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, such as the more intricate sections of the die not being properly cut 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.

Ensuring Clean and Crisp Die Cutting

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.

Easy Removal of the Card or Paper Diecut

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 wax paper.

Place the wax paper between the die and the piece of paper or card to be cut before running them through your die cutting machine.  Don’t forget to check to see that all the pieces have been cut before removing the card or paper from the die.  You should find it’s much easier to remove the die cut.

When to Use Wax Paper

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.

Cleaning The Die
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.  The Stab and Grab tool is ideal for poking even the smallest piece of paper out of your die.  There’s 2 of these useful tools in a pack and we always keep ours in the packaging that it comes in so we can find it easily for the next time we want to clean a die.