Brother ScanNCut CM250 Costco

Advance warning: Very long blog post ahead – but if you are interested in purchasing the Brother ScanNCut and are unsure which model to pick, bear with me, and read on. 🙂

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If you’re a stamper and cardmaker, you’ve probably used or seen someone use a die-cutting machine. In most cases, these machines are manual die-cutters and involve rolling a handle back and forth to apply even pressure to the dies and your material (cardstock, felt, etc).

The manual die-cutting machine that I use is a Cuttlebug by Provocraft. I LOVE my Cuttlebug – it is one of my most used tools in my craft room. The Cuttlebug is very reasonably priced for all it can do – die-cut images, dry emboss using embossing folders, and if you add an embossing mat, you can even emboss with your dies.

Cricut Cuttlebug Diecutting and Embossing Machine

 

However…when you’re mass producing holiday cards and have stamped a bajillion images, it can get pretty tedious cranking that handle back and forth over and over again. And, some stamps don’t come with coordinating dies. Some people were born with the natural talent of fussy cutting…that isn’t me!

That’s where electronic die-cutting machines come in handy. The two main players in this field are the Silhouette Cameo (with the addition of the PixScan mat) and the Brother ScanNCut. The winner…and there IS a clear one…is the Brother ScanNCut.

The model I have, and the one I recommend if all you need is a machine to die-cut your stamped images is the Brother ScanNCut CM250 from Costco. From where? Costco! Really?! Yes, Costco!!

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Brother ScanNCut CM250 – not sold in-store at Costco. Available on http://www.costco.com. Click image to visit direct link.

At the time of this post, Costco is selling this model for $159 online only at http://www.costco.com. You do NOT need to have a Costco membership – the surcharge for non-members is only $8. And what’s better? FREE SHIPPING!

Now, there are a few different models in the market and I’ll go into that in further detail if anyone is interested, but for a quick and easy product comparison chart, visit Brother’s website here: http://www.brother-usa.com/ScanNCut/Product_Comparison.aspx.

Some things to note:

1. Scanning Capability

ALL models of the ScanNCut have a scanning capability of 300 DPI. Whether you pay $600 or $160 for your machine, they will all scan at 300 DPI.

DPI refers to “dots per inch” and is a measure of the number of individual dots that can be placed in a line within the span of 1 inch (thank you, Google!).

What this means in simple terms…the scan quality across all the models ARE THE SAME!

2. Color Recognition

One of the features the more expensive (CM350 and CM650) models have is the scanning color recognition. A lot of people mistakenly think that this means the older models cannot scan in color, or that they cannot cut images that are colored – they can.

What this actually refers to is color contrast. The older models require a greater level of contrast between the negative space and the lines of the image, than the new models.

Is this super important? Kinda, maybe. Some questions to ask yourself: Do you usually stamp images in black ink on white cardstock? If you are using colored cardstock, do you stamp in black or dark ink? If so, regular black and white color recognition is going to be just fine for you. If you frequently stamp in light colors or do not have a lot of contrast between the paper you’re using and the ink you’re stamping with, maybe it would be worth it to look at the more expensive models. (CM350 and CM650)

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Stamped images from Lawn Fawn’s Ahoy Matey stamp set that I cut out with the Brother ScanNCut CM250

3. Wireless Connectivity

The CM250 and CM100DM machines cannot connect to your computer. If you want to transfer a digital design to your machine, you will have to store the design on a USB flashdrive and connect that to your machine instead.

The newer models (CM350 and CM650) have the capability to connect directly to your computer using a USB cable or with the purchase of a wireless activation card.

Is this a dealbreaker? No – not for me. I just want to cut out stamped images and have no interest in using this machine to connect to my computer.

Furthermore, if digital paper crafting is your primary aim, I would recommend looking at the Cricut Explore series or the Silhouette Cameo instead for more advanced features at a lower cost.

4. Screen size

Ah, this is where I find myself torn. The two cheaper models (CM250 and CM100DM) have a 3.7″ color LCD screen. The two more expensive models (CM350 and CM650) have a 4.85″ screen instead.

For some, having the larger screen is a must. Personally, I can live with a smaller screen because the price point is so much lower (3x lower, to be exact). I use the touch screen on my CM250 to zoom in when I need to see things in greater detail and have not had any problems.

While it would be nice to have a larger screen, I’m just not convinced that it’s worth the extra hundreds.


Since purchasing my Brother ScanNCut, I’ve found myself buying more stamp sets because I don’t have to purchase the coordinating dies. I do still buy dies that have “stitched” details because I like the embossed effect of manual die-cutting. The ScanNCut also cuts out scripty and bold sentiments beautifully – something I’ll share in another post. Thanks for reading this far, and have a wonderful day!

Link to purchase Brother ScanNCut CM250 from Costco.com

***I am not affiliated with Costco or Brother. I just LOVE my new gadget and had to share with you!***

 

Ribbon Storage under $10 – Plastic Chain and Zip Ties

Hi guys! Hope you’ve had a wonderful week.

Like most of us in the crafting world, I have a day job (that I love!) that takes up the majority of my “awake” time. That doesn’t leave a lot of time for crafting. And the LAST thing I want to do in my limited crafting time is sort through a bunch of tangled ribbon to find that one color I was needing. So, Dave and I brainstormed methods to store my spools of ribbon and came up with something that we both LOVE!

We didn’t want to use the rain gutter method that many others are using because we’d have to drill holes in the wall. We do own our home but are always moving things around, so making holes mean having to spackle them up someday. Rain gutters are also larger than I wanted  to have in my small closet space.

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What we found instead, was white plastic chain from Home Depot. At the time we bought it, the stuff was $0.68 a foot. We measured my space and ended up with 3 feet on either side. We then bought 3/8″ wood dowels for $0.98 cents each and cut them in half. We also bought zip ties from the Dollar Tree.

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We attached the plastic chain to the hanging bar in my closet using a zip tie. Then we wedged the dowels in between the spaces of the chain links to create thin bars. The spools of ribbon hang from these bars. You can easily pull out the length of ribbon you need and snip it off without having to remove the spool from the dowel!

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Isn’t that neat?! This method accommodates all widths of ribbon spools. Unlike the rain gutter system, you’re never going to end up dropping a roll as you unravel the ribbon and having to chase after it. It is also great for anyone on a budget as you can create your own hanging ribbon organizer for about $8.

12 cards – no stamps/dies

I have TWELVE cards to share with you today! And all 12 card fronts were designed around just ONE piece of 12×12 pattern paper…

These cards were inspired from a question on Stamp Junkies. (Sidenote: If you love stamping and cardmaking, you NEED to join that group!) The question was about card designs using minimal stamp and die supplies because the person was still building up their collection.

I happened to stop by Joanns and saw this gorgeous pattern paper by American Crafts with 12 panels in a floral, earthy theme. It was part of the 10 for $2 sale, so I picked this up for $0.20.

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The first card I made was with the “Forget Me Not” panel. I loved the pop of yellow flowers and it made me think of a rustic bouquet against shiplap (which I only learnt was a thing from watching Fixer Upper lol).

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Once I realized how easy it would be to mix and match scraps of pattern paper with these panels, I started putting together “card kits” – identifying papers I felt went together, embellishments, etc. I finished all 12 cards over 3 days – mostly time spent before/after work.

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I’m so happy with how they turned out – each card is unique but looks like it belongs in the same collection. I’m almost afraid to send one out because then the collection will be incomplete…

Good thing I bought multiples of this paper. 🙂

Zig clean colors + Altenew Peony Bouquet

Happy Monday cardmakers! I bought the Zig Clean Color Real Brush markers at the end of last year – yay for birthday giftcards! – but have not gotten as much use out of them as my distress inks. I’m not sure what it is that’s stopping me from reaching for these – maybe it’s because my distress inks are set out so I can see the colors easily whereas with the zigs I am still building familiarity for the hues in the set.

I *do* like them though – they blend easily with each other or with a water brush. I tend to use them on Bristol Smooth cardstock or Canson XL watercolor paper.

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This week I pulled out my Altenew Peony Bouquet stamps and dies and gold heat embossed the outline images. Then I used my zigs to watercolor them. I started with darker colors and diluted the colors outwards with a water brush. I also used my wink of stella clear glitter brush pen to add some sparkle on the orange flowers (SO hard to photograph…but they looked fabulous in person).

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I really love how the gold heat embossing adds this touch of luxury to the images. I also adore how the colors blend out softly without too much of a hard edge. To finish the card, I gold heat embossed the sentiment on some black cardstock, added a touch of gold glitter paper under the sentiment then used just a few silver sequins to balance everything out.

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Now for the sad part… 😦

Unfortunately, I left my card in the living room on a hot summer afternoon. When I came home a few hours later, the colors on my flowers had nearly vanished to white. The zigs are not lightfast (and they aren’t advertised as being lightfast – I just didn’t think to check) and WILL fade rapidly if left in direct sunlight.

Will this stop me from reaching for the zigs? Probably not. Most of the recipients of my cards store them away in a drawer (or throw them away…I’ve done the same…not a big deal to me) so the cards are unlikely to be exposed to direct sunlight.

I’m just glad I photographed the finished card before it faded! Better luck next time…

Two Cards – mix and match

Although I’m blessed to have 1) a dedicated space to craft and store crafty goodness and 2) a decent sized collection of said crafty goodness, I’m still building up my stamp and die collection. So, I tend to mix and match products from different companies, and I have certain products that I will re-use on many cards. Generally this is because I find the font/image works well for all occasions and styles of cards, or it’s something that inspires me so much I can’t help but reach for it over and over again.

This “Thanks” die by Hero Arts is one such die. There’s always SOMEONE you can give a thank you card to so I tend to make these cards the most. For this card, I used the owl from the Mom+Me Lawn Fawn set and a lawn fawn grassy border die for this card. I also used a wood grain embossing folder (can’t recall the brand unfortunately).

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I love that the word “thanks” is fairly malleable so you can stretch it out a bit more for a larger area or curve it to fit a smaller card.

Another set I reach for all the time is Altenew’s “Painted Inspiration”. This is a LARGE stamp set with gorgeous, bold sentiments. A number of them are on the larger side so they fit on an A2 card front easily. I have two favorite sentiments from this set – “Don’t quit your daydream” and the one on the card below.

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For this card, I used a stencil from Hero Arts and ink blending with distress inks to create the background. I die cut hearts from gold glitter paper and stamped the sentiment with Versafine Onyx black ink over the stencilling. The best thing about these sentiments is that you can use simple techniques but still end up with a gorgeous end result. 🙂

Floral Trio – Ellen Hutson Bold Blooms

Today I looked at the gorgeous ink storage system my amazing husband and father-in-law built me and felt guilty that I hoard all these amazing colors of ink but generally stick to using black or versamark ink.

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Yes – they BUILT me this amazing storage system from scratch. I’m so blessed. ❤

I rummaged through my stamps and pulled out the “Bold Blooms” set by Ellen Hutson. LOVE this stamp set – bought it ages ago but never found the occasion to use it. The images are so graphic and clean, they work so well with bright inks.

I wish I’d remembered to write down the inks I used, but they were a mix of Hero Arts Shadow Inks and Lawn Fawn dye inks. I double, or maybe triple, stamped the images on the 1st and 3rd cards – you can see the ink colors are slightly more muted on the middle card.

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I kept the design simple and used my Misti to ensure I got a clean stamp. With dye inks, they tend to stamp splotchy but even out over time. I am paranoid, and prefer using my Misti for such projects just in case I need to fix bare areas. Because my stamps were already in my Misti, I stamped extra card fronts and ended up with 3 finished cards.

I used Neenah Solar White cardstock 80lb for the card fronts and 110lb for the card bases. I used colored cardstock to mat the card fronts – lime green, sunflower yellow and blue.

I LOVE these cards and just looking at them the next morning made me smile. I’ve already given out two to coworkers and am saving the last for a special occasion. 🙂

Awesome Arnold – Lawn Fawn Best Puns Ever

I have a co-worker named Arnold. Arnold believes his name is “Awesome” instead. And…don’t tell him I said this, but he really is pretty dang awesome.

We had a BEAR of a week at work and Arnold Awesome took the brunt of it. I figured he needed a card to tell him what he already knew – that he’s the best. 🙂 And it has a pretty trophy on it!

The stamps are from Lawn Fawn’s Best Puns Ever. I don’t have the dies (still coveting…) so it came close to being a one layer card. Then I realized I had these awesome oval stitched dies from Gina Marie, so I used the third largest to create a focal point for my card. These dies cut like butter and the price point is excellent – highly recommend!

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I used distress ink with an ink blending tool for the background and copic markers for the trophy. I added glossy accents to the stars for some dimension and a sprinkling of gold star sequins. I also drew dashes with a white gel pen – on hindsight, maybe I should have had the Cricut draw them because it bugs me so bad that they aren’t straight and even.

And of course – the most obvious goof of all…my hand slipped when I stamped the sentiment and I fixed it as best as I could by triple outlining the word “best” with my Copic Multiliner and added a line underneath. For emphasis – that works right?! I definitely wasn’t tossing the card at that point. :p

Thank goodness I don’t have to live up to the “Awesome” moniker – and Arnold liked it anyway. 🙂

Distress ink blending + Avery Elle Brushed Clear Stamps

I stopped by Maple Treehouse (a scrapbooking store in Singapore) and picked up a bunch of mini distress ink cubes. Their price point is excellent in comparison to other purchasing options in Singapore…the one thing I wish I could change is their location because IMM is literally on the other side of the country for me. But I promise, the trip is worth it for anyone else here who is an eastie in Singapore. 🙂

For this card, I knew I wanted to experiment with distress ink blending. I used Dusty Concord and Picked Raspberry with a foam blending tool to get the color on. Then I sprinkled some clear water on my cardstock and lifted the droplets with a clean paper towel. The effect removes some of the color, creating a unique bleached look. I love it!

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For the sentiment, I used a stamp set by Avery Elle (Brushed Clear Stamps). I got mine used on Carousell for $12. It’s an older set but a good one. I love the font – gives you that hand-drawn brush lettering look that is so on trend right now.

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Since my focal point was already so bold and vibrant, I kept the rest of the card clean. I used a cross stitched rectangle die from Gina Marie and finished off the card with some clear gems and a felt stitched heart.

 

Father’s Day card + DIY foam stamps

Happy May! I can’t believe almost half the year is over. I’m sharing a card I made for my dad for father’s day.

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I was inspired by argyle sweaters. The stamp I *wanted* to use was the Argyle Backdrop by Lawn Fawn.

This stamp set is SO CLEVER! You start with the solid square/diamond border and alternate colors down the page, then you overlap the outline stamps in between the solid stamping. I love that it gives you the ability to customize any number of colors you choose but still gives you a really sharp look. I think this would look amazing if you heat embossed the outline stamps with Ranger’s Liquid Platinum embossing powder.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to wait for the stamp set to arrive in time for Father’s Day, so I started thinking of how else I could achieve a similar effect. I had some craft foam laying out on my desk and hand cut out two diamond shapes. Then I took some double sided tape and adhered the foam pieces on to two glass blocks. And I made my very own stamps!

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Necessity is the mother of invention…

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Inking up my handmade stamps with Memento Dew Drop inks…

I added the criss crossing lines using a silver metallic gel pen. My one tip to you is to let the gel pen fully dry before moving on to the next section. ASK ME HOW I KNOW THIS haha.

I used my Cricut to cut out the word “DAD” multiple times out of black cardstock and layered them together to create a chipboard look.

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Finished card – I am pleased with the end result!

While my finished card may not be worthy of Hallmark, it’s organic and made with love and care – I think (hope!) my dad will appreciate it anyway. 🙂

Inked Embossing Folders + Life update

I’m sorry if I haven’t been updating too much, but life has been quite complicated lately. My mom was taken ill at the end of last year, so I stayed at the hospital with her until she was discharged. She is doing great now, but it was a stressful time. Then, shortly after that, a structural beam in our home cracked and sent chunks of cement falling. We were restricted from staying in our home until the beam was fixed. My brother, his wife and his kids were kind enough to allow us to stay in their house until we could return home.

I was going crazy without my crafting tools with me, so we dropped by the house when the contractors were working to put together a basic “tool kit” – my Cuttlebug, an embossing folder, heat gun, clear embossing powder, some inks, dies and paper.

It was my co-worker’s birthday, so I made her a card using Jennifer McGuire‘s inked embossing folders technique. I’ve used this before and love the results.

This might be my favorite card ever (even though it’s not a shaker card!) because of the soft peach ink against the shimmery white background (thanks to my Wink of Stella Glitter brush pen). If I had to change anything, I would do away with the black ink on the sentiment because it feels a little too stark. I also put too much pressure when stamping unfortunately, so the heat embossing muddied up the sentiment.

 

I then made an envelope out of vellum to keep with the soft feel of the card. It felt so good to think of something other than work orders, renovation budgets, safety, health, etc, just for a few minutes. Crafting is my therapy. ❤

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