Metal craft dies are like templates used in crafting to cut out specific, often ornate, designs. Craft dies are a fun and versatile tool to use in crafting and are a great way to spice up your scrapbook pages! When using crafting dies, there are a few tools you need first.
How to Use Dies for Crafting and Necessary Supplies:
- First off, craft dies can’t be used without a die-cutting machine! Altenew’s Mini Blossom Die Cutting Machine is the perfect accessory to use with your dies. It's not big or bulky so it fits neatly on your desk space. And with a 3” x 6” sized cutting space, it works with most dies. It also comes with 2 die-cutting plates which are absolutely necessary for using with your dies. It works by sandwiching the sharp edge of your dies against your paper, and with the pressure from the machine, creates clean cuts without much fuss.
- Once you have your die-cuts, you're going to need to adhere them somehow! Using any adhesive you have on hand is perfectly fine, but we recommend using a low-moisture adhesive to prevent your papers from buckling or wrinkling, so try and skip the kraft glue! Your best options are glue tape (Try Altenew’s Glue Tape), which are low-moisture and invisible, so you won't see any messy residue peeking out from behind your die-cuts.
Tip: When creating floating layers, you can raise die-cuts off the surface of your page by using double-sided mounting tape.
5 Different Ways to Scrapbook with Dies
1. 3D layouts
When it comes to creating a scrapbooking page, it’s often a temptation to avoid creating too many layers or a full and bulky page. Mixed Media Design Team member Nathalie has definitely found a great balance between several layers and a subtle and detailed design using the Mix & Match Mariposa Die Set. Our favorite feature of this scrapbook layout is that the huge amount of butterfly die-cuts not only replicate a “kaleidoscope” of butterflies (that's what they call a group of butterflies! How sweet!), but they form into the shape of a heart!
When it comes to large format scrapbook pages, cover dies are a great way to create space-filling panels. Nathalie balances huge pops of patterns, layers, and plenty of open space to allow the page to breathe. The Dainty Blooms Cover Die is used with white cardstock, and when used against the gray background, creates a very subtle ‘pop’. Another really genius feature of this layout is that the floral elements of the Dainty Blooms Cover Die have been filled in using negative die-cuts from a 6x6 patterned paper pad set (the Fuchsia Soiree 6x6 Paper Pack, in this case). Rather than leave that particular element to meld with the white, gold, and grays of the palette, the addition of a textured color is just dynamite!
3. Using Alphabet Dies
Alphabet craft die sets are a great way to add your own bold sentiments to a page. This particular layout utilizes both positive and negative die-cuts. Why waste when nearly all elements from a die-cut can be utilized! Something important to note when using the alphabet dies is that it's important to take your time when arranging the letters and measure and pre-plan your layout as much as you can before cutting out your dies or affixing them to your page. Unless that's a design element you’re going for, there's nothing more frustrating than stepping back from your craft and realizing that your sentiments are all misaligned.
Altenew is known for its layered floral stamp sets, but do you know about our layered floral die sets? They're a great way to raise every element of a floral design with crisp cardstock elements and affix anywhere on your crafts.
If you’re unfamiliar with 3D dies, the Fantasy Floral 3D Die Set is a great place to start. This set contains only 6 separate dies, whereas other 3D floral die sets can contain upwards of 20 separate dies! This particular layout also utilizes another great element to pair with crafting dies - washi tape. The difference between the pairing of layers from the die-cuts and the washi tape pattern creates a full but not too busy, simple but by no means basic layout that looks fantastic.
A more advanced 3D floral die set would be the Garden Picks 3D Die Set. This set contains 22 separate dies, which can seem like a lot to keep track of! A great tip to help keep track of everything is to hold onto the insert card that comes with the set, this contains a diagram guiding you to each die! Designer Audrey Yeager has a video on our Youtube Channel chock full of helpful tips to help guide you through using 3D floral dies on your scrapbook pages!
Stand-alone dies is a term used to refer to dies that aren't part of a corresponding stamp set. While there’s plenty of uses for stand-alone dies, what about coordinating stamp and die sets? It's a big YES! They definitely have a place in creating scrapbook pages. Coordinating layered stamps and then cutting out the designs using their matching dies is a great way to add layers and detailed floating elements. A great example is the Build-A-Flower sets, which are stamp sets to create full blooms paired with matching die sets. Check out this layout using the Build-A-Flower: Begonia to create these full and gorgeous flowers framing the page.
Other types of dies for scrapbooking:
Here are a few other dies you can use in scrapbooking!
Stand-Alone Sentiments: Singular dies that express a sentiment and are an easy way to add to your page without the hassle of coordinating individual alphabet dies. For example, the Hang in There Stand Alone Die
String Art Dies: Stand-alone dies that create templates for you to sew decorative threads through your pages. These are a somewhat uncommon style of dies but Altenew has a select collection to choose from. Take a look at our String Art Die Bundle.
Pop-out Dies: These dies, rather than cutting out a whole image, only partially cut an image creating a three-dimensional ‘pop-out’ element! The Star Flowers Pop-up Die is a great way to add a subtle three-dimensional element to your crafts!
Craft Dies are a great tool to keep in your arsenal and are a perfectly versatile and exciting way to beef up your scrapbooking pages and designs. There’s an infinite number of ways they can be used and combined, and we hope this inspires you to make your own gorgeous creations with metal craft dies.