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This guide aims to help you get to grips with the basics of papercraft machines, looking at the different types of machine available for specific techniques and how they could benefit your crafting. After all, buying a machine shouldn't be so complicated!
Although each of these techniques differ in their end goal, they all have one thing in common – they're certainly easier to complete with the help of a Papercraft Machine. Not only do they provide far more simplicity and speed, but they also offer greater precision than you could expect to achieve without one.
But what actually is a papercraft machine? Papercraft machines aren't restricted to one type of craft – it's more of an umbrella term. Put simply, they're machines used in papercrafting to perform techniques using paper or card – techniques that'd be difficult to accomplish by hand.
In general, papercraft machines fall into the following categories: Die-Cutting Machines, Embossing Machines, Hot Foiling Machines, Letterpress Machines and Sticker and Laminating Machines. So now's time for the question on everyone's mind: how do you know which of these machines is best for you?
To help you consider what you personally need to a machine, have a little think about the following questions. Or alternatively, continue to the next page for a more in-depth look at each type of machine.
1. What papercraft type do find yourself doing the most?
Let's break the branch term down into smaller craft types – what do you always find yourself leaning towards? Perhaps decoupage or stamping? Cardmaking or scrapbooking?
Or maybe you don't like to restrict yourself to just one kind of papercraft? If you often perform techniques that involve paper manipulation further than surface-level, then a papercraft machine may well be for you.
But consider this next: what's your skill level within your craft? If you're newbie, there's no use in buying an incredibly advanced machine that may not be used to its full potential. But the same goes for experts – you should purchase a machine that complements the complexity of your talents, there's no use wasting money on one too basic for your needs.
2. What will you use a papercraft machine for?
Think about why you need a machine. What will be its primary purpose? Do you have specific projects in mind, or do you simply want to try something new? Have you used a papercraft machine before and if so, are there any techniques you struggled with?
Ultimately, there's no use buying a machine that has an abundance of features you won't use. But similarly, you don't want one that underperforms to your requirements. Try to match your machine to your own necessities – if you have any physical restrictions, that should be a key factor in purchasing a machine.
If you don't always have electricity, that's something to think about. There are many machines available, each boasting different abilities to cater for a range of people.
3. How often will you use a papercraft machine?
Fundamentally, if you predict you won't use your machine all that often, don't splash the cash on the newest make and model for the sake of it.
If you only craft for special occasions (such as birthdays or weddings) there's no use buying a more expensive machine with a whole host of disused features.
If you prefer crafting by hand or are thinking about trying something new, begin with a basic machine to get a feel for the craft. But if you know you love and regularly use a technique (such as die-cutting or embossing) or are looking to upgrade an old machine, go for a bigger, stronger and more durable one – it's worth the extra money if you know it'll be used on an almost daily basis!
4. Where will you use a papercraft machine?
This point may seem a little redundant, however it's a factor that could prove to become important. Think about where you craft the most – do you stay at home, or are you constantly on the move?
Do you stay in a specific craft room in your house, or do you pick up your machine and go to craft clubs, friends' houses or craft fairs? If your answer is the latter, you should think about purchasing a compact, portable machine that you can easily relocate.
But if you don't move around much, a heavier machine may be more beneficial – after all, they generally promise greater longevity.