What Die Cutting is All about
Die cutting is simply cutting out tons of shapes with the same dimension and shape with the help of a machine – no need of scissors or stencils. It’ quick, easy, and neat. If you want to learn about die cutting, we have some cool die cutting tips and tricks for you.
Die Cutting Machine
Die cutting machines allow you to cut shapes from paper, fabric, felt, chipboard and several other materials. Personal die cutting machines are small, and can be kept on your table or work space. There are numerous brands available; you need to check out the different styles available in each machine so that you can choose the machine that suits your needs. You can also checkout some print finishing techniques here.
Types of Die cutting Machines
These machines have levers which can be turned easily; they use steel dies to cut paper and other materials. Some machines have a power-driven part that turns the crank. When the paper/fabric and the die passes through the machines, pressure is applied uniformly, and the die cuts the material into the shape of the die. These are portable, can be stored easily, and are quite affordable as well.
These are electricity driven die cutting machines and are usually controlled by software. As they have an in-built blade to cut the inserted material, digital machines do not need steel dies. You can select the shape in which you want the material to be cut in the software app, or use a cartridge. These look like printers and can be connected to your computer via a USB port.
These are metal objects which have a specific shape, and have a raised, sharp area for cutting; they look somewhat like cookie cutters. The shape of the die is the shape in which your fabric or paper will get cut. There are several types of dies: steel rule dies are sharp, with a protective covering of foam or plastic, and are more durable, as they can cut thick materials, or several materials at a time. Thin metal dies are not very sharp, and are incapable of cutting very thick materials. Dies of numerous shapes, sizes, and styles are available – simple squares, rectangles and circles to complex ones like words, animals, flowers, and lacy shapes. So if you are looking to work with thick material like leather, foam, chipboard or cork, you would do well to look for steel rule die cutting supplies.
You can use the following materials to work with die machines:
- Metal foil or thin sheets
Uses of Die Cutting
Die cutting is useful for making cards, envelopes, stickers, and so on, and is very popular with craft enthusiasts including scrapbookers, quilters and card makers. They are used widely in schools as they are great for projects, and facilitate learning.
Die Cutting Tips and Tricks
Dies are sold individually, and also in sets; the latter helps you create complex story-style craft work.
The other side of the die – in both steel rule and thin metal, is smooth. As the ridged, sharp side of the die does the actual cutting, make sure that it faces the paper. If you observe closely, you will see tiny holes in the die; these holes let you loosen the material if it gets stuck in the die, and won’t be visible in the design. You can loosen the material with a die pick if it does get stuck.
Remember that all dies are not compatible with all machines; so make sure that a particular die can be used for cutting on your particular machine before you actually buy it. You can check out about digital printing vs offset printing
Bonus Tip*: When you want to cut an intricate die, make sure you cut a couple more than you actually need, so that even if you mess one up, you have extra ones handy.
These are a set of dies that are the exact shape but in graduating sizes; this lets you have the shape in exactly the size that you’re looking for. You can create different looks by layering the dies on top of each other or by offsetting them.
These can be used to make intricate corners for your projects, and are usually available in sets of two dies of the same shape and size. They are especially great for adding borders to photos, layering on greeting cards, and even to jazz up corners anywhere – your scrapbook, for example.
Bonus Tip*: Place dies towards the outer edge of the plate instead of the center when you want to cut multiple dies simultaneously, to get a cleaner, better cut.
These dies help to make the edges of your paper craft project fancy, and can be used for nearly all types of card styles, but look especially amazing on standup cards. These dies have delicate, intricate designs that add a splash of pizzazz to your project in just a single cut. These dies can be used to make a simple edge or a fancy multi-edge piece, and you can use them on photo mats, journals and greeting cards. The latest in edgeable dies are words; this means you can add on words on the edges of your paper projects.
Bonus Tip*: Store your dies in plastic folders or magnetic sheets so that they are not only safe but easy to find as well.
This is simply the order in which the various components of the machines like dies, cutting plates, embossing mats, shims, and so on, have to be arranged before you feed them into your die cutting machine. Follow these tips to get a perfect cut every time:
- Keep your machine on a stable and solid surface, like a sturdy table; ensure it has enough space to keep all your dies, the material you want to cut, the platform, etc.
- Follow manufacturer instructions to create your sandwich; to ensure that the die stays in place, you can use low-tack tape
- To protect paper from old plates, you can use copy paper
- Run the sandwich through the machine
- Remove and rotate the die so that it cuts through properly. You can stick intricate die-cuts to your projects with a fine tip glue pen, or spray adhesive; you can also use a toothpick to grab a dash of glue from a regular glue stick, or use a sticker machine. Bonus tip*: try and add double sided tape or adhesive sheets to your cardstock before you cut.
- If the die has cut only partially, run it through the machine once more; you can try adding a piece of cardstock, or use a metal adapter plate so that the proper pressure is applied. Investing in a metal shim, and running it twice through the machine will ensure that your die cut will come out smoothly.
- Use a pokey tool to remove the shape from the die carefully; you can make your own tool by fixing the eye end of a needle into a small piece of cork – secure it with some glue so that it does not come out.
- Again with your pokey tool, remove the negative space from the die cut shape; add a layer or greaseproof paper between the die and the cardstock so that the die cut shape can be released easily from the die.
Embossing with Dies
You can add layering and texture to your project using dies designed for cutting and embossing. You need to create an embossing sandwich and run your die through it. The edges of the die will leave an impression into the cardstock.
I am sure you will be able to create breathtakingly beautiful crafts projects with these die cutting tips and tricks.
Die cutting supplies in India are available in a variety of shapes, designs and sizes as mentioned above, and are quite easily available in the market today, thanks to the popularity of die cutting among handicraft aficionados in the country.
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