Saturday, January 27, 2007

Die Cutter Recap

It seems like excitement about the Cuttlebug is at a peak! I don't have that machine, but I bought some of the dies and embossing folders when they first came out and I was impressed. I loved a lot of the designs, particularly the A2 size embossing folders. What crisp impressions! They're great! You can use them as is. You can distress them with sand paper or a fine grit sanding block. You can chalk them. Lots of possibilities.

I use the Cuttlebug dies and embossing folders in my Big Shot. They work great and aren't complicated at all to use. I have a multipurpose platform and use them with it the same way that I would use the Sizzix or Ellison embossing folders. The Big Kick is the similar die cut machine that's sold by Sizzix. I think it comes with the multipurpose platform. The multipurpose platform makes life a lot easier! Not only that though, it makes it easy to use all of the following types of dies, both thick and thin:
  • Spellbinders Wizard dies
  • BossKut dies
  • Cuttlebug dies
  • Quickutz dies
  • Zip-e-mate dies
  • Sizzix dies
  • Ellison dies
Basically, you can use any non-commercial die in this machine. Gotta like that! The thick dies can cut through thicker materials, such as multiple layers of cardstock, chipboard, cork, felt, fun foam, fabric, thin metals.... If the die happens to be one that will also emboss, that works great, too. Now Sizzix, Ellison, and Zip-e-mate have cut 'n' emboss dies that I've used. No problems. Beautiful results in a single pass. Some of the Wizard dies will also emboss. You have to run them through twice though, once to cut and a second time to emboss. These are fabulous!

Now, as for embossing, again you can use all sorts of products in the Big Shot (or Big Kick). Here's a list:
  • Cuttlebug embossing folders
  • Sizzix Simple Impressions folders
  • Ellison Easy Emboss folders and Big Impression texture plates
  • Quickutz Goosebumpz embossing dies
  • Fiskars texture plates--yes, those blue or pink textured plates that were awful to try to use with that little embossing tool
  • any brass stencil!
Again, to make things easy, Ellison released a texture kit to use for embossing with The Big Shot, The Big Impressions Texture Kit. It comes with texture plates (6 designs), a sheet of silicone rubber, and an impression plate. You can emboss cardstock, vellum, lightweight metal, HVAC tape, foil, transparencies.... The list goes on and on. Usually I get a nice impression without much difficulty. One thing to remember is that with cardstock a light misting with water will soften it enough to give a more crisp impression. This can work well both with the texture plates and with brass stencils. Usually the embossing folders have a positive and negative side or image, so those images tend to be crisp already. One more suggestion would be to add a shim if the image still isn't deep enough. Sometimes a sheet of text weight paper is enough. Sometimes you need a sheet or two of cardstock. Just be willing to experiment.

I've tried to make this a little more all-inclusive than my other entries. I know that some of this repeats things I've said from time to time already. I just thought I'd put it all in one spot. I've also tried to update my labels. If you want to see examples of how I've used Cuttlebug folders, you should be able to click on that label and go to that post. Same with some of the other tools that I've mentioned. I'm still fine-tuning though and trying to make things as easy to find as possible. Hopefully I'm getting there. :-)


  1. I love the Big Shot and have used the Cuddlebug A2 folders very successfully. I'm not able so far to use my own brass stencils without getting the outline of the brass stencil itself. I want just the image to emboss. Any words of advice?

  2. I think that the only way that you can prevent getting the imprint of the stencil itself is to use a piece of foam or silicone rubber that you've cut larger than the size of the image that you want to emboss, but smaller than the stencil itself, so that you won't get an impression of the edges. I have some silicon rubber that I bought on sale from's supposed to be for the Wizard, but it's a big piece and I cut some smaller pieces off of it to use with my regular stencils. I was surprised to find that I didn't really have to cut a new piece for each stencil. Many of them are about the same size, so you can usually find a piece that you've already cut that will fit.

    Hope that helps!


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