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Scrapbooking die cutter for rolling mill patterns

I am searching for an article that I thought I saw in a recent
magazine, but now cannot find. Perhaps someone else remembers seeing
this. It was an article about using a rolling mill to pattern metal
and there was a side bar about using a scrapbook die cutter to cut
paper patterns. If you saw this, please send the reference. Thanks!

Ellen Harris

(a post on the CriCut site from Jack Berry, the author of the

I have been using a Cricut to cut stencils and use them to make
jewelry. The stencils are used with a rolling mill to "print"
textures in the metal. The embedded photo is a Sterling silver
bracelet made with this method. I published the method in= the
September isssue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist magazine. Fame
is a Vapor - Popularity an Accident - Riches Take Wings - Only One
Thing Endures - And That is Character Horace Greely

Linda Lankford

I am searching for an article that I thought I saw in a recent
magazine,[snip] and there was a side bar about using a scrapbook
die cutter to cut paper patterns. 

I saw it, so it was either Art Jewelry or Jewelry Artist/Lapidary
journal. It showed using a Cricut paper cutter that cost “a few
hundred dollars”. Do you need me to find the actual issue for you?


Hi, I really like the Horace Greeley quote. And thanks for the info
about the Cricut. I was looking at the prices of the stencil designs
and wondering who pays all that for scrapbooking stencils. I will
look for the article in my back issues of Lapidary Journal. Can’t
believe I missed it.

Noralie Katsu

For those that already have a Cricut and that would like to add the
freedom of designing their own drawings/texture should look at the
Sure-Cuts-Alot software (

You can draw in the software or import from Inkscape or Illustrator.
This will give you all the freedom in the world.

1 Like

It was Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist, September 2010

I only know this because I have the Cricut machine and have used it
to create, print, cut. and roller print patterns on metal. I keep the
article with my die cut supplies for reference.

If you have questions, I’ll do my best to try to answer.

It’s really fun,

I agree with Christian that the Sure Cuts A Lot software makes
Cricut more useful. In addition to the freedom to make your own
designs, it means you don’t have to buy more Cricut cartridges.

I have also had success cutting adhesive vinyl which I used as a
mask when etching.

I have one hesitation about Cricut, and that is scale. It works
pretty well on a scrapbooking scale. There is a limit to how
small/intricate a pattern you can cut. Small detail (on a ring for
example) might be hard to get from Cricut.

If you already own a Cricut, there is a trial version of Sure Cuts A
Lot 2 that you can download. It is limited to 15 days, and it puts
slash marks through your design, but it would give you a good idea
of how suitable the software is for your purpose.

The usual disclaimers apply. I have no connection to Cricut or Sure
Cuts A Lot 2. Your mileage may vary, etc.


Thanks to all who answered my inquiry. Does anyone have any
experience with any of the cutters besides the Cricut? Just curious,
I have little interest in the standard dies, I am most interested in
this technique if I can design and cut my own designs. Thanks to
Christian for the tip about the Sure-Cuts-A lot software as well.
Ah, another tool to contemplate purchasing!

Ellen Harris

The stencil cartridges are pretty pricey, but you can buy software
here -

that gives you access to a lot more designs; and you can design your
own True Type fonts and SVG files. The biggest advantage, I think,
to using the cartridges is you don’t have to be connected to a


I would add that I have had limited success getting SCAL2 to work
reliably on a MAC. I think it is something at the hardware level
with the USB port on the MAC side. I worked with their tech support
guys forever, but we never got it working. You get connection errors
and it hangs without cutting.

I tried two different circuit machines, two USB cables and both my
IMac and MacBook. I upgraded firmware and even tried it with the PC
version of SCAL2 running under Windows 7 by dual booting the
MacBook. Is anyone else using SCAL2 with a MAC?

You HAVE to run SCAL2 with the Cricut if you are trying to do
anything original or creative. without the SCAL2 software you are
locked into the images that are on your cartridges. If I were going
to be using a MAC to drive the Cricut, I’d want some assurance it
was going to work before making the purchase. I don’t know if this
issue is unique to me… Seems like if they sell a MAC version it
must be working for some. Their tech support is very responsive, we
just could not get it work reliably.

You can pick up a new Cricut off EBay for less than $200, but be
careful not to buy the ones that do not come with a cartridge as the
Cricut will not operate without a cartridge in place. You also have
to buy the SCAL2 software.

Sometimes I can get the thing to work and it is interesting to play
with ideas using copper to see what the results will look like before
doing the final roll printing on silver or gold. You can cut as many
identical stencils as you wish - so you don’t have to worry about
destroying your stencil playing on copper. I am going to play with
cutting stencils to use as templates for cutting keum boo foil and
custom cabochon templates. Just remember this is a little different
than traditional roll printing in that you use a “pusher” to force
the metal into the stencil. You get a raised image of the stencil
rather than an indented image as you would see in traditional roll
printing. I would highly recommend reading the aforementioned article
if you are going to try this.

Using SCAL2 you can cut stencils based on hand drawn designs by
scanning the design and converting to a SVG file and importing it
into SCAL2 for editing, resizing, duplicating etc. Wish I could get
this thing working so I could experiment.


Another die cutting option to consider, for a bit more $$ and design
capability beyond the Cricut cartridges, is the Pazzles machine. The
Pazzles software reminds me a lot of Photoshop (thought not that
depth and difficulty). It will let you design letters/words from the
TruType Fonts on your computer as well as your own designs (or
adapted from photos, clip art, etc). The machine will cut a variety
of depths of materials. I’m looking into that one as well. Happy

Thanks Christian for posting the link to Sure-Cuts-A-Lot. That is
the program I use. I’m a bit of a dinosaur in that I design with good
old paper and pen/pencil, but then I scan my drawings into either
SCAL program or Photoshop Elements to clean them up, re-size, etc.
All this just to say that there are a few options for creating your
own designs other than Inkscape or Illustrator, and if like me,
drawing on the computer is difficult to say the least.

Michelle, wanting more time to use the Cricut!

I use a Silhouette to custom cut patterns and I love it. I purchased
it because I can use my own patterns and images and it really is an
amazing piece of equipment. You can find out more about it here

Sandra Graves, Isis Rising

Brent, everything you added (as far as my experience goes) is quite
correct. I’m an idiot when it comes to computers, and I also have a
MAC. My friend Paige (if you’re out there Paige, put your 2c’s in)
had to get it working for me. It required a PC to somehow make it
work on the MAC. If she doesn’t chime in, I’ll see her Sunday and
will ask if she can enlighten us, because whatever she did, I have
no problems with it now.

Play and have fun,

The Silhouette machine that someone just posted works with macs.


Brent, I’m glad I read your post. I was excited by the rolling mill
applications of these die cut machines (went back and carefully read
the Lapidary Journal article) and was very close to ordering one.
But like you, we’re an all Mac household and I don’t need the
frustration of computer issues. Hope someone else on the forum can
offer some sort of work around. I have quite a few design and pattern
cd’s that I use in etching and was hoping to be able to use them for
roller printing.


Check out the Silhouette cutting machine, which is mac compatible.


Jay Waley had a pod cast with Tracey Perseverance Johnson, and she
had started a business making rolling mill patterns. Here is her
etsy site I think she
does custom designs, too.

Melissa Stenstrom

I have the ECraft craft cutter with the Pro software, allowing me to
create designs and patterns on my computer then send it over to the
ECraft. This is the first cutter I’ve ever bought, so like with
everything else, I research the heck out of things before I commit
to a purchase. A friend has the Cricut and I’m glad I didn’t buy
that. The eCraft doesn’t require that the paper is stuck to cutting
mats and cuts through a lot more densities of materials, including
fabric. My friend ends up tearing some of the more delicate designs
when removing from the cutting mat with the Cricut. The eCraft works
awesome for rolling mill patterns.

Cheers and happy cutting

This is an old thread, but I use a Klic-n-Kut Zing. It comes with Sure-Cuts-A-Lot. You can cut very tiny detail. Tiny enough? I don’t know. The trouble is handling the bits when they’re that small.

Just got my first rolling mill. Tried adhesive vinyl for that, and no go. Needs thicker material - trying again. Looking forward to using adhesive vinyl for etching, though.