Which Cutting Machine Should I Buy?



This is the number one question that I get asked. The other most asked asked questions are, “How do I add bridges to letters and where do they need to be added? and “What material and cut settings do I use to cut my stencils?” I share this and more helpful information in The Colorful Cookie Club.

Learn all that you need to know to design and cut culinary stencils using a Cricut or a Silhouette Cameo cutting machine in The Colorful Cookie Club. There are over 350 video tutorials and more videos get added all of the time. There is a weekly LIVE Q & A along with interactive tutorials in our member’s only Facebook Group too. Did I mention that I share a lot of stencils to cut, cookie cutters to print and images to use for your stencil designs?? We also have a Shared Google Drive where all club members share stencil files. It is so much fun to design and cut your own custom cookie stencils! Click HERE and HERE to see what I use to design and cut cookie stencils.

CRICUT Maker, Explore Air 2, Explore Air

The Cricut Explore Air machines are easy to use, have labeled cut settings on the machine, and you can also create a custom setting. The Cricut Maker is a superb machine! I invested in one and I LOVE it! All of the cut settings are programmed in the software now and there is no Smart Set Dial on the Maker. I am very happy with my Cricut Explore Air. I also have a Cricut Explore Air 2 that I love. The Explore machines have a Smart Set Dial on top of the machine for turning to pre-defined cut settings. They are all great cutting machines. They all cut stencils so nicely, even out of the thicker stencil material. I prefer 075 thickness.  Cricut Design Space software is fairly easy to learn, although there is still a learning curve. All of my Cricut machines cut so well through thicker material. I can cut cookie stencils with no issues. It is a sturdy machine. There is no knife tool or manipulation of edit points available in the current version of the software. The software does not allow you to design super fine detailed images because it likes to do a lot of work for you. The software now has a curve text tool that is awesome! I’ll say it again, the Cricut machines cut very well, especially when you have a new or newer blade. I prefer the premium German carbide blade. The regular blade cuts well, however, it wears out faster. Bluetooth works perfectly every time. The Cricut mats are durable.  As of this blog post, Cricut Design Space requires the internet. The most current version of Design Space has been great. No crashes! I like it much better than the older version. There is also a Beta Version of Cricut Design Space that I am using. It does not require internet and it has been working like a charm! I am so thankful for this! No Internet Required! A Cricut Access subscription is available for purchase. It gives you access to images and fonts, as well as “Make it Now” Projects. I use it all of the time. It is worth it. You can also share the weblink to your files with other Cricut users if you use the Cricut Access images. You cannot share the weblink to your files if you use images of your own or images downloaded from the web because of copyright. If you already own cartridges, you can upload them to your online account. Read about the types of files you can upload and use here.


The Cameo is also easy to use, does not have labeled cut settings on the machine. The cut settings are set within the software. The software is more sophisticated and has more tools/features than Cricut Design Space, so it is a little more complicated to learn. It cuts detailed designs and bridges fonts very well because of the variety of tools(knife tool and edit points)available in the software. It allows you to design images with finer details. Bridges are easier to create in small areas of an image or letters. I use the knife and edit points tools for those fine details. I use the autoblade and the premium blade(stays sharp longer). My Cameo has more difficulty cutting through the thicker stencil material. Bluetooth now works with my Mac. I did have issues, but they seemed to have fixed that in one of the software updates. The Silhouette mats are thin and clear. I now use the 005 Grafix Food Safe stencil material. It is translucent, so it shows up on the Silhouette mat nicely.I also cut down Cricut mats to use in my Cameo. You do not need the internet to use Silhouette Studio. However, you do need internet access if you will be saving any designs to the cloud. Silhouette Studio is software that you download to your computer. There is also a Silhouette Design Store subscription available for purchase. Read more about that here and read about the types of files you can use here. You can use your own images or images you find online to create your designs. The Silhouette Cameo 4 has been released. I have just received mine and will report back on how it works. I have high hopes for the 5kg of cut force. That is 1 more kg of force than the Cricut Maker.


I design all of my stencils in Silhouette Studio and I cut them on all of my Cricut machine. I suggest to everyone that they buy the Silhouette Studio Business Edition, found HERE. I do this because I can design any stencil that I want in Silhouette Studio and have total control over every part of it. I can design a stencil with the tiniest of details if needed. I can manipulate any edit point to get the exact stencil image that I want. If someone says that you can’t use a Silhouette file in Design Space, that is true. You can save a file in Silhouette Studio in the Business Edition as an SVG file. Then you can upload it into Cricut Design Space and cut it.

I teach all of this and so much more along with all of my methods, tips, and tricks in The Colorful Cookie Club. We have so much fun! Join us and you will be designing and cutting stencils in no time!

In summary, I like all of my machines for different reasons. I’d buy any of them again. They are all great machines! They all cut vinyl and paper very well! For cutting thicker stencils (075), the Cricut is my preference. For designing and cutting thinner stencils(005), Silhouette Studio software and Cameo is my preference.

If you are tech savvy, Silhouette Studio won’t be too hard for you to learn. If you like to keep things simple, then Cricut Design Space is a little easier to learn.

If you are new to a cutting machine or want to learn to design stencils,  join The Colorful Cookie Club . You will learn to design and cut your own stencils and you will love it!  There are tutorials for Cricut and Silhouette cutting machines and lots of other fun things going on in The Colorful Cookie Club! Please join us today!

Let’s Get Busy Designing!


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Need a stencil fast? I have an online shop where you can buy digital stencils to download and cut on your own cutting machine. Download and cut cookie stencils immediately!

I design…You cut!

Directions for both Cricut and Silhouette software come with every download. Super easy! Find them at The Colorful Cookie Studio.


*This post is my opinion on the cutting machines and software that I use to design and cut culinary stencils. I do not get paid for my reviews. I am just giving you my quick 2 cents.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, TCC will earn a small commission if you click through to make a purchase.