Paper 101 - Die Cutting
The following information is meant to provide additional tips for die-cutting our cardstock. It is not meant to instruct on how to use a die-cutting machine or accessories. Please consult your machine manufacturer instructions for further information.
When it comes to die cutting, all it takes are the right settings to create beautiful designs. Almost every paper Cardstock Warehouse™ sells is die cut machine compatible and, when using the right settings, will produce crisp, clean cuts like the ones below. (Non-compatible papers are labeled on their individual product page.)
The quality of your blade and mat is also very important. We do NOT recommend using generic blades, as they do not offer the same cut quality as Cricut and Silhouette brand blades.
CONDITIONING YOUR MAT
Before you begin a die cutting project, make sure your blade is sharp and your mats are properly prepared. When using a new mat, whether it be Cricut or Silhouette, you will want to condition your mat first.
When new, the mats are too sticky to use without damaging your paper. You can condition your mat by pressing your hands on to the surface repeatedly until it feels slightly less sticky. Make sure you touch the surface evenly and that you get the corners. The natural oils on your hands decrease the stickiness just enough to protect your paper but not damage your mat. Use a small scrap of paper to test your mat before you start your project.
For specific cut settings, find the machine you are cutting with below.
The cheat sheet below gives the Cricut cut settings using a regular blade for each of the Cardstock Warehouse papers.
*Papers in the box with the X2 star will cut using the double cut feature on Cricut Explore and Silhouette machines, or multi-cut 2x setting on Cricut Maker, which allows for a clean cut of thicker papers.* We do NOT recommend trying to cut papers that are greater than an 80 lb. basis weight in only one pass. The double-cut features will ensure the paper cuts all the way through every time! If you are having trouble with your paper cutting all the way through using these settings, we recommend replacing your blade with a fresh one. (Cricut brand blades ONLY.) When cutting intricate cuts, we recommend trying the Intricate Cut settings available as a custom setting on Cricut Explore and Cricut Maker. This setting will use less pressure and will cut twice. Keep in mind that there will be limitations as to how intricate a cut you can make with certain papers and recommend testing before committing to your paper choice.
To cut using a Silhouette Cameo, use the diagram below to configure your cut settings. The Textured Cardstock setting comes standard on your machine, but you will have to create a custom setting for papers 85# and higher. See the diagram for the correct settings.
Regardless of what machine you have, sometimes issue arise. Here are some tips for making sure you get the best cuts possible!
- DO NOT use generic blades, especially those from Amazon. We have done extensive testing and found them to not deliver quality cuts, even when they are brand new. The best blades for your machine are the ones from the manufacturer of your machine.
- Make sure your mat is sticky enough to hold the paper in place. If your paper is wiggling on the mat, it will not cut cleanly. We recommend the standard grip mat for all of our papers.
- Make sure you are using the double-cut or multi-cut 2x (Cricut Maker) setting for ALL papers greater than 80 lb. For intricate cuts, the Intricate Cut setting is recommended by Cricut. These settings will cut each line twice. We do not recommend cutting papers greater than 80 lb. in just one pass.
- If the paper is not cutting all the way through, increase the pressure, or install a new blade. You will be amazed at the difference a new blade makes. The two die cuts below were done on the same setting, but the one on the right was cut with a new blade.
- If your paper is tearing when you cut, your pressure may be too high, or your speed could be too fast. Adjust one variable at a time and try again. The photo below shows a cut with the incorrect pressure on the left, and the correct pressure on the right.
- If you are still having trouble, contact the maker of your machine. All Cardstock Warehouse™ papers have been extensively tested to ensure they cut cleanly in properly functioning machines, unless otherwise noted in the product listing.