Whether you're new to die cutting, need some clarification, or have a specific question in the realm of die cutting, we're here to provide you with some answers!
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What is die cutting?
Die cutting is a broad term, but in crafting, the act of die cutting refers to a process in which you use a machine to mass-produce cut-out shapes. You can create the same shape, with the exact same dimensions, over and over without using scissors, stencils, or a craft knife. It saves time and makes your cut-out shapes look professional and consistent every time.
What is a die cutting machine?
Die cutting machines or card making machines are machines that cut shapes out of paper, chipboard (like cardboard but thicker and more dense), fabric and other materials. Most people who die cut regularly have personal die cutting machines that are about the size of a small toaster oven. These machines can sit on top of your crafting table or work space or can be stored in a small area and brought out when needed. There are even tiny tabletop versions like the Sidekick or Mini Evolution, and compact folding versions like the Sizzix Big Shot Foldaway.
Just like any other appliance or tool, there are a variety of brands of die cutting machines, and each differs slightly from the other. You can also check out this resource for die-cutting machines. It will give you an overview of different styles so you can choose the right machine for your needs.
What is a manual die cutting machine?
Manual die cutting machines are operated with an easy-to-turn crank or lever and use specialized metal shapes to cut paper and other materials. Sometimes these machines will also have a powered component that will help operate the machine with electricity. As the material and metal die pass through the machine's rollers, it applies pressure and the die cuts the paper or other material into the shape of the die.
The most popular manual machines are made by Sizzix, We R Memory Keepers, and Spellbinders.
What is a digital die cutting machine?
Digital die cutting machines are powered by electricity and are controlled by computer software or cartridges. Digital cutters do not require steel dies because they have a blade inside the machine that cuts the paper or other materials. You can select the shape you want to create via a software program on your computer, phone, tablet, or a specialized cartridge for the machine.
The most popular digital die cutting machines are made by Silhouette and ProvoCraft's Cricut. Digital die cutters look like consumer printers and connect to your machine through a USB port or Bluetooth technology, similar to a printer or other accessory. You can purchase digital files you want the machine to cut out or cartridges with pre-loaded images on them!