Choosing Punches, dies & Cutting Machines
Get perfect shapes and precise cuts every time with these cutting tools.
Hand punches work in the the same way as a hole punch that you might see in an office. They have a simple spring mechanism, a shaped cutting edge, and a hole of the same shape underneath. When paper is placed between these, pressing down on the punch will make a shaped hole in the paper.
- Shape punches are excellent for cutting the same shape precisely and repeatedly.
- They come in a range of shapes and sizes from simple geometric shapes, to more delicate leaves, butterflies, and even unicorns.
- Some punches produce multiple pieces of the same shape, such as stars or hearts, and can be used to create custom confetti.
Corner & Edge Punches
- Corner punches can be used to round off, or to create other decorative corners on pages.
- Edge punches create shaped edges on pages. They can be delicate lace or filigree, or more simple designs. These are most commonly used for scrapbooking, cardmaking, and invitations.
Manual Die Cutting Machines
Manual die cutting machines are hand cranked presses that use dies to cut shapes from a range of materials.
- You can find dies for any project imaginable, from words and phrases, to simple labels and frames, or complex detailed shapes.
- A die cutting machine is similar in many ways to a punch, but:
- Is able to cut larger pieces
- Takes up less space than a large collection of punches, as dies are small and flat, and the machine itself is the only large component.
- Manual die cutting machines can also be used for embossing, so they have multiple uses for papercrafters.
- These machines also work with fabric. This makes them useful to quilters who need to cut many identical pieces of fabric to piece together.
Electronic Cutting Machines
Electronic cutting machines take precision cutting to the next level. They come with adhesive cutting mats, which you place your material on, and then feed it into the machine. You then send any design you like from the software on your computer to the machine, and it cuts it out with perfect precision.
- Electronic cutting machines eliminate the need for collecting dies. You are able to design or buy 'cut files' in any shape you like, and have them all stored as small files on your computer.
- They also offer more design freedom in that cut files can be resized, repositioned, and edited to suit the exact requirements of any project.
- Electronic cutting machines cut the largest sized pieces of all the cutting tools, with a maximum width of approximately 30cm, and maximum length of around 60cm.
- Adjusting blades and pressure allows the machine to cut a large range of materials from paper and cardstock to fabric, felt, and even vinyl.
- Some cut files include multiple pieces that can be assembled into three dimensional projects such as boxes, paper lanterns, or more complex designs like model buildings or vehicles. The only limit is your imagination.
- These machines have many optional extras that can make them even more useful. For example, the blades can be replaced with drawing cartridges so that instead of cutting a shape, the machine draws it instead.