Takin’ My Big Shot for a Spin

craft equipment paper crafting

Can we ever have too many craft supplies or craft tools? Um…I guess that depends on what you mean by “too many.”

However you define it, I just “had” to have the Big Shot die cut machine I told you about in my last post, DESPITE having 4 die cutters already. 

Why? I wanted to cut alphabets and shapes more quickly and comfortably. And for away-from-home-cropping, I wanted something more portable than my electronic cutter and my super-heavy Prestige Pro. So I bought the Big Shot and put it to the test.

Big Shot Test Drive

I decided to make a few simple Thank You cards; so I chose my “Ginger” alphabet dies that go with my QuicKutze Squeeze die cutter and got to work. The Squeeze tool uses one die at a time to cut letters and shapes, but I cut “Thank You" in one pass with the Big Shot.

Talk about a time saver!

The How-To

I used my Prestige greeting card die to cut white cards. Then I randomly chose papers from my abundant scrap stash to decorate them. Since I wanted to move quickly, I arranged the dies that spell Thank You! into two rows and taped them together to create a single “die unit." Then I trimmed several different decorative papers to a size that would cover my new “die unit.”

You can see those papers in the photo on this page.

Now that everything was ready, I simply sandwiched the die unit and a sheet of decorative paper between the two Big Shot cutting pads and ran the sandwich through the machine.

Next, I removed the cutout letters and repeated the process with the other decorative papers. Assembling each die-cut “sandwich” was fast since the dies were taped together and the papers were already trimmed to the right size.

Quick and easy! (Well, prying the letters off the cutting pad took a bit of patience; they tend to stick. But other than that, cutting multiple titles was a breeze!)

Three Tips

I learned three things while working on this little project.


First, using the standard cutting method, the Big Shot didn’t do well cutting more than one sheet of paper at a time. I tried cutting one sheet of card stock with a sheet of copy paper after failing with two sheets of card stock.

After a couple of tries, I gave up on multiple layers.


Second, if you own QuicKutz squeeze dies, you know some of them don’t cut cleanly. These imperfect dies cut part of the image and leave another part uncut, even when you stick those clear “shims” on the back.

I tried using the Sizzix adapter for wafer-thin dies to address this, but that didn’t work. What did help, was adding a small sheet of card stock to my die-cut sandwich. I laid it on the bottom cutting pad, beneath the upturned die unit. The extra pressure of the card stock helped those not-so-perfect dies make clean cuts.


Finally, I learned that using my newly-created die unit improved efficiency but wasted paper. With my QuicKutz Squeeze tool, I can space letters much closer together to save paper. But in this case, I was more interested in saving time than paper, and I’ll keep these scraps for future projects.

So that’s it. Quick, easy, FUN! The only question now is which project to try next.
My last post described my reasons for buying a Big Shot die cut machine, despite having a QuicKutz Squeeze die cut tool, a QuicKutz Silhouette digital cutter, and an Ellison Prestige Pro die cut machine.

I bought the Big Shot to cut my thin QuicKutz dies more quickly and comfortably, and I wanted a portable tool that doesn’t need a computer. (The Prestige is super heavy for high volume commercial use. And my Silhouette needs a computer.)

I put Big Shot to the test.

How about you? What kind of die cutter do you have, and what are some of your favorite uses for it? I'd love it if you'd visit me on Facebook and let me know.