Die Cutting

As mentioned in my craft haul post, I got a mini die cutting machine for my birthday.

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It’s an adorable little thing.  It came with three plates (2 thinner and one thicker), an embossing folder, a set of little dies to make a flower, and an instruction booklet.

I tested the embossing folder first.  This involved cutting a piece of paper to size, sandwiching it in the embossing folder, and then sandwiching that between the two thinner plates.

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Then you roll it through the machine.  It makes some interesting noises, but the internet reliably tells me that’s okay.

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Unsandwich everything, and your paper is embossed.  What you should probably do though is make sure you orient it so that the raised part of the emboss is on the right side of the paper.  If that’s what you’re after, of course.

Moving on to the dies.  You have to remember to switch out the plates.  Because the dies are so much thinner than an embossing folder you make your sandwich with one thin plate and one thick one instead.

Place your die, raised side down, on your paper.  Sandwich between your plates, and roll through the machine.  This makes even louder interesting noises, and it sounds like you’re breaking everything.  This is supposed to happen.  Apparently.

The scratched outline on your plate is also normal.

I cut out the other flower part and a leaf, during which I discovered that you have to be careful how you handle your sandwich or the dies might shift.

I cut another leaf and another bigger flower piece.  Then I correctly embossed a background.

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After a while I decided the background didn’t really go, so I made a little square of another card stock.  I used sticky pads to stick everything together and voila!

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As well as the machine, my friend also got me a bunch of dies.  Including this pretty fairy.

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Unfortunately my machine is a mini machine, with closed edges.  Some machines have a wider slot than the plates, so you can put excess through.  This one doesn’t.  And when I forced the fairy through, I ended up with a folded edge on one side, and the very tips of her hair didn’t cut.

While testing the extra dies I also discovered that some dies might need to go through the machine twice.  Like these Best Wishes.  I tried again with it, and sent it through the machine twice by reversing the way I rolled the handle so it came back through.

After playing around for a little bit I learned three very important things.  The plates will get very scratchy, very quickly.

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The plates will also warp.  Again, the internet assures me that this is normal, and that if you switch up the orientation in which you sandwich them they’ll gradually even out a little.

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And finally, die cutting is one of those crafts that creates a bit of a mess.

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Author: Colette Horsburgh

A 30-something creator/baker/writer/artist/crafter living with several (but not enough) scatty animals.

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