Sizzix Big Shot Gets 5 Stars
For Christmas this year I got a Sizzix Big Shot die cutting and embossing machine and I am super excited to share this review with you of what I think about it so far. I had been wanting one for quite some time now because I have heard so many great things about it. It is one of the top machines out there for die cutting and embossing but what made it particularly desirable for me is it's ability to cut fabrics. I love making fabric flowers so this machine is definitely ideal for me!
When I realized the gift that I was opening was indeed a Big Shot, I was so excited I could hardly stand it! It came with two thick cutting plates and a multi-tab platform. The multi-tab platform is a thick plastic plate that has two flippable tabs on it. This platform enables you to use all Sizzix dies and even most other manufacturers dies with this machine so the versatility is amazing. It says on the platform which tab you need to use with whatever die that you are using-it's like a cheat sheet. This platform will come in very useful especially for those who have a lot of different types of dies and also for the different types and brands of embossing folders. All of them can be used with the Big Shot!
In addition to the Big Shot, I got a Sizzix Bigz die which is a good thing or I would not have been able to try out the machine and that would have been a real bummer! The die is the Tim HOltz Alterations Tattered Florals and I absolutely LOVE it. It has 4 different sizes of flowers on it. I ordered another die from Amazon and got it within a few days. It is the Sizzix Originals Circles #2 die and it is awesome as well. With just these two dies, I'm going to be able to make a TON of fabric flowers!
Assembling the Big Shot
Pretty much all you have to do in order to start using the Big Shot is attach the handle and its super easy. Just take the handle and put it in the slot where the handle goes, use the little tool that comes with it to screw the handle in place. Then take the little screw cover and pop it on to hide the screw and you are good to go.
After I attached my handle, I looked over the machine. It's a solid and sturdy machine, weighing 8lbs and it measures 14.5 by 12.5 inches. It is black and is embellished with a pretty pink flourish and some bling here and there. It sits firmly on 6 rubber feet. Once you start using this machine, chances are you will want to use it often so it's perfect sitting on a table or shelf in your craft room. I use mine on the kitchen table. I'm not lucky enough to have my own craft room, just yet!
Using the Big Shot is super easy. You make a "sandwich" using the 2 clear cutting plates and whatever die you are using along with the material you are wanting to cut. The multi-tab platform that comes with the machine will tell you how to make your sandwich if you are using dies other than the ones made specifically for the Big Shot, so the platform will come in extremely useful. Once you make your sandwich, you roll the sandwich through the Big Shot by turning the handle. What happens is there is rods that are turning in the machine as you crank the handle. These rods catch the pads and pull them through the machine and while it's going through the pressure pushes the foam down on the die and the metal cuts through the paper, fabric or whatever you are cutting. Once you roll it through to the other end, take off the plate and look at all your pretty die cuts!
You will notice after you start using your Big Shot that the cutting plates will start to get marked up. Don't worry! This is completely normal and expected. The cutting plates are very thick and should last you a good long while but at some point in the future, they may need replacing. I've just checked with Amazon and you can get a replacement set of plates for just 8 bucks.
What Can You Cut with the Big Shot?
One of the reasons I wanted the Big Shot so much is because of it's ability to cut other things besides just paper. Here is a list of other materials that you can cut with the Big Shot:
- craft foam
- transparent sheets
- thin plastic
- aluminum cans
- thin cork
- magnetic sheets
Something else worth noting here is that you can layer up to four, depending on the thickness of whatever you are cutting, at one time. I usually put four layers of fabric in and cut them all at the same time. So instead of cutting just one sheet of fabric yielding the four flowers on my die, I can cut four layers of fabric and get 16 flowers with just one crank. That is pretty awesome and very helpful when I need several layers for making my fabric flowers!
In addition to cutting, the Big Shot can emboss. The embossing is done the exact same way. You make the sandwich and the way you stack it is according to what type and brand embossing folder you are using. Once you have your sandwich, run it through the machine and you will have a beautiful embossed surface on your paper, metal, etc. Because of it's ability to do both cutting and embossing, it's a great value for those who are into scrapbooking and other paper crafts. You can make your own scrapbooking or paper craft embellishments by cutting out shapes first and then running them back through to emboss them. The possibilities are truly endless with all the different dies and embossing folders out there that can be used with this machine. I am so thrilled at how versatile this machine is.
Die Cutting Machines vs Using Punches
I love paper punches and I am sure I will still use them occasionally but after using the Big Shot, I realize if I'm going to invest in tools that cut shapes, It would be smarter for me to go with purchasing the cutting dies and use the Big Shot from this point on. Here is the reasons why:
- Size of the Cut Shape- My Sizzix Bigz die which was $17 is 51/2" by 6" and it has 4 different flower shapes on it, the largest measuring approximately 3 inches. Just one paper punch that size will cost around $20. Yet this one cutting die has 4 flowers on it. The other flowers on the die measure approximately 2 1/2 inches, 1 3/4 inches and then a flower that is about an inch so already you can see the value of using a die in the Big Shot vs buying individual punches.
- Materials- With a regular paper punch you are pretty much limited to paper, chipboard, foil and aluminum. The Big Shot will cut all the materials I listed above with my fave being fabric!
- Selection of Cut Shapes-I love that you can use so many different dies, including other manufacture's dies with the Big Shot plus many dies have more than just one shape on them. There are lots of different paper punch shapes but your not going to get the versatility of cutting different materials and value for size like you would using the Big Shot.
5 Stars for the Big Shot!
So because of all the reasons above, I am giving the Big Shot 5 stars. I think it is an awesome machine, hands down and a MUST for all crafters. To me, the Big Shot is like a factory grade machine because of the number of quality shapes I can cut with just one crank through the machine, not to mention the selection of dies and different shapes and number of shapes that come on just one die. I'm thrilled to be able to have one and use it in my home. If you are a crafter, I suggest you give this machine a try. I don't think I have ran across a crafter yet that doesn't love it.