Cuttlebug Die Cutting Part 2

Last week I showed you the basics of die cutting Cuttlebug brand shape dies in the Cuttlebug machine. (If you want to learn the Basics of Embossing with the Cuttlebug, click the link.) It's super simple once you learn the order of the plates. A lot of the dies that you run into these days though are not as simple as those shape dies. So today we'll go through how to die cut with metal plate style dies.

As seen in the top photo, the sandwich is the same for the plate dies as with the shape dies (from the bottom): A spacer plate, B plate, your die, paper, C plate. With these plate dies, though, you often won't get a crisp cut on the first trip through the machine. You'll need to run it back and forth in the machine a couple times to get the cut above, which did not completely cut through the middle of the tree.

So after the first trip through, turn the die and put a piece of paper under the die as a shim to improve the cut. Run it through the machine again, cranking forward and backward to try to get good coverage. If it's still not cut all the way through, you can add a second piece of paper under the die.

When you can see the outline of the die clearly, then you can remove the cut paper.

This is where it gets to be a bit of a pain. See all of those little holes on the back side of the plate? Use a toothpick or stylus to start poking the paper out of the die. This one was very thin intricate cut, so I had to poke pretty much every hole to get it out of the die.

So how can we make that process of getting the paper out of the die a bit easier? Well I heard about a trick that helps by using wax paper with your dies, so I thought I'd give a try.

Cut a piece of wax paper the size of your die and place it between the die and the paper in your plate sandwich. Then run it through the machine cranking it back and forth just like before.

This die gets a better cut the first time than the tree--that coupled with the added thickness of the wax paper and the die cut perfectly on its first trip through. Then I used the toothpick to pop the top butterfly loose from the holes on the back, and I was able to peel the whole piece of paper out of the die without having to poke all the holes--it was like magic!

So then I thought, well, what if I want to do another piece of paper--do I need to poke out the leftover pieces of paper and use another piece of wax paper? I needed to use a piece of cardstock as a shim to get a good cut, but the second time through without cleaning the die worked fine for this die.

I decided to press my luck, but the 3rd trip through, even with two paper shims, didn't quite cut the die completely, but it did come out of the die easily still.

When I was done, I poked the excess paper out and even had a nice cut out in wax paper that looked a little like vellum. I'd give this tip a giant thumbs up!

Of course if you notice a waxy build up, you'll want to clean off your die with some warm water and a brush, but I'd say it's worth a shot if you have a very intricate die that paper doesn't want to come free from.

If you have a die like this that also has open areas of embossing, they get run through the machine a second time before you pull the paper off the die, but the second time with an embossing mat and the other B plate instead of the C plate. When I get some dies that have embossed areas, I'll share a tutorial of that process too.


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