The Adventures of a Sizzix Big Shot Newbie


Every once in a while I stumble upon something that changes my creative life forever.  My most recent life-changing find?  A Sizzix Big Shot machine.  Yes, I know – personal die cutting & embossing machines have been around for some time.  I’m definitely on the late freight where this tool is concerned, and might’ve continued on as I was – unaware and missing out.  Luckily for me, I was hired to work at Ellison – the makers of Sizzix products.  Woo hoo!

Since late May I’ve been thoroughly immersed in the world of die cutting and embossing and I LOVE it.  And though I’ve gradually been learning the things Sizzix  machines can do and cut, I haven’t had the chance to do much crafting lately.  I’d been given a machine starter kit so I could get familiar with how everything worked back in May, but aside from a test run my first week I hadn’t had the chance to do much.  That changed this past weekend.

I pulled out an assortment of my art and crafting materials, and gave the machine a whirl.  I tried cutting an assortment of materials, and also did a quick DIY project.  I made some tags using a die, some chipboard, and Washi Tape, and will share that project on Tuesday – so stay tuned!


Materials I Cut with My Big Shot and a Steel Rule Die:

Artist canvas
Watercolor paper
Sand paper
Metal embossing sheets
Fabric (cotton and lace)
Wire Mesh
Specialty paper (washi paper, etc.)
Mat board
Vintage ledger paper

Steel Rule Dies can also cut these materials:
Aluminum can
Magnet sheets
Crafting foam
– anything you can cut with scissors!



Die Cutting Rocks!  Why?

Dies cut perfectly.  No trying to follow your traced shape, over cutting, or under cutting.

You can cut multiple layers of materials at once depending on what you’re cutting.  For example, I can cut 6-8 layers of cardstock in one pass, depending on the paper.  I was also able to cut three layers of thin chipboard in one pass.  This is a huge time saver!

The creative possibilities are endless.  In addition to the machine and dies cutting a wide variety of materials, you can use the machine in oodles of creative endeavors.  Here are some projects you could use this kind of machine on – just off the top of my head:

Scrapbook pages
Party Decorations
Tags & other gift-wrapping elements
Enhancing bulletin boards
ATCs (Artist Trading Cards)
Food packaging (gifts)
Jewelry (including pins & pendants)
Wearable Art


I was able to cut 18 tags at once by stacking 8 pieces of paper and running them through the Big Shot. Woo hoo! Quick and easy!

Embossing, too?  Yes!

My Big Shot also embosses, which allows me to customize papers in infinite combinations by mixing different embossing folders with different colors and types of paper.  Such fun and such variety. :]


I Wish I’d Had One Sooner…

Some of the DIY projects I’ve posted here on this blog over the past three years would’ve benefitted from using this machine.  They would’ve been quicker and easier – no doubt about it.  Here are a few of the projects I could’ve used my Big Shot on if I’d had one back then:

Aluminum Star Ornaments
Cards from Scrap

The Tip of the Iceberg

I’m definitely a newbie when it comes to all the Big Shot can do, but I’ve seen enough to be impressed and excited by the possibilities.  I haven’t even mentioned chemically etched dies (like Thinlits & Framelits) stamp-to-cut, or embossing diffusers in this post.  Just wanted to share the bit I’ve learned and experimented with.  If you aren’t familiar with this kind of machine, and are a crafter or artist, you may want to check it out.

I hope you have a wonderful week!

Warm regards,

*Disclosure: I was given a Big Shot and some dies free of charge, but there was no request, suggestion or expectation – verbal or implied – that I do a blog post in exchange for the product.  I’ve created this post of my own accord because I’m excited about the possibilities. :]  The butterfly die I used in the post is one I purchased – it’s from the Tim Holtz Alterations line.  I also purchased two of the embossing folders above – the bubble wrap pattern, and the beehive pattern.

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  1. Posted September 5, 2013 at 5:21 am by tam | Permalink

    It’s always so cool when you find a better, fun(ner) way of making something new! I am intrigued to say the least!

  2. Posted September 5, 2013 at 7:12 am by Pam Morgan | Permalink

    Can’t wait to see the projects you create!

  3. Posted September 5, 2013 at 7:27 am by Barbara | Permalink

    Welcome aboard!

  4. Posted September 5, 2013 at 9:00 am by Amanda | Permalink

    Love all the colors. Those butterflies are just beautiful!

  5. Posted September 5, 2013 at 9:05 am by Diana | Permalink

    I love, love, love my big shot! What you have done is so inspiring! Can you get me a job there too! :}

  6. Posted September 5, 2013 at 11:18 am by Robin E. | Permalink

    Maybe if you tell them, they’ll give you one to give away on your blog (hint, hint) :0)

    Brava, Melody!!

  7. Posted September 5, 2013 at 5:43 pm by Beth Nielsen | Permalink

    THAT is the cutest little thing I ever saw!
    Amazing and loads of fun for you, I know!
    Cool beans and I know you will show us more.
    Stay cool, my friend; it was 100 when I was driving home today – ACK!

  8. Posted September 7, 2013 at 9:50 pm by Melody | Permalink

    Yes, I’ll be sure to share more. Thanks for commenting!

  9. Posted September 7, 2013 at 9:50 pm by Melody | Permalink

    Hee hee – we can hope. 🙂

  10. Posted September 7, 2013 at 9:50 pm by Melody | Permalink

    Hi Diana,
    I’m glad to hear you have one, too. Thank you for your kind words!

  11. Posted September 7, 2013 at 9:51 pm by Melody | Permalink

    Thank you! I think you’d benefit from having a Big Shot – they can cut fabric! 🙂

  12. Posted September 7, 2013 at 9:51 pm by Melody | Permalink

    Thank you for welcoming me to the club. 🙂

  13. Posted September 7, 2013 at 9:52 pm by Melody | Permalink

    Thanks – you have more experience using the machine than I do. I love the cards you make! :]

  14. Posted September 7, 2013 at 9:52 pm by Melody | Permalink

    Thank you for commenting. Yes, this is helpful and fun – a winning combo!

  15. Posted September 8, 2013 at 8:35 pm by oksana | Permalink

    Cool machine!!! I’ve never tried one, but I’m very curious about it. Looking forward to your future posts!

  16. Posted September 9, 2013 at 7:44 pm by Melody | Permalink

    It’s a fun machine. Thank you for your comment! :]