machines, has developed an innovative machine that can scan any image, whether printed or hand-­drawn, and cut out your desired pattern from paper, fabric or vinyl. I know the concept sounds simple, but if you’ve done things the manual way, you’ll understand the draw of this device.

Loading the adhesive mat with the paper to be cut into the ScanNCut

Loading the adhesive mat with the paper to be cut into the ScanNCut.

The ScanNCut looks like a small ink­jet printer and is equipped with a built-­in 300dpi (dots per inch) scanner. In place of an ink cartridge is the cutter blade. The machine has data storage so you can save scanned images and have the machine cut out those shapes on any material you feed it, up to a maximum thickness of 3mm (so even cardboard and felt is fine). If you want the same shape cut out from various types of paper or fabric, this feature is a real time saver.

The Hands-­on

I had the opportunity to try the ScanNCut with my craft­-loving eldest son to get a feel of how the machine works. We were guided through the process of creating a ‘pop­-up’ Christmas card with layers of different sized paper on the cover.

The machine proved to be fairly easy to operate. Even my five-­and-­a-­half year old understood the basic functions quite quickly, and eagerly helped some of the participants sharing the same workstation as us. You scan the pattern you want and save it into the machine’s memory, then using the adhesive mat, put the pieces of paper you want cut onto it, load the mat into the machine, click a few buttons, and voila! All the pieces are cut out for you. In all, it took less than 10 minutes to cut the pieces and assemble the card.

The ScanNCut’s blade made clean and smooth cuts. I thought it was impressive that the machine could even do more delicate work like cutting out the words ‘Merry Christmas’. All these are not impossible to do manually, but it would easily have taken three to four times the amount of time (or more) compared to using the ScanNCut.

We did find that you have to make sure the paper is stuck firmly onto the adhesive mat otherwise the paper will slide and will not be cut properly. The group I was working with encountered this problem a few times, but besides this we didn’t have any other issues.

The Good

If you like crafts, the possibilities with this machine are endless.

Close up of the finished product

Close up of the finished product.

The scalloped edges cut perfectly.

The scalloped edges cut perfectly.

It’s great for kids’ parties; you can do the bunting (without your husband rolling his eyes at you), customise the invites and decor to suit any theme you want, make all kinds of confetti (this really excites me because I love confetti!), prepare art and craft corners with themed cut-­outs, make face masks (with the ScanNCut, cutting out the holes for the eyes is a lot easier), make customised T-shirts by cutting out designs from iron­-on paper or cloth appliques, and so on.

Scrapbooking fans will love how they can create all kinds of paper and fabric embellishments. Quilters will love that the fabric pieces are cut to precision, and you can even specify the seam allowance you want when cutting the fabric. Pre­-school teachers will appreciate that the machine saves them time when preparing materials for art and craft sessions for an entire class of children.

Plus, if your kids like arts and crafts, making a card together like I did with my son is a nice time of bonding.

I really wouldn’t mind having this machine, but …

The Price

It’s touted as being the ‘world’s first home and hobby cutting machine’, but to acquire it you must have quite a lot of spare cash lying around. At $828, I feel the price is prohibitive. There’s also the other issue of replacing the adhesive mat (around $20 for the 12 x 12 low tack adhesive mat). Apparently each mat can be used up to 20 times. Even if you rotate the mat around so you use every inch of it for different projects, I figure you’ll need to make several replacements a year if you use it intensively.

I like what the ScanNCut can do, and I can see many groups of people who would like to use it and can benefit from such a machine. But until the price drops, I’ll just use my scissors.

Oh well.

Material World was invited by Brother to try the ScanNCut machine. All opinions are the author’s own. This post is neither paid for nor advised by the brand. Please read our advertising policy here.

Selena Quah with Asher Selena Quah enjoys the little things in life and hopes her children will pick up this trait from her too. She thinks kids are an excellent excuse to indulge in things she likes such as strolling through parks, doing art and craft, and baking. A dancer from young, she hopes to get back to it when the kids are older, though for now she’ll have to make do with dancing around the house while her boys wonder why Mummy is mad. You can find Selena’s blog Unlikely Lady of Leisure here. 

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