Do you have cutting dies in your stash that you simply avoid using because they just don't cut perfectly, no matter how many times you run them through your die-cutting machine? Whether you're using a Big Shot or any other manual or electric machine, the struggle with intricate dies is a common crafting dilemma. In this blog post, we'll explore tips and tricks as well as some additional insights, to help you achieve a perfect cut every time.

Understanding the Challenge with Intricate Dies

Intricate dies pose a unique challenge due to their fine cutting edges. The design, with closely spaced details, makes it difficult to achieve an even cut across the entire surface. The manufacturing process demands precision in aligning all cutting blades at the same height to avoid uneven pressure during the cutting process.

Tip 1: Optimal Pressure Distribution

Our first tip is about minimizing pressure on the die at any given time. Using the analogy of a car going over a speed bump, spreading the pressure evenly across the die is crucial. Placing the die in a way that allows the rollers to apply maximum pressure to smaller sections at a time can significantly improve the cutting power of your machine.

Tip 2: Direction and Orientation Matter

Changing the direction and orientation of the die in your machine can make a substantial difference. By placing the die so that the rollers apply pressure to smaller areas at a time, and by turning the paper over the die, you concentrate the pressure, resulting in a cleaner cut. In our YouTube video, we used a piece of 250 GSM cardstock for this technique.

Tip 3: Dealing with Ghosting

Ghosting, the term used for areas that don't quite cut through, might still occur despite your best efforts. We suggest to use a shim, a piece of cardstock, over or under the problematic area. This additional layer of material helps concentrate the pressure and ensures that even the most intricate details get a clean cut.

Consider Your Cardstock

It is important to choose the right cardstock for intricate dies. While weight is a factor, the texture of the cardstock also plays a significant role. Textured cardstock, with looser fibers, tends to cut more efficiently than smooth, tightly compacted cardstock. Lou showcases the difference by using a textured cardstock with the same weight as a smooth one.

By incorporating these tips into your die-cutting process, you can breathe new life into those intricate dies that have been sitting in your stash. Don't let the challenges discourage you—experiment with different orientations, pressures, and cardstock types to find the perfect combination for flawless die-cutting results. If you found these tips helpful, make sure to check out our YouTube channel. Happy crafting!

Watch the full video tutorial here: