Big Shot Basics!

How much do you love your Big Shot?  I adore mine, well actually I have two 🙂  I would have thought that I was quite competent at using them but it seems I wasn’t!

So let’s go back to basics….the Bigz dies are simply a die between two cutting plates.  I can do that!


Embossing folders are usually done between two cutting pads and the platform (if you have this new one pictured you don’t add the thin extra layer, if you have the older style you emboss on tab 1).  When running your embossing folders through the Big Shot send the folder through spine first, it will help your folders last longer.



New Dynamic Textured Impressions Embossing Folders (like Cable Knit in the 2016 Holiday Catalogue) need a different sandwich, you use the platform (no additional layer) and only one cutting mat.   You also can spritz your paper with water prior to embossing to enable more give in your paper.  This youtube video explains it the best…

Still with me?  Now it starts getting a little more specific.  Do you know the difference between a Thinlit and a Framelit?  I did, but what I really didn’t understand is their different needs when being cut.

This is a Framelit, note the “frame” like structure, it is just cutting out the outside edge and can be easily pushed out the centre.  We often use this style when stamping and then cutting out our images.


Because we are often positioning these dies quite specifically around stamping it is useful to have a magnetic platform so that the die stays put while going through the Big Shot, therefore it would be appropriate to use a Magnetic Platform, a cutting mat, your paper, your die (cutting edge down) and another cutting mat.


If you don’t have a Magnetic Platform you would use your Multi-purpose platform (with the extra layer, or Tab 2 if you have the older style), a cutting mat, your paper, your framelit (you may find a post-it note helpful to keep your die in place and then another cutting mat.


Hang in there, we are nearly done….

So a Thinlit, what’s that? Think about your gorgeous highly intricate dies.  If they have been a pain to get a perfect cut in the past then they are more than likely a thinlit.  We now have the Precision Cutting Mat, your answer to getting the pressure right through your Big Shot with these dies.  However do not use the Precision Mat with the Magnetic Platform and do not use framelits with Precision Cutting Mat (they are not strong enough for the pressure and they will warp).

Here is an example of a thinlit….


Note the highly detailed cutting surface of these dies, remember that after you cut them there are small holes on the back that you can lightly press into with a blunt paper piercer to encourage your paper out once cut.  I highly encourage the use of the die cut brush and foam mat with these dies as they will help get all the paper out quickly and easily.


So remember to cut a thinlit you will need the platform, the extra layer that comes with the platform (or tab2 if you have the older style), the precision base plate (black side up), your paper, your thinlit (cutting side down towards the paper) and ONE cutting mat on the top.


This video is awesome and will make it all clearer…

So in summary….

  • don’t use the Magnetic Platform with the Precision Base Plate
  • don’t use framelits or really small dies with with the Precision Base Plate
  • Only use one cutting mat when using the precision base plate and flip your cutting mat after every cut, change the position of the thinlit on the cutting mat each time you cut (don’t keep cutting from the centre position.
  • If the die is not a square or circle feed it into the Big Shot lengthwise for the best distribution of pressure.

Thanks for staying all the way to the end.  My class participants will know of my frustration (and trashing of my cutting mats) prior to getting all the facts.  Here’s another video highlighting the difference you can make to your cutting mats based on your thinlit positioning.  Hope this all helps you as much as it has helped me!

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