Saturday, April 20, 2013

Saturday Share...Big Shot, the Sequel!

Back in February, I shared some of my experiences with using the Sizzix Big Shot using their embossing folders.

Several of you commented, asking if the Big Shot could be used  with other materials...brass design plates, found objects, etc.  My curiosity sufficiently aroused, I have since been playing around here and there with using other things besides the suggested embossing folders to create texture on metal with it. So, I thought I would share my findings with you today!

As a standard procedure before running a piece through the Big Shot, I anneal my metal with my torch (I used my Lenk butane, but any torch will do), so they would be as soft as possible.

First up, I wanted to try some design plates I found a while back on the cheap at Michael's.  I bought them to try and hammer the texture into the metal, and put them away...I actually forgot I had them!

I experimented with 3 different textures, to varying degrees of success. At the top of the photos are the plate I used, and the bottom is the outcome.  The plates were 2-sided, opposites...indented on 1 side,  raised on the other.  I used the raise side on all 3 tries.

It worked, but it didn't really give me a clean impression...sort of hazy, whch of course could work, depending on your design.

Next, I decided to try some burlap fabric that I had.  I have hammered fabric and screen wire textures in before to mixed success, so I thought I would give it a go.

Again, not a terribly clean impression, but I sort of like it.

The next pieces used a couple of steel components I just got.  The filigree rectangle actually made one of my favorite textures.  Doesn't really look like the filigree design, but it is a cool texture...sort of like concrete block!  The leaf only gave an outline, but it works!

Tracy over at Cinnamon Jewellery (I absolutely love her work!!) commented that she was etching pieces to use as texture plates, so I decided to try that as well.  I used a piece I etched a couple of weeks ago.  I think it needs to be a deeper etch though.  As you can see, it is pretty, but not very prominent.

Well, there you have it.  In my humble opinion, while these worked to a certain extent, it was pretty hard on the Big Shot.  I had to add more layers to get enough pressure to impress the design and it took more muscle.  I may have warped the top plastic layer of my cutting/embossing pad.  The embossing folders that are designed to work with this machine, since they have 2 sides with an interlocking design, tend to give a more defined impression.  I will probably stick to using a hammer and my bench block with the metal texture plates.

But wait, last minute light bulb...what about using a wire design?  I found a copper wire free-form reject in my scrap bin, and decided to give it a go.

Hmm, this actually worked pretty well.  Bonus, like the embossing folders, you get an inverted design on the other side.  I like them both...this is something I will definitely incorporate!

Well, there you have it!  It is possible to use the Big Shot with design plates and other texturing materials, but make sure to anneal the metal really well,  tape the materials and the metal blank to the machine, so that it doesn't slip around, be mindful to make sure you aren't abusing your machine with too much force, and have fun!

Let me know if you have been experimenting with the Big Shot or something similar since my last post...I would love to hear about your results and opinions!

Melissa Meman
Melismatic Art Jewelry
Art. Life. Love.


  1. Very cool experiment! I love that you showed us what you used and how it worked. Your enthusiasm and teaching skills ROCK!

  2. Thank you for sharing your attempts so systematically. I'm inspired!

  3. How cool to see you experiment like that. I do see soft textures that would look very cool and that wire one....WOW

  4. thanks, I just bought a couple of the plates , nice to benefit from your experiments

  5. Oh thanks Melissa! I really love what the wire freeform did to it. I do like what the burlap did, but I don't have a torch, so my metal is cold.

  6. I plan to give it a try. I have a Big Shot and plates.

  7. Hmmm....very cool experiments. It never would have occurred to me to try those things. I really like the textures you achieved with the burlap and steel components. That gives me ideas. Thanks for sharing. Enjoy the day. Erin

  8. Thanks so much for this post! I actually bought a Sizzix Big Kick a few months ago and have been looking for new ways to use it. I made a few cuffs - cam out pretty good, but I want more options. I really like the wire texture you products. Here's a link to one of my bracelets -


  9. Love reading and learning from other's experiments. Thank you for sharing this, Melissa. Some of the blurred textures are really cool.

  10. Thanks for sharing all your experimenting! I just got a Big Kick and can't wait to get it out of the box and play :) It's helpful to read posts like yours when I'm considering purchases like that, too.

  11. I just read somewhere that the person just used some shapes cut with a punch from manila folder, scattered randomly, put through the machine and it embossed their copper. I was thinking about just random items and read this! I love the burlap!

  12. Great post and thanks for the mention.

    The brass texture plates I was going to etch to use with my Bigshot were too heavy for the tape to hold while I was etching them and they fell off into the ferric chloride before I got a deep enough etch! I used 18g and bigger pieces than usual (lesson learnt there). I will try it again soon with smaller less heavy pieces :D

    I love the effect you got with the wire. I tried it with wire too and it worked nicely. It's making me want to start playing again :D

  13. Melissa, did you put any other material between your brass plates/found objects, etc. and the plastic pads of the Big Shot. I tried using some wire screen and it scratched the plastic pads a lot? The embossing pads protect so don't scratch but other materials don't have that protection so I'm wondering if there might be something else I could use to protet the plastic.

    1. I used some thin cardboard between the plastic and the plates/ still indented some, but not too terribly. This is one of the things you have to be mindful of.

    2. The plastic plates are going to bend after being used. You should flip, flop and switch the plates around to minimize the warping. I have use the plastic embossing folders to emboss metal, and I have had good results. I should have even better results if I anneal the metal.

  14. Thanks for sharing this, Melissa. My Bigshot has been sitting on the drawer for a couple of months. I think its time for it to see the light once again.

  15. Very cool technique. Please tell us what gauge copper sheeting you used. Also did you try the soft silicone (I think) pad when experimenting? TFS!

  16. Yeah what Michelle said...gauge and pad so we can make pretty things too please

  17. oooooh love the wire idea at the end of your post, can't wait to try this pattern on clay. Thanks


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