To die for

Die Cutting

Paper Crafting 101 – To die for 10/28                            Picture

Dies can be used to cut everything from your favorite papers and cardstock to thin metals and light-weight wood. They can be used to emboss a border and used as a mask.
A die is a piece of metal that has been manipulated into a specific shape. The metal die can be wafer thin, perfect for use with paper, felt or fabric and the thicker ones can cut through dense material like cardboard. Some dies are simple shapes like circles, ovals, squares. Others are intricate shapes like lacy circles.
There are many die cutting machines on the market that do basically the same thing and use some of the same dies. Some are electronic and others are manual. The Cuttlebug by Provo Craft, The Grand Calibur by Spellbinders and the Sizzix Big Shot are a few of the machines. One of the main criteria that should govern which machine you buy (in addition to price) is how many times you will use it and what type of dies you are likely to buy. If you are a scrapbooker, then you will need a lot of labels, frames and titles. If, on the other hand, you are a card-maker, you will want a machine that makes a lot of frames, images and background paper.
To start, you make a “sandwich” of the cutting platform, the paper or other material, the die, and the top plate. You have to create the right pressure to cut the material.
Buy the dies you love and buy the simple shapes. In the beginning, I concentrated on embossing folders (Sizzix) and made my layered cards that way. I liked the Swiss dot folder, which I sanded and raised the dots on white-core paper. I then bought the various shapes – squares, ovals and rectangles. I discovered that I could make my cards into the simple shapes (like squares and rectangles) and the dies fit the shapes. Then I discovered Spellbinders and started buying their shapes. One of my recent discoveries is that the Sizzix Large circles work especially well with my Marvy Punch Circles, eliminated the need to buy more circles.
What folders and dies do you buy?
~ Ssllie

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