Marilyn knows how to present the dullest topic in an interesting and easy-to-read way. When she’s not teaching English Literature at a local school or writing for our site, Marylin loves to knit and bake for her two grandchildren.
Julie owns a shop specializing in sewing equipment and accessories. No wonder she knows everything when it comes to technical specifications of practically anything we review. In her free time, Julie loves quilting and scrapbooking.
Last updated: April 24, 2021
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Embossing machines is not what you purchase every day so no wonder you might be puzzled with the wide array of options the market offers. Luckily, our experts have done all the hard work for you to find and review the best embossing machines for any project, experience, and budget.
We have highlighted the top models that make a good set with superior performance and precise results when it comes to embossing. We have included models with compact dimensions, light weight and foldable designs for easy storage and transportation. We factored in manual and auto models for occasional and heavy-duty tasks respectively. Next, we analyzed the accessories included in the package to make sure you have everything necessary to start your project right away. When researching the best embossing machine, we also checked if the pressure is adjustable to cut through thick material or several layers and whether the size of the platform is spacious to process large or multiple materials at a time.
Sizzix Big Shot Starter Kit is the complete set you need for your creative collection of designs on a wide range of materials such as cardstock, cork, scrapbooks, balsa wood, tissue, and quilts. It is compatible with dies by Sizzix Bigz, Thinlits and Frame its, but not Plus and Pro dies. It is important to confirm the die brands that work with your machine because it is the die cutter that often determines the final design.
There are a lot more features that made us pick this bestselling die cut embossing machine on Amazon as our Editor’s Choice.
This is a lightweight model that only weighs 7.5 pounds with an A5 sized platform and an opening width of 6 inches. Customers find it compact enough to store in limited spaces yet powerful enough to handle complicated projects.
It comes with 1 Thinlits die, 1 Bigz die, 2 standard cutting pads, 1 textured impressions embossing folder, 12 6×6 cardstock sheets, and an instruction booklet.
Owners of this embossing machine for card making like the long plates and that this model makes crisp and clean cuts and embosses felt, fabric, tins and paper.
You might need to buy other accessories separately to get the most value out of this paper embossing machine starter kit. The Company sells Big Shot Plus machine and its starter kit for larger dies.
Most customers result to using YouTube videos since the multilingual instructions can be confusing. The fragile handle also bends or comes off the base when you turn it and the plates warp soon afterwards.
Gemini Die Cutter & Embossing Machine comes in an elegant low profile design that makes it look like it is all about aesthetics, but our Upgrade Pick boasts of several advanced capabilities that will nurture your creativity and help you design unique patterns on diverse materials.
It comes with a clear cutting platform, a papercraft die set with 16 pieces, 3D embossing folders in 3 different designs, a multimedia set and all the plates you will need to work on your projects, including base and metal cutting plates. Buyers also receive a power cord, a rubber embossing mat, a user guide, and magnetic and plastic shims.
Additionally, this model works with most thin metal dies and embossing folders. This fully automatic die cut embossing machine plugs into 120V power outlets only, so keep that in mind if you live outside the US.
We like the large platform that cuts materials up to 9 inches wide because it can accommodate multiple dies at a time. It has a high pressure that supports designing of intricate dies and elaborate cutting of foil, vinyl, heavyweight cardstock and several layers of fabric.
This is an ideal choice for people suffering from arthritis because they won’t have to crank a manual handle. Users can also cut US letter-sized materials and A4 paper edge-to-edge.
Notable features include integrated functions for reversing the plates and for pausing and resuming operation. We also like the 16-second pass-through time which speeds up the embossing process and the template kit that is specifically meant for quilting.
The embossing mat should be used with dies not with the embossing folders. This is to avoid tearing it.
What we liked:
Pause, resume and reverse functions
Compatible with regular dies and embossing folders
Bira Craft Die Cutting & Embossing Machine is compatible with steel rule dies, acid etched dies and embossing folders by other popular brands because it includes a dial that adjusts the roller’s pressure setting to match the thickness of the sandwich and another dial that regulates the depth of die cutting and embossing. You don’t have to worry about the correct plates to use. For quilt blocks, make a sandwich of dies, fabric and cutting mat, and then turn the button to select DIE CUT before setting the lower button to tight.
It features a removable crank handle with a soft grip and a fold-out platform that doubles up as a storage compartment for small embossing tools.
Suction cups secure the machine firmly to the surface and the non-plastic plates will serve you for a long time.
The platform is 9 inches wide to offer plenty of room for foam, felt, fabric and thin copper.
Bira Craft Die Cutting & Embossing Machine is rated the best embossing machine for full size card making, 3D folders and gel-plate printing.
Unfortunately, the rubber embossing pad and dies are sold separately. Although there are helpful videos on YouTube that guide you on how to use this machine, some users would also prefer instructions printed on a booklet for easy reference instead of on the side of the box.
Evolution Advanced Die-Cutting and Embossing Machine is a 3-in-1 unit with a platform size of 6 x 13 inches that is capable of letter pressing, embossing and die cutting. It features a pressure adjustment system that lets you switch between the 3 functions depending on the die type and the thickness of the paper. The dynamic die cut embossing machine also works with texture folders and dies by other brands.
It is a portable model that weighs 11 pounds. The foldable design and the grip at the top of the machine make it easy to transport and store away.
It comes with a detachable non-slip handle with sliding lock mechanism for manual use. The Company also sells a removable motor separately that transforms the machine’s operation to computerized functions.
You will also receive a set of 10 different-sized metallic nesting circle dies although you can still use cutting dies and texture folders by other brands.
4 clamping suction cups stabilize the machine during operation and the two side storage compartments provide extra space for your accessories.
The package consists of the embossing machine, a cutting plate, a buffer plate, an embossing plate, 2 embossing folders measuring 3 x 5 inches, and 50 sheets of cardstock. A chart guides you on the appropriate preset settings. Remember to push in the dial that adjusts roller height to turn it.
Buyers like the die cutting self-healing mat and the adjustable dial which eliminates the need to stack multiple plates.
Although the mat self heals to prevent accumulation of dust and bits of paper, it reportedly warps over time. It would also be advantageous to have transparent plates.
Spellbinders Platinum 6.0 is available with 2 clear cutting plates and an embossing mat and plate. The die cutting and embossing machine features a 6-inch platform and supports steel rule dies as well as regular dies and embossing folders. With contour steel rule dies, it is capable of cutting in a single pass more than 40 different materials of metal, wool or leather with thickness of up to 8 layers.
It has a small footprint, a user-friendly collapsible handle that is directly connected to roller bearings and foldable sides that are convenient for crafting on the move.
Users like the inclusion of an embossing plate and mat, the affordable replacement of the cutting plates which are sold in a set, and the clear instructions displayed prominently on the cutting board for a quick glance whenever you are stuck when sandwiching various projects. It also works with thick fabric, balsa wood and metal, and the 12.5-pound weight coupled with full-hardened steel construction prevents the machine from wobbling when making intricate cuts and patterns.
While this manual model excels at cutting and embossing dies, it performs poorly at embossing even the thinnest folders. Some users suggest misting the paper and using a shim or placing the die’s cutting side facedown.
A number of customers report that the machine squeals when they turn the handle and it exerts too much pressure that imprints the entire die into the paper.
Unsurprisingly, the plates warp or develop scratches after a while when using steel dies. Turning over the plates regularly will minimize the deterioration.
What we liked:
Cuts up to 8 layers at once
Sturdy and stable
Supports steel and regular dies
What could be better:
Does not emboss thick folders
Things to Consider
The best paper embossing machine also cuts and embosses a variety of different materials to let you channel your creativity, take your craft to the next level and personalize gift items, banners, fabric, DIY projects, and even wood and metal. It enables you to make an impression, both literally and figuratively. Our comprehensive guide discusses in detail the most important features to consider before buying such a machine.
What an embossing machine is capable of
Apart from embossing, such machines are capable of making clean cuts on paper, fabric, leather, wood, metal, and other materials to create patterns. It also creates raised impressions and custom art on the material. Some can indent characters and stamp designs. They provide a creative outlet for personalized styles for gifts, house décor, greeting cards, and commercial merchandise.
Features to consider when choosing an embossing machine
The following are the key factors that you should keep in mind when choosing the best die cut embossing machine that can customize your projects for a unique touch.
Opening width/platform size
If you wish to use your paper embossing machine for crafting material bigger than A4 greeting cards without trimming, you should consider a model with a larger feed. Gemini Die Cutter & Embossing Machine would be a great choice for large-scale tasks because you can process larger projects or cut and emboss several smaller pieces at once. It fits materials that are up to 9 inches wide and saves you money on having to purchase separate machines for die cutting and embossing. Spellbinders Platinum 6.0 cuts through 8 layers of material in one go.
On the other hand, hobbyists and DIY enthusiasts would be served well by a minimum platform size of 6 inches which would suit most die cutting crafts while remaining affordable.
Manual or automated?
The best embossing machine for card making uses different features and mechanisms to feed the material to be cut or embossed. One way they differ is in their mode of operation which can be either manual or automatic. Manual models like Spellbinders Platinum 6.0 are ideal for crafting on the go or in remote places where there is no access to electricity. They feature a lever or crank handle which can be detached for compact transport and storage. This is the popular option for traditional crafters who prefer getting involved with every stage of the die-cutting and embossing process. Manual machines are affordable and easy to operate.
Automated products boast of advanced capabilities, precise cuts, high speed and pressure, and pre-programmed settings that eliminate guesswork. However, there may be a learning curve as you familiarize yourself with the settings for blade depth and pressure. Gemini Die Cutter & Embossing Machine is fully automatic and it comes with multiple preset settings that make you complete your tasks in time. It boasts of 16-second pass-through time and features such as Pause, Reverse and Resume built-in functions. This product is powered by 120V outlets which are common in USA.
Each model is designed for specific materials that are indicated by the manufacturers. You need to establish this before committing yourself to confirm that your prospective product is equipped to cut and emboss your intended materials. For example, Bira Craft Die Cutting & Embossing Machine is for designing foam, felt, fabric, and thin copper while Spellbinders Platinum 6.0 which is compatible with contour steel rule dies is well-equipped to process 40 versatile materials, including leather, wool, balsa wood, or metal at once. This is facilitated by heavy-duty construction with full-hardened steel and a substantial weight of 12.5 pounds that keeps the machine stable.
What accessories are included in the purchase
The best embossing machines for card making need dies and plates at a minimum to work. Having these components included in the package saves you money on separate purchases and helps you start the project as soon as you receive your machine. Having a few dies and other tools included is also important, particularly with models that only work with proprietary accessories that cannot be substituted with regular brands. You can hone craft for a while before you have to replace the accessories.
Other common accessories include rubber mats and embossing folders which are included with the majority of the models we reviewed.
Gemini Die Cutter & Embossing Machine comes with a papercraft die set with 16 pieces, three 3D embossing folders, base and metal cutting plates, plastic and magnetic shims, an embossing mat, and a power cord.
Assess the accessories you need so you won’t have to spend money on add-ons that will hike the price of the machine.
The level of pressure determines the cutting force applied to the fabric or other material and the ability of the die-cut embossing machine to produce clean and smooth cuts. The plates can start warping or flatten if the pressure is too much. While you don’t need much pressure to process paper and thin fabric, consider a product like Evolution Advanced Die-Cutting and Embossing Machine which comes with a pressure adjustment mechanism for different types of dies and varied thickness of the material. This prevents the need to use shims or to stack multiple cutting plates for sufficient pressure. This function also lets you adjust the pressure according to the task; embossing, letter pressing, or die-cutting.
Foldable design is a great way to have ample space for your projects while reducing the overall storage size of your paper embossing machine. This review consists of the top models that can be folded for a smaller footprint when they are not in use. They also feature handles that can be detached and built-in storage compartments that make it easy to carry the machine and all the accessories you need for die cutting and embossing.
Dimensions and weight
Size does matter, especially if you have restricted space or you plan to take the paper embossing machine with you for artwork classes. A mobile model such as the Sizzix Big Shot Starter Kit which weighs only 7.5 pounds would let you tap into your creativity from anywhere. You may have to trade the opening width for a smaller overall size and lighter weight. This model comes with an A5 sized platform and opening width of 6 inches.
If you will be working on complicated projects on a machine stationed in one place, then a bulky machine with a large platform and more functions would be a better choice. We have reviewed the best embossing machines for card making that are equipped for such intricate undertakings without weighing a lot or taking up much space to give you the best of both worlds. They are portable yet heavy enough to keep the machine stable when designing.
As with most products, die-cutting and embossing machines vary in their warranty coverage and the conditions that may void the contract depending on the model. Spellbinders Platinum 6.0 offers one year of limited warranty. You can find the warranty information from the seller or manufacturer although reviews from verified buyers can also shed more light on this as well as the performance of the product.
Compatibility with other accessories: Check the accessories that are compatible with your embossing machine for card making so you can source for them in case they are not included in the package. We have reviewed a couple of products that work with dies and embossing folders by other brands.
Suction cups for stability: They anchor die cut embossing machines firmly to the surface to prevent them from moving around when you are working.
Although most models can cut and emboss, not all embossing machines are capable of die cutting. However, our list features only the best die cutting and embossing machines that come with a cutting platform as well to perform both tasks on diverse materials. Some even allow you to cut and emboss your project at the same time as it goes through the machine.
The machines we have reviewed in this article come with a height adjustment system that regulates the pressure of the rollers according to your specific project. They also come with manuals to guide you on the correct settings. For instance, Evolution Advanced Die-Cutting and Embossing Machine features a pressure adjustment mechanism that allows you to toggle among die-cutting, embossing, and letter pressing functions.
Sizzix Big Shot Starter Kit is a lightweight powerhouse that packs a punch when it comes to processing quilts, cardstock, scrapbooks, tissue, cork, fabric, and balsa wood. It makes clean cuts and comes with a variety of accessories.
Professional crafters would love the large platform of Gemini Die Cutter & Embossing Machine and the fully automated operation which lets you complete large-scale tasks quickly with 16-second pass-through time. The electronic model has sufficient pressure to cut through several layers of material and integrated Pause, Reverse, and Resume functions. Beginners would also appreciate the convenience of activating settings at the touch of a button instead of experimenting with the settings manually.
Bira Craft Die Cutting & Embossing Machine features two buttons that adjust the pressure and blade depth to the thickness of your material. It comes in a foldable design with integrated storage and removable handle. It is compatible with several steel rule dies and it provides the best embossing machine for full-size card making and decorating foam, felt, and thin copper.