You might have been thinking about a die-cutting machine for a long time now. Or you might have only just heard of them. Either way, they’re very tempting. Who doesn’t hate trying to neatly cut out circles by hand? Who isn’t gobsmacked by the intricate designs available from the likes of Tattered Lace?
I’ve been card-making since my GCSEs, but it was only last year I (or rather, my bank balance) took the plunge and bought a die-cutting machine. I’m definitely not an expert, but for those of you wondering if it’s worth investing, I want to tell you about my experiences with Sizzix’s Big Shot.
It took a few practices before I felt comfortable using my fancy new toy. I opted for the Big Shot Starter Kit because it comes with a collection of dies so you can start playing straight away. I don’t use many of these dies anymore, but they still come in handy now and then.
It’s a scary moment when you hear the plates crackling and you convince yourself you’ve broken it already, but don’t panic, you hear these noises from time to time. Also, don’t expect the plates to stay lovely and smoothly like those on telly (ruining the illusion – they use new ones every time!), They have to be replaced quite regularly as the indentations from dies can end up marking your projects over time.
The Big Shot comes with a multi-purpose platform that even now I still get mixed up with. I can never remember which level to use embossing folders with. But you’ll learn with practice, just keep giving it a go.
The Big Shot actually isn’t badly priced compared to a lot of other machines on the market. The starter kit is around £80.00, but you can get it cheaper if you shop around on sites like Amazon. I thought this was a good price to pay when I knew I was getting patterned papers, an embossing folder and some dies to go with my machine.
As I’ve already mentioned, the ease of cutting out circles alone is enough to make this machine worth the money. But you’ll find you can do a lot more once you have one – for example, shaker cards are much, much easier with a die-cutting machine to help you. A lot of people also love coordinating dies, though I’m happy to fussy-cut most of the time. However, if you have arthritis, tendonitis or any similar problems, you might find these dies to be a blessing.
I’m a big fan of polaroid cards too, and this would be much harder to achieve without a die-cutting machine. It also does more than just cut out – you can get dies with stitched and pierced effects too, so don’t assume your machine is a one-trick pony.
Although I wouldn’t say the Big Shot has paid for itself, since I don’t sell my cards, I do think it was worth investing in. I do, however, sometimes feel that I never stop paying for it – there is always a new die or embossing folder I want, and I really resent paying for new plates ever couple of months, even if they’re not that expensive.
Weigh up the pros and cons and see what you think. You can ask for a demonstration in craft shops, too, so you can see for yourself how easy it is!