What is the Sizzix Big Shot Foldaway?
The Sizzix Big Shot Foldaway is a manual die cutting machine designed to cut card and paper. It is based on the design of the much loved Sizzix Big Shot, but is much smaller than that machine. The original Big Shot has a really large footprint and can take up a lot of room on a craft desk compared to the Foldaway. The Big Shot Foldaway is designed to be a better option for folding away for storage, and for taking out with you for crafting at workshops or other out-and-about events.
What does the Sizzix Big Shot Foldaway do?
The Sizzix Big Shot Foldaway has all the features of a quality die cutting machine. You assemble the provided cutting plates around your paper or card, adding in your cutting die or embossing folder in the order given in the machine’s instructions. You then open out the side arms of the machine and feed the cutting plates through the central slit gap. You turn the metal handle to feed the cutting sandwich through the metal rollers inside the machine. These apply pressure to cut the paper on the die or add embossing detail with the embossing folder. To find out more about this process, see our what is a die cutting machine article.
- It comes complete with the cutting plates and inserts you need to cut paper or card with metal craft dies up to A5 in size
- Using Bigz dies with the machine lets you cut fabric felt and even leather, too
- It works with most major brands of embossing folder to add embossed details to paper.
How much is the Sizzix Big Shot Foldaway?
The RRP of the Big Shot Foldaway die cutting machine is £169.99. However, it more commonly sold with 20 pieces of bonus content, including dies, paper and felt. This more common pack has an RRP of £172.99.
Is the Sizzix Big Shot Foldaway good value for money?
The original Sizzix Big Shot die cutting machine is the most commonly recommended die cutting machine I know. When I worked on Papercraft inspirations magazine, the original Sizzix Big Shot was the machine we had in the office, and the cutting plates on that had been so heavily used that you could no longer see through them. The hundreds of die cuts that the machine performed had turned the cutting plates completely opaque. So I have long experience of the build quality of the machine that the Sizzix Big Shot Foldaway is modelled on. The metal rollers inside this die cutting machine are built to last. The Big Shot Foldaway is more expensive than it’s original sister. Whether it is worth spending the extra money on this portable version really depends on how important storage space or craft desk space is to you. If you want to keep the machine in a cupboard and get it out for use rather than keeping it in place, I think it would be worth the extra spend. But if you were not planning on putting it away and have a big enough craft desk, I would choose the original Sizzix Big Shot over the Sizzix Big Shot Foldaway.
The great thing about buying a Sizzix die cutting machine is that replacement plates and accessories are available really easily. You can easily purchase longer plates if you want to extend the length of dies you can cut, too. But based on my experience, you won’t ever need to replace the plates on your Sizzix brand machine. They will mark and curl with repeated use. But they will still give you perfect die cuts.
Sizzix Big Shot Foldaway functions
The Sizzix Big Shot Foldaway is a manual die cutting machine made by Sizzix. It will cut dies up to 6 inches wide. The basic model comes with cutting platform, thin die adapter, and a pair of cutting plates. Together these let you cut with thin metal die, Sizzix Bigz dies (which can cut felt and fabric as well as paper and card) and use embossing folders. The more commonly available retail pack for the Sizzix Big Shot Foldaway includes 20 pieces of Bonus Content. These have all the cutting elements you get in the basic machine pack, as well as 5 1/2″ x 6″ paper pad, 4 pieces of felt and 4 pieces of fabric, plus 10 Thinlits dies and a Bigz die.Buying the Bonus Content pack does not add any extra functions to what your machine can do. But you do get everything you need to make your first die cuts straight out of the box. If you buy the basic machine, you will need to purchase the cutting dies and materials to cut separately.
The Sizzix Big Shot Foldaway is designed to cut Sizzix branded Bigz dies and Thinlits dies. However, you can use it to cut dies from different manaufactureres. Just be aware you may need to add in extra cardboard shims to get the correct cutting pressure for non Sizzix-branded dies. To see more about how to do this, check out our What is a die cutting machine article.
You can cut fabric using the Sizzix Big Shot Foldaway die cutting machine. You will need to have the correct dies to do this – Sizzix Bigz dies will cut fabric, felt, foam, magnet, leather, craft aluminum and many other materials. Used with Sizzix Thinlits dies, the Sizzix Big Shot Foldaway with cut card stock and paper, vellum and shrink plastic.
Is the Sizzix Big Shot Foldaway easy to use?
The key to getting a die cutting machine to work is putting together the right die cutting sandwich. The paper needs to sit in the right place relative to the die, and the correct plates used for the thickness of the die to get the right pressure. This can always feel a bit intimidating. But the Sizzix Big Shot Foldaway makes it as simple as it can be, with illustrations and instructions printed onto the cutting platform – so you can’t lose the instructions! Once you have made a couple of die cuts with the correct sandwich, it feels very straightforward.
With the Sizzix Big Shot Foldaway, you do need to fold out the side arms of the machine before you can use it. This is not hard to do – you fold them out and click the plastic tabs into place to keep them steady. You then feed the sandwich into the central slot, and turn the handle to feed it through the rollers. The metal handle has a soft-grip cover which makes it nice to grip, and the handle is smooth and easy to turn. The metal rollers inside the machine are very reliable and will give you a good die cut as long as you have built your cutting sandwich correctly.
There is extra storage inside the side arms of the Sizzix Big Shot Foldaway. The grey layer lifts up to reveal a small space inside. I did not find this very easy to use, as it is a bit fiddly to separate the 2 layers, and the space inside is quite small. You will be be able to store small dies in there, would could be handy, as these are very easy to lose.
When closed, the Foldaway is very neat, but I find the handle sticking out at the side a problem for easy storage. The handle does unclip and pivot, but not in a way that really helps with storage. It annoys me that the different plates have to be piled up separately and cannot easily be stored with the machine. But that may not worry most crafters.
Sizzix Big Shot Foldaway optional extras
The biggest optional extra you will buy to use with this machine are the cutting dies! Even if you buy the Added Value pack including a few dies, you will want to purchase more dies to give you different shapes for die cutting. In terms of additions to the cutting plates, you can purchase extended cutting plates which let you cut longer dies, but the maximum width will still be 6 inches, as this is set by the width of the machine’s aperture. You can buy extended cutting platforms too, to use with the longer cutting plates. Regular and extended cutting platforms with a magnetic layer can be purchased too, which will hold you die in position – though we have always managed this with a little washi tape so this is not an essential accessory. You can purchase a creased pad insert in regular and extended folders, which will give a neat crate to folds if you like to make your own cards. But you can get a similar effect burnishing folds with a paper folding stick, or even a lolly stick, so this is not a must-buy accessory.
Sizzix Big Shot Foldaway quality/durability
The metal rollers on the Sizzix Big Shot Foldaway are very durable and will give you thousands of die cuts. The foldable sides of the Foldaway introduce a potential weakness to this machine, however. With moving elements, especially ones made of plastic as the Foldaway’s side arms are, you add a rise of damage. I have not seen this with my machine, but it is something I am aware of that I never had to this about with the original Big Short. The side arms click into position with a plastic tab to take them more study when in place. This looks especially vulnerable to damage. But the machine could still be used even if the plastic sides arm did become damaged. I have not seen any damage on my Big Shot Foldaway after a lot of use. But its external construction does not feel as sturdy as the original Big Shot – a necessary feature needed to make the side arms fold up.
How portable is the Sizzix Big Shot Foldaway?
The Sizzix Big Shot Foldaway is designed to be more portable than its original sister, the Sizzix Big Shot. Even though it still weighs 9.5 lbs, the side arms folding up make it much more compact and portable. The internal storage in these arms will help keep your dies safe in transit too, as small dies are so easy to use. The handle at the top the the machine has a soft grip cover that helps make it more comfortable to hold. But I find the length of this handle just a little bit short for me to hold comfortably, and I don’t have especially large hands. I can still hold it, but an extra 5mm would make it much more comfortable to carry. The Sizzix Big Shot Foldaway is 6 1/4″ x 10 1/2″ x 8″ when closed and 13 3/4″ x 13″ x 8″ when open – so those foldable sides really do make it much more compact to store.
Our verdict: Should you buy a Sizzix Big Shot Foldaway?
If you are planning to store your die cutting machine away from your craft desk, the foldable function of the sides arms of the Big Shot Foldaway are worth it. This is a quality die cutting machine that will give you many years of service. But the plastic finish needed to make the arms fold up make this machine more vulnerable to breakage than the original design. So if you have the space, the original Big Shot is a cheaper and more study option with the same die cutting functions, just not the foldable function or the hidden storage.