Use a Die-Cut Machine to Design Like a Pro
A custom cutting device for your DIY projects.
A die is made of metal that’s been customized to different shapes. A die-cut machine uses dies to create patterns with precise, perfect outlines out of everything from paper to leather. Plates in these devices apply pressure to the die and push it through the material, cutting it into the desired shape. You can use die-cut machines for a wide variety of projects, including creating stickers, decals, cards, fabric and leather shapes, and foam designs.
Dies are arranged in thin metal shapes with one raised side that should be facing the material you want to cut. After attaching a die to the material, you put it between two cutting plates, making a die-cutting sandwich, which you roll through the die-cut machine. When you remove it, the material will be cut in the shape of the die.
Manual die-cut machines require the turning of a roller to move the die-cutting sandwich through the process. They are able to cut multiple layers at once, but they require a different die for each shape. If you have a big project and would rather not wear out your arm, you can use a digital die-cut machine to do the hard work for you. They work in tandem with a computer, and although they can’t simultaneously cut as many pieces of material, you can also use them to draw, etch and engrave.
Die-cut machines designed for paperwork might not function correctly with thicker old-school dies. You’ll need a die-cut machine that is designed to handle thicker dies, and these can also cut through cork, felt and fabric. Despite the name, die-cut machines aren’t just for cutting. You can also use them for embossing and debossing.