Sunday 28 August 2016

Going 3 D with Die Cutting!

         Hi friends, Dr Sonia here with Technique Tutorials on something I loooove - Dies!!!
 I am often asked about what are the basic "to buy" dies! Apart from what most crafters are attracted to like flowers,leaves, butterflies,  alphas set etc ....a Nesting die set is absolutely essential!!
         One of the most popular type of nesting dies are the  Spellbinders Labels series....Spellbinders have a huge number of nesting dies in basic shapes in the Labels series and if you buy die sets with the same number...they will match perfectly! eg the Spellbinders Labels 8 works perfectly with the Spellbinders Decorative Labels 8

Here are some of the fun things you can create with  any Nesting type of die set
  • create layers on card
  • create frames
  • easily make shaker cards
  • create simple window cards
  • create simple tags
In this post I will show you the technique of partial diecutting and how you can use it to create a 3 D item such as a Purse.
Also will show you how you can create 3 D diorama Cards using dies.
I have purposely limited myself to using just the Spellbinders Labels 8 set just to show you how you can get the maximum from your supplies!
Many of you know I make gifts for my daughter's teachers every year for Teachers Day and this year we are making these cute Purses as Teacher's Day gifts.

The purses are made of sturdy card stock using just the Spellbinders Labels 8 Die!I made a handle using strings of silver pearls for this one!The rose is handmade using the Spellbinders Rose creations die.

The purse flap is held closed by strong Neodymium magnets and can hold gifts like a mini album , sweets, notebooks , cards , jewelry etc.

3 D Paper Purse  Tutorial 
This is an extremely detailed Tutorial but necessary to explain all the techniques and designing process!! So if you dont have time to read it all just pin it/ bookmark it and come back later!!
To Make the Back and Flap of the Purse
One technique anybody with a die cutting machine should explore is partial die can really get value for money if you use this technique....for example you can extend a square die to cut a rectangle and vice versa.
Partial die cutting can be tricky and frustrating in the first go so I will share some important tips which help me!

For this project I let the top part of the cutting plate reach only upto the center of my Spellbinders Labels die.
You can use any die you think will work for a purse shape .
  • Partial die cutting Tip 1: Always keep a spare  pair of  cutting plates with you. Not only will it come in handy when your cutting plate breaks out of the blue but for techniques such as partial die is so much easier if you have a nice flat cutting plate instead of your "super used" bent ones

  • Partial Die Cutting Tip 2 : Apply firm pressure on the end of the cutting plate- die sandwich with your fingers as you are rolling your sandwich into the machine so as to avoid shifting of the die/ cutting plate and paper.

The picture above shows the partial die cut obtained thence. Snip off the excess paper shown lifted up in the picture above.
Score your card I have placed the die cut snugly against the score board and scored at 2 inches and 2 and 3/4 inches. I wanted my purse to be 3/4 inch wide so only I used the 3/4inch measurement.

Now place the die with its end reaching slightly beyond the 2 and 3/4inch score line as shown below.Your top cutting plate should reach up to the scoreline

  • Partial die cutting Tip 3 : In partial die cutting , keep the part you dont want to cut  away from the  roller of your die cutting machine...this way there is less chance of the die / cutting plates to shift as you roll the machine.What I mean is dont put the part you want to partial die cut first into the machine as you roll....if you do it that way the sandwich  is more likely shift!

Snip off the excess and don't obsess about the slightly off alignment...believe me it will hardly be noticeable in your final outcome. 
Your  back , top and front flap of your purse is now ready....! And all from just one piece of card!!Isn't it cool

Make the front of your purse

Use the same die you used earlier and snip off 1/4 inch or so so as to create a straight edge.

Punch or die cut a small opening  on this straight edge. This opening makes it easy to insert and take things from your purse.

You can use partial die cutting techniques here too. In the picture above I have used the Tim Holtz ruler to find the exact center of my die dont have to really take out a ruler and find the exact center but just eyeball it but sometimes I like to indulge my obsessive compulsive perfectionism nature!!LOL!!
Design the inside of your Purse
You need to make a box open at the top.

When constructing purses/boxes form diecuts/ hand cut shapes you can design the size by measuring the width and length of your die-cut and subtracting a margin of 1/4 inches .
Based on the shape of the Spellbinders Labels 8 I designed a box measuring 5 x 2.5inches with a width of 3/4 inches[already decided earlier and reflected in the top flap I cut for the purse earlier too]

So that translated into a piece of card measuring 6 .5 x 5 and 3/4 inch scored 3/4 inch from either end on the 6.5inch side and scored at 2.5 and 3 and 1/4 at the  5 and 3/4 side.

Box making tips

  1. It is easier to decorate  the box sides before you assemble it.
  2. Snipping off wedges to create gluing tabs always gives a neater finish.
  3. And fold your score lines in opposite directions to loose them up a bit!

For this construction I would advise you to use a liquid glue than tacky tape as you need to be able to wiggle the pieces around a bit to get the perfect alignment!

Now all 3 pieces are ready....just glue the box onto the back of  the purse and stick on your front piece

You can design fun closures using velcro or magnets.
If using strong magnets like the ones shown below ,stick one magnet inside your box and the other one on your flap so that there is a piece of card separating the 2 magnets.... as otherwise these magnets are super strong and difficult to pry apart!

I punched holes on the top of the purse, inserted eyelets  and threaded pearl strings to create the handle of my Paper purse!

For the  animal print purse I made a handle using ribbon I folded in half and stitched for additional strength.

Creating 3 D Diorama Cards

Who doesnt love cute 3 D cards? Here I will show you how easy it is to make cute mini shadowbox cards using the same Spellbinders die I used to make the purse.

You need 2 die cuts....shown here the Spellbinders Labels 8 again. Score 2 lines 1/2 inch apart on either end of your diecuts.

Die cut a window on one of your diecuts-- this will form the front of your diorama card

Optionally dress up your card front with inks and  stencils

I am still obsessed with stencils so used texture paste and the TCW Microbial Stencil to create faux snowfall!!

Fold up the scored lines on your die cuts [If you are confused how to do it , you can read more details on my blog:  Mini Diorama Card Tutorial ]
Stamp/doodle /use pattern paper to decorate the back of your car.

Stick die cut borders or a simple piece of card [to which you can add stamped elements or stickers ]on the 2 shelves formed on the sides of your folded die cut.

Stick the front and back die cuts together sandwiching your diorama elements in between and your 3 D Diorama Card is done!

This Christmas scene card features glittery snowflakes and a stamped rudolph peeking out!

These Mini Dioramas are perfect to use up  stickers or showcase  small stamped images

I hope you enjoyed both the ideas using the same Die set.
List of Supplies : Available at Crafters Corner
Dies : Spellbinders Labels 8 ,Spellbinders Rose creations die ,  Cheery Lynn Rose Leaf Strip, Memory Box Frostyville border
Inks and Media : Distress Inks  , Ranger Texture Paste
The Crafters Workshop  Microbial Stencil
Martha Stewart Scoreboard
Big Shot Cutting Pads


  1. Sonia! Your stunning ideas and creations always blown me away! Superb job done dear!

    1. Thank you so much for your constant support Vinita

  2. Superb thanks for sharing with us such a well explained post

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment and encourage Pooja

  3. Superb thanks for sharing with us such a well explained post

  4. Wow.! Mind blowing projects ma'm :) Anyone would loveee to receive that supet cute purse.!! I really feel like getting a die cutting machine now :D
    Thanks so much for the detailed tutorial :)

    1. Riswana...I bought a die cutting machine only after 2 years of the crafting bug bit me but die cutting is something which I love like anything!!

  5. Hats off Sonia. Your works always make me awesome. Really beautiful idea. want to try out

  6. Wow Fabulous post to make most out of dies ! Loved the shape of purses ,they look beautiful and the Diorama cards is Awesome !

  7. Awesome creations! So many creative ideas to use dies! Your tutorials are awesome & very well explained! Thanks for sharing :)

    1. It is so nice to hear that Priyanka...I always worry they are too long and boring!!

  8. So glad you liked them Priyanka!
    Dr Sonia

  9. Whoaaaaaa!! Those PURSES!!! Prettyy!!! Pretty!!! LOVE the shadow box snowman too Sonia! So cool! :)
    Suchi xx

  10. Wowww!! So pretty purses! Your daughter's teachers are so lucky!!

    1. Thank you so much Karthikha!! I have to send a note saying they are made of paper otherwise the teachers wont accept!!

  11. Absolutely love those pretty purses and your detailed tutorial for it.Gorgeous diorama card as well... What a fabulous post Dr Sonia...Loved it ��

  12. Absolutely love those pretty purses and your detailed tutorial for it.Gorgeous diorama card as well... What a fabulous post Dr Sonia...Loved it ��

  13. Wow super cool post Sonia mam ... I'm surely gonna try them out .. I always wondered about the partial die cutting and this post has cleared so many doubts .. thank you so much ! :)

    1. Thank you Rashmi...and if we watch on you tube they make it look easy while in fact it is not and so only I shared tips to make it easier!!

  14. So well written and detailed. Great ideas. Thanks so much for sharing.

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment and encourage

  15. Wow! What a fantastic post, Sonia! You are SO creative. I'm blown away by the way you used your die to make that purse. Fab work !

    1. Thank you so much are tooo kind!! Big hugs!

  16. The purses are awesome Sonia....and thank you so much for very detailed tutorial...have to try partial die cutting...

  17. The purses are awesome Sonia....and thank you so much for very detailed tutorial...have to try partial die cutting...

    1. Sindhu...was thinking about you today...that you were missing from blogland. So happy to see a comment from you!!

  18. What fabulous projects, and great tutorials. Particularly like the diorama card, thanks for sharing xxx

  19. Best Die Cut Machines Reviews audits and examination controls on the web. We tune in to several genuine clients and talk specifically to producers to bring you the best machine reviews.


We would love to hear from you !