My 1st Week with My New Die Cut Machine

Posted by Jennifer

Excited just barely describes how I felt while I waited for UPS to deliver my new die cutting machine. I had seen infomercials on TV and passed various machines in the craft stores. I thought they looked like a lot of fun but I didn't buy one for years. I finally bought one after I started seeing so many beautifully designed handmade cards that were elevated to a whole new level by the cleanness of their construction thanks to die cutting machines.

Being an artist and a natural with computers and software, I figured I'd quickly scan the instructions and get down to business. I didn't start with scrap paper and a basic design either. I went all out and chose an extremely intricate image of branches with leaves and birds to0, but diecut from pre-folded purple card stock.

Epic fail. I had a lot to learn.

The tackiness of the cutting mat held the finer elements of the design causing them to tear when I tried to remove the card from the mat. Another lesson was finding that the more intricate your design, the more little pieces you have to pick up off from that super sticky cutting mat. I also learned that setting the blade depth can be tricky. It's a good idea to do some test cutting on a scrap of the same stock you intend to use for your project. 2-ply colored card stock also presents its challenges. Intricate cuts, especially corners, can cause the colored paper layer to separate from the rest of the card stock leaving a little white flap.

Undaunted, I decided it was time to create a finished project.

I deliberately chose a machine that allows you to create your own artwork, so I decided to design a card using what I had learned so far as a guide. I came up with a collage of flowers and leaves for a 5.5" x 4.25" card. I chose a bright orange pre-folded card---knowing I would back the diecut with a colorful card stock, prepared the design to cut with the software and started cutting.

My die cut pattern for the card front.

If you look at the inset, you can seen the little white flaps I mentioned.

When I started the project I had an idea of the color scheme I would use. But once I had my card front cut and tried matching a fun and vibrant color it quickly became too much. So I looked to my embellishments to help guide the rest of the paper selections.

Butterfly detail.

Combining the backer to the flowers, a polka-dot liner, embellishments and an envelope rounded out the project nicely and made for a cheery card for almost any occasion. I was so happy with the finished card that I was eager to tweak the design by adding a "Thank You" message to the card and get busy creating a set of six. Tied up with a complementary ribbon, they'll make a nice gift. And maybe if I'm lucky, I'll receive one of the cards back in thanks!

Card front.

You need to login to comment.