What is Die Cutting?

Die cutting is a way to cut shapes out of card stock, board or sticker sheets. From simple shapes like circles to complex edges that follow a graphic.

There is more than one type of a die cut ranging from conventional to laser cuts. We'll start with the most common, conventional method. That's the die cut we use on a daily basis.

What's a die?

The easiest way to describe this type of die is to think of a small wooden board with a metal cookie cutter embedded into it. The die is attached to a die cutting machine and aligned to make an impression or cut in card stock, board, or other paper one sheet at a time. The die is good for about 20,000 impressions before it wears out.

Die photo

How does it work?

The exposed metal is sharpened to a blade edge which makes a single impression to die cut through card stock. In the case of a die score, the edge is dull or rounded, making a score line that does not cut through the paper.

Die cutting waste

In the image above there are raised rubber pads surrounding the metal edge to keep tension on the card (pushing it back) so it does not get stuck in the die during cutting. Once the cuts are made the waste product is then recycled.

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Rich Black