I'm not connected in any way to the companies whose products I'm speaking of. Actually I wish I was, then maybe I would be getting paid for just sharing products I love or getting free products. :)
When I first began crafting I made the mistake of excitedly running into Joann Fabrics wanting to buy my die cutting machine with a coupon just to have this pointed out. To say the least I was very disappointed. If you can't find a good deal in your local craft store there are many GREAT deals online and quite often with free shipping. Doing your homework on pricing can save you quite a bit of money. Money you can spend on other craft goodies.
I will usually check out ebay first.
Unlike Spellbinders dies, I can cut thick materials as well which allows me to make things like chipboard die cuts and other thick embellishments for my projects. The downside for Sizzix dies, at least the ones I own, is that they don't emboss, but their cutting ability makes up for it. Also if you don't own the Sizzix Die Cutting Machine, the Sizzix brand dies, except for the wafer dies, probably won't work for you.
How a new die will work with your existing die-cut collection is another consideration that can be helpful when you just don't know what to get.
Choices are wonderful, but with my fixed budget, I've stood in the die isle for hours trying to decide what would be the smartest purchase to make.
Before you shop do some research. It's difficult to envision how a die cut will look on a project such as a greeting card by just looking at the die. Google handmade cards and look on Pinterest. These should give you an idea of what's new, popular or is just your taste preference. Many of the photos on Pinterest will lead you to the person who made it and very often that person has included a supplies list at the end of his/her post. I did a "Spellbinders dies" search on Pinterest and there I found beautiful examples as well as great tips and techniques.
Sizzix Big Shot
- Works wonderfully and is well built.
- Does a fantastic job of embossing.
- Can be found on ebay for as low as $70.00 instead of the $119.00 or more you see in stores
- Works with most brands of dies. In fact I haven't found any dies that I can't safely make work with it.
- You can now purchase the machine with the Extended Multipurpose Platform for the price I mentioned above. There are a lot of them out there that don't include the extended platform so make sure you read the fine print about what is included in your purchase.
- If you have to purchase the extended cutting plates separately they will run you about $20.00, but right now there is an online sale at Joan Fabrics for $11.99 and you'll find sales often.
- There is also the Sizzix Big Shot Pro that accepts 12" wide paper and bigger dies are made for it, but it's an investment at around $400.00. I'm quite satisfied with my smaller one, but may get the other down the line for larger projects.
- I read a lot of reviews about die cutting machines before I made my purchase and the Big Kick/Shot was the right one for me because it works with most dies and the Multipurpose Platform makes it easy and convenient to use.
So after I began crafting I realized that the two go hand-in-hand and that paper punches are important for creating certain looks. Paper punches are also quite versatile as people are constantly finding new ways to use them. Check out these videos and you'll see what I mean.