Basics of Die-Cutting

Dear Fellow Crafters,

For those of you who first started die-cutting back in the 1990’s (I think), you’re an old hand at the basics. But for those of you who are new to these amazing tools how about a Basics Re-Do and some tips.

Back in the day the only dies were shapes but today there are a wide assortment of options for both dies and machinery – you might say there is something for everyone.

To create a die-cut you need a die-cutting machine. Each machine is slightly different but will operate in basically the same way You place a metal die with the raised or embossed edge facing your cardstock and insert it between cutting plates. TIP: if using a thin die from Spellbinders, Sizzix or Crafters Companion, use a magnetic platform with cutting plates. If not, use low tack tape like artistic tape to secure the die in place.

Machines differ. Some are small and portable and manual and some are electronic. In either case,  you need clear cutting places to “sandwich” you dies to the paper and the platform. With use, these plates become scratched. TIP: Number them when new and rotate them to get even wear. Cutting dies will last a long time with care. When you are done cutting a shape, remove all the paper bits from the die before using it again. TIP: a paper piercers, lint brush or other sharp tool will help.

What do you do if you’re die-cutting and you get interrupted by life? What happens if that tiny “Happy Birthday” die gets lost on your crafting floor? These phenomenons have happened to me, more than once!  I had seen a Pinterest pin on this very topic and thought I could do better. I had a large (24″ x 18″) box with a clear plastic lid. I lined the bottom with magnetic sheets and placed my nesting and other dies on top. Then I closed the lid and put removable tape on all 4 sides. I hung my die frame on the back of my craft door. Because they were all safe, in one place, and dust-free I could tell at an instant which ones I needed at a given notice.

But my best tip ever is to use a clear plastic box (like one that holds grocery bakery items) and line it with magnetic tape. If you are crafting and you know you only have a certain length of time to die-cut and you don’t want to put the die away, put it in this type of magnetic box and close the lid. You can take this tip a bit further if you have no room on your crafting table. Make a Die-Cut frame. Line the background paper with thin magnetic tape and you are done. Use the glass for another project.

Happy Die-Cutting!



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