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Embossing Metal With My Sizzix Bigshot

I must admit up until a few weeks ago I was vaguely familiar with the name Sizzix but as to what you actually did with a "Sizzix" I was completely in the dark! That was until I stumbled across a video from Vintaj showing how you could use their embossing folders with a Bigshot to create designs on metal ("metal" - my favourite word after chocolate!)
I was really impressed and itching to have a go, I just needed a Bigshot........ I waited a few weeks then when the urge to possess one overcame me I went out debit card at the ready..............and the shop had sold out! So I trundled off to The Range on the off chance and came home clutching my own surprisingly heavy pink and black wonder machine. It sat on the dining room table for a couple of days while I waited for the embossing folders I'd ordered online to arrive then the time came to start playing!

I started with some pre-cut 24g copper hearts and the Wildflower Vines and the Butterfly Swirls Deco Embossing folders. I was really impressed with the results. The design comes out really clearly. I added some patina ink on the practice pieces above to add a bit of colour.

Next I tried a Deco Etch folder on slightly thicker gauge copper and silver. The word "Etch" doesn't really describe the finished result - I'd say it looks more like a stamped design. I love this one especially after the metal is oxidized. I left the silver unoxidized for now as it's going to be part of a pair of earrings I have planned!
I used 22g gauge for these even though Vintaj recommend using thinner gauges - oops! But I had to try as 24g is a bit thin for my jewellery. I annealed the metal first to soften it and it went through the Bigshot fine.

These were annealed 24g copper using the plastic Sizzix embossing folders - the one's you use on paper and card. The design isn't as crisp but it's not bad. These have been oxidized and cleaned up with wire wool.

More examples! The more orangy coloured one's weren't annealed (the rectangle is 20g), the discs are 22g and 20g and were annealed first. Annealing the thicker gauge metal definitely helps to get a crisper design.

Deco Emboss folder top and Deco Etch folder bottom. The rusty looking areas are the red oxides from the annealed metal - I was too impatient to pickle first!

Overall I'm really impressed. Anything that lets me add patterns to metal is a great idea as far as I'm concerned plus buying a new piece of kit always pleases me!  Photos of finished jewellery coming soon!


  1. Wow they are lovely. I quite fancy the "etched" ones. Shall have to keep looking in your shop to see what wonderful creations you make!

  2. These are fantastic! I saw a youtube video a few months ago on this too. I love the patterns you've got, they look great on the metal & the ones with colour look fab too.

  3. These look amazing, I find it really hard to get nice texture plates for using my rolling mill, i just wish there was somewhere that would make really nice designs in the uk, got a few from cooksons but not that much to choose from.

  4. Beautiful elements...all of them.

  5. Simply BEAUTIFUL!!! But then, everything you've made is!!!

    May I ask if you're using the original "Big Shot" or the new "Big Shot Pro?" Thank you so much for sharing your lovely work! <3

  6. Loretta KaneshigeThursday, August 16, 2012

    1. Yes, it's not etching it's stamping and embossing, they don't want to call it rolling to keep the brand separate from the process, but that's what it really is.

    I tried using these "etching and embossing folders" etc without the machine, just using a chasing hammer and steel bench block, and it worked just fine. Saves a few hundred dollars to skip the machine and the other parts that are required in the original design.

    Then, if you decide you want to use it in production work - creating 50 or 100 of the same thing more quickly - you decide if you want to purchase the machine to save a bit of hammering.

    2. For Eve - there are thousands of ways to get amazing textures with your rolling mill... including texture plates, natural materials like leaves and flowers, fabric, and even paper. A rolling mill is MUCH more powerful for impressing metal than these crafting machines. You are lucky to have the rolling mill and I'd be happy to direct you to some sources for how to use it. You can get the textures you see here and many, many more for almost free (no need to buy plates) with your rolling mill!

  7. Thanks for your tips Loretta, I might try them with a hammer and bench block (even though I have got the Bigshot).
    I would love a rolling mill one day.....

  8. Another informative blog… Thank you for sharing it… Best of luck for further endeavor too.

  9. Hi, which sizzix big shot did you use? Love this blog by the way, only recently plucked up the courage to speak haha :)

  10. Thanks for your comment. I think there is only one Bigshot - mine's the pink and black one. The Sizzix Pro is a heftier one and much more expensive!

  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

  12. I have just been given a Cuttlebug and am most interested in embossing aluminum cans. Is this possible with my machine and if so how do I arrange the plates? I am new to embossing to would love some advice ( don't want to break my new machine!)

  13. Hi Lisa,
    You should be able to emboss cans with your cuttlebug. I mananged to get a pattern onto 20g copper which is a lot thicker so you should be ok.

    I put my metal into the embossing plate then sandwiched that with the cutting plates. Hope that helps a bit :D

  14. Where do you find your metal? Hobby Lobby has metal but it is to thick

    1. If you live in the US, Rio Grande carries copper sheet 14 through 34 gauge. Also lots of jewelry findings.

  15. Does the bigkick also cut metal? Or is it just embossing?

  16. Would you be so kind as to explain your annealing process? I'm thinking of purchasing the Big Shot and would like to work with copper sheet and sterling silver sheet.

    1. Hi,
      Annealing is heating the metal with a torch until it glows orange red (copper/bronze) or a dull red (silver) to soften it. You can allow it to air cool or quench in water.

  17. Can you go though the steps after you petina the metal? I can't seem to find what to do. I just started using my big kick. Is there beginner metal working? Thank you.

    1. Hi Amanda, I thought I'd done a post on oxidizing with liver of sulphur but maybe not :D I found this on YOUTUBE -

      There are plenty of tutorials on using LOS on copper/brass/silver if you search for them. I use the XL Gel liver of sulphur and clean up with wire wool then put my items in a tumbler to polish them.


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