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Sizzix Ellison Die Cuts how do they work? V Basic question from a beginner

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  • Sizzix Ellison Die Cuts how do they work? V Basic question from a beginner

    Bearing in mind I haven't opened my Big Shot yet (Christmas pressie) can somebody explain how the dies work?
    By that I mean, you have a 2" square of what looks like grey foam, and you can see the outline of a shape on the foam. Do you put the whole 2" square in the machine or do you press the shape out (I'm presuming it's the whole thing but don't see how it works).
    I've bought an alphabet off of Ebay and there are about 5 letters per 2" die, what I'm wondering is do I have to cut all the letters on the 2" die every time I want to cut one letter?(I'm presuming yes and collect the spares!)
    I can't see how the dies would stick to the converter thing otherwise! (also which way up when using a sizzix converter?)
    Very many Thanks!

  • #2
    I haven't got mine yet either so I can't help with practical information but Ellison do a good website - have you checked there? I can't remember the web address but if you google it I'm sure they come up near the top.
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    • #3
      Just got mine today!! You put the whole foam pad through the machine and don't try to take out the little shapes as we think that is where the blades are Hubby was about to try it - we couldn't see how it worked either - and then figured out that that is where the blades/cutting bit must be and the roller pushes down on it. I'm quite impressed with it but do be prepared to spend a bit of time figuring it all out as the instructions that come with it are rubbish!!! We've just spent ages trying to figure out how to do the embossing part and the only way we could figure out how to do it was to put an extra bit of card in with it! I'm sure thats not what you are supposed to do but we couldn't get it to work any other way! If anyone knows how it is supposed to work, then please let me know!
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      • #4
        Big Shot Embossing - how to ?

        I got an Ellison Big Shot for Christmas too and were also dissapointed with the instructions. I managed to work out how to use the dies but like you can't seem to get the embossing to work. I thought about making the sandwich thicker with a piece of card but surely you shouldn't have to do that. I've also searched forums on the web and been to the Ellison web site but haven't been able to find an answer yet - any help would be greatly appreciated and if I do manage to find out how to use the embossing folders I will let you know - good luck
        - Morgan-Reeves


        • #5
          I don't have a Big Shot but have used one. I do have a Sidekick and a Cuttlebug.
          Okay. Here we go.

          These machines work on the mangle principle. You turn the handle, the rollers bear down, and press the paper/card against the die. The blades of the die are hidden in the foam pad.

          I think the principle is the same for all these machines, big and small.

          You have to make a sandwich of the cutting plates ( the clear plastic things), the die, and your card. The sandwich goes:
          1) Clear cutting plate
          2) Die, foam side up
          3) Paper or card to be cut
          4) Second clear cutting plate.

          Line them all up nicely ( and you'll cuss, as they slip about) and offer the sandwich into the slot. If you push gently, you will see the handle just begin to turn, so you know you've touched the rollers. Turn the handle gently, and the sandwich should feed through nicely and pop out at the other side.

          You disassemble your sandwich, and take out your die-cuts.

          It the dies are very complex or have very small holes to be cut in the design, you may find a cocktail stick or something similar to gently prise the finer details off the die.

          Brush any bits off the die and cutting plates, and off you go again. It does pay to get rid of any bits in between each cutting.

          For very tiny die-cuts, you can use a scrap of card or paper over the shape you want to cut, and not over the rest of the die, but bear in mind that the blades will still make a cut on the cutting plate. You don't have to use a whole sheet of card or strip of card if you only want one of the shapes off the die ( this would work for your alphabet dies, if you only want one letter from each die).

          The Big Shot will take the thick red Sizzix dies, and also the thin ones ( Sizzlits), but to cut the thin dies you need a converter pad. This is a thickish plastic board that looks rather like a small chopping board for the kitchen and I think you can find them on eBay.

          If you use one, it goes under the first cutting pad - in other words, it's the first layer in the sandwich.

          The Big Shot will also take, with a converter pad, Cuttlebug dies and other makes.

          You may want to make some shims - slips - of funky foam, cheap as chips,if you're not getting a clean cut or emboss. I slip these under the die in the sandwich: effectively what they do is make the die thicker.

          Incomplete or poor cuts are usually caused by the sandwich not being quite thick enough, and sometimes you do need those little shims, especially if you're cutting thin papers like parchments or vellums.

          With regard to the embossing folders, I think you need a converter pad for the Big Shot for these. You put your paper inside the folder ( check which is the 'positive' and which the 'negative' sides are first, to make sure you emboss the way you want to!), and build your sandwich with the embossing folder in place of the die. If you don't get a good emboss, add a little shim under the folder.

          You can either have the paper embossed with the design raised, or indented, depending what you want.

          Above all, play with it! Experiment, have a go - use scraps and bits and pieces. There is some resistance when you turn the handle - after all, the pressure brought to bear is quite high - but if you feel that the sandwich is going to stick, or won't go through, stop.

          Don't ever try to force a sandwich through or the machine may break. The toothed wheels inside, which operate the rollers, are made of nylon and while they are strong, they can break.

          The cutting plates do bend and warp quite alarmingly, and will eventually need replacing as the blades scar them. It doesn't matter if they warp though, as you still use them. Just keep turning them over and over to get the wear even on all four sides.

          You can see a card I made with die-cut dried pressed leaves on the Projects forum.

          Goodness me, what a huge post! Sorry folks!