A die-cutting machine can be quite daunting if you’re new to the process, and it’s hard to know quite where to start. Intricate dies present even more of a challenge, and may need a little more tweaking to get the desired results.

Intricate Die-cutting: Step-By-Step Guide

1. Create your sandwich following the manufacturer’s instructions. It may also help to use low-tack tape or Washi tape to keep the die in place.

2. Run the sandwich through your die-cutting machine.      

3. Take out and rotate the die to ensure that it cuts through the cardstock completely.

4. If you can see that the die still hasn’t cut all the way through, run it through your machine again. You may need to add a shim (a piece of cardstock) or two. Alternatively, you can buy a metal adapter plate for some machines that helps to get the right pressure.

5. When your die is cut out it will look like this.

6. Carefully remove the die-cut shape from the die using a pokey tool. If you don’t have one you can make one by carefully pushing the eye end of a fine needle into a cork and securing it with glue.

7. Remove the negative space from the die-cut using a pokey tool.

Top Tip -

Sticking intricate die-cuts to your projects can be tricky, but you can use a glue pen, spray adhesive or white glue, or even glue taken from a glue stick and applied using a cocktail stick. You could also try adding double-sided tape or adhesive sheets to your cardstock before cutting.

Insider Tricks -

“I have a strip of self-adhesive tape magnetic tape on top of all my die cutting machines when using small dies just pop them on and you won’t lose them on your desk” – Eleanor Shillan

“I’m one of those people who has lost dies by throwing them out with the waste! I bought a cheap magnetic knife block to pop dies on until I am ready to put them away. Works a treat!” – Dawn Robinson

If you prefer to watch and learn then check out this die-cutting tips video!

Feeling more confident with the technique now? Have a go at these beautiful projects to apply your newly learnt skills and see if you can master intricate die-cuts!

Here's a very festive example, with a fragile intricate background, be careful to watch out for rips or tears! View the project - HERE

This card is sure to impress! Mix up the sentiment to suit the occasion and layer up those die-cuts for a professional, contemporary feel - View the project HERE

Getting the detailing in those pesky butterfly wings can be tricky but with the tips and tricks you've learnt here you should be able to achieve a beautiful finish - View HERE