Well, my idea had been to do a Sunday-someplace-else post, and collect up all the blogs and sites that had info and pointers about cutting the new Spellbinder Die D-lites. But I went through 6 pages of Google results and the only blog that had any actual info (ie was not a retail site) was my own. DOH! Not what I had planned. I acknowledge this could be the Google “filter bubble” in effect, with it highlighting my OWN blog because it is me doing the searching, but hey, ho, nothing I can do about that except travel away from my ISP and try again. No time to do THAT, but I may ask DH to do so from his computer at the office and see what happens. Which left me with a bit of a dilemma as to what to do to for my post. I missed out yesterday as I was at a crop (three layouts so woo hoo! Great warm-up for the UKS Cyber crop) and hate to miss a day out – the thin edge of the wedge and all that- so I decided I would just wrap up with my best tips for these dies.
One caveat – I have a Grand Calibur. When my original one broke and I got no help out of Spellbinders on getting it fixed (and I am not going to re-hash that AGAIN) I swore I would not get another one. But to be honest C&C had a great deal on it and I caved in. While the Cheery Lynn folk make a metal shim for the CuttleBug (called the CuttleHUG) and a plate for the Big Shot, they clearly say this stainless steel cutting helper is specifically NOT recommended for the GC. Grr. So I came up with my own solution – and I am well aware that not everyone has access to the resources I do (ie DH’s mate who is a metal worker) but I do have a sort-of replacement idea for that.
1. Get some dryer sheets (like BOUNCE) and rub this HARD over the cardstock you want to cut.
Now, my helpful commenter Julia said she used these and scrubbed HARD on the die, and on the card. I’ve now had time to experiment with it, and I find I get very good result FOR RELEASING THE CARD FROM THE DIE just by scrubbing over the card. This doe not help with the CUTTING, per se, just getting the cut card out of the die without ripping it. (Ignore the fact you see Baby Wipes in the shot – DRYER SHEETS is what you want, honest!)
As an alternative you can add waxed paper between the die and the card, every time you cut. The waxed paper die-cut is very pretty and it does help with the release.
2. Get a metal shim of some kind.
If you are using a Cuttlebug or a Big shot, get the shim. Honestly. It really helps with the CUTTING.
For my GC I got DH’s mate to cut a chunk of thin stainless steel, a scrap, to fit the plate (not exactly, but it was a scrap) then smooth the edges so they weren’t lethally sharp. I took my plates in to his workshop so I could match the thickness of the plates as best I could. I erred on the side of caution, so I use the metal shim + embossing plate UNDER the die (cutting edge towards the plate) and add a cardstock shim if I need to. Mostly I don’t.
IF you have a Grand Calibur, and IF do not have access to a metalworking mate, try getting a piece of craft metal. I used thick, yet still pliable, Art Emboss metal. Mine says MEDIUM on the tube, but honestly I have had this stuff for 10+ years and I have NO IDEA if it actually is medium or if it just got stored in the packaging. It is the thickness of a piece of reasonable weight cardstock (say maybe 190 gsm) and works pretty well as a substitute for the stainless steel plate. Mine is well marked, you can see, but that has not made a difference to the cutting. This is thin enough that you should not damage your machine, but as ever, with this sort of “non-official” advice, if you start rolling the cutting sandwich through and your machine protests in ANY WAY, stop. Frankly, this is thinner than one of the metal embossing plates, which they do say can be used in the GC, so I cannot imagine it would be a problem, but be cautious anyway.
3. Place the die at the side of the cutting plate.
I see in many places comments that the middle of the plate is actually the area of the plate where the pressure from the rollers is the least, making it not the best place for the best cut. I often try the middle first (and some dies cut fine there) then remove the outside bit and shift the die to the sides for a 2nd pass. That almost always does the trick.
And now, just to show a sample of last week’s technique again:
I cut the pretty die-cut from yellow cardstock. With the Bounce/Metal Plate/Side of plate it cut like a dream and just fell out of the die. Then I EMBOSSED ONLY the same die – used fairly thin scrapbooking paper, and added a scrap of cardstock between the paper and the die so the embossing wouldn’t tear the paper. Then I trimmed away all but the bits I wanted to highlight – I wanted only the big negative-space areas, the ones that were quite “puffy.”
I placed the embossed bit behind the die-cut and….
I really, really like the fact the backing bit is puffed up – it just does not look the same as backing the die with flat paper or card. I think it COULD look very cool if you were to emboss, say, at the edge of a card, then simply add the die-cut over it, and will certainly experiment with that, but at this point I feel like I have done all the experimenting I need to on getting a good cut, have a process that works for me (and some tips that might help others) so I am moving on….