After you have made a few cards, you'll probably start to wonder how some card makers manage to cut their shapes so neatly. I know I did! I would spend ages attempting to snip out intricate designs with a craft knife only to be disappointed with the ragged edges or worse, a big cut where I didn't want a cut.
Well, this is where a die-cutting tool comes in. Using a die cutting machine for cardmaking
, the machine allows you to cut the same shape or image over and over again without a craft knife or scissors. Think of it like a cookie cutter for your cardstock and paper!
A manual die cutting machine
operates with a crank handle, using specific metal shapes (called dies) to carve through the paper. You make a sandwich with your paper, die cuts for cardmaking, and pressing plates, and crank it through the machine, which in turn applies pressure and forces the metal die to shape your paper. It's just like cutting out a cookie and just as satisfying!
A digital die cutting machine
is controlled by computer software and is powered by electricity. It does not need metal dies as it features a blade inside the machine that cuts the paper for you. I saw someone on YouTube recently using one to slice their flatbread into dinosaur shapes so their kid would eat it. I don't recommend this!
The best die cutting machines are electronic as they require little effort, and as that the designs are digital, the options are endless. The downside is they are far more expensive than a manual die cutting machine.
There are many great brands on the market but Sizzix is a popular brand of die cutting machine for both manual and electronic.