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This beautiful gold and ivory Empress Die Cutting and Embossing Machine is designed by Anna Griffin. This is an electronic machine that includes all the plates and mats you need to get started in the die cutting and embossing crafting art. This machine measures approximately 13" in length, 6" in width, and 6.1" in height. This machine will not take up much room in your crafting space. There is a power cord included with this machine. You get two A plates which measure approximately 8.6" x 7", one magnetic mat which measures 8" x 6.4", one embossing mat which measures 8" x 6.4", one metal shim that measures 8" x 13". You get an instruction manual. There is also a manufacturer's one year limited warranty included in the instruction manual. There are four cutting dies included, a frame, a butterfly, a birthday die, and a Flourish die. There is also one 3D Embossing Folder, Lattice Ornamental which measures approximately 5" x 7". This machine accommodates dies up to 13" long and 8" wide. The plastic plates will wear out over time, so you may need to purchase a new pair (sold separately). This small machine is designed for people with dexterity issues with its simple plate stacking system. It is motorized, so no hand cranking. This machine is designed for use with all the Anna Griffin folders and dies (sold separately). This machine cuts paper, cardstock, poster board, glitter paper, iron-ons, vinyl, light wood, wrapping paper, stabilized fabric, deco foil, crepe paper, thin craft foam, and other materials (all sold separately). This machine will emboss paper, cardstock, poster board, envelopes, vellum, ribbon, tissue, paper bags, and other materials (all sold separately). This machine is only compatible in the US and Canada only. It does not run on batteries.
I make albums, boxes and bags, and other 3D projects for craft fairs. Because I do so much bulk die cutting, keeping plates in decent shape without going broke buying new ones was a continual struggle. I flip plates, move dies around, all the things you're supposed to do, and still. Took less than a week for my Platinum plates to look like a soup bowl. Granted I do a lot more die cutting than many people, but still. (Side note, iCrafter makes a platform that is quite helpful if you're not able or interested in this machine)
And then... *chorus of angels* the Empress. I bought it on the recommendation of Jennifer McGuire. I waited a year to see if she's still using it and yep. I had to get it from HSN as that was the only available outlet, and boy am I glad I did. What makes it great?
1. The magnetic mat. I hesitated to jump on the Gemini background because I saw so many people having problems with the magnetic mat getting "squished" and stretching after a while. The Empress mat is very thick and hasn't budged a millimeter (I marked it). The other benefit is the magnetic hold is extremely strong - I rarely have to tape anything anymore, even dies inside of frames that need to not shift. Saves a lot of time and hassle
2. If you use the smaller (6" wide) plates you can run them through on an angle, the regular way, or perpendicular. This gives you lots of options for alternating and helps keeps the plates straight
3. Speaking of that, I don't know what these plates are made of, but the only time I've had even the slightest warping is when I first got it and kept forgetting to alternate positions. Even then, it was just the tiniest bit and it corrected itself once I regained my sanity and started changing positions
I did buy another full set of plates when I bought my machine, honestly I was really just hoping the plates would last a bit longer than other brands. I've had it over six months now, doing several craft fairs during that time, and am still using my original set. And they're not warped! Highly, highly recommend!
I waited a long time and thoroughly researched electronic die cutting machines before finally choosing the full size Anna Griffin Empress machine. My only experience in die cutting machines is the Spellbinders Grand Calibur and the Spellbinders Platinum manuel die cutting machines. I really loved my raspberry Grand Calibur and had it for several years before the handle broke off. I then bought the Platinum and I was very disappointed. The first few times I used it, the acrylic cutting plates warped almost into a "C" shape and the dies etched so bad into the plates I could hardly see the die anymore. Fortunately, I am able to use my Grand Calibur plates in my Platinum without any issue and have been doing so since 2018.
The main issue in all the die cutting machines, whether it is an electric or a manel, is the consistent complaint that the acrylic plates warp. The final thing that made my decision to buy the Empress was when I was watching Anna Griffin showcase the Empress machine and she stated that the Empress cutting plates and the magnetic mat are thick. I have said to myself several times over the years, if manufacturers would just make the plates thicker like the Grand Calibur plates, they wouldn't warp.
When die cutting with the Empress, you place the paper on top of the magnetic mat, then the die cut with the cutting edge down and then cover with the cutting plate. The die cuts into the mat and not the plate. That makes the plates last longer and they don't get any of the die etching into it. The mat is consumable, which means over time, it will need to be replaced. But it's a lot less cheaper to replace 1 mat versus 2 cutting plates. In the future, I will never, ever buy any machine again that uses a platform and the die cuts into the acrylic plate. Over time, it's a huge waste of money.
My experience in using my Empress, is that the mat and the top cutting plate do bend a little. However, just make sure to rotate the sandwich on every pass and it solves that issue. Another reason I chose the Express is that it cuts and embosses within the same pass. No changing plates from cutting to embossing. It even embosses my Spellbinders dies in one pass. I always use the metal shim with each cut/emboss no matter what die I'm using. I have found with some of the very intricate non Anna Griffin dies, it takes 2 or 3 passes or the use of an additional card stock shim to cut those. Not cranking a handle for thoses passes makes it so worth it though.
I absolutely love my Empress and I am so glad I bought it. I waited until HSN had it on sale for $199 and then also used a 20% coupon from RetailMeNot. I paid $189 plus free shipping. So, it pays to shop around.
Used in this project: Easter Swap - 2023
If you're in the market for a new die cutting machine, the Empress stands head and shoulders above the rest! I've owned this machine for over 2 years now and I love it! I have used the manual and electronic Big Shot, as well as the Spellbinders Platinum. I was constantly struggling with warped plates with these machines, but that's not the case with the Empress. It's plate system is a bit thicker so warping is a thing of the past. I've made hundreds of passes with my 2 year old plates, and still no warping! The magnetic mat is very strong so you don't need to tape down your dies anymore either. Your die and cardstock remain firmly in place and the ridged metal shim ensures clean cuts every time. Highly detailed dies may need an additional cardstock shim or 2 passes to get a clean cut. It's simple compact design takes up very little desk space (a huge plus in small spaces) and it's 3 button design (off/on, run and reverse) is very intuitive and so easy to use. The Empress does make a modest humming nose when you run your sandwich through, but it's not overly noisy. You will need to grab your sandwich as it exits the machine, but I've never found this to be an actual nuisance. The large plate system allows you to run multiple dies through in a single pass which can be a real time saver. The Empress will accept steal ruled, thinlets, and all chemically etched dies. It also accepts most embossing folders and consistently embosses beautifully. The only dies the Empress will not run are the Tim Holtz BigZ dies and a few of Sizzix's 3D embossing folders. All and all, the Empress is a serious workhorse in your craftroom which makes die cutting and embossing super easy and fun!
Used in this project: Sending Sunshine & Warm Wishes Card
right out of the box the machine I got made a very loud whistle. I contacted Scrapbook.com customer service and had to take a video of the machine making the whistle . I was told the company felt it was not defective and since I had used it , it was not returnable. I am a long time crafter and die cutter and I have never had a machine make this ear piercing whistle. my empress mini is so quiet you can't hear it at all. All my sizzix and spellbinders and Gemini have never made this sound either. I am sad my Christmas present ended up with so much hassle and disappointment. The Scrapbook.com customer service was great (except for not getting a replacement machine) and I realize now Scrapbook .com was put in a difficult position. I will put this on the shelf until I am too old to hear the whistle and then take it down and use it.
I love this machine! It is easy to use. Takes a minute to figure out your sandwiches, but that is any machine. It works great.
I have only been using the Empress a week. I am enjoying the ease of this machine. I love the metal shim and magnetic pad, which the Big Shot doesnt come with. It cuts slightly better than my manual Big Shot and is so much easier on my wrist. The acrylic and magnetic pads seem to scar easily and it subsequently transfers some of those images onto the paper i am cutting.
The Empress die cutting and embossing machine was a gift to my wife. She immediately started using it and expressed pleasure in the clean cuts that were made.
I needed to go electric. I have been reading reviews for months. I finally ordered the Empress. I is smooth, quiet, and efficient. Very pleased.
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