just me & my [sizzix] big shot

This month the Scrapbook Update staff is talking Die Cuts for our round-up topic. You can check out Melissa Stinson’s blog and Nancy Nally’s blog if you want to see what the other SBU’ers have to say about the subject. As for me, I’m going to talk about how die cuts fit into my crafting, what I look for in die cuts, and share a new project too.

I use a Sizzix Big Shot that I purchased from amazon.com. For about $50 (free shipping too!) from amazon it also includes a pair of cutting pads and a multipurpose plate that is needed for small dies or embossing folders. Truly – a great value! While Sizzix makes fancier machines, and this one requires some good old fashioned elbow grease I am totally satisfied with this machine. I also have a Slice by Making Memories that I was given as a gift from a dear friend. I find that I like it, but simply don’t use it very often. At about $55 for a starter set from amazon.com it’s reasonably priced, and there are a lot of options customization wise with electronic machines like this or Cricut, Silhouettes, etcetera.

Yet – it doesn’t appeal to me. I know there are arguments FOR an electronic more customizable die cut system – they just don’t really apply to me. Probably because what I want in a die cut machine is for it to cut anything. You see, I purchased my Big Shot with the express purpose of eliminating all those expensive fabric and mulberry paper flowers I was buying. I figured out that just 8-12 packages of those lovely flowers cost the same amount as the Big Shot + flower die I wanted. CRAZY! Now I make the flowers I want, in the exact colors I want from whatever material I want!

The sizzix steel dies mean business. Chipboard, grunge paper, fabric, felt, multiple sheets of patterned paper – it’ll cut almost anything I could want!! Not just that, but I can layer a grunge paper base with tissue tape, patterned paper, or anything else and then run it through my machine. Totally cool! My most used dies are:  scallop lace circle, and Tim Holtz dies –  tattered floralshearts, butterflies leaves –  and my new favorite – the distressed doily on the edge die!

Today I’m going to share a brand new project using that new doily die. When I first get a die I grab some scrap paper and test it out. I see what happens if I put the paper in all the way, if I do partial cuts, and just get the feel for it. My idea for this die is to use in place of partial doily accents on my scrapbook page. So often I use about a 1/2 doily – and I’d love to use acid free paper instead so by die cutting my own from cardstock – well I’m so excited! Now imagine my delight when I realized that not only can this die create a partial doily, but it can also create a doily-like pocket.

I took a no.8 Tag and covered it with adhesive, and patterned paper. I cut off the excess patterned paper and put the now patterned tag onto my die cut, making sure to line up the edge of the tag with the edge of the foam. Then I ran it through my Big Shot.

The doily edge pops up – but doesn’t fully punch out this way. I glued a piece of patterned paper to the back of this tag (just at the very edges) and this will form the back side of my “pocket” now ready for stuffing with notes, gift cards, and any other little treat! But first – I want to add more dies!

The snowman I die cut from a scrap of vellum. That’s another thing I love – any size, shape, or funky scrap of paper will work! I used just a little bit of glossy accents to adhere him – and I used a squirt of perfect pearls mist (in perfect pearl) and I edged him with faded jeans distress ink. The tag itself – I couldn’t resist taking my brand new Tim Holtz limited edition stamp set out for a trial run around the edge! LOVE!

The snowflake (vellum) dies are cut from that same snowman die. The paper snowflake dies are from Pink Paislee’s die cut package from their Snow Day collection. [sooo cute!]

What started out as a test run for a new die cut turned into some festive fun that will become a gift for someone special this holiday season.

My favorite aspect of this tag (aside from AWESOMENESS that is the fact that i can do gift card holders with this doily die – and that this trick would totally work on a card!!)  is that vellum snow man. He reminds me to look beyond patterned paper and cardstock for my die cutting, and have more fun with my crafting too.

Supply list for tag:

InLinkz.comenabler alert: new Tim Holtz winter seasonal distress ink set available from simonsaystamp.com and scrapbook.com

I hope you liked today’s tag and look at how and why I use a die cutting machine. It’s definitely inspired me to write more about this tool that gets used near daily here in my studio.

As for the holiday nature of the project – well stay tuned. My “25 days of Christmas” project extravaganza is starting within the week!