Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Using brass stencils in the Big Shot

I've been raving about the Cuttlebug embossing folders and the job that the Big Impressions kit does with texture plates. I also mentioned that the kit lets me use regular brass stencils. Here's how I do that.

First off, I use the multipurpose platform. It's great because it has the instructions printed right on it.

If I run a stencil through my Big Shot according to the instructions, this is the impression that I'll get.

Sometimes having the outline of the stencil around the image is okay. Maybe I'm planning to cut it out, or maybe I wanted a border of sorts. But what about when I don't want that to show--that's when some adjustments need to be made.

I use silicone rubber for making these borderless impressions. Some folks have had luck using mouse pads or fun foam. I like this because it's reliable. This is a tan sheet of silicone rubber that Spellbinders makes for use in the Wizard. It's a big sheet. I cut off a piece just slightly larger than my image and smaller than the size of the stencil.

I then run this through my Big Shot, just like I would if I was using the usual rubber that comes with the kit. Here's how it comes out.

No border. I know that it may be tough to tell, but my cardstock was larger than my stencil, so if there was a border there, you'd see it. Here's a slightly closer view.

The trick is not letting the rubber overlap the edge of the stencil, even when it's being compressed by the machine, so that you don't get that border. By the way, these images were run through using dry cardstock. If you want even more crisp impressions, lightly misting the paper first with water can help. I've also found that many of my stencils are the same size, so I can often use a piece of silicone that I'd cut previously. I'm not having to cut a new piece every time. I just keep everything together with my Big Impressions kit so that it's close at hand.


  1. Thanks for posting that! I have the Big Shot and love brass stencils, but am too lazy to do it the old fashioned way. I will certainly try this.

  2. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! I'd been trying to think of a way to do this, and you've saved me a migraine :)

  3. Pure genious! Thanks so much for sharing this with us! Off to try.... :)

  4. Thanks! I was looking for a way to use my brass stencils with SU!s Big Shot.

  5. so- is there an extra piece we are suppose to be using to make the brass stencil impression?- or is this what you are talking about?- the mouse pad etc??- I wanted the Big shot especially for my brass stencils as well and am having a hard time understanding the directions.

    thank you all for your patience with me.

    Trish Kindberg Crimpmystyle@Q.com

  6. Trish, there's a Big Impressions starter kit for the Big Shot and Big Kick that can be purchased separately. It comes with a Big Impressions pad, which is slightly thicker than a regular cutting pad and that you use in place of one of the cutting pads--that's the black layer that you see on the platform in my last two pics up above. It also comes with a silicone rubber sheet and three two-sided texture plates. Up above, I used the tan silicone rubber by Spellbinders just because I had it, and it's big, and I've used it to cut out smaller pieces that I can use for my brass stencils. The silicone that comes with the kit is the same size as the texture plates, so I like to leave that full size for when I emboss using those.

    Now that I've said all of that, you don't need to buy the kit. If you have a sheet of silicone and the patience to do some shimming instead of using the impressions pad, you can make it work. Just use the same set-up as above but use both of your clear cutting pads instead and add shims until you get an impression that's to your liking.

    Hope that helps.

  7. Thank you so much!
    I have over 100 brass stencils. I've been looking for ways to use them with the Sizzix BigShot. If they can be used together, the value proposition for getting the BigShot goes way up! Jennifer.

  8. Thank you for the good info. What is this 'shim' that you referred to?

  9. Conrae, a shim can be a piece of text weight paper, card stock, or even lightweight chipboard like the backing from Cuttlebug folders. What the shim does is add a little thickness to the sandwich so that your embossing is a little more crisp or your die cuts completely if it wasn't cutting all the way through. My advice is to just make sure that you add shims gradually and to never force a sandwich through your machine if it feels too tight. But a shim can be the difference between an impression that's just okay and one that's crisp and gorgeous to look at.

    Hope that helps! :-)

  10. You ARE creative!! Do you think you could use the brass stencil in either the cuttlebug or the original sizzix?

  11. Judy, you should be able to emboss using brass stencils in the Cuttlebug. If I remember correctly, the stack is A plate, B plate, stencil, card stock, silicone rubber, B plate. Misting the card stock before embossing will usually help make a more crisp image, and you may or may not need to shim as well.

    As far as the Sizzix, I'll have to try it and get back to you on that. I bet it can be done, but I'll have to play with it to see just how to do it. :-)

    Hope that helps for now!

  12. I've been trying to decide between the cuttlebug and the big shot. I have an older sixxiz, but it is not wide enought to get some of my cards through. What does everyone suggest?

  13. Hi debshe, I can understand why you might want to try a Cuttlebug or the Big Shot. The Sizzix is a good machine, but it can't do it all. There are certainly people who will express strong opinions in favor of one machine or the other. I wrote up a fairly recent post that you might find useful: simple Cuttlebug & Big Shot comparison.

    Personally, I prefer the Big Shot, but I also have a Cuttlebug. The C'bug was going to be my back-up since I really put the Big Shot to the test with my experimenting. But honestly, if something did happen to my Big Shot, I'd use the C'bug only until I could get hold of a replacement Big Shot.

    Good luck deciding! :-)

  14. Jay,
    At last! My day has come at last! I got it!!!!!
    Thank you so very much! It can be so frustrating to try to figure out how to use these new "goodies". Thanks again, for the work you do to help us "grow"in our crafts.
    Your new "bestest" buddy!


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