Die Cuts for Cardmaking: Quick Guide on What You Need
A die cut is a tool precut by a machine. It's made to cut out shapes and designs by simply pressing on a piece of paper or even thin cloth. A die-cutting tool is used for mass-producing similar shapes in a neat and uniform manner. This also allows you to repetitively create dies or cut-out designs that you can use in creating your cards.
What's great about dies or die-cutting is that it simplifies the task of making DIY embellishments. Plus, dies look like they are professionally made. Making your own handmade dies gives your card an even more special vibe.
The shapes can range from borders and lettering through to flowers and cute pictures of cats. No matter the shape you purchase, die cuts are an amazing embellishment for card-making.
You can buy pre-made dies at craft stores, in craft sections of large department stores, and even in two dollar stores. But honestly, I prefer buying die cutting tools instead and make my own dies.
Great Die Cuts For Cardmaking
Cut dies come in an endless array of sizes, shapes, and styles. Here are some of the most useful shapes for dies for card making.
These are your basic shapes such as squares, circles, triangles, and diamonds, etc. Basic-shaped dies are used a lot in card making. Dies in basic shapes allow you to create stunning designs by putting those shapes together.
Oftentimes, dies cut in shapes also promote the use of geometric designs for a more modern design. A handmade cutout shape isn't as good as dies made from die cutting tools. Cutting your own sometimes leads to uneven shapes, ragged edges, and undesirable cuts which wastes quite a lot of paper.
Having a stack of these will save you heaps of time and I personally find it easier to create cards on the go when I have a little pile in front of me to experiment with before gluing them down.
Words and letters are my top choice for cut dies because it adds a real professional look to your cards. Especially someone like me who has notoriously messy handwriting. Die cut words can be purchased and made as both individual letters, or catchy words and phrases.
One thing I also love is that I can decorate and design these letter dies and use them not just for making paper cards but also for creating DIY labels for daily usage. I ended up using a die cutting tool for fun and labeled my kitchen pantry with it.
Simple generic images such as flowers, trees, sun, and moon, etc are really useful die cuts to have. If you are purchasing die cuts for making cards and not making them yourself with a die cut machine, they are often sold in a packet with a theme such as summer, floral or seaside.
Novelty shapes are possibly my favorite types of cut dies. This is because I can't quite replicate the cutting quality with scissors and a craft knife (not for lack of trying). This is where you can get delicate lace pieces, season themes such as Santa and his sleigh, and almost anything else you can think of.
Although not essential to card making, investing in a die cutting machine is a purchase you will never regret. Die cutting machines allow you to make your own die cuts for card making, but they are also useful for other craft such as scrapbooking.
There are two main types of die cutting machines, a manual and an electric.
Manual die cutting machine
Manual die cutting machines are the more affordable option and work on the concept of a cookie-cutter, but in this case, it's called a die. A die is a metal-shaped object with a raised-sharp area for cutting. The shape of the die is the shape that will be cut into your paper. See, sounds like a cookie-cutter, right?
Basically, you get your cardstock or paper and a shaped metal die (don't use an actual cookie cutter!) and place it on the platform of your manual machine. A plastic mat is placed on top to keep everything in place, essentially making a ''sandwich.''.
The sandwich is forced through the machine with a crank handle and as it passes through, the pressure forces your die to cut the shape into your paper and you can simply stick it on to your card. It's simple!
Electric die cutting equipment
A digital die cutting machine is powered by electricity and no die is required. The machine is controlled by computer software and a blade in the machine passes over the paper and cuts it for you. It is simple to use and you can customize designs yourself. What's even better is that you can die-cut an entire set of cards and mass produce it.
There's a Die Cut For Nearly Every Card Making Occasion!
With a die for nearly every purpose and occasion available, die cuts are one of the best card making supplies you can get. Whether they're sweet and simple or beautifully intricate, we would love to see what you come up with using die cuts.
Happy card making!