Sizzix Big Shot Review

The Sizzix Big Shot is an award-winning die cutting machine that certainly lives up to its name! This machine is dependable, versatile, and backed by Sizzix’s excellent customer service and 3-year warranty. It cuts and embosses, and can use dies and folders from many different companies.

Sizzix Big Shot Machine, 6 In (15.24 Cm) Opening, White/Gray

The Sizzix Big Shot has a 6″ wide opening to cut or emboss. The sides don’t fold up like the Cricut Cuttlebug, so it’s not as portable. The larger sides though are an advantage, as you’ll have more space to work with, and you’ll be able to work with extra large dies. The machine weighs 7.5lbs, so it’s not heavy to move around.

Note: Sometimes you’ll hear about the Sizzix BIGKick machine. What’s the difference between the Big Shot and BIGKick? They are exactly the same! The only difference is color. They work exactly the same and take exactly the same dies.

How does the Sizzix Big Shot work?

Using the Big Shot is easy. Simply place the material to be cut between the cutting plates, and following the directions on the multipurpose platform to get the right thickness before sending it through the machine.

Tip: If you want a deeper cut or emboss, try using a shim. A shim is a very thin sheet that is added to your sandwich to give it the extra thickness it needs.

Here’s a video demonstration:

You can see how easy it is to turn the handle. Depending on the material and die, it may be tougher to turn at times. The Big Shot is a sturdy machine and has rubber feet to prevent it from moving when you are cutting and embossing.

Tip: Over time, the Big Shot cutting plates will start to curve. This is normal, and shows how much you love your machine! If your plates do start to curve, flip them over when using the machine to straighten them out.

What can the Big Shot Cut?

The Big Shot can handle a lot! Here’s a short list of some materials it can cut:

  • cardstock
  • felt
  • fabric
  • foam
  • magnet
  • leather
  • craft aluminum
  • chipboard
  • metallic foil
  • vellum
  • and much more!

Certain dies, however, will only be able to cut certain materials. Here is a Sizzix Die Cheat Sheet.

If you are looking for a machine specifically for fabric and felt the Big Shot is a great option but it’s not my top pick. Learn which machine is the Best for Cutting Fabric and Felt.

Which dies and folders work in the Big Shot?

Although cutting dies and embossing folders must be purchased separately, the Big Shot works with a variety of dies from different companies. Here are some to name a few:

  • Cuttlebug dies
  • Spellbinders dies
  • QuicKut dies
  • Anna Griffin dies
  • AccuQuilt dies

Virtually all folders that are less than 6″ will work with the machine. I haven’t found any that don’t work!

If you are quilting, you the Big Shot is compatible with all Sizzix dies up to their Bigz XL 25″ dies. Be aware that the Big Shot has a 6″ wide opening. If you are interested in using bigger dies, consider purchasing the bigger and stronger Big Shot Pro, Read my review for more info.

What’s included with the Sizzix Big Shot?

The Big Shot comes with all the necessary plates you need. All you need is to purchase your favorite dies and embossing folders.

Here is what is included with the Big Shot:

  • 1 Big Shot Machine
  • 1 Extended Multipurpose Platform
  • 1 Pair of Cutting Pads

Note: The Big Shot comes with the Extended Multipurpose Platform, which is 14 1/8″ long. The plates, however, are standard size, at 8 3/4″ long. If you wish to use dies longer than the standard sized plates, you’ll need to purchase the extended plates separately.

Maintenance and Warranty

Upon receiving the machine, some assembly is required. The handle needs to be attached with the hex wrench and screw that is provided.

No maintenance is required other than keeping the machine clean and free of debris. No oil or lubrication is needed.

Sizzix is an excellent company that stands behind their products. The Big Shot is a quality machine that is expected to last and comes with a 3-year warranty. They also have great customer service, which I have personally used on multiple occasions.

Overall Review

The Sizzix Big Shot is an excellent machine and more serious crafters tend to enjoy it more than the Cricut Cuttlebug, primarily for its versatility. You can compare the two machines in my comparison article. The Big Shot can work with dies and folders from many different companies and has a larger working area. It can also work with longer dies for your quilting needs. If you’re looking for a manual die cutting machine and don’t need a whole lot of space, I highly recommend the Sizzix Big Shot.

Click below to compare the price on Amazon and on the Sizzix website. You never know when a sale will happen.

Sizzix Big Shot Review

I hope you enjoyed this review! Please reply with comments, questions or tips!

Cricut Cuttlebug Machine Review

Note: Sadly Cricut has discontinued the Cuttlebug. Two high-quality alternatives are the Sizzix Big Shot and the very portable AccuQuilt Go! Me.

If you are looking for a machine specifically for cutting fabric and felt check out my article Best Die Cutting Machine for Fabric and Felt.

Let’s start off by saying that users absolutely love their Cricut Cuttlebug machine, and so will you. The Cricut Cuttlebug machine is an embossing and die cut machine by Cricut. There are two versions out there, but I will be focusing on the newer V2 model in this review. The original version and V2 version work exactly the same. They use exactly the same plates, folders, and dies. The only differences are to the outside body design.

Cricut Cuttlebug Review

Amazon Price

The Cricut Cuttlebug is quite cleverly constructed. The sides of the machine are able to fold up and be tucked away. When the sides are folded down for use, a suction underneath the machine is activated and the machine sticks to the table. This suction keeps the machine from moving around when running materials through the machine.

What’s also great for saving space is that the handle tucks away as well. Sometimes crafters need all the space they can get, so this design is a big help. It even comes with a carrying handle. The machine only weighs 7lbs, which means you can carry and use it anywhere. The dimensions of the machine are 14.4 inches long, 7.2 inches wide, and 12 inches high.

Using Your Cuttlebug

The Cuttlebug (Basic package) comes with the following:

  • 1 A Spacer
  • 2 B Cutting Plate
  • Instruction booklet
  • Bonus: 1 5×7 embossing folder

To use your Cuttlebug, use the spacer and cutting pads to create a sandwich with your embossing folder or die. This sandwich is then rolled through the machine by cranking the handle, where the material comes out embossed or cut. Cutting and embossing are quick and easy. It’s also safe for kids to use.

Materials can be added to either side of the machine, so it all works the same whether you are left or right handed. Like all die cut machines, the dies cut into the cutting plates. Over time, these plates will become scratched and warped. It’s best to designate one plate to be your “cutting plate”, and keep the other plate on the bottom. When the cutting plate starts to become warped, flip it over to use the other side.

Now, there is a Cuttlebug C plate. The C plate is sold separately and does not come with the machine. It did come with the original version of the machine, but it does not come in the V2 version. Some people don’t understand why Provo Craft decided to no longer include the C plate.

Well, the C plate is only needed if you are using dies from other manufacturers, such as Sizzix or Spellbinders. If you plan on using dies from other manufacturers, then you may need the C plate. It’s good to know that the Cricut Cuttlebug machine is compatible with most leading brands of dies and embossing folders.

Check out our Cuttlebug Sandwich Guide on how to use the Cuttlebug with other dies and folders.

Here’s a video of embossing without the C plate and using the C plate to cut a Spellbinder die:

As you can see from the demo in the video, the embossing comes out surprisingly crisp, and it cuts smoothly.

The opening of the Cuttlbug is 6 inches. This means you will not be able to use any dies or folders larger than this. If you are embossing, the A2 and 5×7 embossing folders are compatible.

What can the Cuttlebug cut?

The Cuttlebug can cut a variety of materials including:

  • Cardstock
  • Thin metal
  • Thin Wood
  • Some fabrics
  • Thin Felt
  • Poster board
  • Chipboard
  • Tissue Paper
  • Fun foam

Be aware, that the height of your cutting materials should not exceed 1/8″. Forcing materials through the machine could get them stuck.

Maintenance and Warranty

This Cuttlebug is very easy to maintain and requires nothing besides keeping it clean. If you treat the machine nicely and don’t force anything through the opening, it should last a long time.

The machine comes with a 1-year warranty.

Overall Review

Overall, the Cuttlebug is a decent machine, portable, and its price makes it appealing. However, if you are looking for something slightly more expensive, durable, and versatile, consider our Sizzix Big Shot review, and compare the two machines.

One of the cheapest places to buy the Cuttlebug is from Amazon.

Amazon Price

Do you own a Cuttlebug? Tell us what you think by leaving a comment!

Sizzix Texture Boutique Embossing Machine Review

The Sizzix Texture Boutique Embossing Machine is a cute machine designed specifically for embossing. This machine does not die cut, but it’s great for making homemade and personalized cards and other embossing projects. Cards that would run you several dollars in stores, will now cost you only a fraction of the cost, plus the added reward and enjoyment. Of course, there are many other embossing applications that can be done, such as scrapbooking and decorations.

Sizzix Texture Boutique Embossing Machine Review

Amazon Price

The machine is quite portable and lightweight, weighing just over 3 pounds. The dimensions are 8 inches long, 5 inches wide, and 9 inches high. The handle is about 2.5 inches. Because of how light and small the machine is, it’s easy to carry around. Its cute purse design will also look nice on the shelf when it’s not in use.

How does the Sizzix Texture Boutique Embossing Machine work?

The Sizzix Texture Boutique Embossing Machine works just like any other manual embossing or die machine. The paper material, such as cardstock, fits inside an embossing folder. This folder is then fit between two embossing pads to create a sandwich. This sandwich is then sent through the slot in the embossing machine by cranking the handle. The crank is easy to use but does require another hand to help stabilize the machine from moving around. Unlike the Cricut Cuttlebug, the Sizzix Texture Boutique Embossing Machine does not suction to the table.

Here’s a video of how easy the machine is to use:

What embossing folders can I use with the Sizzix Texture Boutique Embossing Machine?

The Sizzix Texture Boutique Embossing Machine accepts the following:

  • Sizzix A2 Large (5 3/4″ x 4 1/2″)
  • Sizzix A2 Medium (4 1/2″ x 2 7/8″)
  • Sizzix Small (2 7/8″ x 2 1/4″)

Users also had success using embossing folders from other companies:

  • Cuttlebug A2
  • Cuttlebug 5×7*
  • M-Bossabilities A2 (no shims)
  • M-Bossabilities 5×7*
  • Darcie A2
  • Darcie 5×7
*Sometimes you have to shave a tiny bit off the width off these folders to make them fit. It seems some users had success with older Cuttlebug folders without any modifications, but the newer Cuttlebug folders won’t fit without some shaving off the sides.

One downside to using these folders is that the A2 folders cannot be orientated sideways and be put into the machine. Another downside is that Sizzix Texturz Texture Plates won’t fit into the machine either.

A few users have had trouble getting embossing to work. Some have reported that the folders emboss too much, cutting the material, while others have reported trouble getting a good emboss all around the material. Depending on the material and folder, getting the right emboss may require some experimentation. Shims can be added and removed to help get the right emboss.

While most users don’t have trouble operating the machine, some users found it difficult to roll the embossing sandwich through and even having the handle break on them. Thankfully, there is a 1-year limited warranty on the machine.

What comes with the Sizzix Texture Boutique Embossing Machine?

The machine comes in two different packages. These are exactly the same machine, except one comes in a beginners kit, and the other comes with the only the machine, a pair of embossing pads, and one mylar shim.

Here is what is included in the Beginner’s Kit:

  • Texture Boutique Embossing Machine
  • Textured Impressions Embossing Folder – Flowers, Daisies (Small)
  • Textured Impressions Embossing Folder – Flower & Dots Border (A2 Medium)
  • Textured Impressions Embossing Folder – Swirls & Dots (A2 Large)
  • 1 Pair of Standard Embossing Pads
  • 1 Mylar Shim
  • 10 White Cards
  • 10 White Envelopes
  • 10 Ivory Cards
  • 10 Ivory Envelopes
  • 40 Assorted Samples of Cardstock
  • 1 Sheet of Black Rub Ons
  • 1 Sheet of White Rub Ons
  • 1 Rub Ons Applicator
  • 1 Sandpaper Sample
  • 1 Idea Booklet
  • 1 Instruction Booklet

This beginner gift has everything you need to get started. It does come with 3 embossing folders, and if you want more, they can be purchased individually and are reasonably priced. The beginner kit also makes for a great gift and is easy enough for children to operate.

Maintenance and Warranty

Before you operate the Sizzix Texture Boutique, you must screw the handle on. This assembly isn’t difficult and Sizzix even includes a screwdriver.

The machine comes with a 1-year limited warranty.

There is no maintenance required, but remember to keep good care of the machine and don’t force anything through.

Overall Review

The Sizzix Texture Boutique is an affordable option for a decent machine. Buyers must be aware that this is an embossing only machine, and does not die cut. Users have experienced a few problems with the machine, but generally, users are happy with it. Embossing folders are reasonably priced which makes this machine great for people wanting to get their feet wet without breaking the bank.

Amazon Price

Sizzix Big Shot Pro Review

The Sizzix Big Shot Pro by Ellison is a professional manual die cutting machine with a wide 13-inch opening. Its large size allows it to cut every popular die on the market. The machine is constructed with steel rollers making it quite rugged and durable. It cuts smoothly through multiple layers of material and even thin sheet metal. The Big Shot Pro can also be used for quilting.

Sizzix 660550 Industrial Strength Die Cutting & Embossing Machine for Arts & Crafts, Scrapbooking &...

Although this machine can handle a lot, it is on the expensive side. Some people who purchase the Big Shot Pro are surprised by how big it is. Let me tell you, it’s a big machine!

It weighs 44 pounds, so don’t be expecting to be moving it around as much as the smaller Big Shot model, which you can simply pick up. The Big Shot Pro machine is 24 1/4″ long, 15″ wide, and 7 1/2″ high. The handle sticks out about another 5 inches.

The machine also has a built-in storage space, which is often a good place to store your tools, dies, and materials. It can then be covered by the sliding tray and operated normally.

What can the Big Shot Pro cut?

The Big Shot Pro can cut a variety of materials, and with ease. The hand crank is very smooth to use and the machine cuts quickly. Here are some materials that the Big Shot Pro can cut:

  • Paper and Cardstock
  • Matboard
  • Chipboard
  • Corrugated cardboard
  • Fabric and felt
  • Foam
  • Balsawood
  • Cork
  • Leather
  • Craft metal such as thin brass and aluminum

What’s great about the Big Shot Pro and its large working area, is that you can use multiple dies at once, and even cut multiple layers. This is a huge time-saving advantage. It can be great if you are making a lot of homemade Christmas cards or cutting out decorations for a party.

This machine is actually one of my favorites for cutting fabric due to its large working area. There are several other cutters that are great for fabric and felt, you can learn more in my article Best Cutting Machine for Fabric and Felt.

The machine does weigh a lot, but it doesn’t move when you are cutting materials. Unlike the Big Shot or Cuttle Bug which requires two hands, this machine only requires one.

Check out the video below to see the different kinds of materials the Big Shot Pro can cut:

What about Dies and Adapter Pads?

The Big Shot Pro is compatible with virtually any die on the market. Here are some of the popular brands it is compatible with:

  • Every Sizzix and Ellison design ever made.
  • Circut Dies
  • Spellbinder Dies
  • Accucut Dies
  • Fiskars Dies

Some of the Movers & Shapers dies have the design at an angle, which can be frustrating if you are working with pattern paper and are trying to get it just right.

As an important note, if you are planning to purchase the Big Shot Pro and are planning to make use of embossing tools or the chemically-etched dies, you’ll want to get the Big Shot Pro Solo Platform. If you are working with wafer-thin dies, you’ll want the Wafer-Thin Adapter.

These accessories are sold separately and do not come with the machine. These items are sold in the Sizzix Big Shot Pro Accessory Bundle. People often buy the machine and are disappointed to learn afterward that they can’t cut everything they want without having to purchase the bundle.

There are extended accessories as well for the Big Shot Pro Machine if you want to use longer dies. The normal adapter pad and plates are 14 inches long, while the extended adapter and plates are 26 inches long.

These extended accessories are more popular among quilters who can cut long pieces of fabric. These extended accessories are a bit expensive and are not sold in a bundle, so you must purchase the tray, adapter pad, and cutting mats individually.

You can buy the Big Shot Pro Machine with extended accessories instead of the normal accessories, but it is more expensive. The machine with the extended accessories is often called the “quilter addition”. It may make better sense to buy the machine with the normal accessories and buy the extended accessories separately, as the price will be the same compared to only buying the machine with the extended accessories. Shop around,  you never know what prices you will find.

Here is what comes with the two bundles:

Big Shot Pro with Normal AccessoriesBig Shot Pro with Extended Accessories
(Quilter Addition)
– 1 Standard Sliding Tray– 1 Extended Sliding Tray
– 1 Standard Cutting Pad– 1 Pair of Extended Cutting Pads
– 1 Premium Crease Pad– 1 Extended Adapter Pad
– 2 Mylar Shims– 1 Die Pick
– 1 Standard Adapter Pad
– 1 Die Pick

And check out the Big Shot Pro with the extended adapter pad and tray:

It may seem confusing at first on how to use the machine to cut with so many different dies. The good news is, the adapter pad does come with visual instructions telling you which plates you need and in which order. These instructions are also in the manual that comes with the machine as well.

Maintenance and Warranty

Before you use the Big Shot Pro, some assembly is needed. The only part that needs to be put together is screwing the handle onto the roller shaft.

The machine comes with a 3-year limited warranty. This warranty covers any manufacturing defects.

Maintenance on the machine is minimal. The machine does not require any oiling or lubrication. However, there are 4 plastic sliding plates on the side of the machine. If these plates show wear and tear, they should be replaced all 4 at the same time.

One thing to keep an eye on is your cutting plates. Over time, as with all machines, these plates will get warped and scratched. If you are using smaller dies, you can place the dies in different areas of the cutting plate to make the cutting plate last longer.

Overall Review

Overall, the Big Shot Pro is a versatile, well-built machine. It cuts smoothly and can cut almost any die. One drawback is that not everyone likes the size of the machine, but it’s exactly what some people are looking for. Some crafters buy the machine so they don’t have to constantly upgrade. The cost is a little pricey and so are the bigger dies. If you don’t mind the size and price, this is a great machine. If you are a quilter, serious crafter, run a business, or teach a classroom, the Big Shot Pro is a good option.

Sizzix Big Shot Pro Review

Die Cutting Machine Reviews

Sizzix Texture Boutique Embossing Machine

Sizzix Texture Boutique Embossing Machine

This cute little machine is a great way to get started in embossing. The Sizzix Texture Boutique is specifically designed to emboss, and does not die cut. It’s the most affordable option for embossing, and crafters often compliment their digital die cutting machines with it. It’s also a very practical machine for making homemade cards.

Read the Full Sizzix Texture Boutique Review


Cricut Cuttlebug Machine by Provo Craft

Cricut Cuttlebug Machine

Everybody loves their Cuttlebug, and for good reasons! It cuts and embosses, and does it well. It’s a manual machine, so it requires no batteries or outlet. Its sleek design is cleverly engineered to unfold and suction to the table when in use. When you are done, just fold it up! It’s durable, and weighs only 7 pounds, so you can use it anywhere, anytime.

Read the Full Cricut Cuttlebug Review


Sizzix Big Shot Machine by Ellison

Sizzix Big Shot

The Big Shot is an award-winning die cutting and embossing machine that is durable, versatile, and reliable machine. It doesn’t fold up like the CuttleBug, but it has a larger working any and can take dies from many different companies. You can even use Bigz XL 25″ dies for quilting. The Big Shot is backed by Sizzix’s great customer service and 3 year warranty. A great embossing and cutting machine.

Read the full Sizzix Big Shot Review


Sizzix Vagabond Machine by Tim Holtz

Tim Holtz Shape Cutting & Embossing Vagabond Machine

The Vagabond machine is an electronic die cutting machine inspired by Tim Holtz. This cutting and embossing machine uses a strong electric motor to cut and emboss materials up to 1/8th” thick. This means no more cranking! This is perfect for those with wrist problems. The machine also folds up and the power cord get tucked away in a side compartment.

Read the full Sizzix Vagabond Machine Review


Sizzix Big Shot Pro Machine by Ellison

Sizzix Big Shot Pro Machine

A great manual die cutting machine for the professional crafter, teacher, or business owner. Its large size makes it less portable, but able to cut multiple layers and even long pieces of fabric. The Big Shot Pro can work with almost any die. This machine is strong and rugged. A little pricey, but this machine is built to last.

Read the full Big Shot Pro Review


Silhouette  Portrait Electronic Cutting Machine

Silhouette Portrait Electronic Cutting Machine

The Silhouette Portrait is one of the most affordable and portal machines on the market, and it cuts and draws great. It uses the Silhouette Design Studio software, where users can create import, purchase, or their own designs from scratch. It weighs only 3.5lbs, making easy to carry. A great cutting machine for vinyl and paper.

Read the full Silhouette Portrait Review


Cricut Mini

Cricut Mini

The Cricut Mini is a portable digital die cutting machine by Provo Craft. The machine weighs only 5.25lbs and can cut and draw up to 8.5 x 12″, making full room for letter sized material. The machine is moderately strong, being able to cut 1.5mm cardstock. The Cricut Mini works with the Cricut Craft Room software, where users can link cartridges or buy images online.

Read the full Cricut Mini Review


Cricut Expression 2 by Provo Craft

Cricut Expression 2

The Cricut Expression 2 is a fun machine. It’s a cartridge only based machine, so no computer is required. It comes with a full color LCD touch screen, allowing you to move and manipulate shapes without being connected to a computer. The Cricut Expression 2 also connects online to the Cricut Craft Room software, allowing you to access thousands of digital images.

Read the full Cricut Expression 2 Review


Cricut Explore by Provo Craft

Cricut Explore

The Cricut Explore is a huge improvement over the Cricut Expression 2. The machine is sleek, well built, and cuts well using the German carbide blade. It uses the free online Cricut Design Space software, where you uploaded .svg and .jpg files also for free. The software isn’t great at creating designs from scratch, but it can import images created using other software.

Read the full Cricut Explore Review


Silhouette Cameo Electronic Cutting Machine

Silhouette Cameo Electronic Cutting Machine Starter Bundle

The Silhouette Cameo is a professional electronic machine that cuts simple or intricate designs up to 12″ wide and 10 feet long. The machine does not require any cartridges, and users can create, import, or buy designs, allowing users the freedom to cut whatever they want. Not the strongest machine, but great for cardstock and vinyl decor projects.

Read the full Silhouette Cameo Review


Brother ScanNCut

Brother ScanNCut

The Brother ScanNCut is the only die cutting machine that comes with a built-in scanner. Scan in hand drawn shapes, pictures, or magazine cutouts and have the Brother automatically create cut lines. The machine is cartridge free and works without a computer. You can even download files to the machine using a USB drive. The machine also comes with some unique fabric features for quilters.

Read the full Brother ScanNCut Review


KNK Zing Air

KNK Zing Air

The KNK Zing air is over 3 times as power than the Silhouette Cameo with 750 grams of cutting force. It also has a 14″ wide opening for creating large vinyl pieces. It works with Make-The-Cut software allowing users to create or download their own shapes. Not only can this machine cut, it can draw, emboss, piece, and engrave.

Read the full KNK Zing Air Review