Sizzix Sidekick Portable Manual Die Cutting & Embossing Machine Starter Kit

Last updated date: June 4, 2020

DWYM Score

Sizzix Sidekick Portable Manual Die Cutting & Embossing Machine Starter Kit

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We looked at the top Die Cutting Machines and dug through the reviews from some of the most popular review sites. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Die Cutting Machine you should buy.

Overall Take

Beginners will love this craft die-cutting machine, as it comes with a complete starter kit. The bottom of the machine has a vacuum seal that makes it a cinch to secure to any tabletop. The device is also portable, so you can craft at a friend or family member's house. In our analysis of 44 expert reviews, the Sizzix Sizzix Sidekick Craft Die Cutting & Embossing Starter Kit placed 2nd when we looked at the top 8 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note June 4, 2020:
Checkout The Best Craft Die Cutting Machine for a detailed review of all the top die cutting machines.

Expert Summarized Score
5 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
1,290 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
The great thing about the Sidekick Starter is that it’s lightweight and easily portable. The machine weighs just two pounds and it’s only 4-3/4″ tall. Along with its compact size, this die cutter has a special vacuum seal that keeps it firmly in place when working on smooth surfaces.
- Quilter's Review
The Sizzix Sidekick is tiny and compact, complete with a vacuum seal that allows you to secure it, for extra stability, to any smooth work surface—no need to worry about excited children knocking it over. As it is a Sizzix, it is compatible with their vast line of products. This machine is perfect for scrapbooking, card making and anything else your creative mind comes up with.
- Big Time Shirt
The Size sidekick machine is exactly what you’ve have been looking for-a portable, affordable and adorable crafting system designed for detailed (plastic backed or wafer-thin) dies and embossing folders up to 2 1/2 inch wide, including Size 12 inch decorative strip dies. The sidekick will cut a single sheet of lightweight-to-cardstock paper, and is ideal for scrapbooking, card making, home decor and party, event and wedding planning. It is suitable for eginners to experts looking for an on-the-go alternative. Designed for wafer-thin dies and embossing folders up to 2 1/2″ (6.35 cm) wide, the lightweight Sidekick features a vacuum seal to hold it securely to your work surface. The Starter Kit lets you start creating straight out of the box with a versatile selection of Thinlits and Framelits dies, embossing folders and clear stamps for project embellishments.
- Jade & Grey Studio
What experts didn't like
The Sidekick’s small size can be a pro or a con, depending on your needs. You might find that the small size of the plates won’t work with your quilting style. Otherwise, the Sidekick Starter Kit is a great option those who are just getting started or want a more compact machine.
- Quilter's Review

From The Manufacturer

Sidekick Starter Kit, 661770Looking for the perfect die cutting machine for card making? The Sizzix Sidekick Machine is the exact die cutting machine you've been looking for—a portable, affordable and adorable crafting system designed for detailed die cutting dies. Create a multitude of projects with your favourite Sizzix Thinlits and Framelits cutting dies, as well as Sizzix Embossing Folders. Whether you're new to die cutting, or want to be more flexible with where you can create, cover all bases with the Sidekick Starter Kit, containing everything you need to start creating straight out of the box This manual die cutting machine produces flawless designs with precise cuts with just one turn of the machine handle - it's that easy to use To secure the Sidekick to any smooth surface - simply place the machine on top of the surface and use the plastic lever located at the base to activate the vacuum seal. Designed especially for papercraft, this machine is perfect for use with cardstock and paper, to create anything from cards and invitations to home decor. What's included? The starter it includes 1 Sidekick Machine, 1 pair of Aqua Sidekick Cutting Pads, 1 Embossing Pad, 6 Framelits dies, 2 Thinlits dies, 2 small Textured Impressions Embossing Folders, 7 Stamps and 1 instructions booklet. What is die cutting? Die cutting is a quick and easy way of producing individual, or mass shapes from paper, foil, cardstock or even chipboard using a machine and die, instead of cutting by hand. What cuts my material? A die cutting machine will always be necessary in order to die cut, though it's not the machine itself that physically cuts your material. The die cutter you use (for example a Sizzix Bigz, Thinlits or Framelits die), is responsible for revealing your design. the machine just applies the pressure. So if you're ever unsure if you can die cut a certain material, check the compatibility of your die rather than your machine

Overall Product Rankings

Cricut Explore Air 2
1. Cricut Explore Air 2
Overall Score: 9.7
Expert Reviews: 7
Brother ScanNCut SDX125E Electronic DIY Cutting Machine
3. Brother ScanNCut SDX125E Electronic DIY Cutting Machine
Overall Score: 9.1
Expert Reviews: 5
Cricut EasyPress 2
4. Cricut EasyPress 2
Overall Score: 9.0
Expert Reviews: 8
Cricut Original Cricut Maker, Champagne Color
5. Cricut Original Cricut Maker, Champagne Color
Overall Score: 8.9
Expert Reviews: 9
Cricut Easy Press
6. Cricut Easy Press
Overall Score: 8.8
Expert Reviews: 0
Cricut Cuttlebug Die Cutting & Embossing Machine
7. Cricut Cuttlebug Die Cutting & Embossing Machine
Overall Score: 8.7
Expert Reviews: 5
Cricut Explore Air Wireless Cutting Machine
8. Cricut Explore Air Wireless Cutting Machine
Overall Score: 8.6
Expert Reviews: 0

An Overview On Die Cutting Machines

A craft die-cutting machine can be the perfect tool for any crafter’s workshop. Over the years, these devices have evolved from their original design that needed cartridges to cut out letters and shapes. Today’s craft die-cutting machines can print out die-cuts that are designed on your mobile device or computer, opening up the possibilities for what you can do with them.

If you’re interested in designing on your mobile device, though, it’s important to find a craft die-cutting machine that’s compatible with the operating system you use. Some machines have larger image libraries than others as well, with some featuring big-name designers as part of the free library they provide.

But not all craft die-cutting machines are created equal. Some can cut through extremely tough fabrics like leather and vinyl, while others can handle delicate fabrics like lace. If you plan to work with a wide range of fabrics, look for a machine that can adjust to the thickness and type that you’re using.

Craft die-cutting machines have also improved in their ease of use. Not only can you get started right out of the box, but today’s machines also have notifications built in that will let you know when your machine is warmed up and when it’s about to shut down due to inactivity. You’ll also find that some machines can quickly warm up, which means you’ll be able to complete a cut any time you need to without having to wait an extended period of time.

Crafting doesn’t always happen at home. If you craft with friends, perhaps through retreats or casual get-togethers, you’ll love that some craft die-cutting machines are ultra-portable. Not only are these machines lightweight and small, but they also have a handle that makes them easy to carry. Even if your machine never leaves the house, though, a smaller machine will more easily fit into your crafting room.

DWYM Fun Fact

Craft die-cutting machines are generally used for cutting fabrics, but their versatility shows in the many products they can make. Crafters regularly use them to make vinyl car window stickers, leather tablet cases, clothing, purses and pillows. Once you’ve purchased a craft die-cutting machine, you can start exploring all the possibilities. However, in order to be able to make many of these things, you’ll need a machine that can handle the type of fabric you’ll need to use. Whichever craft die-cutting machine you choose, you’ll likely be able to use a basic Google search to track down a list of things you can make with it.

The Die Cutting Machine Buying Guide

  • For crafters, it’s all about the designs. The Cricut Explore Air 2 lets you upload your own images or choose from the large selection in its free library. Other models also feature built-in image libraries, with hundreds of patterns from big brands like Simplicity and Riley Blake.
  • Before you buy a craft die-cutting machine, think carefully about the types of materials you’ll want to use. The Cricut Explore Air 2 can cut through foils, leather and vinyl, among many other material types. The Cricut EasyPress 2 is especially good with thick materials, like glitter heat transfer vinyl.
  • For quilters, you’ll want to look for a craft die-cutting machine that can cut fabric without the need for heat and bond.
  • Some machines can cut all types of fabric without you needing to add interfacing or backing to it to reinforce it.
  • Some models use a technology called the Adaptive Tool System, which features 10 times the cutting power of other machines. It adapts to the depth of the fabric you’re using at a given time.
  • Waiting for your craft die-cutting machine to warm up can be frustrating. The Cricut EasyPress 2 heats up in 60 seconds or less, achieving temperatures of up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Whether you’re new to craft die-cutting machines or not, ease of use is important. The Cricut EasyPress 2 beeps to notify you once it reaches the preferred temperature, as well as before shutting down due to inactivity. Another handy feature of the EasyPress 2 is that it remembers the settings you last used. A quick start guide will walk you through your first project, so this one is great for beginners.
  • Cleaning and maintenance can be time-consuming, so look for a machine that lasts through many uses with minimal maintenance.
  • It’s important to note that these aren’t professional-grade die-cutting machines. However, they’re great for home craft projects that you wouldn’t have been able to do without a craft die-cutting machine.
  • For those concerned about staying within a budget, keep in mind that you can find a machine that fits your budget, depending on the bells and whistles that are included.
  • In order to print designs from your mobile device, you’ll need to download an app onto your phone.
  • A loud craft die-cutting machine can be a nuisance, especially if you use your maker when your family is around. Some are quieter than others, so keep that in mind before purchasing.
  • Technologies seem to always be changing. Some models are fully expandable, which means as new tools like blades and pens are released to the market, you can easily add them.