My recent paper crafting obsession is reaching new heights! Last year my husband, after many hints, gave me the Cricut Explore Air for Mother’s Day. I had no clue what I was doing! I just needed one! Well, I finally got around to figuring out all the great things that machine can do (read my Cricut Explore Air Review and check out my Tips) and quickly decided I needed other machines!
I know you’re thinking I’ve gone mad, and I admit I probably have gone a bit craft happy recently. You might ask why would I want another die cut machine when the Cricut can do so much? It’s true the Cricut will probably meet all your cutting needs, it does after all cut just about anything, but it doesn’t EMBOSS.
After playing around with many projects including greeting cards last Christmas and party supplies for several birthday parties we hosted I felt I was “missing” something. Yes the Cricut can cut, write, and print (with your printer) and you can make some awesome things doing just that by adding glitter, gems, ribbons, and bows to your projects. But I wanted to take my paper crafts to a new level, and for me that meant embossing.
After a bit of research I narrowed it down to 3 choices, the Cricut Cuttlebug, Sizzix Big Kick, and Sizzix Texture Boutique. What are they exactly and how are they different? First of all they are all hand cranked machines and they all emboss. But they are not all the same!
(BTW this post contains affiliate links. The links will help you learn more about the products I talk about and will help you purchase one if you like. If you do decide to buy the product we earn a small portion of the sale and that helps us keep our site going!)
The Cricut Cuttlebug is a cute little machine that embosses and cuts. The opening is 5 3/4″ wide and will fit both 4×6 and 5×7 sized embossing folders. You can use any brand of embossing folders, they don’t have to be Cricut brand.
Folders are purchased separately and have many different designs. This handy machine will also cut using metal or plastic dies which can be purchased separately. There are many dies available including basic shapes, letters, and themed ones. You aren’t limited to Cricut dies. The Cuttle Bug can cut and emboss different materials including paper, cardstock, foil, ribbon, thin metals, acetate sheets, and thin leather.
The machine is pretty light and is portable, it has suction cups that mounts to your work table for stability. It comes with the plates needed to emboss or cut. The plates hold the folder or die in place so you can run it thru the machine.
This machine costs $49.99 – 69.00 and at times may be eligible for the coupons from Micheal’s or Hobby Lobby. (Check the current coupon to see if you can use it on Cricut products, many times they are excluded. However both craft stores do have sales on Cricut products several times a year.)
The Sizzix Texture Boutique is super cute! It’s shaped like a purse. The opening is 5″ so will work with both the small (4×6) and medium (5×7) embossing folders. It does not cut. At least it’s not supposed to. I’ve read some online accounts where they say they can cut with this machine using very thin dies. I tried with a couple of my dies and it would not go thru, it was too thick. The machine does not have suction cups to stabilize it while using, you have to hold it with one hand and crank with the other. It comes with 2 embossing pads and a mylar shim. They are used to hold the folders in place just like the plates on the Cuttle Bug. This machine is very affordable, it cost just under $30 and is usually eligible for the craft store discounts and coupons.
The Sizzix Big Kick or the Big Shot (they’re the same machine, only difference is the color) is the largest of the 3 machines I considered. It embosses and cuts. It takes several sized embossing folders including the large 8 x 10 ones and you can use just about any type of dies and folders on the market. The machine is heavier than the other two and is quite stable when using. It comes with 2 standard cutting pads and an extendded multi-surface platform. It cuts and embosses many different material including fabric, felt, foil, thin metals, cardstock, and more. You need to purchase specific accessories for some materials including dies and pads. This machine is the most expensive of the 3, prices start about $120 depending on the model. It is however usually eligible for the craft store discounts and coupons.[spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]
[spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]
So which one did I choose? Well to be absolutely honest I got both the Sizzix Big Kick and the Texture Boutique. I got the Texture Boutique because it was such a bargain. With the 30% off Michael’s coupon I paid just over $17! At that price I just had to have it! I’m so glad I got it, but that’s for another post.
The Sizzix Big Kick ended up being a birthday gift from my daughter Jenny. She waited until I made up my mind then used the Hobby Lobby coupon and got it for under $100. I’m so glad she did! I love this machine!
I know, I’m nuts! Don’t get me wrong I love my Cricut Expolre Air, but sometimes I don’t feel like logging on to Design Space to design a project, I just want to cut/emboss and go. With the Big Kick I can do that!
Here’s what I love and what I don’t love about my Big Kick!
It embosses! It takes small, medium, and large folders.
You don’t need to log into an online account to use it.
It uses many kinds of dies.
It can cut a variety of materials.
It’s hand cranked, no need to plug it in.
The cost of folders and dies can add up. Some die sets are pretty pricey.
You’re limited to the dies available on the market. Unlike the Cricut where you can upload and cut your own designs, you must purchase dies to cut with the Big Kick.
So in my opinion having both the Cricut electronic cutting machine and Sizzix Big Kick gives me more flexibility for my paper crafts. But if you just want one machine that will cut and emboss and is more budget friendly then the Sizzix Big Kick is the one for you. It’s much less expensive as far as start up costs, but you do have to buy dies for cutting and that can add up, and of course you’re limited to the dies available on the market.
Here are a few projects I made using the Big Kick:
I made this Anniversary card using both my Cricut and Big Kick. I cut the gold leaf label on the Big Kick using Spellbinders Nestibilities label dies and embossed the white vellum behind the label using a Darice 4.25 x 5.75 Embossing folder [spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]
I cut these Liquor Bottle labels for my son-in-law’s birthday party on the Big Kick using the Nestibilities label dies.[spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]
For this Birthday Card I embossed watercolor paper with a Darice folder then painted the background and birds; the cages are leafed with transfer foil. I cut the tag using the Nestibilities label dies. [spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]
The cloud background on this card was also watercolor paper embossed with a Darice folder and painted. The airplane was printed and cut on the Cricut.
As you can see the Big Kick opened up a new world of creativity for me. I love being able to emboss!
To see more of my embossed cards check out my Mother’s Day cards!