The Sizzix machine is a tabletop personal die-cutter that allows home crafters to cut or emboss paper in a variety of shapes. The machine uses dies to cut perfectly formed pieces over and over with little effort. Occasionally, the machine can be tricky to use. But with the right instructions and a few tips, you can be covering the walls--or your scrapbook pages -- in paper pieces in no time.
Place the original Sizzix die-cutting machine on a sturdy table. Set the cutting pad on the guide rails at the base of the machine, and set paper and the die (with the paper pressed against the rubber side of the die) on the cutting pad, rubber side down. Push the cutting pad under the upper part of the machine and pull the handle down to press the blade of the die through the paper. Lift the handle up and remove the die and the paper. You can also add a Sizzix system converter to the machine to use it with smaller Sizzlits dies or embossing tools. This tool simply slips onto the upper part of the machine, under the handle, and attaches via magnet.
Sizzix has several other models of die-cutting machines. The Sidekick, for example, is designed solely for use with smaller Sizzlits dies and embossing templates. Simply place a piece of paper against the foam side of a die and set the die, foam side up, on the cutting pad. Set another acrylic cutting pad on the other side of the die. Roll the entire sandwich through the machine by turning the lever until the materials come out the other side. The Sizzix Big Shot machine is similar to the original in that the die and paper lie foam-side down on a cutting pad, but the materials roll through it like they do in the Sidekick.
Unless your paper is very thin, avoid cutting more than one piece at a time. This can cause incomplete cuts and can wear down the blades of the dies. After you've been using your die cutter for a while, you may notice that the cutting pad is wearing down. Turn it over occasionally to help prevent this. Additionally, if the pad is starting the thin, you may start noticing incomplete cuts. Add a piece of paper or two under the cutting pad to add extra thickness to make up the difference. Eventually, you may need to order a replacement pad. If your shapes aren't coming out, be sure the die is completely under the upper portion of the machine. If it is placed unevenly, it will get uneven pressure and may not cut completely.