3D Elements for Cards With Die-Cuts

How to Create 3D Elements for Cards With Die-Cuts

If you are a beginner cardmaker thinking of ways to make your cards look more professional, then we have an answer for you: die cutting! Die cutting is one of the essential paper crafting techniques that you will need to learn and pick up along your journey to stunning projects. 

Die-cutting can transform ordinary paper into one-of-a-kind cards that will wow anyone. With a few simple steps and techniques, you can create incredible 3D elements for your cards that will take them from flat and boring to dynamic showstoppers. All you need are a few die cutting supplies, your favorite coloring medium, cardstock, and some creativity – you’ll be good to go! 

Die-cutting is an accessible activity even for beginner cardmakers. Still trying to figure out where to start? Keep reading if you’re interested in learning how to use die-cutting to elevate your cardmaking projects!

What Is Die Cutting in Cardmaking?

Die cutting is a process of cutting out shapes from a piece of paper using dies. Think of it this way: if you are a baker, you create shapes on your dough using a cookie cutter. In cardmaking, the cookie cutters are your dies, and the dough is your paper. In short, die cutting involves creating intricate shapes, patterns, and letters you use as embellishments and focal points for your cards. 

There are different ways that you can die cut. You can manually cut them using die-cutting machines that come with a crank or do automation with digital cutting machines operated by computer software, such as Cricuts. The type of die cutting done with electronic devices is connected to the computer, where you can select your die cut’s design, size, and orientation.

If you’re a beginner, using a manual die cutting machine is easier to learn. It would be more convenient and budget-friendly, especially since you’re just starting to explore the wonderful world of die cutting. 

What Materials Do I Need to Start Die Cutting as a Beginner?

Die cutting is a fun and creative technique that crafters of all levels can enjoy. If you’re just getting started with die cutting, there are a few essential materials that you’ll need to have on hand. Here’s a list of some of the most important things you’ll need:

  1. A die cutting machine: This is an essential piece of equipment for die cutting. There are many different die cutting machines available on the market, so you’ll need to choose one that best suits your needs and budget. We recommend using a Mini Blossom Die Cutting Machine because it’s the perfect go-to machine for beginners.
  2. Dies: These are the metal or plastic shapes you’ll use to cut your paper or other materials. There are many different dies available, so you’ll have plenty of options to choose from. Start with a basic set of dies that includes shapes like circles, squares, and rectangles, as well as dies with shapes like flowers, lace, and foliage.
  3. Cutting plates: You’ll use these plates to sandwich your dies and paper or other materials. These cutting plates will help put pressure on your dies so they can cut through your paper.
  4. Cardstock or other materials: You’ll need something to cut with your dies. Cardstock is a popular choice for die cutting, as it is sturdy and easy to use. You can also use other materials such as paper, fabric, leather, and more, depending on the type of materials that your die cutting machine can work with.
  5. Adhesives: You will need adhesives to attach your die-cut shapes to your card panel. Some popular adhesives for die cutting include double-sided tape, glue tape, and craft glue.
  6. Additional tools: Depending on the type of die cutting you’re doing, you may need other tools, such as metal shims, which will put additional pressure on your dies other than the cutting plates. Metal shims are needed if you want precise and clean cuts with intricate dies that have smaller pieces.

Once you have all these materials, you’ll be ready to start die cutting! Always remember to check the instructions and guidelines of the manufacturer of your die cutting machine and dies, as they might have some specific recommendations.

How Do I Start Die-Cutting as a Beginner? 

The instructions and the type of sandwich you make with your dies depend on your machine’s manufacturer. However, to start die cutting, you have to make a sandwich with your plates and dies first. When you look at your dies, your dies have a side with a sharp edge. This will be the side that faces the paper, as it will cut through it. 

  1. Follow the instructions for your specific die cutting machine to set it up and get it ready to use.
  2. Place the dies on your paper. You can use some low-tack tape to secure the position of the dies on your paper and ensure that it doesn’t move even while cutting.
  3. Place the paper on your bottom cutting plate. This is your base cutting plate.
  4. Next, put the top cutting plate on top of the paper. So your sandwich should follow this format: base cutting plate > paper > dies> top cutting plate. 
  5. OPTIONAL: If you want to use shims, you insert them on top of the dies before you put the top cutting plate: base cutting plate > paper > dies > metal shims > top cutting plate.
  6. Turn on your die cutting machine and run it through the materials. You should now have perfect cuts of the shape or design you chose.

How Can I Use My Die-Cuts to Add Dimension to Cards?

Once you have your die-cuts, you can now add dimension and interest to your cards easily! Here are a few ideas on how to use your die-cuts for cardmaking:


You can use multiple die-cuts to create a layered effect. This technique is perfect for sentiments, for example, to give them depth and make them stand out on your card.

Pop-up Elements

You can use layering die-cuts to create pop-up elements on your cards. For example, you can create a 3D pop-up flower by die-cutting multiple layers of petals and then attaching them to a central stem. The petals are propped up when you assemble them, giving the illusion of a three-dimensional flower. For best results, use different shades of cardstock or different colored papers to create the illusion of depth.

Shaker Cards

You can use die-cuts to create shaker cards. Do this by using a circle die to cut out a window on your paper and attach it to some acetate.

Embellishments, Frames, and Backgrounds

You can use die-cuts as embellishments and accents with other elements of your card. Use frame dies or even use cover dies to make backgrounds. Moreover, with die-cuts, you can also make scenes with different themes – the possibilities are endless! 

Explore Adding Beautiful Elements to Your Cards With Dies! 

Die cutting is an excellent option if you’re looking for a way to add some extra flair and dimension to your projects. With die-cuts, you can easily create unique cards that are sure to impress. 
So what are you waiting for? Get creative and start your die cutting today! For more cardmaking tips and inspiration, be sure to check out our other blog articles, such as how to emboss, how to pick the perfect color palette, and more!

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