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Die-Cutting Guide

This guide aims to help you get to grips with the basics of die-cutting, looking at its beginnings all the way through to the different types of die-cutting machines available, and how each one functions. After all, being a rookie needn't be so intimidating!

Every crafter has their own preference – some enjoy crafting with technology, while others prefer working by hand – it's completely up to how you feel comfortable. To further your understanding of how manual, electronic and computerised die-cutting machines differ, here are their key benefits and drawbacks.

Manual Die-Cutting Machines

Manual Die-Cutting Machines

Manual die-cutting machines mean more physical work for the user, however are usually the most affordable and are much easier to transport. These machines use a crank system – once you've inserted the 'die sandwich' into the mouth of the machine, you simply turn the handle repeatedly to feed it through the rollers, thus pressing the die into your material.

Electronic Die-Cutting Machines

Electronic Die-Cutting Machines

Electronic die-cutting machines cut down the amount of physical work for the user, however are usually slightly higher in price. They work in a similar way to manual machines, however instead of using a crank system, they work with a motor. Once you've put together your 'die sandwich,' you simply insert it into the mouth of the machine and it'll pull it through automatically, putting pressure on the die to cut out the design.

Computerised Die-Cutting Machines

Computerised Die-Cutting Machines

Computerised die-cutting machines are digital cutting systems that use either in-built machine software or a graphics program when connected to a computer – instead of a physical die. These machines have near-limitless design possibilities and can cut an incredible variety of materials at an exceptional speed, however are larger, heavier and in a much higher price bracket. They grant minimal physical work for the user, whilst providing speed, accuracy and greater design versatility.

Die Compatibility Chart

Confused about which die brands are compatible with specific die-cutting machines? Although on the whole most machines can practically take any dies, there are some exceptions. So, to clarify this matter further, we’ve put together an extensive reference chart providing everything you need to know!

Baby Blue
Big Blue
Grand Calibur
Xcut Xpress
Silhouette Cameo
Silhouette Portrait
Cut 'n' Boss
Big Shot

Die Brands


Cottage Cutz
Create and Craft Couture
docrafts Xcut
Heartfelt Creations
La-La Land Dies
Penny Black Creative Dies
Tattered Lace
Ultimate Crafts