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Die cuts are shapes and letters cut from pieces of cardstock paper by using a die cut machine. Die cuts don't always have to be cut from a machine, but are sometimes cut out by hand. Die cuts are mainly used in paper crafts. They can be used to decorate cards, scrapbook layouts and other projects.
When scrapbooking first became a fast-growing hobby, die cuts were popular for using as an embellishment on layouts. Although numerous other embellishments have come out on the market, die cuts are still used on a regular basis by paper crafters everywhere.
Die cuts are extremely versatile in paper crafting. They can be printed on cardstock by using a computer and printer. The die cut image is usually downloaded onto the computer from the Internet, then sent to the printer for printing. The paper crafter then cuts the die cut out by hand with a pair of scissors.
Die cuts can be pieced together, called paper piecing, to create larger images or they can be used by themselves. They can be decorated with markers and pens or used plain. Die cuts can be stamped and colored with color pencils or other inks for a more dimensional effect. The edges can be distressed to give it a more distinct look.
Die cuts can be found in scrapbooking and craft stores as pre-cut images and are relatively inexpensive to purchase. When buying die cuts in a store, one is limited with only the sizes, colors and images that the store carries. Another option in using die cuts is to cut them at home using a die cut machine. Die cut machines are available in just about any scrapbooking or craft store.
Die cuts can be punched out by hand when using a manual die cut machine. These type of machines are portable, do not require the use of electricity, and make crafting convenient for teachers or scrapbookers that do crafts in places other than their home.
Electronic die cut machines need to be plugged into an electrical outlet and use cartridges to cut out specific fonts and shapes in various sizes. Some electronic die cut machines need a computer and use of the Internet to have the full use of the machine available to the crafter.
Proper research is recommended before purchasing a die cut machine as there are several different kinds made by various companies. An easier route of using die cuts, if one doesn't want to cut them out, would be to purchase them at a nearby scrapbooking or craft store.