How to Use Dies for Impressive Cardmaking

Last Updated: October 26, 2022

Do you want to know the secret to an impressive and one-of-a-kind card? You may have guessed it from the title already, but the answer lies in dies!

This gorgeous and realistic-looking magnolia die pops off the card!

Die Cutting 101: An Ultimate Guide to Dies and Die Cutting

Many crafters enjoy using dies to create beautiful and unique cards. You can use dies to create remarkable effects on your cards. They are easy to use, fun to color, and can be paired with many other cardmaking materials - embossing folders, stencils, hot foil plates, stamps, and more!

In this blog post, we'll show you how to use them differently - as embellishments, accents, or even focal points for your cards! We'll also provide tips on how to make the most of your dies for cardmaking projects. Let's get started!

What Are Dies and How Are They Used in Card Making?

Dies are paper crafting tools that can be used for various purposes, including cutting, embossing, and stenciling. Dies in cardmaking are often used alongside die-cutting machines to create die-cut shapes that can be employed as embellishments. Dies come in a wide range of sizes and styles, and you can use them with various paper crafting materials

Experience a different type of magic in your cards with 3D dies!

Mini 3D Stars Die Set

There are many types of dies on the market. Some of them are classified as layered dies, cover dies, 3D dies, alphabet dies, and stand-alone dies. 

Layered dies are dies that you can use to create multi-dimensional designs. They typically have two or three layers that can be stacked on top of each other to create a unique look. 

Fun fact! Altenew is known for gorgeous layering dies - especially our floral ones! Don't take our word for it, though. See for yourself!

On the other hand, cover dies are often larger than different types of dies and can be used to create stunning backgrounds, mattes, or even focal points for paper craft projects. 3D dies are precisely what the name suggests. You use these dies to create 3D die-cuts with guidelines on where to cut and score. The result of folding and scoring them is a gorgeous 3D image that pops off your cards! 

Meanwhile, alphabet dies are perfect for creating custom sentiments for cards, scrapbook pages, and more. They make it quick and easy to add letters to any project and give you the freedom to create any message you want.

Customize your cards, scrapbooks, and paper crafting projects with alphabet dies!

Mega Alpha & Number Die Bundle

Stand-alone dies are dies that you can use as accents and embellishments on their own, or with other paper crafting materials, making them fabulous for all levels of crafters, from beginners to experts. 

How to Use a Die-Cutting Machine

Die-cutting machines are a paper crafter's best friend! They make it quick and easy to create beautiful paper projects with dies. 

  • To use a die-cutting machine, simply place a piece of cardstock (or any material you wish) onto the cutting plate. 
  • Then add the die, place the other cutting mat on top and run it through the machine. 
  • The blade will cut through the paper, creating a perfect shape every time. 

The instructions vary from machine to machine, so make sure to check the fine print that comes with your device! 

Die-cutting machines are available in various sizes and price ranges, so you can find the one that fits your needs and budget. With a bit of practice, you'll be able to add die-cut embellishments to all your paper craft projects!

Project Inspirations for Using Dies in Card Making

There are many project looks you can do with dies. From using them with other paper crafting materials or coloring mediums, the creative possibilities are endless! Get crafting and see what you can come up with! 

1. Make Elegant Die-Cuts With Hot Foil Plates

If you really wanna upgrade your dies, try using hot foil plates with them! The shimmering effect of foil, along with your stamps and inks, will really make your projects stand out. 

This exquisite die set is best paired with its coordinating hot foil plate - making your projects shine bright!

Sunburst Doily Hot Foil Plate & Die Set

2. Explore Colorful Die Ideas With Cardstock

Did you know you can use cardstock and scrapbook paper to create stunning dies in paper crafting? If you don’t want to color your dies, try experimenting with different-colored papers instead! 

An awe-worthy butterfly card featuring a monochromatic pink look!

Swallowtail Butterfly Die Set

This stunning die was cut from a golden cardstock, making it look shimmery!

Layered Blossom Cover Die A

3. Add Gorgeous Textures With Cover Dies

Sometimes, all you need is a lovely focal point and a striking background texture for your cards. Make wow-worthy cards with the amazing effects of cover dies

Create subtle textures for your cards and give them an elegant minimalist look!

Dotted Lines Debossing Cover Die

4. Pair Your Dies With Stunning Embellishments

Embellishments really pair well with dies, as they can amplify the look of your card. Try looking at the projects below and see how the embellishments made the dies shine.

Upgrade your dies by pairing them with embellishments like washi tape!

Watercolor Halftone Die Set

This special card features die cut trees in pastel colors - a unique combination for a holiday card!

Tree Mix Die Set

5. Use Stencils for More Realistic and Easier Coloring

When coloring your dies, stencils make it easier to know where the highlight and shadow parts of the image are. This is a nifty technique especially if you want a more realistic look!

Level up Your Cardmaking With Fun Dies!

So, what are you waiting for? Start browsing through our selection of dies and find more ways to add unique touches to your card projects! We hope you enjoyed this blog post and that it inspired you to try some new die-cutting techniques!

If you’re looking for more inspiration, be sure to check out our All About Crafting blog at Altenew. There, you can find tons of tutorials, blog hops, and more project inspirations to get your creative juices flowing! 

Now that we’ve shown you some crafty ways to use dies, what will YOU create today? Leave a comment below! 


  • Altenew

    Oh yes! The swallowtail butterfly is a thing of beauty! Thanks for stopping by, Traci. Hope this inspired you to create something today!

  • Traci Starkweather

    Great ideas! I esoecially LOVE the pink swallowtail butterfly!

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