Getting the most out of your cutting dies

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Getting the most out of your dies by Amy Dodd.

When I’m buying a new craft item - which is more often than I care to admit - I think about how versatile the item is that I’m buying to make sure I will get good use out of it (although if I’m honest, most of the time it makes it to the craft stash because it’s pretty!) With a die for example I try to think about different ways I’ll be able to use it with different materials, colours, and styles so I can keep creating new and interesting projects with just one design. One of my favourite dies I own is the Crafter’s Companion Regal Rose die, and here I want to show you just some of the different projects I have created using it – and there are many other possibilities too!

We hope this will give a little inspiration. So, what are you waiting for? Choose a die of your choice and see what you can create.

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Flower Forming Foam

This is such a fun material to work with, I love how a little heat transforms it from a flat die cut into realistic petal shapes. I’ve made quite an ‘open’ rose shape here and used a little glitter embellishment for the centres. Before I heated the foam, I used a little distress ink on the edges of the petals and leaves to help give a vintage look. I then used my heat gun to shape the petals, and glued them one on top of the other, starting with the largest shape. I used two of each petal shape in the set so I could make a nice full flower shape, but you can vary this to achieve flower shapes. These would be perfect on a card, but I’ve used them to decorate this heart plaque that I’ve cut from 2mm greyboard and covered with patterned paper. A classic rose shape is a timeless addition to any project and one I use time and time again.

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For this project I used the two largest flower shapes in the die set, and the two leaf shapes to create this table card design which could be expanded for a whole event setting – place cards, invitations, seating plans etc. Once I had cut the flower shapes, I used my score board to make line details on the petals and leaves, added a little ‘frosty’ glitter around the edges, and used a pearl embellishment for the centre. The transparency of the material gives a lovely delicate look to the flower and would work beautifully with some little fairy lights on a project with the light shining through them. You could also add a touch of colour to your velum with pen or inks to coordinate with your colour scheme!

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You don’t have to be able to sew for this fabric project! To create this headband design, I used fabric stiffener on a few scraps of fabric in coordinating tonal colours, and allowed them to dry before ironing and die cutting them. Using different elements of the die set I was able to create different sized flowers which I then glued onto a piece of felt before gluing to the headband. I used pearl beads for the flower centres, but you could use any bead or craft flower stamens would be perfect here too. You can create a custom accessory with this technique, why not make a brooch to match your outfit!

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Make it seasonal

The beauty of die cutting is you can create so many different looks simply by changing the colour of your cardstock! I’ve created a festive flower for this card using a deep red card and gold stamens which I’ve mat and layered with coordinating festive papers. You might not think the die you are using would work for a different occasion but sometimes all it takes is changing the colour palette. Take inspiration from the season you’re in, this card could be made with pastels for a pretty springtime card – perfect for easter or Mother’s day, or use oranges, yellows, and reds to create something autumnal – ideal for an October birthday.

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Make it different

For this card I wanted to try and make a whole new flower shape with the die and show how versatile it really is! To make this anemone I’ve used the largest petal shape in the die set which I’ve cut in the petal colour, and then the two smallest petal shapes cut in black cardstock to create the centre (cut two of each die). I’ve shaped the large petals with a ball tool, and to create the centre’s I’ve snipped each petal with a fine pair of scissors a couple of times each and shaped them with a small ball tool so they stand ‘upright’. A little silver or white metallic pen around the edges before this stage helps to create the effect of an anemone centre too. Finally layer them up in size order (largest at the bottom), gluing them in place as you go, and you have a whole new flower shape!

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