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Okay, Julie, I have a question. In what situations would an alcohol-based marker be preferable to a water-based marker? Do you have a preferred brand of water-based marker?–Carole

Alcohol based markers, such as Prismacolor and Copic, can be used, and will dry, on non-porous surfaces, such as transparency and polyshrink (shrink plastic).  The "moisture" in the ink evaporates so quickly, that I don’t have to worry about "transfer" if I inadvertently put my finger onto the ink, and then touch another area of my project–no unintended red thumbprints or smudges, etc.  They also don’t produce the same type of "brush-stroke marks" as typically happens when using water-based markers.  They have a very deep and even saturation of color, even when working with pale colors.

Water-based markers need a bit of drying time–can take a while to dry on glossy card stock surfaces, although you can speed up that process with your heat tool.  Water-based markers can bead up or never dry on non-porous surfaces like transparency, unless used on the textured side of "ink-jet" transparency and if there is any lotion or moisture at all on your finger tips, you can "re-activate" or smear the ink accidentally. (argh!)  Water-based markers can sometimes. also "pill" your paper surface, if you over-color the paper surface, whereas alcohol-based markers evaporate so quickly, this is not an issue.

My preferred brand of water-based markers?  Because my experience is limited to two brands when it comes to water-based brush tip markers, I dunno that I can say I have a "favorite" . . . I enjoy using  Stampin’ Up! Stampin’ Write Dual Tip Markers, which are juicy, with quality tips, and designed to coordinate with SU!’s line of exclusive ink pad colors and card stock colors.  I also like Marvy Uchida Brush Markers–the ones with the big/wide brush tips (not Marvy’s Le Plume line) –for direct to rubber on larger/bolder/solid style images.

Both have been very good quality in my experience, and I haven’t felt compelled to search beyond them for another brand to try.

I own the regular Sizzix die cut machine and have been very happy with it’s sturdiness. Over the weekend I bought a Big Kick and I’ve been playing with it and am just not sure if this is for me. I find the whole "sandwhich" thing awkward. So many layers to keep together. What I would like is your opinion and those of others who have experienced both machnes to explain to me just what this Big Kick will do that my old sizzix can not–Mary

Mary, I don’t own a Sizzix regular machine, so I’m afraid I can’t really compare thoroughly what I do own/have had experience with vs. something I have little to none. I have read/heard that the Sizzix regular machine is heavier, and "cumbersome" to transport, over the more recently released personal die cutting systems.  It features lever-based pressure, as opposed to roller-based, and the width of the feed on that machine is smaller than that of the newer machines.

I bought a Big Shot with the intention of making window cards, however, I’ve only successfully achieved this using Cuttlebug dies, so far, and there are size limitations, due to the size of those particular dies.  I have had no success using Sizzix Sizzlit dies for cutting windows into cards.  I don’t own any Zip-e-Mates or QuicKutz dies to compare to.

All Sizzix dies can fit through a Big Kick (which is basically the same as the Big Shot, just a different color, and by the same manufacturer), but not all Big Shot/Big Kick dies will fit through the Sizzix.

For further of my own findings on the Big Shot, which may relate to the Big Kick, due to the fact that they are designed and function the same, please visit:

Die Cutting Machine Comparisons

Big Shot FAQs

In the end, it comes down to your own personal preference.

  1. Very interesting! TFS.

  2. Julie, I am SHOCKED that making my own cards will not result in savings!!! After all, I only buy what I need (the same supplies as my favorite divas) Love your helpful hints.
    Sizzix vs Big Kick – I am much more likely to pull out the BK than my old Sizzix due to the weight issues, and I adapted real easily to the sandwich process. Perhaps I have a latent Dagwood gene?

  3. I have heard from my Rep. that the Bigkick machine is longer in production-that Sizzix bought back the rights to it from Provo -however the Big Shot will continue to be made and all the dies are usable in the Bigkick.

  4. Thanks, Julie!! Looks like now is the time to start lobbying for those Copic markers for my birthday… :)

  5. Thanks so much for your in put and pardon my incorrectly calling you Julia and not Julie. I’m like the Big Kick more and more as I play with it and especially since I got it at AC Moore with a 50% off coupon and so it only cost $68 and change. I’ll probably eventually sell the old Sizzix but again I do appreciate your taking the time to answer my inquiry.

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