You will agree with me when I say:
Things done with his own hands they are always the most beautiful and rewarding.
I like to discover new hobbies in which to immerse myself and become passionate, I have recently studied in depth the one of home decoration.
There diecutter is certainly an excellent ally for those who see the DIY and hand-made as a religion.
Have you ever seen a die cutter at work? 😮 Then you absolutely have to watch this video. You will immediately understand two basic things: how easy it is to use and the infinity of things you can create.
Today I want to talk about it in depth because I think it is an object that used well can be a companion to exciting and rewarding creative adventures.
Well then, let’s proceed with the guide. You can always click here to scroll directly to REVIEWS OF THE BEST CUTTERS.
What is the die cutter?
By cutting die in general it is meant a tool that allows to execute a precise cut of a product in « soft » sheet (paper, cardboard, leather, fabrics, rubbers, plastics, etc.).
The die cutter is a machine that is used to make effortlessly reliefs or cut out e engrave different materials in series usually starting from a basic model.
There are both industrial and home versions, in this article we will of course only deal with those for domestic use.
The die cutter allows to work on various materials, the most common is the felt, but it operates without problems on the paper, cardboard, cardboard, pannolenci, cork and metal sheets.
Household die-cutters are used for decorative or craft jobs.
Another peculiar ability of this machine is to engrave or emboss, or create effects in relief that can be applied for example on sheets of paper or notes.
It is obvious that industrial die-cutters can instead engrave and cut even much heavier materials such as leather and fabrics.
How does the die cutter work?
The domestic die-cutter has an almost « toy » appearance, in fact the principle on which it is based is extremely simple and intuitive and can be used by practically anyone without the need for special technical knowledge. Unlike obviously the industrial ones that require specialized professionals to operate.
But don’t be fooled by the appearance, given that an apparently so simple and immediate object is extremely powerful and will allow you to carry out in series things that would otherwise be extremely laborious and complicated.
Household die-cutters they are operated by hand, with the simple physical force, given that the normal individual domestic needs are certainly not comparable to the industrial ones, that is, there is no need to die thousands and thousands of objects, but normally a few dozen at most.
If you are curious about the techniques of embossing, letterpress and timbre, you can take a look at this interesting article by lacoppiacreativa.
There are three types of die-cutting machines currently on the market:
The pressure die-cutting machines, also called by the name « punch », are the cheapest ones, and are usually bought for children, as they are the easiest to use and present no danger to their creativity. They are the ones recommended for occasional users or for the merely curious who intend to approach the world of dies without spending a fortune.
The basic operation is similar to that of the machine which makes holes in the sheets to allow them to be used in ring archives, with a pressure, in fact, a shaped hole can be made starting from a starting punch.
It is clear that to print or cut out different shapes a different punch will be needed from time to time.
There electric die cutter instead it is designed for professional industrial use.
The design is designed digitally by means of the PC, and then the die cutter will take care of tracing it on the materials that will be inserted.
The industrial punching machines they are able to work on much harder and more complex materials than just paper or felt, since their use is clearly for the production of very large objects.
And then there are the crank die-cutters, the ones present in this list, the most useful for those who want to do household chores and thus express their artistic vein.
In this case the action on the material takes place through the rollers that compress the « base » shape or the die that is to be impressed on the desired material by means of pressure.
Best homemade die cutter
1. Sizzix Big Shot Foldaway, basic die cutter complete with dies
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Sizzix Big Shot Foldaway Compact and Manual Cutting Machine and …
- The Sizzix Big Shot Foldaway die-cutter is equipped with a cutting surface and a handle that fold easily, and perfect to create wherever you are and takes up little space
- Perfect for making paper tickets and creations, creative sewing projects, creative recycling and much more
Here is the first die-cutter on the list. It’s not the Pro, it’s cheaper but it’s complete in any case.
Foldaway means that you can fold it easily, so take it anywhere with you.
As we all know, Big Shot is the largest manufacturer of die-cutting machines, and this time too we are faced with a high-quality product that already makes us immediately understand its possibilities in design.
You can get small notes, do very complex works on paper, cut the pannolenci and then also create fashion accessories if you are capable, there is no limit to the imagination in practice with this object.
It is compatible with all Sizzix dies, except Big Pro dies.
It is possible to create very interesting effects, which will seem to come out of a real industrial production, it is sometimes difficult to discern and establish whether the product obtained was purchased or made at home, clearly this only happens to an inexperienced eye since people with heart will immediately appreciate the « home » but not the least perfect bill for the industrial one.
The Big Shot also offers many accessories to equip this machine and to expand its possibilities virtually to infinity.
It is certainly the ideal travel companion tool for all those who want to make decorations every day and want the best at home, obviously avoiding buying a digital die cutter that, in addition to costing a lot and being complicated to use, also removes all the romanticism of act of manual die cutting.
The dies included are the Thinlits, the Framelits and the Bigz L and XL. It is not compatible with Plus and Pro dies.
It is a very amusing object to use, which lends itself to being used as much by those who are beginners as by those who are already in this art and want something reliable and precise.
Highly recommended, the price in my opinion is quite tempting, considering that it is complete. If you are looking for your first die cutter, perhaps it is better to point to some of the other models proposed further down in this list, first of all surely the Starter Kit.
2. Sizzix Big Shot PRO, for large projects, the most complete
Sizzix Big Shot PRO 660550, Manual Cutting and Embossing Machine …
- This cutting and embossing machine is perfect for creatives who want the best! the big shot pro, with an extra pressure, which allows it to be used professionally, and a cutting surface of 33cm, is compatible with all the sizzix range embossing dies and folders, including plus and pro sizes; ideal for cutting any type of design and creating 3D projects
- With a constantly expanding collection of designs, there are unlimited possibilities for making fashion and home accessories, quilts, applications and ornaments, paper creations and much more!
Here is the die cutter suitable for those who want to carry out large projects and are not satisfied with small dimensions.
The opening in which the material can be inserted is a good 33 centimeters, not bad for a machine for domestic use.
It is a really great product that ensures a great manageability and precision, some users complain about the lack of some accessories in the package, such as for example the adaptive mats that are indispensable in a multitude of situations.
3. Sizzix Big Shot, my favorite model
Sizzix Big Shot Machine 660200, Stainless Steel, White, …
- The Big Shot cutting and surveying machine is perfect for any creative project and can be used by experts or beginners. It can cut and emboss various materials and is compatible with embossing dies and folders up to a maximum size of 5 (15.24 cm)
- Explore unlimited possibilities for making fashion and home accessories, quilts, applications and ornaments, paper creations and much more
Here is another product that lends itself to being used without a doubt both by those who are approaching the world of die-cutting machines for the first time and by those who are by now an expert and are looking for a machine that will last over time.
But let’s go together to see the characteristics of this little gem.
It’s like the Foldaway, the difference here is that it’s not foldable.
With this Big Shot machine you can give free rein to your imagination, without needing to remain anchored to a single way of doing things, in fact we remember that the die-cutter is not only suitable for cutting but can also emboss, or create precious reliefs on materials.
The width of the space in which to insert the material is just over 15 centimeters, if you want to make larger decorations you have to fall back on the Plus and Pro model, which allow more space for action.
What is certain is that to begin with, this 660200 from Big Shot is a great tool that will not disappoint anyone’s expectations.
Very easy to use since they are on sale of dies with the most varied decorations that can be cut out on the material that will be passed through the two rollers inside the machine that will impress the shape.
An extremely easy to use but at the same time effective machine, very little physical force is enough to give the energy suitable for its operation.
The beauty of these die-cutters is that they require human intervention to be put in place, my husband loves using his 3D printer, but honestly, I understand what kind of taste we are given that in that case it is the computer that does all the work, but …
You first need to insert a transparent plate, then the die, then the material to work on and then a plexiglass plate. It seems a complicated operation but trust me that it is not and can easily be done by everyone.
Through the use of some mats then it is possible to realize the much loved embossing, or the beautiful relief effect that I am sure many times you will have wondered how it is obtained, well this is the way I prefer: by hand with a large die-cutter.
Certainly I recommend this Big Shot to anyone who wants to start in style, an alternative is the starter kit which I will now illustrate below.
4. Sizzix Big Shot Starter Kit, perfect kit for beginners
Sizzix Big Shot Start Kit, Manual Cutting Machine and …
- The Big Shot machine for cutting and embossing is the perfect tool for many projects and can be used by everyone, from beginners to experts
- With a large and ever-growing collection of shapes available, there are endless possibilities for creating home décor projects, creative paper, quilting, fashion items and much more
For those who normally want to be completely addressed to be sure not to go wrong with the purchase of accessories that could perhaps be obsolete over time, here is a very interesting model.
This Sizzix Big Shot starter kit is ideal for those who want to look out into this world but still don’t know which way to turn.
My best friend is passionate about decoupage and home decor and I must admit that by buying this machine she found herself very well and thanked me a thousand times for having recommended it.
It is no coincidence that it has remained so satisfied since nothing is missing in this kit, but let’s find out together what are the features that make this set one of the best for beginners.
Inside the box you will find several different dies to immediately start creating great.
Nothing is missing to get to work immediately, as you can already see from the photos once the box is opened, there is no need to worry about having to order other accessories, you will be immediately ready for action.
5. Sizzix Big Shot Plus Starter Kit, a complete complete kit to get started
Sizzix Big Shot Plus Starting Kit My Life Handmade 2, Steel …
- MY LIFE HANDMADE STARTER KIT – The kit includes: 1 Big Shot Plus machine, 1 pair of A4 cutting mats, 1 Big Shot Plus platform, adapter A, adapter B, 1 instruction booklet, 1 Bigz die, 10 Thinlits dies, 4 double-sided sheets in A4 cardboard, 10 double-sided sheets in cardboard 13.97 x 15.24 cm and 1 piece of fabric 100% cotton
- CUTTING AND EMBOSSING – Big Shot Plus is the perfect tool for a series of creative activities for everyone, from the beginner to the expert. The machine is compatible with the entire range of Sizzix products including Bigz dies, Thinlits dies and Framelits dies (with the exception of Big Pro dies)
Here is the same kit illustrated above, but in its Plus version, it is obviously larger and allows you to create larger projects without having to worry about dimensions.
Definitely a nice convenience, but you will have to evaluate it, given that most people tend to make small-sized cut-outs and embossing.
In Big Shot Plus it will of course be possible to use not only the specially designed dies for this extended format but also those of the smaller models, this feature makes this kit an incredible creative weapon of great versatility.
Certainly a great investment for those who want to start but already understood that with die cutting is love at first sight and imagine using this machine for a long time to come.
Inside the kit there are various dies with fun and elegant shapes.
The price is slightly higher given that we are in the presence of a product that aims to be aimed at home use but for those in search of something that allows them to make even large objects.
The opening is 33 cm, and inside the box there are few accessories but I can assure you that it is what it takes to start sure that you will not miss anything, besides clearly the cutting dies to be ordered separately.
A great product.
How many types of dies exist?
There are different types of dies sold by Big Shot, clearly you must first understand which ones are best suited to your needs and then eventually choose which machine to buy also thanks to the easy visual guide present on amazon that allows you to understand which die is compatible with which die-cutter .
It is clear that each model is present in various designs suitable for every occasion.
But let’s analyze together which are the main models, but there are obviously others.
The Bigz are good for carving the most varied materials, obviously starting with simple paper and cardboard up to even fabrics, so they are excellent for fashion work, because they are good even on jeans, leather and felt.
As the name suggests, “thin” in English means thin, these punches given their delicacy are excellent for making very very precise cuts, therefore perfect for making decorations to the millimeter on greeting cards and every kind of decoration in paper or cardboard.
Cutting dies Framelits
These dies are practically brilliant, in fact they give rise to adding a further dimension to the common one of simple die-cut prints, realizing real works in 3D, very interesting and innovative therefore, recommended for those looking for very special effects for amaze your friends.
There are also the Thinlits Plus, the Framelits Plus, the Movers and Shapers and the Textured Impression embossing folders, normal and Plus versions, for each reference, consult the product description and the compatibility will be highlighted each time to be safe in any case not to make mistakes.
S&R Punch Cutter Punch, professional
Here is an object outside the list that however falls into the category of die-cutters, in the specific case it is a simple but very professional pliers for making holes on any surface, it is in fact very robust and lends itself to repeated use, therefore excellent even on very hard fabrics.
It can be used without problem on rubber, leather and leather, it has perforation tubes of different sizes, obviously expressed in millimeters, going from 2 to 5, to cover any type of requirement.
It will be enough to turn the special wheel and you can select the chosen hole, with a little strength you can drill even very hard surfaces.
Certainly a tool that can not miss in the inventory of any artisan of fabrics, but also for those who want to make the famous holes in their belts, for example, which otherwise have to be improvised with makeshift tools, often with inaccurate results that risk ruin important accessories too.
Highly recommended in combination with the recommended die-cutters in the list above, it is always a good idea to have a tool of this kind, it is enough to stop a few seconds to think about all the times it has been served and not possessed.
It is not easy to understand which « tools of the trade » to buy when you put yourself in the game with a new hobby, that’s why the internet is the best place to meet people with our same passion, maybe they started before us.
A die cutter is a magical object that can give joy and transmit love.
I love to switch from one forum to another for decoupage or small jobs for the home, if you chew a little English I suggest you take a look at Reddit, a site that contains so many discussion boards of different communities and are sure that you will easily find people with your same tastes who will be able to advise you without any problem, or you can use it to take inspiration and discover things that you would not have even imagined before.
Do-it-yourself is certainly a very interesting activity that keeps the spirit and body awake, there is nothing more exciting and galvanizing than giving someone the work done with their own hands, watching a project take form from the conception when maybe it’s just a crazy idea that came to us in the bathtub to when it finally becomes a precious object in the hands of our loved ones.
I have to admit the truth: I am a real fanatic of the so-called « little jobs », when the holidays are approaching, for example I love making embossed paper cards to be sent by mail to amaze my family every time, and believe me I can invent fantasies every time always new decorations that are much appreciated.
The beautiful and ready greeting cards that you buy in stationery are certainly effective, but nothing says « I love you » as a small object that carries printed on all the time we lovingly employed to make it happen.
In this consumer society it is apparently increasingly difficult to find time to engage in manual activities, they want us to believe that everything is affordable, that there is no need to « waste time ».
But dear friends and dear friends, unfortunately I am not of this opinion, it will be that I have been accustomed by my mother to the importance of slowness and how sometimes it is essential to switch off the TV and relax, imagining that you are in a house of times gone by. which no electric current existed.
Before the invention of household appliances, in fact, people were more together and evaluated their time better, the advent of the mass media has without a shadow of a doubt broadly overshadowed this aspect.
I believe that we should spend more time working with our hands and activating our senses, because there is nothing more human than touching, smelling and perceiving the world around us.
Unfortunately, electronic devices have largely taken their place in these magical moments that were spent enjoying life with loved ones, and this is a pity, but I have a lot of faith in the future. In fact, I believe that soon we will rediscover the charm of the real world and we will return to the desire to rediscover it, finally putting aside computers and smartphones, why not.
Since I discovered the possibility of die cutting my life has changed for the better, obviously it was not a total revolution, but a die cutter is part of those small household objects that help improve the quality of one’s life.
My children participate in my creations with great enthusiasm, the biggest one is already very passionate about decoupage and even took the extraordinary habit of watching videos online and then explaining to me what she learned day by day.
The dexterity is certainly one of the many possibilities to explore together to improve the relationship with your children, if you are adults think about your childhood and all the things you did with your parents.
It is amazing how today it seems we have forgotten what it means to learn directly from the physical example, looking at the movements and gestures of the other person and confiscating them and assimilating them, so as not to forget them in the course of life.
I know, what can I do, I am an incurable romantic, but every time I start writing, even if we talk about consumer products, it happens that I get carried away and start with these digressions, which I hope you don’t mind.
I hope this guide has been helpful, of course the models sold in Italy are not many but equally it is not easy to identify which could be the best for us.
I greet you by embracing you and referring you to the next article, I hope that these reflections of mine also work well for your spirit.
Hi friends and girlfriends!
Antonella of Pro Contro.
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