It’s been a while since I’ve shared a tutorial here, and I think it’s time to get back into it! As you’re probably aware, I share a lot of die cut files here on my blog, including some that incorporate a lot of fine details. One comment I get quite frequently goes something like this: “I love this design, but whenever I try to take it off the cutting mat, it just rips. What am I doing wrong?” Today I’m sharing a little video tutorial where I’ll show you how to remove intricate designs from your cutting mat as well as give you some tips you might find useful on your die cut adventures!
Before you even get started with your cut, here are some things you need to consider:
- Your Material: Are you using a thin material like linen paper, vinyl, or crepe paper? A thicker material like cardstock or glitter paper? Or maybe something really thick, like felt or rubber?
- Your Mat: If you’re using a material that is delicate and liable to rip, you’ll want to use a LightGrip Mat or a StandardGrip Mat that has seen some use. For exceptionally thick materials, you’ll need a fresh StandardGrip Mat or possibly even a StrongGrip Mat to keep your material down while making the cut.
- Your Blade: A Premium Fine-Point Blade will do the job for just about any standard material you’re looking to cut. These blades last a long time (I change mine out about every 6 months or so, just for reference), but the newer it is, the crisper you’re designs will come out. A Deep-Point Blade is only needed if you’re cutting a really thick material (like rubber, felt, or even balsa wood). I’ve tried off-brand blades before trying to save money (‘cus let’s be real, these are a little pricy), and I’ve never had any luck. Some were so bad that even my dull Cricut blade did a better job than a fresh knock-off blade.
- The Size of Your Design: Basically, the more intricate the design, the more limited you are on sizing and materials. For ultra thin and ultra tick materials, the machine won’t be able to handle making a bunch of super tiny cuts, so you’ll have to go bigger. The simpler the design is, the more leeway you have when it comes to sizing. There’s so firm rules on how small you can go with a complex design, but you’ll get a feel for it with trial and error.*
- Your Cut Setting: When choosing your cut setting, you have to take all of the above into account. You might think, “I’d rather err on a firmer cut setting, so I’ll just keep it at ‘Poster Board’ all the time.” I’ll tell you from experience, that’s not a good idea. You really want to keep your setting as light as possible for your machine to still make the cut. That way you don’t run the risk of your machine mincing your precious design to shreds and wasting good (often expensive) material. I’ve learned to try it on a lighter setting than I think I’ll need, then testing to see if the cut went through before I eject the cutting mat from the machine.
*Designer Tip: Something I’ve learned over the years of designing cut files, my Cricut can handle a lot more fine details if the design is consisted of straight lines and angles. It has much more trouble with really small curves and especially spirals. For example: I can cut a repeating line design incredibly small, but if I were to make spirals with the same line thickness, the machine would likely tear it apart.
Here’s the video where I go over all those prep-tips and show you how to remove intricate designs from your cutting mat once your prescious cut comes out.
Hopefully you enjoyed the video and it saves you some headache with your next intricate die cut creation. Happy crafting!
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