Sizzix Side Kick Original Sizzix Big Shot

Sizzix Side Kick

SideKick machine by Sizzix

This little die cutting machine was created by Ellison in the early 2000's when "Crops" were big. The Side Kick was easy to transport, took up very little space on a table top, and was very handy for scrapbook artists to create their pages in a group setting "on the fly" instead of hunting the craft/hobby stores for the almost right embellishment.

Sizzlits die caddy

This was the first die cutting machine I started with. Purchased from my local craft/hobby store for about $50. The dies that could be purchased for this machine were many. Sizzix created FONT dies in tray caddies which included the letters of the alphabet in capital and lower case, numbers, plus punctuation. Each FONT had a name and a particular design. I have "Fruit Smoothie" and "Bounce".

The alpha and shape dies can be purchased at your local craft/hobby store or online at Sizzix. The prices for the alpha sets start at $89 and. There are image sets, such as snowflakes and flowers, that come with four (4) dies. These sets range in price from $12 to $18 and can be purchased at your craft/hobby store or online.

The other feature of these dies is the "Shadow" feature for the letters, numbers, and punctuation. In one die is the letter in capital and lower case, along with the shadow for each letter. All in one die. For the numbers and punctuation there is the same shadow for each font.

Shadow and number or punctuation in font

This is an example of the "Fruit Smoothie" dies for the numbers and punctuation in the font. There is a "Shadow" die cut and the corresponding number or punctuation die.

This feature allows crafters to coordinate their titles and journaling to the layout or card they are working on. At the time that scrapbooking really took off people used plastic or chipboard stencils for this. Tracing the shape of the stencil, cutting it out, then attaching to their pages. If they wanted to create a background shadow of the stenciled letter a lot of energy was involved.

First tracing the stencil, cut out the small pieces, glue them to a piece of card stock, then cut an outline around each of these letters. Time consuming and, often times, frustrating.

To be able to have the letter, number, or punctuation mark in a matter of seconds - along with the shadow or background - was HUGE in the crafting world.

The SideKick has a suction cup on the bottom of the machine to hold it in place on your table or work surface as you crank the handle to run the die or embossing folder through. The small "Sizzlits" are "steel rule" dies, which means the shape is made from a thin but sharp piece of steel. Surrounding the steel blade is a special foam material that protects your fingers from getting cut while handling the die. When it is run through the SideKick the foam gets squished exposing the blades to cut through the paper. Depending on the paper thickness you can layer the paper and cut through all the layers. Text weight papers you can layer three pieces, for the heavier card stocks you can cut through two layers.

This video by JenwithSprinkles is an excellent video to see how the Side Kick machine works. I have some videos but they are really bad and need to be remade.

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Original Sizzix Machine

Sizzix machine for die cutting

With the "Original Sizzix", which comes with a "System Converter", both the Sizzlits and Original Dies can be used in this one machine.

Sizzix System Converter for using the Sizzlit dies

Beneath the pressure head of the Sizzix is a powerful magnet that holds the System Converter securely, which came with the Original Sizzix. With the System Converter you can use the Sizzlits and the Embosslits on this machine. Remove the System Converter and you can use all the Original dies as well. The benefit of having the Sizzix Machine with the System Converter is that you have a larger range of dies and embossing folders to make all kinds of beautiful layouts and cards.

The Original Sizzix machine can be purchased at your local craft/hobby store or online at Sizzix. This machine costs around $75 to $100. The dies and embossing folders, also purchased at your local craft/hobby store, range in price from $8 to $10 for the dies and $5 to $10 for the embossing folders. Check out Sizzix website for some drastically reduced prices on dies and embossing folders they have from time to time.

Sizzix Original dies and Sizzlits

With the Original Sizzix machine and dies the doors opened to more types of die cut images. As seen in the photo, the dies colored RED, YELLOW, and GREEN are the "Original Dies" which work in this machine. Embossing folders came out to give papers texture and visual designs.

The Original Sizzix machine is HEAVY. The head of this machine is where all the weight is. In the first photo of this section you see a white rectangle on the machine. That is the cutting plate which slides in a groove to go under the pressure head. The black ball on the handle is the grip to use when raising and lowering the pressure head.

Tracey Z. has an excellent video on using the Original Sizzix machine to do die cutting. She demonstrates how to use one of the Original dies and a thinner die similar to the Sizzlit.

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Sizzix Big Shot

The designers at Ellison and Sizzix began making larger dies in their effort to meet the needs of crafters. More intricate designs and larger background dies were introduced. Ellison and Sizzix created the "Big Shot" to use the newer dies they created plus all of the older dies purchased by thousands of crafters world wide. This newest machine is light weight, portable, and has a "Platform" to enable a crafter, like me, to use all of the dies they have purchased.

The Big Shot works with all of the various dies on the market. AccuCut, Quickutz, Cuttlebug, Nestabilities, plus all of the Sizzix dies. The Platform has diagrams on the front of each layer to indicate which type of die is placed and used in the various sections of the Platform. Remove the Platform for the larger dies and run them under the rollers to open your world of creativity.

The Big Shot can be purchased at your local craft/hobby store or online at many craft stores. This machine is pretty pricey. Michaels offers coupons for 40% off and many people use this coupon when purchasing this machine. The Big Shot costs about $100.

I have made a video using the Big Shot and Nestabilities dies. This will give you a demonstration on how the Big Shot works and how to use it with other dies and embossing templates.

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