Veni, Vidi, Ventus --
The randomly chaotic and crafty scribblings of a deranged, wannabe artist allowed too many colours in her Crayon box.

Surgeon General's Warning: Some content of "From Pooka's Crayon" may not be suitable for: work, blue-haired little old ladies, the politically-correct, rabid moonbats, uptight mothers, priests, chronic idiots, insurance claims agents, Democrats, children, small furry quadropeds from Alpha Centauri, or your sanity.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Product Review: Fiskars ShapeCutter

Fiskars Shapecutter

For the record, let me state now that I'm one of those people that can't cut a straight line with either a straight edge OR a paper cutter. Seriously, I swear to you. Cannot. Do. It.

That's one reason why I am utterly in love with my Shapecutter. This thing is a lifesaver for cutting shapes, even if it's just rectangles and squares. They end up precise, neat, and perfect for mats.

One caveat: You -must- use either the Fiskars ShapeTemplates, or another thick, sturdy template for this tool to work. The blades are SO very sharp that they bite right through and tear up thinner, flimsier templates and stencils. However, there is a HUGE selection of templates that will work with it, and most of them range from flat-out cheap to entirely reasonable, considering how sturdy they are and the number of shape options on them.

The ShapeCutter

Using the ShapeCutter is fairly easy, once you practice a bit -- I don't recommend starting with your expensive papers right out of the box. Larger shapes require a steady hand, and getting accustomed to the slight wobble if you don't keep the support perfectly flat on the template. It's too easy for the support to dip down into the open space, and then you get an uneven cut, so practice, practice, practice. It doesn't take long to get the hang of it.

The "adjustable" depth isn't quite as adjustable as they claim. I've played with it, and it doesn't seem to make much difference, except that at the lowest setting, it's locked down tight for deeper cuts into heavier paper. Still, it does a good clean job, even on vellum, which is always a nightmare to cut without getting weird edges.

Not much pressure is required to cut, even with thicker cardstock. The blades, as I said, are exceptionally sharp, and they do a good job making fast work of getting your shapes cut out. They even do well with sticky-back papers that you just peel away after cutting.

Even the basic Shapecutter comes with replacement blades, and is quite cheap. There are other kits available, going up in price according to what is included. Most of the kits have at least one template and a cutting mat to fit it -- the more expensive sets have more templates.

The ShapeTemplates

I couldn't believe how many were available. Not just your basic shapes: square, rectangle, oval, circle, hearts, stars, diamonds. No, there are alphabets, tiny shapes, tags, boxes, envelopes, borders, banners, even themed templates -- really, anything you might need.

In addition to the shapes INSIDE, the outside of most of the templates is also usable -- deckle edges, ruffles, and more. Instant borders or paper ribbons for your projects.

Each of the basic shape templates has multiple sizes of each shape, so you don't have to do any measuring for layers -- just pick the next size up or down, and you're ready to go.

Perfect circles, every time, and while many people have punches, they don't make them large enough to do the size of some of the shapes on the templates. That's another advantage to this tool. One template, one Shapecutter, many sizes, and no need for a ton of punches that take up space.

Templates are available either singly, or in sets.

The templates are easy to keep in a smaller space -- a single magazine rack will hold a LOT of these things, and keep them out of your way. They even have holes so you can put them in a notebook.


Granted, you can't get very intricate shapes out of these with a ton of details -- but hey, that's what our die-cut machines are for anyway, right? However, the selection and size of shapes available make this tool very convenient, both in price and functionality. And there's also the space involved: not much at all.

This is one of the few items that will ever get an A+ from the Pooka.

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