Today my post is a little different — first I want to show you a fun Sizzix 3-D Umbrella die, and then I want to do a “product review” of the Sizzix Big Shot. It is finally Spring (although you can’t tell it by the weather), and wedding season will soon be upon us. The umbrella die is a perfect accessory for bridal showers or weddings, and is also versatile enough to be used for almost any other purpose.
The umbrellas are just so easy to make using this Sizzix Bigz die. All it takes is one pass through the Big Shot to cut and score the piece you need for the umbrella top. Note that the instructions for the die recommend use of a premium crease pad. I did mine without, and they turned out just fine. It probably depends on the materials you’re using and other factors, so it is best to do a test cut and see if the crease pad is needed. You will want to use double-sided paper for the umbrellas. The inside shows, and you get a much prettier effect with a nice color or cardstock on the inside too.
Assembly of the umbrella is very easy. I first folded the umbrella die cut along the score lines (you want to do an accordion fold). There is a tab on one side of the die cut piece. Add a little quick drying glue to that tab, and press it against the back of the other edge of the umbrella. Set this piece aside to dry. For the umbrella pole, you can either use a coffee stir stick (I prefer the round ones) or one of the Doodlebug Pixies (these come in 12 different colors). I used the Pixies for my project — some of them as they are (where there were good matching colors), and others covered with ribbon for a softer effect (or a better match). To wrap the Pixie with ribbon, place approximately 1″ of Scor-Tape on a length of ribbon (a 1/4″ or 3/8″ ribbon is easiest to work with). Remove the Scor-Tape liner. Fold the ribbon end over the top of the Pixie, and begin wrapping toward the opposite end. It is usually best to wrap diagonally. Stop periodically and adjust the ribbon as needed to keep it tight and as wrinkle-free as possible. When you reach the other end of the Pixie, place another 1″ piece of Scor-Tape on the back of the ribbon. Carefully wrap the other end of the Pixie so that it is covered, and isn’t too bulky. You will follow pretty much the same steps to use the Pixies as is, except that you’ll only wrap about 1″ at the top with ribbon rather than the entire length. The ribbon foundation will help in the assembly.
To finish the umbrella you need two more items: 1) something to act as a foundation piece at the top of the umbrella (provides coverage, a foundation for a pin, etc.); and 2) a floral pin or other decorative pin. For my umbrellas, I cut a daisy from some daisy trim (usually available for purchase by the yard at most fabric stores) and placed a Maya Road trinket pin in the center of it (there are a lot of fun shapes and sizes including hearts, butterflies, and plain gemstones, etc.). I placed some quick drying glue on the daisy (the side that will be against the umbrella), and then inserted the pin in the top center of the umbrella. I held the pin and daisy in place until the glue set, trying to keep the pin centered in the umbrella. Next I added some of the quick drying glue to the inside center of the umbrella (it is okay to be generous with the glue here, it won’t show and you want to make sure it holds). Then I inserted the pin into the center of the ribbon-covered Pixie (or coffee stir stick, etc.). It is important to hold the stick in place for a couple of minutes so that the glue begins to dry. Once the center pole seemed set in place, I put the umbrella aside to dry, making sure that the proper positioning was maintained, etc. (I found it easiest to lean the center pole of the umbrella against a cup). After the glue was thoroughly dry, I added a small bow at the bottom of the center pole.
There are many different ways the umbrella can be used. The die itself is part of the Sizzix wedding collection, but I think the umbrellas would also be appropriate for a baby shower or even just a fun summer party, etc. I made some umbrellas in bright summer colors to show you how they might look.
Any time you work on a paper crafting project like the umbrellas, everything goes so much better when you have a good die cutting/embossing machine to back you up. I think the Sizzix Big Shot is a perfect machine for almost any need. It is so wonderfully versatile — it works well with just about any die or embossing folder, and will cut many different types of materials. Of course it pairs well with Sizzix dies of any size or shape (except for the “Pro” dies that only work with the Big Shot Pro) — thick or thin, large or small. The Big Shot can also cut using competitor dies — you just need to figure out the correct sandwich. In most cases the competitor will recommend a sandwich; if not, you can decide on the proper sandwich by picking a Sizzix die that is similar and following the instructions for that. Sandwich instructions are printed on the multipurpose platform, so they are always close at hand. I love that in the newest version of the Big Shot, they include an extended multipurpose platform. This allows use of the longer dies and embossing folders so long as you have the longer cutting plates (in the past you had to purchase the longer platform also). The Big Shot is just so easy to use!
The kinds of materials that you can cut with the Big Shot (i.e. cardstock, chipboard, mat board, felt, etc.) are pretty much controlled by the type of die that you are using. Dies like the Bigz dies are designed to cut through the heavier materials (the package insert usually says what materials are appropriate), but they can also handle thinner cardstock, etc. with ease — even multiple layers. Thinner dies won’t do as well with this. The Big Shot adds so much versatility to your paper crafting. I love being able to cut my own chipboard shapes and sturdy boxes, etc. The Big Shot is also designed for convenient use. The front and back platforms are long enough that you can use them to set up your sandwiches. Then it is just a simple crank through the machine and the cutting and/or embossing occurs usually on the first pass. Although you hear the customary cracks and creaks from time to time (the ones that are a normal part of the die cutting process), you don’t need extra pressure or muscles to crank the materials through. They slide through easily. I just love my Big Shot! Please see the short video for a demonstration of how the Big Shot works.
Sizzix Umbrella 3-D die
Sizzix Big Shot machine
Doodlebug Pixies in assorted colors
Scotch Quick-Dry Adhesive
Maya Road Trinket Pins (assorted)
Thanks and Happy Scrappin!