Die Cutting Machines
In order to perform die cutting you will need a die cutting machine. The two main types of die cutting machine are manual and digital.
Manual: With a manual die cutting machine you place your die (dies are a little bit like cookie cutters) and piece of paper between two pieces of plastic cutting pads. You then place the die sandwich in to the machine and use the handle on the side to roll it through (a bit like an old fashioned washing mangle). The pressure of the die between the plates will cut the shape out of the paper.
Digital: For a digital die cutting you will need to buy shape cartridges. You insert the cartridge into the machine along with paper and the machine cuts the shape out for you in a few seconds. Digital die cutters tend to be more expensive than manual die cutters.
There are a number of craft companies out there who manufacture die cutting machines. Some of the most popular are:
Different Types of Dies
Dies come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. You have relatively simple squares, circles and flowers right through to gift box templates and alphabets. As I mentioned before they are a little bit like cookie cutters only not as thick. Dies are normally made from steel and have a fairly sharp cutting edge. Some dies will come on a square block and have padding around them to protect you from the sharp edges. When this type of die goes through the machine the padding is simply pushed down by the pressure and the die exposed for cutting. Other more modern dies tend to be a lot thinner and come without the padding. Whereas with older dies you would tend to get one bulky die per pack a lot of these modern dies are described as ‘nesting’. This is where you get multiple dies of the same shape but different sizes and they sit inside of each other when stored.