Monday, February 21, 2011

What is Sure Cuts A Lot and Why I Love It!

Some of you may be wondering what is Sure Cuts A Lot (SCAL) since I use it for many of my crafty projects.  So, here is my best stab at explaining what SCAL is, and why I have decided to use it with my Provo Craft Cricut Expression Machine.  UPDATE: You can no longer purchase SCAL for use with a Cricut machine.  This post was written prior to this change.  However, you can purchase SCAL for use with many other die-cutting machines such as the Silhouette, E-Craft, Pazzles, etc.

What is Sure Cuts A Lot?

Sure Cuts A Lot is a 3rd-party software that allows you to cut fonts and SVG files on your Cricut machine.  The software works with Windows and Mac computers and is easy to learn how to use.  There are many sites that have SCAL video tutorials and there is a SCAL forum where experienced users are willing to help with questions you may have.  SCAL is available for purchase on the Craft Edge site.  There is a sale right now - you can get it for $59.95!

What are SVG files and where can I find them? 

SVG files are compatible with SCAL.  SVG files are like Cricut cartridge images in that they are available as shapes, captions, and paper-piecing patterns that you can cut on your Cricut machine.  You can find many SVG files for free that are equivalent to Cricut cartridge quality.  There are also sites that sell SVG files and they are very economical.  A SVG set with 15 or more images usually costs $5 to $10 - much cheaper than buying Cricut cartridges and they are extremely cute! 

Here are some examples of SVGs available online for free or for purchase:

SVGCuts:  Many designer SVGs available at their store as well as free SVG downloads on the SVGCuts Blog.  Here are some of my favorite collections they have in their store and their most recent free SVG.
Strawberry Lane SVG Collection

Birthday Dinos SVG Collection

Lettering Delights (They have fonts too!):  I think Provo Craft has Lettering Delights design some of their cartridges (this is purely my speculation since the images are similar so please do not quote me on this). 

Lettering Delights SVGs - They have over 100 SVG sets and keep adding new cute ones!

Is SCAL safe to use with my Cricut?

I have been using SCAL for a year now and have not had any issues.  However, I should mention that using SCAL will void your Cricut machine warranty.  I waited until my Cricut warranty had expired before using SCAL (the Cricut warranty expires 1 year from the purchase date).

What features does SCAL have? 

Below are some of my favorite features, see the Craft Edge site for additional features and for tutorials on how to use all of these features.
  • Weld - weld letters and shapes together
  • Shadow/Blackout
  • Print & Cut - print paper, digi stamps, or any other type of image on your printer from SCAL, then cut it out on your Cricut.
  • Trace Image - import a clean-lined image and trace it in SCAL, then cut it out on your Cricut.  Great for cutting logos or other trademarked images.  You can break apart the image to cut pieces in different colors.
  • Drawing Tools - design your own creations!

Are there any cons to using SCAL?

The only thing I can't do with SCAL is cut images on my Cricut cartridges.  I use my cartridges separately with my Cricut machine.

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