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7 Tips and Tricks Using a Big Shot Die Cut Machine

19 Apr 2023 | Projects & Tutorials

still life with vintage postcards and decoration on a green table

The Big Shot Die Cut Machine is a popular scrapbooking tool that allows you to create intricate designs on a wide range of materials. From paper to fabric to leather, this versatile machine can handle it all. Whether you’re a seasoned crafter or a beginner, there are plenty of tips and tricks you can use to get the most out of your Big Shot Die Cut Machine. In this article, we’ll share 7 of our favourite tips and tricks to help you take your crafting game to the next level.

Tip #1: Choose the Right Materials

The first tip for using a Big Shot Die Cut Machine is to choose the right scrapbooking paper and materials. While this machine can handle a variety of materials, it’s important to choose the ones that are compatible with your machine. Some materials may be too thick or too thin for your machine, which can lead to jamming or other issues.

Here are some materials that work well with a Big Shot Die Cut Machine:

  • Cardstock
  • Patterned paper
  • Vellum
  • Vinyl
  • Fabric
  • Felt
  • Leather
  • Foam sheets

Before using any new materials, it’s a good idea to test them out to make sure they work well with your machine.

Tip #2: Use the Right Plates

The plates you use with your Big Shot Die Cut Machine can make a big difference in the quality of your cuts. Using the wrong plates can lead to uneven cuts, jamming, and other issues. Here are the plates you’ll need for most projects:

  • Standard cutting pads: These are the clear acrylic plates that come with your machine. You’ll need two of them for most projects.
  • Cutting dies: These are the metal dies that you’ll use to cut your materials.
  • Shim: If you’re cutting thicker materials, like leather or foam sheets, you may need a shim to help the machine cut through the material. You can use a piece of cardstock or a sheet of wax paper as a shim.

Tip #3: Experiment with Different Dies

One of the great things about the Big Shot Die Cut Machine is that there are so many different dies available. From basic shapes to intricate designs, there’s a die for just about every project. Experimenting with different dies can help you create unique and interesting projects.

Here are some types of dies you might want to try:

  • Basic shapes (circles, squares, etc.)
  • Borders
  • Alphabet and number dies
  • Floral and nature-themed dies
  • Holiday-themed dies

Tip #4: Don’t Overload the Machine

While the Big Shot Die Cut Machine is designed to handle a variety of materials, it’s important not to overload it. Trying to cut too many layers at once can lead to jamming and other issues. Here are some general guidelines for how many layers you can cut at once:

  • Cardstock: 2-3 layers
  • Patterned paper: 2-3 layers
  • Vellum: 1-2 layers
  • Vinyl: 1-2 layers
  • Fabric: 1-2 layers
  • Felt: 1 layer
  • Leather: 1 layer
  • Foam sheets: 1 layer

Tip #5: Keep Your Machine Clean

Like any crafting tool, the Big Shot Die Cut Machine needs to be kept clean to work properly. Over time, bits of paper, fabric, and other debris can build up inside the machine, which can cause jamming

To keep your machine clean, make sure to wipe down the plates and the rollers with a dry cloth after each use. You can also use a small brush to gently remove any debris from the machine’s crevices. If you notice any buildup that won’t come off with a cloth or brush, you can use a small amount of rubbing alcohol on a cloth to clean the area.

Tip #6: Use Embossing Folders for Added Texture

In addition to cutting dies, the Big Shot Die Cut Machine can also be used with embossing folders to add texture to your projects. Embossing folders are plastic folders with raised designs that can be pressed into paper, cardstock, or other materials using the Big Shot. This creates a raised design that adds depth and texture to your projects.

To use an embossing folder, simply sandwich your paper or other material between the folder and two cutting pads. Run the sandwich through your Big Shot as you would with a cutting die. When you’re done, you’ll have a beautifully embossed piece of paper or cardstock that’s ready to use in your project.

Tip #7: Store Your Dies and Embossing Folders Properly

Finally, it’s important to store your dies and embossing folders properly to keep them in good condition. You don’t want to spend all that money on crafting supplies only to have them get damaged or lost.

Here are some tips for storing your dies and embossing folders:

  • Use a storage box: There are plenty of storage boxes available that are designed specifically for dies and embossing folders. Look for ones with dividers to keep your supplies organized.
  • Label everything: Make sure to label your storage box and each individual die or folder so you know what’s inside.
  • Keep everything in one place: Try to keep all your dies and folders in one place so you don’t have to search for them when you’re ready to start a new project.


Q: Can I use other brands’ dies with my Big Shot Die Cut Machine?

A: Yes, you can use dies from other brands with your Big Shot as long as they’re the same size as the standard dies that come with the machine. There are several versions of the Big Shot:


Q: What should I do if my machine is jammed?

A: If your machine is jammed, try gently pulling the material out of the machine. If you’re still having issues, consult the manufacturer’s instructions or contact their customer support.

Q: Can I use the Big Shot Die Cut Machine to cut fabric?

A: Yes, you can use the Big Shot to cut fabric, but you’ll need to use a stabilizer like fusible web to prevent the fabric from fraying.


Using a Big Shot Die Cut Machine is a great way to add intricate designs and textures to your crafting projects. By following these tips and tricks, you can get the most out of your machine and create beautiful projects that are sure to impress. Remember to choose the right materials and plates, experiment with different dies, keep your machine clean, and store your supplies properly. With a little practice and creativity, you’ll be making stunning crafts in no time!

Samantha West

Samantha is the founder of Paper Creations Paper Craft. With a long history in childcare and kindergarten teaching, crafting, especially hand made cards and scrapbooking, came naturally to her. Sam has run the business for over 7 years.