3 Cool Tricks You Can Do With Dies - Must-Try Hacks!

Last Updated: June 21, 2023

Ask any crafter, and they'll tell you it's true - no craft room is complete without craft dies! Cutting dies for cardmaking are one of the essential supplies for enchanting projects, and here at Altenew, we just can't get enough of them! From using them as accents to spotlighting them as focal points, there are just so many creative ways to use your beloved dies. 

Explore die cutting techniques with beautiful ornate nesting dies from Altenew!

Double Inspiration with the New Ornate Nesting Dies

There's always something new and exciting to discover, even if you think you've tried it all! In today's blog post, we're diving deep into the realm of cutting dies, exploring the extraordinary ways they can transform your crafts. Maybe you've already tried a few of these nifty tricks, or perhaps you're about to embark on a whole new adventure with dies. Either way, get ready to be inspired and take your crafting to a whole new dimension! So what are you waiting for? Let's get creative!  

1. Create Faux Letterpress Effects With Dies

Don't you just adore the look of letter-pressed designs? Letter-pressed designs have long been admired for their timeless elegance and unique aesthetic. This traditional printing technique involves pressing inked plates into the paper, resulting in a beautifully debossed impression!

Express your love and care with a faux letterpress card using this die!

You Are Loved Die

Most letterpress techniques are used on invitations and greeting cards for special events, such as birthdays, weddings, and parties since they give off a classy and professional look. Letter-pressing elements on your projects add depth and texture, adding a touch of sophistication to any project. While traditional letterpress can be a costly and specialized process since it involves bulky machines and tools, we're here to tell you that you can easily achieve this effect with your good ol' craft dies! 

With the faux letterpress technique, you can achieve stunning debossed effects using your existing die-cutting tools, making it a budget-friendly alternative. All you need are your favorite sentiment dies, die cutting machine, cutting plates, and some cardstock, and you're good to go! 

To start crafting your very own letter-pressed designs, simply follow these steps: 

  1. Align your sentiment or alphabet die onto your cardstock with some low-tack tape. Then, run it through your die cutting machine. This will be your first copy.
  2. Depending on how deep you want the letterpress effect to be, cut at least four more copies of your die.
  3. Once you are satisfied with the number of copies, adhere them all to each other. You will now have a layered die-cut.
  4. Using your layered die-cut from cardstock, you will now use it to create a faux letterpress effect on your card panel. 
  5. Simply treat the layered die-cut as if it was one of your cutting dies, and run it through your die cutting machine.
  6. Because it is made from paper, it won't really cut through your cardstock and, instead, will leave a debossed effect, thanks to the pressure placed by the machine.
  7. If you wish to deepen the effect, you can run it through again or add more layers to your layered die-cut.
  8. Voila! You now have a gorgeous letterpressed design, which you can leave as is or add colors and glitters to. 
PRO TIP: Another way to do this technique is by using an embossing mat together with your sandwich and running it through your embossing machine. The result is a beautifully-debossed design that you can achieve with any of your favorite craft dies! Watch this video by Therese to learn more about this technique.

Add fancy sentiments to your cardmaking designs with this stunning hello die!

Fancy Hello Die

2. Craft Your Very Own Stash of Stencils

Sure, you can layer dies to make letterpressed designs, but what about stencils? Yes - don't throw away your excess die-cuts just yet! Have you ever experienced having a favorite die that you wish also had a coordinating stencil? If the store you bought it from doesn't offer a coordinating stencil for that die, then it's time to take matters into your own hands! 

Watch this fun tutorial by Lydia below to see how this technique plays out:

By simply replicating the layering steps above, you can create your own craft stencils with dies. Of course, you won't need to do a five-layered die cut on cardstock, but if you want your DIY stencil to be durable, it's advisable to use a sturdy piece of acetate or masking paper. 

  1. Secure your die onto some thick acetate or masking paper with low-tack tape.
  2. Then, do your regular die cutting process by running it through your machine.
  3. Keep the cut-outs from the paper as masking stencils, and use the outlined cut as your stencil.
  4. Secure the DIY stencil onto some cardstock, and enjoy ink-blending with your very own stencil!
PRO TIP: For added details, try doodling and outlining the ink-blended imprints from your DIY stencils.

Create stunning die cuts with this eco-friendly zero-waste cover die!

Zero-Waste Leaf Pattern Die

3. Make Special Effects With Partial Die Cutting

Have you ever heard of partial die cutting? Partial die cutting is a paper crafting technique that involves cutting only a portion of your die-cut while the rest remains uncut or partially cut. Unlike traditional die cutting, which completely cuts through your paper or cardstock, partial die cutting allows for more creative and unique effects.

Did you know? Altenew offers a special class on Partial Die Cutting!
  1. To do this, you need to position the cutting edge of the die partially onto the paper or cardstock. This can be done by using removable tape to secure the die in place or by adjusting the placement within a die-cutting machine. 
  2. Then, create a sandwich in which the top cutting plate would only cover the part where you want it to be cut. This ensures that the desired area stays uncut because there would be no pressure on the parts uncovered by your top cutting plate. 
  3. Run it through your machine as you normally would, and ta-da! The result is a design that appears partially cut or "partially popped out" from your cardstock or paper.

Learn how dies are used for in cardmaking at the Altenew Blog - where inspiration is always anew!

Cherry Blossoms Bunch

This technique offers so many fun possibilities! Imagine creating peek-a-boo windows on cards that reveal a secret message or a cute image. Or how about showcasing an image or sentiment that remains spotlighted while the surrounding area is cut away? Whatever design you choose, partial die cutting is a fantastic way to make your designs pop and stand out.

If you want another fantastic idea on how to use your cutting dies for cardmaking, check out Lydia’s video below: 

Explore the Wonders of Dies Using These Creative Tips! 

So how about it? Are you going to try any of these techniques soon? By experimenting with these must-try hacks, you'll unlock a whole new realm of creative possibilities. Let your imagination run wild as you combine these die cutting tricks with your favorite mediums, stamps, and embellishments. Explore different themes, mix and match patterns, and create projects that truly reflect your unique style!

Find the best cutting dies for cardmaking here at Altenew!

June 2023 Stamps, Dies, Stencils, and More Release

We hope this blog inspires you to push the boundaries of what you can do with your dies. Feel free to share your creations with us; we'd love to see how you've incorporated these hacks into your projects! As always, drop by the Altenew Blog for more crafty inspiration to "die" for! 

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