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Die cutting for kids: Learn what die cutting is and how to do it

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Die-cutting is a technique in which you cut and press materials such as cardboard, paper, textiles, leather, rubber and aluminum to make a shape. It is an old craft that originated in the 17th century and is now a versatile hobby and art profession.

In this article I will tell you all about how it works, where it comes from and what you can do with it.

Punching with children

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Die cutting: what is it and how does it work?

Die-cutting is a technique of cutting shapes out of materials using a die cutting machine. The process requires precision and fortunately better techniques are now available that are faster and cheaper than old-fashioned methods.

Operation of a die cutting machine

A die-cutting machine is a device that allows you to cut pieces of textiles, paper and other materials. It works by a small blade that goes through a sheet and cuts out the shape. With state-of-the-art, computer-controlled die-cutting machines, the shape is cut out with even more precision. A laser die cutting machine is an example of such a device. The shape is cut out with a laser, which is especially useful for fine objects. The disadvantage of a laser die cutting machine is that it does not work well with all paper types. For example, it can lead to brown edges on paper that lends itself less well to this technique.

What is a die cutting machine?

A die cutting machine (the best reviewed here) is a machine used to cut shapes out of materials such as paper, cardboard, fabric, and leather. It is an important tool for those involved in creative projects or production processes.

A die cutting machine and a punching machine are similar, but there is an important difference. A punching machine uses small blades that are in a shelf on top of the machine. These blades ensure that small holes are punched in the material. A die-cutting machine uses dies that press a full relief of the shape into the material.

What types of die cutting machines are there?

There are several types of die-cutting machines available, including:

  • Cart beam punching machine: a former punching machine that could make thousands of copies of the same product. This machine uses die-cutting dies that are inserted into a stack of cardboard sheets and then die-cut.
  • Manual die-cutting machine: a die-cutting machine operated by one person. This machine works by means of a lever that is pushed down to press the stamps onto the material.
  • Electric die-cutting machine: a die-cutting machine driven by an electric motor. This machine works in the same way as a manual punching machine, but the handle is replaced by an electric motor.

How to make a stamp for a die cutting machine?

A stamp for a die-cutting machine is made by a stamp maker. This person uses a drawing of the shape to be punched to make the correct stamp. The stamp is made of hard steel and must be made accurately to ensure that the shape is punched correctly. In addition, the stamps must be properly stored so that they can be used again at a later stage.

What can a die cutting machine be used for?

A die cutting machine can be used for a lot of different projects, such as:

  • Making cards, invitations and envelopes
  • Making labels and stickers
  • Making packaging and boxes
  • Making clothes and accessories
  • Making decorations and scrapbook pages

What are the advantages of a die cutting machine?

A die-cutting machine offers several advantages, such as:

  • It saves time and effort when cutting shapes by hand
  • It provides a more accurate cut than by hand
  • It makes it possible to make large quantities of products in one go
  • It offers the ability to create complex shapes that are difficult to cut by hand

What should you pay attention to when choosing a die-cutting machine?

When choosing a die-cutting machine, you should consider the following factors:

  • The type of die-cutting machine you need for your project
  • The size of the die cutting machine and the maximum size of material you can cut
  • The price of the die-cutting machine and the cost of the stamps
  • The availability of dies for the die-cutting machine
  • The quality of the die-cutting machine and the warranty it offers

Which materials are suitable for die-cutting?

If you have a die-cutting machine, you're probably curious about which materials you can cut with it. The most suitable materials for die-cutting are cardboard and paper. These materials are very easy to cut and have sufficient strength to maintain the correct shape. In addition, they are very versatile and of course commonly used materials for DIY and craft projects.

Important information about die cutting materials

It is important to know that not all materials are equally easy to die cut. For example, some materials are very hard and require a certain hardness to be punched. In addition, the strength of the material is also important, because otherwise it can break during die-cutting.

If you are unsure whether a certain material is suitable for die-cutting, we advise you to contact the manufacturer of the die-cutting machine. They can give you the best information about this and possibly advise you which materials are most suitable for your die-cutting machine.

Examples of die-cut materials

Here are some examples of materials you can die cut:

  • Cardboard and paper
  • Vinyl
  • Copper
  • Rubber
  • Aluminium
  • labels
  • Wood
  • Replato

It is important to know that the correct shape of the die-cut material can vary. You can think of round shapes, squares, rectangles, triangles, but also specific shapes such as hearts, stars and flowers.

Fun ideas to die cut with kids

Die-cutting is a creative activity that involves using a die-cutting machine to cut figures out of materials such as cardboard, paper, faux leather, and more. You can also apply relief to your die-cutting using an embossing machine. It's a fun and creative activity for kids of all ages.

Which materials are suitable?

Die-cutting is suitable for a wide variety of materials, including paper, card stock, faux leather and more. It is important to remember that not all materials are equally easy to die cut. For example, paper and cardboard are easier to die cut than faux leather. It is also important to check that the materials you are using are suitable for the die-cutting machine you have.

Fun ideas to die cut with kids

  • Make beautiful cards by punching out different shapes and sticking them on a card.
  • Create a 3D effect by punching out several layers of the same shape and sticking them on top of each other.
  • Make a beautiful garland by punching out different shapes and threading them on a string.
  • Make a bookmark by punching out a nice shape and decorating it with relief.
  • Make a beautiful keychain by cutting out a shape and decorating it with embossing and a key ring.

At what age can children start die-cutting?

Die-cutting is a very fun and creative activity in which you cut shapes from paper, cardboard or other materials using a die-cutting die. These shapes can be used for cool cards, flyers, stickers, business cards and much more. But from what age can children start die-cutting?

Age and die cuts

In principle, any age can start die-cutting, as long as there is sufficient guidance. Special dies are available for the little ones that are better suited for small hands. Consider, for example, rectangular or square shapes with a round finish, so that there are no sharp edges.

Die cutting vs cutting

The difference between die-cutting and cutting is that die-cutting is done using a die, while cutting is done by hand. Die-cutting is generally easier and faster than cutting, and the result is often neater and more precise.


It is therefore a handicraft technique in which you cut a shape out of another material and then press it in a certain way to get a relief shape.

Always something to do for the holidays or rainy day?

Play Choice now has the ultimate activity book collection, with over 60 pages of fun coloring pages and educational puzzles.

Joost Nusselder, the founder of is a content marketer, father and loves trying out new toys. As a child he came into contact with everything related to games when his mother started the Tinnen Soldaat in Ede. Now he and his team create helpful blog articles to help loyal readers with fun play ideas.