Die Cutting

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Scrapbooking became popular over ten years ago and with that movement came die cutting machines. In the beginning, they were big and expensive. Today, they are smaller and even digital. Whether you are a seasoned scrapbooker or looking for a new hobby in crafting, here is a helpful guide to die cutting.

Die cutting is the process used to cut a thin flat material into a specific shape or design using a steel cut die. The die is a pattern or form piece that is used to create identical duplicates. This used to be done with a heavy machine and a manual lever. (Think letterpress process.)  The die works like a cookie cutter stamping out designs quickly over different types of materials. Manufacturers use this for making lots of products quickly and for perfect duplication. For less industrial matters, die cutting makes it easy to print out cards or paper crafts with precision and duplication with the press of a button. This also saves time and energy if the design you are wanting is intricate.

There are two types of die cutting machines- manual and digital. Both use dies to cut out patterns, but one is literal and the other digital files. Manual machines work like their predecessors in manufacturing plants, but are smaller for personal use. Digital machines work in a similar way to a printer. Designs are created through your personal computer and sent to the machine to be downloaded using special software.

Before deciding which one is right for you, here are the differences. Manual machines are less expensive initially, but buying each individual die can make it more expensive in the long run. One thing manual machines can do that digital cannot, is emboss paper. This can be a special detail to add to invitations and cards. Manual machines can also cut through a large array of materials using steel rule dies. The top manual machines are Sizzix, Spellbinder’s, and We R Memory. Digital machines are extremely flexible since files can be edited and modified. One advantage over manual is that digital users have around the clock access to online stores. Digital machines are not as portable as manual however and require a power outlet. The top brands for digital machines are Brother, Silhouette Cameo, and Cricut. If you are a diehard scrapbooker and/or crafter, it would be beneficial to invest in both.


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