Have you got a Platform Style Die cutting machine in your Craft room? Do you still use it, or have you given up on it because you have an electronic cutting machine or simply because new metal dies are so expensive?
Many Paper Crafters and Card Makers use these machines and some have moved on to the electronic cutters like the Silhouette. I did it the opposite way. I started with a Silhouette (which I still use frequently and love) but purchased a Die Cutting Machine later. I picked up my Spellbinders Platinum 6 at good sale price locally, but pretty much instantly regretted it when I went to purchase some metal dies to use with it! Arrgh! The price of them here in Australia was exorbitant!
It was during my online searching for better prices that I became aware of unbranded dies. I purchased my first one last year on Ebay and have purchased quite a few more since then!
Today I’m sharing my experience with Unbranded Dies. You may already use them – What do you think?
Why Die Cut when you have a Silhouette?
I love my Silhouette and it’s ability to make any shape I can design myself or purchase. The main reason I was drawn towards the metal Die Cut World was the finish. I love that the shapes, after cutting, have the smooth rounded edges. I think it makes the cut look a little more weightier and gives it a “finished” look.
Another plus is embossing, A metal die can have embossed features built in which can give a cut out more depth and detail. (see the little heart below)
The machines can also be used for straight out embossing too when combined with embossing folders. I like embossing my regular Silhouette Cuts too to give them more interest.
This isn’t a comparison post about the machines though – they all have awesome features and I definitely think there’s room for both types of machines in our Craft Rooms. Let’s get back to the Metal Dies.
I purchase from Ebay stores with Free Shipping. It’s exxy to get anything here to Australia. These goods mostly ship from, China, Taiwan or Hong Kong and the compromise is, that if they are offering Free Shipping, be prepared to wait. It’s understandable that if they are footing the shipping bill, that they will ship using the most economic way for them.
An example: I ordered from 2 different stores on Aug 12th. They both shipped from Hong Kong within 2 days. The first order arrived 1st week Sept. and my second order arrived 20th September. About 3 weeks and 5 weeks respectively, but both within their shipping estimates of Wed, 30 Aug – Mon, 09 Oct.
So be aware it varies and can be slowish at times but I haven’t had a package go missing. (Touch Wood!)
Tip: Think ahead! Don’t order Christmas Dies on Dec 1st. 😉
Talking of Christmas, Here’s a Card I prepared earlier using 4 of my Dies. LOL – I’ve used this die many times and only just noticed now the Tree growing out of the Reindeer’s back – oops!
The stores generally sell many different products and their range and stock levels vary. Some Dies I liked in one store weren’t available in other stores. This is another reason why I purchased from several stores. I generally buy more than one thing at each store though. As they paid the shipping, I want the sale to be worth their while!
Do the Dies work?
Yes, they do! I’ve just used the usual cutting plate recommendations for my machine and everything has cut just fine. As I don’t own any actual branded Dies, I can’t compare, only say I’m happy with the results I get with these dies.
Prices vary, The cheapest die I’ve purchased was the star garland at $1.39 AUD (Top Left) and the most expensive was $AU4.69 for a Textured Woven Stick Die. (below the Willow Tree)
All up over the last year I’ve spent about $AU110 which is about $US88 at today’s exchange rate: This is what I got for my money:
Apart from waiting for the postman and the tree sprouting from the reindeer’s back? Not Really, the only thing I can think of is many of the designs have the Faux Stitch marks. I like them but I’d like to see some Basic Nesting Shapes like the Square, Circle, Rectangle in a version without the Faux Stitching too – just for an occasional alternative look. Now when I want a plain shape I get out my Silhouette 😉
If you’re a Die Cut enthusiast and you haven’t already used unbranded dies, I hope this helps make your Craft Dollar go a little further.
I wasn’t aware when I wrote this post that this is a somewhat controversial subject. I’m told that some of the dies have been designed by larger Branded craft supply companies, in other words some dies may be potential “Knockoffs”.
When writing my post, I was thinking along the lines of “Factory Direct” and simply trying to share a money saving craft supply tip and sharing my experience.
However, if you’re not comfortable purchasing a potential “knockoff”, simply look for a branded version of a die first to see if it’s available to you locally. You won’t necessarily get the savings but the branded Company and the designer (assuming it was originally designed by that company) will appreciate your support, and depending what country you are located in, you may be supporting a locally made product.
More on Metal Dies
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