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Beginner’s Guide to Die-Cutting

From the tools and materials you need to how to use them, this beginner’s guide covers everything you need to know about die-cutting.

Introduced in the 1800s as a solution to cobblers having to cut leather soles for shoes by hand, die-cutting machines are now staples in craft rooms across the world. They are efficient, multifunctional machines that work with dies to produce cut-out designs for crafts. Just as the first industrial die-cutting machines did, today’s die-cutting craft machines allow you to cut repeat designs with precision and speed, making them an integral part of the crafting world.

What Is Die-Cutting?

Die-cutting is the art of cutting out shapes and designs, commonly from (but not limited to) paper or card, using thin metal cutting templates called dies (think cookie cutters for paper!) and a die-cutting machine.

Why Would I Use Die-Cutting in Crafting?

Die designs range from simple shapes, intricate scenes to dimensional projects which would be incredibly tricky to cut by hand. Die-cutting enables you to create these professional-quality designs for your crafts without ever having to pick up a pair of scissors!

Die-Cutting Dies:

Manual and Electronic Die-Cutting Machines use dies. Dies are wafer-thin carbonised steel templates featuring raised designs on one side that will cut through material. Once cut, the material will replicate the die’s design.

Die-cutting with paper or card is very popular in card-making and scrapbooking. However, die-cutting isn’t limited to just papercrafts. Steel rule dies are able to cut through denim, mat-board, wool-felt, or up to six layers of cotton fabric at once. Deep dish dies are suitable for cutting fabric or paper. The cutting edges of deep dish dies can be nearly twice as deep as standard dies, meaning you can cut multiple layers of fabric at one time.