Using Intricate Dies

September 23rd, 2012

The dies available for card making just seem to get better and better. In the early days the dies were really just basic shapes but after a while the dies came with more intricate detail. Now, some dies are incredibly intricate with lace effects and lots of cut out detail. 

Cutting with these dies may cause one or two problems at first and some customers find getting their card or paper out of a die once it’s been cut and embossed can be really tricky.

Here are some tips that will really help when using the more intricate dies. 

After you’ve run your die through your die cutting machine check that is has cut all the pieces cleanly before proceeding to the next step. If not, simply give it a half turn (so that the bit that was at the top is now to the side) and run it through again. Again check and another half turn and run through may be necessary. We have yet to use a Spellbinders or Marianne Design die that didn’t cut on the first half turn although if you are using Cheery Lynn dies you may half to do 1 run through and then 3 half turns.  


Next, how to get the card or paper out of the die. With many of the intricate patterns of dies the die will both cut and emboss so you run it through the machine once to cut it and then change plates and run it through again to emboss it. As you are embossing the pattern into the card the card is being pushed further into the die. Removing the card is no problem if it is a straight forward shape die but if it’s an intricate die it can be a bit of a struggle. The answer is to use waxed paper between the die and the piece of card to be cut – and you should be able to get waxed paper for free or a least for no more than a few pence.

 There are several sources of waxed paper. Warburtons bread comes wrapped in waxed paper, especially their white and toastie bread (their toastie bread does make lovely toast). Prefer cereal in the morning? The inner packet in cereal is also waxed paper in most cases. Prefer porridge oats or on a gluten free diet? Porridge Oats (at least the brand we eat) only comes in a cardboard box – no inner wrapper – so if you prefer porridge to toast or other cereals see if you can persuade a non crafting friend to save you her wrappers.  

Alternatively, if you cannot get hold of some for free, and you have a local specialist cheese shop, ask if they will sell you some waxed paper. The soft cheeses, such as Brie and Camembert are wrapped in wax paper so a shop that specialises in cheeses should be able to let you have a few sheets for a few pence – especially if you are a regular customer.
Another source of waxed paper could be your local printers. All our card and paper comes wrapped in wax paper. Card and paper needs to be kept moisture free so it is wrapped in waxed paper until ready to be shipped out to our customers. The difference between the waxed paper that card and paper is wrapped in to the waxed paper that bread and cheese is wrapped in is that the moisture protective paper is waxed on only one side. If you are using that then remember that the waxed side is the side that goes next to the cutting die with the plain side next to the card or paper you are cutting.
Which dies are the intricate ones that are likely to need waxed paper added? That’s a tricky one. Nestabilities Splendid Circles certainly and we would also recommend wax paper for Shapeabilities 2012 Holiday Tree (and a half turn in the die cutting machine). I know of one customer who really struggled to get her card out of the Nestabilities Floral Ovals die whereas another customer said she had no trouble at all.
One final tip - always clean out the pieces of card and paper left in your die after cutting. Any card or paper left in the die means it won’t cut efficiently the next time you come to use it. We use a pricking tool every day and we haven’t done any paper pricking for years – but we find that a fine pricking tool will get into the smallest of holes in a die to remove the paper.