Craft Life Hack – DIY Magnetic Platform

Getting into card making, scrapbook layouts, or the Project Life series of documenting our daily lives can be over the top expensive.  Especially if you spend any amount of time watching craft videos on YouTube where every new tool or convenience is displayed for you to drool over and covet.

Die cutting is one such tool.  The machines themselves are over $100 and they come with the bare necessities.  Extra items are all add-ons and can destroy your budget quickly.  With the advent of wafer thin dies that serve dual duty, cut and emboss, the industry has been finding more ways to deplete your budget with these tools that we “Just Have to HAVE”.

Sizzix created a “Magnetic Platform” just for the wafer thin dies.  This acrylic pad with a magnetic top has allowed the paper crafter to do more with their dies.  That Magnetic Platform will set you back $30 or more.  The good thing about this tool is that you no longer have to fuss around with dies shifting on you through the cutting process.  You no longer have to tape everything down to get a good and clean cut without wasting a lot of paper while keeping track of where the die is before it goes under the pressure rollers.

I have not gotten into the wafer thin die aspect of paper crafting.  Mostly because of the initial cost of the die set.  These dies come in sets, or “Nested” sets.  Each die is graduated in height and width from smallest to largest and ideal for layering on your card fronts or your scrapbook layouts.  One set of dies will cost over $25 and it would be really easy to get to the check out with a total of over $100 just for three or four of these sets.  Add on the cost of the magnetic platform and your crafting budget will be gone in seconds.

Storing these wafer thin dies can be a challenge in itself.  Keep the packaging they came in or find an alternate storage solution.  One of my friends, Maureen Criss Mathis, told me about her purchase of Magnetic Vent Covers from her local hardware store to use for her die storage.  This was a few years back.

While in my local Lowe’s Home Improvement Center I went to the heating aisle and right to the section that sells the vent covers.

Vent covers at my hardware store

Vent covers at my hardware store

Magnetic Vent Covers are sold in this section.  When you want to block air flow over one or more registers in your home it can be accomplished with these covers.  The cost is $4.97 at my store for a set of 3.

Magnetic vent covers

Magnetic vent covers

These magnetic sheets cut easily with a pair of scissors.  So I had to see if I could make my own “Magnetic Platform” using this product on my three Sizzix machines.  The Big Shot, Original Sizzix Machine, and the Side Kick.

Sizzix Big Shot, Original Die Cutting machine, and the Side Kick

Sizzix Big Shot, Original Die Cutting machine, and the Side Kick

I was able to use the magnetic sheets on all three of my machines successfully.  The cuts I got using this home heating product were clean without any mistakes.

So, if you have been thinking about getting the Magnetic Platform from Sizzix for your wafer thin dies then head on over to  your local hardware store.  Spend your craft budget money on the acquisition of more wafer thin dies 😀

Here is my demonstration video for this new tool in my paper craft arsenal.


YouTube Subscriber Question Monday – Original Sizzix Machine.

Last week I received a question from one of my YouTube Subscribers.  The question was regarding the “Old Sizzix Machine” and how to use it.  Mary Kim Nance’s question is as follows.

Hi Leslie, I love watching your videos.  They are inspiring!  I have a request to see how to use the original SIZZIX machine.  Lol…the big red heavy one your husband bought you.  I picked one up at Goodwill and I don’t know how to use it or if you can still buy folders/dies (?).  I thought I would give this a try before investing in a new model.  Any input would be appreciated. Thank you for inspiring me!  Take care.  Mary Kim.

It has been a long time since that, once loved, machine has seen the light of day.  Answering this question was an ideal time to get reacquainted with the old thing and get into my stash of dies.

Original Sizzix machine with some of my dies and embossing folders

Original Sizzix machine with some of my dies and embossing folders

Currently, many rubber stamp companies are making coordinating sets of dies and stamps.  They make it easy to be creative.  Stamp an image then use the appropriate die to cut the image out.   The dies for the stamp sets are all super thin, much like the Spellbinder dies.  In the photo above, the Spellbinder dies are above the Original Sizzix nesting together on a magnetic sheet that doesn’t work so great.  :/

I have created a 34 minute video showing how to use each of the dies I display in this photo.  I have included how to use the embossing folders which are to the top right.

Like many old “Work Horses”, they are put out to pasture when the newer versions come along.  :/

There are a few dies that will NOT work with the Original Sizzix machine.  The die body is too wide to fit through the throat of the machine, under the presser head.  Tim Holtz Alterations dies will not work on this machine.  His border dies WILL work with this machine because they are narrower, about half the size of his other dies.

I have used two cameras to create this video.  I found out that I can do “Picture in Picture” using my iMovie program during editing.  I have used this feature to highlight portions of the tutorial on making this old machine work for Mary Kim.

If you watch the video, keep in  mind that most of the time I don’t think things out very well.  Especially the portion using the Spellbinder dies and the “shimming” required to get the best use of the die sets.  I should have cut the shims to the size of the cutting plate making it easier to make the die work correctly.  :/

Oh, well… least the viewer will see what NOT to do when working with this machine.  😀


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