"Art is my vehicle through life; may we share the ride together." Ron Wickersham

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Working with Intricate Dies

I recently purchased this very intricate pumpkin die from Serendipity Stamps that I love. Isn't it gorgeous? One reason I bought it was I saw samples of it used not only flat, but formed into a 3D shape using multiple cuts.  There was also a sample of a 3D apple using the same die so it's quite versatile.  

However, once I was home and tried cutting it, I got terrible results. I have since learned that there are metal shims sold for Cuttlebugs and Big Shots that are a great solution for getting good results from intricate dies. (That saleslady missed a perfect opportunity for an up-sale!!)

Since I don't have a metal shim, I did some research online and some playing around with my own Cuttlebug and wanted to share my findings with you in case you also don't have one.

First (and best) tip: add a piece of waxed paper between the die and paper you are cutting so all the tiny pieces come out easier and don't get stuck in the die.

 Photo 1 above was done with this sandwich: A plate + C plate + cardstock + waxed paper + die face down + 3 CS scraps for shim + B plate (you can see much was not cut through)

Photo 2 was done with this sandwich: A plate + C plate + cardstock + waxed paper + die face down + B plate + 3 CS scraps (more cut, but not all and it was hard getting most of those pieces out; I thought putting CS scraps on top of B would give flatter surface for cutting through)

Photo 3 was done with this sandwich: A + C + CS + waxed paper + spot-shimmed die face down (see tip below) + B + 3 CS scraps.   EUREKA - cut through with very little poking needed!!!

To spot-shim - add pieces of Scotch tape on backside of die where it's not cutting consistently - see the photo above with tape in the center areas on the back of the die 

Depending on your machine (I used my Cuttlebug) you might have to tape and/or shim with more or less CS. With 3 CS it was pretty hard to crank through mine, but it did cut!

My conclusion is that if you only have one or two intricate dies and don't use them often, try out these ideas for getting better cuts. If, however, you have several dies, use them often, or don't want to spend the time figuring out the perfect shims for each die, I would suggest you buy the metal shim. As soon as I find one, I think I will be getting it!  Hope this information was helpful.


Sugar Lump Studios said...

What a gorgeous pumpkin! I was just looking into investing into a Big Shot last week (decided against the Vagabond because it sounds like the circut/electricity board eventually goes)...anyhow - I didn't buy it...but your post is making me wonder about it again! :) I want to use the medallion and snowflake dies right now...but I am sure there would be others. So should I get the Big Shot?

Linda Manning Findley said...

Susan this is absolutely stunning ... my "Big Shot" will be working over time ....