This is an article I wrote for Craft Critique which appeared last week.
I received a completely wonderful birthday gift this year: the brand new Klic-N-Kut. “Hmmmm…never heard of it,” you say? Well, you will. It’s fantastic!
The Klic-N-Kut is the big brother of the better known Wishblade, and its European counterpart, the CraftRobo. All three of these machines are computerized, electronic die cutters. Some things that set the Klic-N-Kut (KNK) apart are:
• KNK easily cuts through thicker materials including chipboard and fun foam. I’ve even heard of people cutting through thin polymer clay sheets! (Already baked, of course.)
• I never owned a Wishblade or CraftRobo, but people who have compared the three say that one of the big improvements is KNK’s ability to cut through Bazzill and other heavyweight cardstocks in a single pass. Both Wishblade and CraftRobo require multiple passes.
• KNK cuts media up to 13”x113”!! The other machines all require you to cut your paper down.
• Use the “weld” icon to link any letters or images you want using KNK Studio software!
• There are about twenty other technical innovations (from the built-in carrying handle to the ability to change the speed and pressure of the cut while cutting) that I won’t bother you with, but it is definitely a superior machine.
The KNK comes with a professional computer program called Klic-N-Kut Studio which has 3900 ready-to-cut clip art images and 1300 ready-to-cut fonts. Most of the clip art is oriented towards sign-makers, but there’s some fun stuff in there. But, in the end, you don’t need it. With KNK Studio, you can cut anything you want. You can turn any font, any clip art, any line drawing, any scanned image into a KNK file and then cut it! This, of course, brings up the big issue with KNK: you must be very computer literate in order to make the machine work for you. There is a steep learning curve on the machine, and the better your computer skills, the gentler the curve.
I am a super beginner with this machine (thus the title of this article), so now that I’ve gone through the reasons I bought the machine, I thought I’d share my initial reactions to working with KNK:
• It’s B-I-G. I have it on a 2’x2’ table with breathing space around it so that the paper can feed in and out unobstructed.
• The machine is very easy to set up requiring minimal effort (simply clicking a few pieces into place and attaching all the cords).
• The software is easy to install on your computer. I should note here that KNK Studio is for PC computers--however, I have a Mac. I run KNK Studio by running the program Parallels on my Mac. Parallels allows me to partition my computer and use a part of it as a PC running Windows. I haven’t had any problems so far (other than having to learn how to use Windows).
• The instruction booklet that comes with the KNK is fine. It’s basic, and experimenting along with the instructions is very helpful.
• A better resource is the KNK Yahoo group where any question is answered in a matter of hours or quicker. There’s also a wonderful woman who moderates the group and who will give you a lesson over the phone for a small fee. I haven’t used her services yet, but she gets rave reviews. She has also written tutorials for many basic tasks, and these can be accessed through the Yahoo group.
• The Yahoo group also contains a “Files” section where members have uploaded many of their creations for you to download for free and use. This is good for me as I haven’t yet tried to convert anything to a KNK file. (I haven’t needed to!)
• I don’t use the pen or engraving tools, but they are available to you instead of a blade.
• KNK Studio is an enormous program with a million options. Its original audience was professional sign makers. Everything is customizable. For the hobbyist, like myself, I find it best to ignore most of the bells and whistles. For now. At some point, I’ll get bored and want to do more and then I’ll go exploring.
• When cutting tiny and intricate fonts, it is better to use thinner paper. This is not scientific, just an observation as I’ve been using it.
As someone who used to hand-cut a lot of titles and other elements, the KNK has been a wonderful addition to my crafting life (and a relief to my forearm and fingers). I know that I have only scratched the surface of the Klic-N-Kut’s mighty powers, and I look forward to continuing to make discoveries.
Here is some artwork made using the Klic-N-Kut:
Old Friend – Good Friend: All the letters and the scallop mat were cut with KNK.
Happy Valentine’s Day Card: All the letters and the hearts were cut with KNK.
Final Fitting: The title and the large daisy were cut with KNK.