tooling around: cut it out!

From masks to magazine ad collages, I’m papering all over Scoutie Girl.  Today is no exception because I am talking with scrapbooker extraordinaire Vicki Oster. At Vicki’s shop, Paper Pieces by Vicki, you can find all sorts of pre-assembled albums for keeping or gifting your favorite memories. This lady uses all sorts of materials in making her books, but I forced asked her to focus on just one or two.

Vicki Oster: HMMM…this is hard to decide because I have several!  I guess my Cricut Expression and Crop-a-Dile are the ones I use the most and find most valuable.

Janice Bear: Okay, I already feel like you are speaking a foreign language.

VO: The Cricut is a digital die cut machine that I use to make letters, die cuts for my books and when I plan crafts for kids in a language group (I substitute teach for kids with special needs). It’s really a lot of fun and so diverse in uses.


Vicki made a butterfly for this scrapbook page using My Quiet Book cartridge for her Cricut

Additional information about this cartridge here. See more of Vicki’s work in her shop.

The Crop-A-Dile is indispensable for punching holes in chipboard and cardstock and for setting brads.

Die cuts are shapes,letters,tags,boxes, etc. that I layer, outline, distress or customize for my album pages and covers. They are especially nice because you can make your own embellishments with color coordinated papers, chipboard, cardstock.

JB: How did you find out about these crazy cutting, punching doodads?

VO: I found out about the Cricut through infommercials on tv, and then did research online and with other people who scrap. The Crop-a-Dile was something that I saw demoed at Archiver’s, a scrapbooking store, and knew some other people who owned.

JB: What other tools had you tried?

VO: Before the Cricut, I used the die cut machines at stores and had a sizzix die cutter.  However, these were pretty limiting and didn’t allow much for custom die cutting and they were time intensive.  With the Cricut you dial/type in what you want and can usually walk away from it to do other things while it cuts, plus it outlines your die cuts. I also bought die cuts at scrapbook stores which ended up being pretty pricey.

Before the Crop-a- dile I used regular hole punches but they did not work with thicker materials.


Vicki’s Crop-a-dile let her punch the holes in this album’s thick, chipboard pages

Check out the cute accordion album here. You can find out more about Crop-a-dile products at We R Memory Keepers.

JB: Do you have just one of each tool or do you have multiples on hand?

VO: I have one of each. The Cricut is very expensive and you have to purchase cartridges to use with it so it is a major expenditure for scrappers. I only need one Crop-a-dile as I do most of my work in my studio.

JB: What should someone look for when buying this tool?

VO: When buying the Cricut, look for sales or try eBay, and make sure that you will use it enough to justify the expense. Also, I only buy the cartridges through eBay auctions because they can cost sooooo much. I NEVER buy them from craft stores or Cricut online because their prices are ridiculous!

When buying the Crop-a- Dile check out the newer, huge (golden orange) version vs. the small, pink original, and try to decide which meets your needs. If possible, use a Jo-Ann’s or Michael’s coupon for 40% off as they are sort of pricey, too.

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I agree, Vicki, coupons are always a good idea! I can see any number of scrapbookers and multi-media artists getting a lot of mileage out of these babies. Am I right?

Does anyone else use a Cricut, Crop-a-dile, or something else they like even better?  Tell us about it!

5 thoughts on “tooling around: cut it out!

  1. Thanks for sharing your ideas on how great the ‘Crop-A-Dile’ is – as I was just an art & craft supply store today – and simply couldn’t get around the many dies and tools…. I may not scrapbook per se , but certainly like to do paper art, and now I have learned what tools I should be aiming for, vs, buying something I’d never use… thank you so much Jane!

    1. Hey Leah! Another option is to contact craft stores and scrapbooking stores about scheduled craft groups. Often you can pay a flat fee and use all their nifty doodads for a few hours. Another option is to throw your own paper craft party with friends. If everyone brings a tool of their own you get a chance to “try before you buy.”

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