My personal favorite shape cutting system is the Coluzzle. They have such a wide variety of templates to choose from, that it is easy to get what you want. The starter kit includes the swivel knife, craft knife, the foam pad, the circle template and the heart puzzle template. This system is also very streamlined which makes it easy to store!
The templates are "nested," which means that they are not open in the middle, but have plastic so that you stay on track. This makes it VERY handy and easier to get the shape you want. Also, since they have different sizes all nested into one template, it takes all the guess work and measuring out of matting! It really makes matting SO simple!
The foam pad is also a handy object to have. I would not recommend using an exacto knife on it, however. It cuts right through the pad! You do not really see where you have used the swivel knife on it, except a few little marks. It doesn't cut through.
As I said, the variety of templates is also a plus with the Coluzzle. They have everything from several different alphabets to a daisy, a leaf, two stars (funky and regular), three hearts (puzzle, primitive, and regular, which is kind of a wider one), a circle, an oval and one to make envelopes, which is great for card making! And my personal "can't live without" template, the TAG! There are always new shapes being introduced! I just LOVE this cutting system!
The tag template makes three different shapes of tags, in three sizes. It is very handy for this most popular technique!
I highly reccomend the Coluzzle Cutting system as a system that every scrapbooker should have. It's portability makes it great for crops.
I store my coluzzle templates in a 12x12 paper organizer envelope. I have more than 20 templates in this envelope and it fits compactly into my scrapbook tote for traveling to crops.
Click here for some tips on using the Coluzzle system.