Disclosure: This post and the photos and video within it may contain Amazon or other affiliate links. If you purchase something through these links, I may receive a small commission at no additional charge to you. The die sets used in this post were provided by Spellbinders Paper Arts in exchange for design work. Thank you!
Do you love the look of intricate dies, but struggle to get them cut and assembled easily and quickly? I’m sharing my best intricate die cutting tips to take the frustration out of the process and make these dies more fun to work with.
Use adhesive sheets
Attaching a thin adhesive sheet to your card stock before die cutting can make it much simpler to glue to die cut to your project or to the other parts when assembling a larger image. My favorite is Stick It Adhesive Sheets.
Use clear glue
If you do not have access to adhesive sheets then the next best adhesive is a glue with a fine tip that dries clear. These intricate die cuts will definitely see some glue leaking out the sides so a clear drying glue is essential. I love Bearly Art Glue.
Use thinner card stock
Thinner card stock will cut more easily so when it makes sense opt for a thinner card stock. For example, when I cut the words from the Tinsel Time Sentiments, I used a thinner card stock because I was putting them on a shadow die cut which would make them sturdier. So I cut the less intricate shadow out of a thicker cardstock.
Run your die and card stock through your die cut machine twice without moving the die on the card stock. I do suggest shifting the placement of the card stock and die on the plate though. Over time plates can develop warping that means some areas receive more pressure than others so it is helpful to try cutting your die on two parts of the plate.
Tape small dies together
Often the dies in an intricate set are quite small. Spellbinders made it easier by attaching some of the small piece permanently in the same die but if you are cutting several small dies out of the same color of card stock for your project I suggest that you tape them together so there is less shifting and you can move them altogether if you’re making ore than one cut.
Add a shim
If you’re having trouble with the pressure of your machine you can try adding a shim. It is important to be very careful in this instance. I always suggest following manufacturer’s instructions and any modifications are at your own risk. But sometimes a thin layer of card stock on top of your pate can add just a bit more pressure and make your cuts more complete.
Use a tool to remove negative bits
When dealing with lots of little cuts and pieces it can be helpful to have a tool that will help you remove any negative bits in the die cut such as the middle of a letter. Jewel picker tools, like this one from Trinity Stamps, often have a blunt end that works well. But the Spellbinders Tool N One is great for removing small individual bits or lots of little bits at once from a background die.
Find an example to reference
Spellbinders does an excellent job of providing a beautiful reference photo on their packaging for dies with many pieces to assemble. I definitely appreciate that because sometimes I’m not sure where all the little bits are supposed to go. The Spellbinders Holiday Express die is gorgeous, but I am no train expert so a reference picture really helped me out.
Intricate Die Cutting Tips Wrap Up
If you love beautiful intricate dies but just don’t use them as often as you would like I really hope these tips will help you and that you will give yourself permission to splurge on some adhesive sheets or a Tool N One if that will make your crafting more enjoyable.