For as much as I use my Slice, I can’t for the life of me figure out why I never did a review on it. I discovered it at CHA Summer 2010, and even and a quick-as-a-wink spot in an infomercial they shot there with Terri O as the host. Now, though, there is a new-and-improved version of the Slice- the Slice Elite- and I figured that I should give it a thorough going-over, and let you all know how it works with fresh eyes.
First off, here’s how the Slice Elite is described on it’s product description page:
MAKING MEMORIES-Slice Elite Cordless Design Cutter. A hardware upgrade allows the Slice Elite to cut 40% faster; twice as deep; and more precisely than the original Slice. Use it to cut textured cardstock; vellum; vinyl; acetate; foam sheets; thin metal; and photos up to 1mm thick. Cut 1 inch to 4 inch designs in 1/2 inch increments anywhere on any size media. A large 2 inch window allows you to preview shapes with the push of a button before you cut. Slice Elite has a rechargeable battery; weighs less than 2lbs and measures just under 5 inches square so it’s perfect for crafting on the go!
The kit I received to review includes: the Slice Elite Cordless Design Cutter; a power cord (for running on DC and charging the battery); one blade adjustment wrench; five replacement blades; blade replacement tool; one 6×6 inch glass cutting mat; one tube of repositionable adhesive; foam brush; Basic Elements design card and booklet;and user manual.
Before you can use the Slice Elite (or any other Slice machine) you must do two things- charge the battery and prepare the mat. So I plugged in the Slice to get it charging, and began to prepare the glass mat.
To do so, you just squeeze a nice thick line of the included repositionable glue from the tube, and then spread it out- not to thin, please- with the foam brush they give you. I’ve done this a few times with my “Old Slice,” and I can tell you from experience that it should look milky. The glue will dry clear, but if you use too little, your materials will not stick as well. They say to leave the mat to dry for at least 20 minutes….but I (for maybe the first time ever!) was planning ahead, so I let it dry overnight. When I came back the next morning, my Slice Elite was all charged up and the mat was ready to rock and roll!
Insert a Design Card into the back of the Slice Elite- there are no “on board” images, so you have to use the cards that they sell.
So you are ready to go! There is a menu- but don’t be fooled! Each of those Icons actually has a sub-menu with many more designs.
So the “ABC” icon in the upper left will take you to the whole alphabet, the “123″ takesÂ you to the numbers, etc. The images range in size from 1 inch to 4 inches, depending on theÂ design. Also, if you are using an “MS+” card, there are the additional options of mirroring and making a shadow of the image.
Before I get to far gone, let me show you the swatch test of what the Slice Elice cut for me….
From left: text-weight paper, construction paper, cardstock, vinyl, vellum, adhesive-backed cork, cereal-box cardboard.
Wow- I never expected that it would cardboard in a million years!! And without doing any adjustments, it went ahead and cut vellum, which is really delicate. How does it do that?Â Anyway, this really speaks to the versatility of this little dynamo- it goes from material to material without a pause. Also, from previous posts we know that it cuts freezer paper to make stencils, too. Now, I did run into one thing it wouldn’t cut for me- some embossed metal. As a matter of fact, it knocked my little blade for a loop. I knew this, because the next cut was a little off. I flipped it over, and saw that my blade housing was out of alignment:
To “home” your blade, you just flip it over, select “settings” and then select “home the blade.” That will bring your cutting housing back into proper alignment for perfect cuts. (Don’t worry, by the way, all this is in the manual.) Afterwards, the housing looked like this:
Ok, so now I was ready to cut a few more samples to show you….
I also wanted to show you how to change the blade- I thought you might like to see that.
You use the grabby tool to pull out the existing blade. It’s teeny-tiny.
Then you pull a fresh blade out of the holder, and slide it into the cutting housing. You never have to touch the blade, and there is no fussy adjustments to be made.
Now, there are some fun optional accessories to use with your Slice Elite- like the Hands-Free system, some embossing tips, and markers- but I figure I’ll save talking about those in future posts. But for now, this is what I made with my new Slice Elite.
So here’s what I like about the Slice Elite:
- It’s portable. You really can take this from room to room or to a friends house and it’s not heavy or bulky.
- It’s easy to store. Unlike some of my other die-cutters- manual AND electric- it fits in deep drawer or you can perch it on a shelf. Grab it when you need it, store it when you don’t.
- I dig the glass mat. If it looses its stiky, just use some spray adhesive (like quilt baste spray) or re-apply the provided glue. (No mats to buy.)
- Design cards are rock. They are easy to store and use, and don’t cost an arm and a leg.
- Rechargable/cordless. Hello!!! This is amazing. No batteries to pop out, but all the convenience!
Here are some of the drawbacks….
- Small cutting area. You can only make images 4″ or less, so it’s great for small embellishments and cards- but if you like big, then this might not be for you.
- Limited layering. These designs are lovely and intricate, but are limited to the basic design and a shadow. No mulit-layered images here.
- You have to hold it. To make a good cut, you must stabilize the machine with your hands- which can be inconvenient and/or difficult if you have arthritis, hand issues, etc. (I’ll be reviewing the solution to this- the “Hands-Free System”- in the near future.)
Now let’s talk the nitty-gritty of price. I’ve seen it listed from between $161 USD to $130 for this starter kit. That’s not cheap, and for that amount of money you could get a Cricut Create, which cut images 5 1/2 inches to 11 1/2 inches- twice the area that the Slice Elite does. But keep in mind that one of those machines also take up twice the footprint and are not cordless or very portable. I also love that you can just plop the Slice Elite down in the center of your scrapbook paper and cut a window in your layout.
For new paper crafters, folks who craft in small spaces, and card makers, the Slice Elite can’t be beat. And as I mentioned before, I’ll be reviewing some of the add-ons and accessories that make it an even better little workhorse. The Slice Elite is a winner for me- how about you? What are your thoughts?