Best Paper Shape Cutter Machines for 2023

Mar 29, 2022 | Art, drawing or painting, General Crafts, Paper crafts

Paper shape cutters are handy tools that give you the ability to create crafts with paper. If you are searching for the right paper shape cutter for your project, there are many to choose from.

Depending on the size of your project and the desired outcome, you can use anything from a simple decorative paper punch to a more complicated electronic cutting machine.


What Can You Use Paper Shape Cutters For?

A paper shape cutter is a crafting tool used to cut shapes from paper. There are countless shapes you can cut. From simple hearts and butterflies to complicated designs such as castles and cartoon characters.

Digital Die Cutting Machines

These paper pieces can be used for a number of different projects such as:


  • Handmade Greeting Cards
  • Scrapbooking
  • Flowers
  • Doilies
  • Confetti
  • Heat Transfers
  • Gift Boxes
  • Labels
  • Signs
  • Stencils
  • Buntings
  • Jewellery
  • Wedding Décor
  • Gift Bags
  • Stickers
  • Paper Chains
  • Pillow Boxes
  • Treat Bags
  • Cake Toppers
  • Holiday Decor
  • …and More


What Can You Cut with a Paper Shape Cutter?

Decorative Paper Punches

As the name suggests, you can cut paper. But that is not the only thing you can cut. Depending on the type of paper shape cutter you are using, you may also be able to cut:

  •  Cardstock
  • Chipboard
  • Fabric
  • Cork
  • Foam
  • Leather
  • Thin Metal
  • Wood
  • Vellum
  • Felt
  • Vinyl

 Types of Paper Shape Cutters

1. Decorative Paper Punches

EK Tools Paper Shape Cutter

Paper punches can be found in all types of shapes. They are easy to use and do not require electricity. However, unlike digital die cutting machines, a paper punch can only cut one shape in one size. But if you need to create several paper punches of a single design, decorative paper punches are an economical choice. They are extremely affordable and reusable.


Decorative craft punches are simple to use. It is as easy as sliding your paper into the guide and pressing down on the handle. If you only need a simple shape such as a circle or star, decorative paper punches are a great choice.

Fiskars Paper Shape Cutter

Paper craft punches can also be used on the edges of paper crafts. There are punches available to shape corners and add decorative die-cut borders.


The top 3 paper punch brands are:

EK Tools paper punches are easy to use and come in a wide variety of shapes. They can even be used upside down, so you get the best placement.

These paper punches are widely available and can be found at most major crafting retailers. They do not always produce the cleanest cuts, so they need to be sharped often.

Fiskars has standard punches and squeeze punches. They say that the squeeze punches are easier for people with arthritis to use. However, for those with hand issues, we find these punches harder to use. The squeezing motion can be difficult.

 They do not have the large variety of shapes that other companies do.

Bira Craft punches have a sleek design that is pleasing to the eye. They are level action punches that are user-friendly. They can be used upside down, but they are not as easy to use as the EK Tools punches.

The cuts produced by the Bira Craft paper punches are smooth and clean.


Bira Craft Paper Shape Cutter

Pros and cons of decorative paper punches:


  • Consistent design
  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to use
  • Come in a wide variety of shapes
  • Doesn’t need electricity
  • Portable


  • Are bulky
  • Cannot change the size
  • Can become stiff over time
  • Cannot cut thick material


 2. Metal Dies Paper Shape Cutter

Metal Dies Paper Shape Cutter

Metal dies are used in die cutting and embossing machines. Most die cutting and embossing machines are operated with a manual crank or lever. However, there are a few models that work with electricity.


The metal paper dies are often made from very thin aluminium. One side of the die is smooth, and the other side has a ridge. This ridge is placed against the paper. When the paper along with the die is passed through the machine, the pressure created cuts the paper cleanly.


Hero Arts Paper Shape Cutter

While other dies, such as the Tim Holtz Sizzix Bigz Dies, are thick and have a built-in foam pad. These can often cut many types of material from paper to leather. However, they take up a lot more room than the standard thin metal dies.


The dies used in die cutting and embossing machines are often larger and more intricate than paper punches. They can have several pieces which allow you to layer the paper and create more detailed shapes.

Sizzix metal die 

When purchasing a metal paper die it is important to make sure that it will work in your die cutting and embossing machine.


Different Type of Paper Dies:

  • Shapes
  • Words
  • Alphabet
  • Frames
  • Nesting Dies
  • Corner Dies
  • Decorative Edges

 The top 3 paper die brands are:

Hero Arts has an amazing assortment of metal dies. They often come in sets. Some sets also include rubber stamps that were designed to work with the dies. This takes the stress out of finding the perfect stamp to use on the die cut.

 Hero Arts dies are known to be thin. They can have difficulty cutting through thick cardstock.

Sizzix has a wide variety of metal dies, from extremely thin “Thinlits” to thick foam-backed Tim Holtz Dies. They have shapes, borders, edges, backgrounds and letters.

The thinner dies do not cut as well as some of the thicker dies, but all the Sizzix dies we tried had impressive results.

Spellbinders also have a wide variety of dies to choose from. They are known for their Nestabilities line. Nestabilities are sets of metal dies that are the same shape in different sizes. They are versatile dies that can be mixed and matched.

 If you have ever used any of their nesting dies, you know they quickly become your favourite go to accessories. The spellbinder dies are extremely thin and can have issues cutting through thick cardstock.



Spellbinders Paper Shape Cutter

Pros and cons of paper dies:


  • Intricate designs
  • Inexpensive dies
  • Small learning curve
  • Come in a wide variety of shapes
  • Thin dies can be easily stored
  • Portable
  • Cheaper than digital die cutting machines


  • Machines are bulky
  • Cannot change the size
  • Manual machines can be hard to turn
  • Edges can be sharp


3. Digital Die Cutting Machines

Brother Paper cutter

A digital die cutting machine needs electricity to work. It is often large and about the size of a desktop printer. There is a small computer inside the machine that controls the cutting blade. It does not require any dies.


The die designs are either preloaded on a memory cartridge or created online using specific software. The newer digital die cutting machine models must be connected to a computer through a USB or wireless connection.


Countless designs can be created using a digital paper shape cutter.


The top 3 paper die brands are:

  • Provo Craft

Provo Craft introduced the Cricut to the world and never looked back. The machine has changed the way people scrapbook, make homemade cards, and craft. There are several Cricut machines on the market today.

You cannot go wrong by purchasing a Cricut Die Cutting Machine. We have never met a single person unhappy with their purchase. They are user-friendly and easy to use and learn.

Brother offers a feature that other die cut machines do not have. Some of their newer ScanNCut Machines have a scanner. This scanner gives you the ability to scan your design and produce your own unique die cuts. The machines also have hundreds of built-in designs.

 The Brother machines are not only for paper crafters. They are great for quilters and sewers as well. Some of the machines can automatically detect the thickness of your fabric and add a ¼ seam allowance if needed.

Silhouette offers 5 different electronic die cutting machines. You can get everything from a small portable machine to a large machine that has a built-in roller feeder. This feeder gives you the ability to load a whole roll of vinyl at once. That is an extremely time-saving feature for those who cut a lot of vinyl.

 Depending on your level of crafting experience and the types of crafts you are creating, there is a Silhouette machine for you.  

Silhouette Paper Shape Cutter

Pros and cons of paper dies:


  • Can cut multiples pieces at once
  • Fast
  • Can change sizes
  • No hand cranking
  • Can create your own designs
  • Can cut a lot of different materials
  • Possibilities are almost limitless


  • Machines are bulky
  • Expensive
  • Large learning curve
  • Machines are bulky
  • Most are not easily portable
  • Blades dull quickly
  • Accessories can get pricey
  • Requires electricity
  • Most models need a computer to work
  • Require specialised software


Paper Shape Cutter

Also see: Best Stencil Makers for 2023

Whether you are making paper flowers for a wedding or gift tags for Christmas, consider using a paper shape cutter. They will make the process quicker, easier and more professional.

Are you looking to get a paper shape cutter for your next crafting project? There are several types to choose from. You can also let your kids try out our 21 Paper Weaving Patterns before going into the more advance stuff. 

If you are using the cutter for a single project, the best choice will probably be a decorative paper punch. If you are a card maker and want your cards to have decorative edges, you may choose metal dies.

However, if you plan on creating all types of projects with a vast variety of paper shapes, you will want to invest in a digital die cutting machine.

Paper shape cutters can be used to create a lot of different things. From greeting cards to leather jewelry. They are great for scrap bookers, card makers, quilters and everyday crafters. When looking for a new paper shape cutter, take into consideration your future needs and budget.

If you are interested in completing a lot of projects that use precut shapes, you will benefit from a paper shape cutter. Do faunt your creations on our Facebook Page.

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