What are Scrapbook Die Cuts?

Nadia Miller

Scrapbook die cuts are embellishments that are used on scrapbook pages to enhance a theme or help develop a story. They are usually made from heavy card stock and can help represent just about anything. Die cuts are letters, phrases, shapes, or tags and are placed on top of the page with adhesive to add depth and interest to a page.

Die cuts can add a decorative embellishment to a scrapbook page.
Die cuts can add a decorative embellishment to a scrapbook page.

Generally, scrapbooks are a creative way to capture moments and save memories. Each page of a typical scrapbook will generally focus on some highlight. It may be a special photo, award, concert ticket, or other important memory. Scrapbook die cuts are used to help tell a story or relive a memory; they can be used as accent shapes to frame a photo or words to describe it. For example, die cut shapes of palm trees can enhance the corners of a tropical vacation photo.

Scrapbook die cuts are usually made of cardstock.
Scrapbook die cuts are usually made of cardstock.

There are a variety of applications for scrapbook die cuts. When using a pre-made scrapbook page, a die cut can add a custom feel to a simple presentation. For printable pages, die cuts can give depth and dimension to an otherwise flat sheet. Die cuts can be a good way to add a label or caption to a photo. Used as borders or frames, die cuts can help highlight a special memento.

Scrapbook die cuts can be purchased at most craft stores, scrapbooking boutiques, or online. They range from simple letters to intricate designs, and are available in whole sheets of coordinating pieces that can become the theme of a page. The sheets may include matching letters, borders, shapes, and tags. Scrapbookers looking for simple designs may enjoy this out-of-the-box solution.

For people who want to make their own scrapbook die cuts, there are machines available for home use. These die cut machines range from basic shape-cutters to elaborate embellishment creators. The machines give users the ability to customize die cuts by allowing them to choose the color of the paper and how they want their embellishments to look. Scrapbookers can get the most out of their paper by using the scraps to create homemade die cuts. A home die cut machine allows a scrapbooker to create letters and shapes on the fly, which can eliminate a trip to the scrapbooking store on short notice.

For some, creative scrapbooking may rely on the use of die cuts. While beautiful pages can be made without them, many scrapbookers enjoy adding the embellishments. Scrapbook die cuts typically help bring a photo to life.

Scrapbook die cuts are used on scrapbook pages to enhance a theme or develop a story.
Scrapbook die cuts are used on scrapbook pages to enhance a theme or develop a story.

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Discussion Comments


@John57 - I have an electronic cutting machine that I was lucky enough to find at a garage sale. I can't imagine why someone wanted to sell it, but I snatched it up in a hurry.

This is not a real expensive machine and it works on a cartridge instead of a computer. You can do a lot more with some of the more expensive machines, but the price was right.

I usually don't have any trouble designing my scrapbook page layout, and love having the ability to make my own letters and designs.

This is one of those gadgets that the more I use it, the more things I think of that I can use it for. It takes awhile to get used to it, and I still find myself playing around with it a lot.

Now if I only had more hours in the day to devote to scrapbooking.


Has anybody used a die cut machine to make their own designs? I have had my eye on these for quite some time, but don't know if I would use it enough to justify the expense.

I have a friend who has one and she finds all sorts of creative ways to use her machine. I am not really very creative, so have always relied on simple solutions to make my scrapbook pages.

I like to buy kits that have everything I need to complete one theme. This includes everything from the special scrapbook papers to the die cut designs and embellishments.

I know I could probably save some money by using bits and pieces of what I have, but these kits help me look like I am more creative than I really am!


I made a scrapbook of my friend's wedding, and I used decorative die cuts. Of course, she had a separate professional photographer. I just did it as a gift to her, and she was grateful to have an extra memento from her special day.

I found a bunch of wedding related die cuts in a discount bin at a crafts store. I really liked the sparkly white wedding bells and doves carrying ribbons.

The glitter was not the kind that comes off and gets all over everything. It was like it had been baked into the die cuts somehow.

One die cut was a long-stemmed white rose. It had been embossed to portray fine lines and details, and I used it for framing what I deemed the most beautiful photo in the batch.


@jennythelib - My first introduction to scrapbooking was going to a party as you suggested. My friend invited me and since this was something I had always been interested in, I was excited to go.

I was a little bit overwhelmed at everything. On one hand I was excited about all the creative possibilities there were. On the other hand, I knew I would be restricted by time and money.

It is still fun to get together with others and work on our scrapbooks at the same time. This way we can share scrapbook design ideas, tools and inspiration.

I enjoy using die cuts on a lot of my scrapbook pages as they really add a dimensions that you can't get with plain paper.

I watch the sales and try to buy them when they are on sale or when I can use a coupon.


@ElizaBennett - That's totally fine, of course, but I find that scrapbooking die cuts are fun to use.

I guess it all depends on your goal. I partly scrapbook as a creative outlet and I really enjoy using some of the fancier options, like textured die cuts. Now, whether I can keep up that level of commitment when and if I have children someday is another matter!

For people who are just getting started but who are interested in the whole nine yards, I really suggest taking a scrapbooking class or going to a scrapbooking party (like Creative Memories). It's a great way to find out what all is out there and learn how to use it, because it can be bewildering to a beginner. Or you can keep it simple, like the previous poster, and just get a few basic things to start with.


I actually rarely use fancy scrapbook embellishments like die cuts. I scrapbook to make a record of our family's life together, not to show off! I mostly use inexpensive stickers and some cutting tools - templates to shape photos into shapes, corner cutters, and edging scissors. I use colored card stock scraps to make details like colored page corners, borders, or simple cut-outs like stars and hearts.

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