Friday 9 September 2016

Stretching your Dies!

          Hi friends...a die cutting machine is one of the most useful and fun crafty tools to have . If you have a Big Shot or other manual die cutting machine , you will agree with me just how addictive it can get to keep on buying dies! And I think you will also agree that many a times we do feel guilty for our crafty purchases!!
         One sure fire way to banish those guilty pangs and keep on enjoying crafting is to maximize the use of your supplies and in the case of feels fabulous if you can use one die set in many many ways! 
In this post I will share a few ideas to stretch a die!
Make Boxes

Boxes are one of the most fun things to make with paper and dies. Using dies is especially advantageous here as you can layer several die cuts to create sturdier lids and bases for your box!

You can use any basic/ labels die to make hinged boxes which have the lid attached to the box base .I went a step further here and created customized partitions in mine.

Way back in 2012 I shared a detailed Tutorial on how to make a Hinged box so I will not repeat all the steps here but share the template and explain on how to design a hinged box from an die cut.

And here is the template on how to work out the measurements

In the box template above ,b and c are how wide and long the final box will be and a is the depth of the box. To calculate what size of card stock required to make a box of desired dimensions
Width of card stock required =2 a + c
Length of card stock required= 3 a + 2 b 
So if you want a box measuring 3 inch long x 2inch wide x 1 inch depth ; Width of card required = 2 x 1 +3=5 and Length of card required = 3 x 1+ 2 x 2=7. So using a 5 x 7 inches paper you can make a 3x 2 x 1 hinged box.

To  design your box, measure the length and width of your die cut and subtract at least 1/2 inch to get the length and width of your box. Here even though my Spellbinders Labels 8 measures 5.5 x 4 inches I decided to make my box a 5 x 3 inch size with a depth of 1 inch.
a [ depth] = 1 inch
b [width] = 3 inch
c [length] =5 inch
So the card stock required to make the hinged box will have dimensions as follows :
One side = 2 a + c = 2 x 1 +5 = 7 inches
Other side =3a + 2 b = 3 x 1 + 2 x 3 = 9 inches

Score at the 9 inch side at 1, 4, 5 and 8 inches. Score at the  7 inch side at 1 and 6 inches. Cut and Snip off wedges and create the lid  following the Hinged Box Tutorial .

Use strong adhesive to add your die cut to the base and lid of your box. I used 2 layers of card stock and the gorgeous Bob n Betty Papers to make the base and lid.

I kept the decorating simple on this one just creating a subtle texture with Whipped spackle and adding a cute little ribbon rose!

The center has a homemade resin embellishment layered on Spellbinders Oval die cuts.

Go 3 D with Pyramage Technique

 I have a deep fascination for 3 D decoupage/ pyramage technique and have made many projects using ready made printed image sheets and even stamped images. You can see examples here : Accordion Pop Up Card, 3 D Decoupage Tutorial ]

Using dies you can create 3 D pyramage using stamped images or even just pretty pattern paper!
I saw this technique at Splitcoast Stampers using stamped images and they called it Telescoping image technique . I tried adapting it to pattern paper and loved how easy it was!
Choose 2 stamped images or  pattern papers and 4 nesting dies

Place the 3 larger dies on the paper and remove the middle one. Tape the other 2 to the paper and cut through the Big Shot.

You will get die cuts as shown below

Replace the dies on the 2nd sheet of pattern paper and this time use the smallest of the 4 too ie if you are labelling the 4 dies as 1,2,3,4 from smallest to largest, you will be needing numbers 1 and 3.

Tape the dies 1 and 3 to the paper and die cut.

You will get 4 die cut frames as shown below

These are now ready to be stacked atop each other using foam tape. I found it sturdier to stick the die cuts with the center aperture to a similar die cut before layering.

Isnt this a cool technique to make a 3 D pyramage image!

I added the image to a glitter foam die cut -- used fairly thick glitter foam to make my box sturdy instead of using layers of cardstock.

Made the hinged box again and designed partitions[ will try and do  a Tutorial for that one day]
Over the Edge Die cutting

This is one of the easiest ways to create shaped cards and more!
Place the die over the edge of a folded card and run through your machine
Tips : tape in place to avoid shifting of the sandwich
In case your die doesn't cut through both the layers ...invert it and run through again with the cutting side up!

Using the Spellbinders Labels 8 I converted the shaped die cut piece into a Gift card/ Money holder! Created a faux leather purse using embossing folders, Distress Inks  and clear embossing powder!

The pockets were are also created using the same Spellbinders die.

 Another purse using the same technique using different embossing folders and Distress Inks. This purse is held closed by hidden magnets placed on the handles.

The handles for this one was made using nesting ovals!

Seeing out of the box and cutting "Shapes"
Whenever you get a die set always cut die cuts and try to see it  from different angles and can really really stretch your die designs that way!

In these collages you can see how you can cut out labels for sentiments, ornament shapes, tear drop shapes, moustaches, angles squares and more from a single die cut!!

I hope you enjoyed all the 4 Die cutting techniques shared!!

Supplies Used
You can buy Die Cutting Machines and Dies at Crafters Corner
Spellbinders  ,Distress Inks  ,Heat Embossing Supplies , Bon n Betty Pattern Papers


  1. Wow..these boxes look beautiful , I loved the label die-cut shape a lot !

    1. Thank you Pooja...have I tempted you enough to get a Big Shot!! Hehe

  2. information packed post Sonia !! love the boxes and purses you have designed !!

  3. valuable post on dies. tempting to buy a die cutting machine.gorgeous boxes and purses dear

    1. Hehe Shylaa...surprised how you resisted so long!!

  4. The 3d technique look fantastic :)

    1. Thank you for your support Divya...means a lot to me!

  5. wonderful creation and a very good tutorial. Will try this out :)xx

  6. Wow amazingly done mam ur too good always

  7. Wow amazingly done mam ur too good always

  8. Happy Onam doc, amazing post yet again. Absolutely love the gorgeous texture and colours on the bag. Thank you.

    1. Thank you so much .Happy Onam to you too! Yes its amazing what embossing can do to transform paper!!

  9. Wow..amazing boxes...loved both..thank you for the tutorial..definetly going to try...thank you ..Daksha

    1. Thank you so much for your supportive words Daksha


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