Friday, 23 September 2016

Intricate Die Cutting Tips

        Hi crafters, Dr Sonia here back with another post on die cutting! I got my Big Shot a couple of years back and have been in love with die cutting ever since!!Whether you are a hobby crafter like me or considering turning your hobby into a profession or side business this is one baby you should get .....and no this is not the "DT" in me speaking....I just love die cutting!!
          In the last 2 DT posts I showed you various ways to use labels/ nesting dies . Here are the links in case you missed them : Stretching your Dies and Going 3 D with Die

         I got this beautiful ,beautiful Spellbinders Floral Gazebo die from Crafters Corner for my DT post and since it is such a gorgeous intricately designed die I thought I will show you some tips to die cut such intricate designs.

And before I do that let me give you some tips on buying dies
  • Google up the name of the die and see if the project photos appeal to you .
  • See if you are getting value for money...Count the number of dies in a set and also check out the size of the dies as well as the individual die designs. for eg in this Floral Gazebo die get 7 dies which includes 3 styles of leafy vines , a flower, a cute bird and a very versatile heart in addition to the main gazebo!
  • If you are confused which brand die to get....I would advise you to opt for the more reputed brand even if it is more expensive unless you have read / heard rave reviews of the "cheaper/newer" brand! Some years back I got a circle die set from a brand which I will not name and was so frustrated that it wouldn't give clean cuts! And yes mailing them didn't change the situation. Later I bought a more expensive circle die set from a reputed established brand and boy do I love the clean easy cuts it gives!
Well I can go on and on about tips on buying dies but then are here for another subject isnt it!!

I created a Stair Step Pop Up Card using the Spellbinders Happy die as the base and used a couple of gorgeous intricate dies from Spellbinders like the Spellbinders swirl bliss pocket and the Spellbinders Romantic Agenda in addition to my all time favorite die brand Marianne Designs !

The beautiful lacy corners were made by cutting up the  Spellbinders swirl bliss pocket die cut and dressing it up with tiny pearls[ with the help of the Crystal Katana!]

I used the gorgeous papers from Bob n Betty for the base of my Pop Up Card and hence kept the embellishments to a minimal.

Now coming to the tips on cutting Intricate Die Designs...these will be known to the seasoned papercrafter but sharing here for the benefit of the newbies!

When you use an Intricately detailed die such as the Floral Gazebo or any other when you pass it through your big shot  it is common to get what you see below.....the die has hardly made an impression on the paper!

Factors which determine how easily and crisply you can cut intricate dies
How old your Big Shot is 
How bent your Cutting pads are
The brand of your die
The thickness of your paper
The Intricacy of the die design
How to Cut Intricate Dies
1. Use the Metal Adapter Plate

Well the solution which works for me and which is the standard recommendation in crafting circles is the metal adapter plate.....this literally changes your die cutting life. So if you dont have one...I suggest you add it to your next purchase!!
Add the metal plate adapter under your cutting plates and proceed with the usual die cutting sandwich.

2. Keeping your die cutting surface up
This is especially important for intricate designs. In case you have to see where you are the first round use the die cut surface down but in the event you get a partial cut ...flip it and run it though your machine with the cutting surface up

In the picture above the area in the lower part is still not cleanly cut even after the use of the metal this case just rotate the die and pass it again through your machine
3. Give 2 passes Rotating at 90 degrees

This will give a lovely clean cut unless you have a really naughty die with a super delicate design!

Releasing your Die cut

Releasing die cuts from the die or releasing the tiny die cut pieces from the main die cut can be time consuming.
You can  use the popular Spellbinders tool n one which Shalini tells me is an awesome tool and good investment as it has a brush end to clean your die and a needle end and spatula to help release the die cuts.

If you want a cheaper alternative....use nice fat pins like the corsage pins shown above which by the way are also available at Crafters Corner at this link :  Corsage Pins  and a foam pad.
You can poke the die cuts while the die  is still in the die or peel the die cut off and poke out the pieces.

I find that using the foam pad gives a nice support to the die cut and makes poking out the tiny pieces quicker and easier.
Releasing Stubborn die-cuts from the Die

Suppose you have a really stubborn die cut sticking to your die  and it irritates  you big time...there are a couple of things you can do..
1. Try the conventional poking with needle 
2. Try with needle and brush part of the Spellbinders tool n one
3. Use die release paper or wax paper between your die and paper the next time you die cut
Picking up tiny Die cut Pieces

If you want to try techniques such as inlaid die cutting or you have some really tiny die cuts or negatives of die cuts you want to use...picking up these tiny pieces can be tricky. Some of the tools which can make your job easier are
1. Reverse fav for flower making and embossing...not so much for tiny piece picking after I got the Tanto and Crystal Katana
2.Silhouette's pick me up tool
3. The best pick up reviewed in this post : Crystal Katana and the Tanto

Sticking Intricate/ Delicate Die cuts

Sticking those delicate die cut pieces can be so tricky
Here are some options
2. Fine nozzle glue which is quite tacky such as the Tombow 
3.Glue Pens
4.Thin double sided foam tape or tacky tape

And here is a final look at the card with all the intricate die cuts!
I hope you find these tips helpful.
Shoot any die cutting queries you may have in the comments and I or any of the experienced DT or Shalini will try to help you!

List of other Supplies
Dies : Cheery Lynn Flourish 13 , Cheery Lynn Build A Flower Embellishments 3 ,  Marianne   Anja Border , Heartfelt creations  Sun kissed fleur ,
Papers: Bob n Betty

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Embellishments galore!

Good morning!
Rupa here with my post for Crafters Corner. Today it’s all about those little embellishments that make your project from a simple one to just ”wow”! You will see by the end of the project, what I mean.
There are loads of crafty embellishments to choose from the store actually you could be spoilt for choice. Look at what all I have used for this project!
I found a scrap piece of wood in my studio and there were also some unwanted keys that a friend had given when she was relocating. I decided to use these in my project today to make a key holder.
Step1-First I colored the wood piece in white. Then I took 4 keys and then painted them with Folkart Multi surface paints in 2 shades of blue. Please note that these paints can be used on metal too and I have not even gessoed them!
 It adheres so well to fact I tried to scratch it with my nail but no way was it peeling!
Step2- I stenciled some pattern on the wood block in the same color. Once the keys were ready, I had them nailed on to the panel. To cover the ugly nail, I stuck a flat back pearl. 
If you notice, I have intentionally bent the lower part of the keys to form a hook! Yes, now these keys will hold other keys! Isn’t that super cool. I am sure you have loads of those unwanted keys at home, you can use them this way!
Step3- I particularly loved this little flower food plate embellishment and decided to do a bit of decoupage in there.
 I had just the tissue in the same blue color and stuck the flowers on to it with modge podge.Once sealed and dry, I colored the edges with the same blue paint. This was then mounted on to the wood panel with 2 little spoons too!

Step4- These mini cocktail glasses are equally cute. I filled it with white sand and carefully placed these tiny blue flowers and the glass stuck on to the panel with silicon glue. 
The mini glass bottle too got the same treatment but here I have used the lovely calla lily flowers!
The display look just a little English mantle place I was ready to head over to the top most part.

Step 5- For the top of the panel, I laid a bed of coconut coir and on top of that a length of this beautiful creeper. I also had these alphabets cut from chipboard and placed them on the creeper.
 The whole thing looked incomplete without those little birds and so I had a pair in there! After this, it was truly a welcome sight and the whole thing came to life.
Here is a look at the panel with a old keys holding on to the new ones!
 I couldn’t think of any other way of re purposing these tiny keys.
Hope you liked this project and give it a try.
Until my next creative journey,
Happy crafting and recycling.



Tuesday, 13 September 2016


Hello everyone.

This is Anita here and I have a something wonderful lined up for you in the entire month of product, techniques and lot of information.
We are talking about DECOUPAGE----yes!!!!! I am sure you all must be very excited as much as I am because I am going share some super awesome products with you, which will give a new meaning to the art of Decoupage.

What exactly is decoupage??
In very simple term, it is the art of adhering paper on to various surfaces like wood, glass, metal plastic etc. with glue and then applying coats of varnish ot lacquer on top to seal the desin and make it water proof and dust proof.
Plaid Craft has brought a whole new revolution to the art of Decoupage with their chalk paints, acrylic paints, the most popular Mod Podge, crackle medium, varnish and also many tools and accessories to help us in this art.
I am so happy to tell you that Crafters Corner has all and  YES !!!!! ALL the products that you can use for decoupage right there for you.
And its my promise to you that once you use chalk colours you will not touch any other paint when it comes to Decoupage. WHY ??? You will soon know!!!!

What is Home Decor chalk paint???

It is a high pigment acrylic paint with ultra matte finish used for various surfaces like wood, metal, glass etc. if this paint is used, then the surface requires on  preparation of primaring or sanding, thus saving a lot of time and labour. You can directly use it. It is for indoor use and is not dishwasher safe. However the application of Home Decor wax or varnish can make it suitable for outside.


How much coverage do we get from one bottle??

One bottle of chalk paint has 8 fl.oz that covers 20 feet of surface year and so it proves to be very economical.This however, depends upon the thickness of paint and its application.

Is it same as chalk board paint or different?

Picture from Google.

 No both are different. Chalkboard paints will cover the surface to give a chalk board finish where one can write with a stick of chalk, Whereas, chalk paints are acrylic paints used for covering or restoring surfaces.

Are they different from Folkart Acrylic paints???

Yes , they are two different products. Although both are acrylic paint, Folk Art acrylic paint has a sheen to it ie it gives a glossy coat but chalk paint gives Ultra Smooth Matte finish. In my video, I show you the difference.

So now that we know so much about chalk paints, let us start using them. I am showing you how to make beautiful vintage placemat with decoupage through a video tutorial. I have explained  and talked about the products and techniques in detail but then also, if you do not understand any where or have any question, please feel free to ask me.

A video tutorial.

Vintage style place mat

Products used


So do let us know if you liked this tutorial. You can view all the decoupage materials HERE
Please do leave your comments and feedback as they help us to grow towards our betterment. Thanks for your time. Hope to see you soon with another tutorial on the art of Decoupage.

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