New series of card making tutorials using graduated dies.

One of my YouTube subscribers posed a question:  “Which dies are the best to purchase for the first time?”  She was getting a brand new die cutting machine for Christmas and needed guidance.  At the end of this post you can watch the video I made to answer her question.

Choosing dies is a very, no let me emphasize this better, EXTREMELY difficult thing to do.  The paper crafting market is flooded with choices.

  • Stamp and die sets.  Matching dies to cut out stamped images
  • Multi layer dies for 2 dimension creativity (Tim Holtz “Old Jalopy” die)
  • Nested or Graduated dies (Spellbinder)
  • Thick steel ruled dies (Sizzix)
  • Acid etched dies (Sizzlits) with a low profile
  • Wafer thin dies which require a magnetic platform

The list goes on and on.

For the next couple of weeks I am going to be featuring ONE nested die set by Spellbinders titled “Blossom” to demonstrate the many ways to use graduated dies.  Yesterday’s card tutorial was for this card.

OWH Card Sketch #77

OWH Card Sketch #77

Tomorrow’s video will feature this same die set from Spellbinders – Blossom – to make this card.

Original card design

Original card design

So for anyone that is considering purchasing dies for the first time, I hope this video is helpful.

Leslie

Craft Life Hack – DIY Magnetic Platform

Getting into card making, scrapbook layouts, or the Project Life series of documenting our daily lives can be over the top expensive.  Especially if you spend any amount of time watching craft videos on YouTube where every new tool or convenience is displayed for you to drool over and covet.

Die cutting is one such tool.  The machines themselves are over $100 and they come with the bare necessities.  Extra items are all add-ons and can destroy your budget quickly.  With the advent of wafer thin dies that serve dual duty, cut and emboss, the industry has been finding more ways to deplete your budget with these tools that we “Just Have to HAVE”.

Sizzix created a “Magnetic Platform” just for the wafer thin dies.  This acrylic pad with a magnetic top has allowed the paper crafter to do more with their dies.  That Magnetic Platform will set you back $30 or more.  The good thing about this tool is that you no longer have to fuss around with dies shifting on you through the cutting process.  You no longer have to tape everything down to get a good and clean cut without wasting a lot of paper while keeping track of where the die is before it goes under the pressure rollers.

I have not gotten into the wafer thin die aspect of paper crafting.  Mostly because of the initial cost of the die set.  These dies come in sets, or “Nested” sets.  Each die is graduated in height and width from smallest to largest and ideal for layering on your card fronts or your scrapbook layouts.  One set of dies will cost over $25 and it would be really easy to get to the check out with a total of over $100 just for three or four of these sets.  Add on the cost of the magnetic platform and your crafting budget will be gone in seconds.

Storing these wafer thin dies can be a challenge in itself.  Keep the packaging they came in or find an alternate storage solution.  One of my friends, Maureen Criss Mathis, told me about her purchase of Magnetic Vent Covers from her local hardware store to use for her die storage.  This was a few years back.

While in my local Lowe’s Home Improvement Center I went to the heating aisle and right to the section that sells the vent covers.

Vent covers at my hardware store

Vent covers at my hardware store

Magnetic Vent Covers are sold in this section.  When you want to block air flow over one or more registers in your home it can be accomplished with these covers.  The cost is $4.97 at my store for a set of 3.

Magnetic vent covers

Magnetic vent covers

These magnetic sheets cut easily with a pair of scissors.  So I had to see if I could make my own “Magnetic Platform” using this product on my three Sizzix machines.  The Big Shot, Original Sizzix Machine, and the Side Kick.

Sizzix Big Shot, Original Die Cutting machine, and the Side Kick

Sizzix Big Shot, Original Die Cutting machine, and the Side Kick

I was able to use the magnetic sheets on all three of my machines successfully.  The cuts I got using this home heating product were clean without any mistakes.

So, if you have been thinking about getting the Magnetic Platform from Sizzix for your wafer thin dies then head on over to  your local hardware store.  Spend your craft budget money on the acquisition of more wafer thin dies 😀

Here is my demonstration video for this new tool in my paper craft arsenal.

Leslie

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