Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Big Shot

I haven't done any stamping this weekend, but I've fielded some questions about the Big Shot by Ellison Design. I love this tool. I had the big Sizzix for years. It was versatile, but heavy and bulky. I didn't use my dies as much as I would have since it was more trouble to get it out and work with it. After I got a Sidekick, I used the thin dies more often. I could emboss with brass stencils, too, but size was a big limitation. A number of other tools came out, but there seemed to be drawbacks for all of them, whether it was the dies that could be used, ease of use (or lack of ease, rather), or price, etc. Then the Big Shot was released.

The Big Shot is a die cutter that rolls the dies through on a wide 6" bed. It's lighter and more portable than the Sizzix, and the cranking action is easy and cuts dies very well. It also embosses brass stencils nicely. Early on, I'd tinker with shims, use adapters and such, and I could use just about any die out there and get great results. Recently Ellison came out with a multipurpose platform. You can picture it as a hinged book. A thick platform is the last "page" of the book. Two thinner pages rest on top of it and allow the user to adjust the thickness to what's needed for embossing or cutting wafer thin dies with or without backing. The instructions are all printed on the platform, by the way. That accessory made it incredibly easy to use any die in this machine. I've used large Ellison thick cut dies, Ellison thin cut dies and cut 'n' emboss dies, Sizzix original dies, Sizzlits, Sizzix alphabars, Quikutz dies, Wizard dies, Bosskut dies, and Zip'e mate dies without any problems. With the bigger dies, thicker materials, such as fabric, chipboard, magnets, and cork can be cut. I get a good cut the first roll through with my dies, too. I should also add that I've tried the new Cuttlebug dies in the Big Shot and they work great!

Now the other thing that these machines can do is emboss. They do the brass stencils in the folders quite nicely. They do the Cuttlebug embossing folders, too. Another recent addition to the Big Shot arsenal was the texture embossing kit. It came with double-sided texture plates, the foam layer and the plastic plate necessary for getting a good impression. These worked wonderfully in the machine, and so did my Fiskars texture plates. My snowflake cards a few posts below show how the Fiskars snowflake embossing plate did in the Big Shot. I think that with some trial and error, the combination of the right shims and right kind of foam could be found, but for me it was much simpler to go with a combo that worked well out of the package.

All in all, I'd have to say that I'm very happy with my Big Shot and with all of the things that it's been touted as being able to do. I've been able to get great results with little tinkering and, best of all, with little frustration! For me, it was worth investing in the texture kit and the multipurpose platform. I'd found work-arounds, but these two purchases have made life a lot easier, and I find that I'm much more likely to use my craft tools if they're easy to get to and easy to use. So that's my take on that. :-)


  1. Hi, Jay! I am definitely in the market for a new universal diecut/embossing machine. I have the original Sizzix, the Sidekick and a QuicKutz, too. To have one machine that could handle all these dies and my embossing stencils would be a DREAM with how limited my crafting space is! I'm down to the Big Shot and the Cuttlebug. The Cuttlebug is a little bit smaller and a little less expensive, but I hear there are a lot of manufacturing "bugs" (pardon the pun) still being worked out. (I've read about the Cuttlebug actually exploding on a few people during use!) So I really appreciate the fact that the Big Shot has a proven track recond. ;)

    Thanks for your informative post! Definitely something more to chew on while I'm STILL making my decision! ;)

  2. umm.... that should read "...Proven track record". LOL I really need to proofread more. LOL

  3. Thank you, Jay! I have a Big Shot and agree that it's much easier to use and more versatile than the large Sizzix machine -- which I never took to very well. I didn't know until reading your blog entry about the multipurpose platform and texture plates. These sound like absolute must haves. I confess I'm a bit awkward with the all that shim and layering business. Something that does what I need it to do right out of the package is definately my kind of product! Thanks for posting your observations on the Big Shot; they surely helped me out. ;-) ~ pk

  4. Hi Jay, I saw your post on Gingerwood about your blog here. Thanks for the info because I too ordered a Big Shot from Costco and it will be coming soon. Do you have the Premium Crease Pad, is that something I need also in addition to the multipurpose platform (in order to emboss ordinary brass stencils). Thanks! PS, do you have a source to get the accessories at at discount?

  5. PS, me again, sorry. I just now saw on the Ellison website the starter kit with the squishy rubber sheet for embossing. Thanks again for the info, I am looking forward to getting my Big Shot. I have many Fiskars embossing plates that I never use so I will have to get that kit.

  6. Hi Jay! Great information about the Big Shot. I saw the link on Gingerwood and came over to check it out. Thanks so much for all of the information.


  7. Glad to hear that my experience might help with deciding whether to get the Big Shot or some of the accessories. I'm getting ready to post a couple of ATCs and I was going to mention where I got some of my supplies. I ordered some of my Ellison dies and accessories from Ohio Scrapbooks--add the www and dot com. Great service and she sells at 30% off retail. She doesn't sell the Ellison products thru her website, but she'll send a catalog or you can email/call her with your order if you already know what you want.


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