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
You may be interested in these posts about Metal Dies too.
Use your metal Die Cuts with your Silhouette Supplies
Upcycling Card Parts using your Metal Die Cuts and
Make Silhouette Print and Cut Templates for Metal Dies.
Gail Scott says
This was a very informative read – thanks for sharing – you have some very nice dies in your photo— great shopping! Enjoy your day!
Thank you for confirming what many have been saying. I’ve been very leery of taking advantage of these prices, concerned about the quality of the dies.
Jackie Whiteman says
Hi, I’m in the UK and have purchased unbranded dies from ebay before – excellent value, most dies are made in China anyway!!! There are some controversial comments about these dies being copied from larger companies though.
Those unbranded dies are mostly copied designs from larger companies. For example the Patchwork Star Die Cut – it’s Die’namics Quilt Square Cover Up (http://www.mftstamps.com/die-namics-quilt-square-cover-up).
I am not sure if it’s really ethical to advertise the unbranded dies as the designer gets no credit or share . This is basically supporting piracy. Though I do understand limited finances as a fellow crafter.
Thanks for your comment Astrid. You make an interesting point – I was thinking of the dies more as “factory Direct” rather than “knockoffs”. My post wasn’t an advertisement as I have no affiliation with these stores, but I understand your point. I have left your link to the branded die.
I have heaps of dies from China as being on a pension it is the only affordable way to go. IF there is a die from a brand that I cant live without (you know what I mean) I will pay the money for that die but it is so lovely to buy quality at a cheap price. You have to be really careful that you dont buy the same die twice ( you know the saying, you liked it so much you bought it twice lol). It is a tricky road to know which dies are knock off and which ones are generic.
Good point about buying the same die twice Robyn, LOL – I haven’t got that many yet 😉 ……..
Hi Pam, I agree with your the write up. I to have purchased dies from china, and I think they are good and cut great, it makes your dollar go further with our crafting!!!, I do have branded die to compare them with, and as you say they are expensive!!! also if you don’t make comparison with other company’s then you won’t get into trouble with any of them! just show what you make and let us all enjoy your projects, Thank you for all the free file you share with us for the silhouette machine, and as you say both of the machines have there purpose in the craft room, Thanks again, Cheers Anna, an other Aussie,
Thanks Anna, Yes, regular supplies here are very exxy. – I guess the shipping and exchange rates are to blame.
Years ago when I did beading and jewelry I used to ship supplies from the US simply because I couldn’t get the stuff here – not because I was trying to save money.
The good thing is that now at least we can get most things here and even tho I’ve bought the cheap dies from China I still drop plenty of $$$ at Local and Aussie online stores too! If Spotlight ever goes out of business – it’s not because of me 🙂 LOL
Pam, Thank your article, it helps to know other people who have purchased these supplies & found them well worth waiting for. I have had a little spending spree & look forward to receiving them. Warm fuzzies from the Land of the Long White Cloud. 🙂
Nancy Jr says
Very interesting. I agree a craft room needs both types of cutters. I like manual dies if you only need one or two. Its just easire to crank out a coulple instead of using the electronic machine.
Tout d’abord un grand merci pour tous vos partages de fichiers.
Moi personnellement, j’ai la Big Shot depuis environ 5 ans et la Silhouette depuis 9 ans et j’aime utiliser les 2.
Pour les pochoirs de découpes, jusque récemment j’achetais en Europe avec des frais de port assez important, depuis 1 an, j’achète aussi en Chine (même s’il y a souvent contrefaçon) grâce à leur prix très bas et frais de port gratuit , j’en ai acheté plus de 150, et même un “coin” en 4 exemplaires pour faire un carré.
Et je continuerais d’en acheter
Thanks for sharing. I also buy on Ebay. Why spend the money when there are other options. If I see a brand name die I like, I search the web and Ebay usually has the best price. It may take a little longer to get to you but you saved yourself a few dollars. Continue to share, passing along good information for the thrifty crafters.
Jeri Sexton Sexton says
I LOVE my China dies. I have such an amazing collection of dies. However, I have spent loads on originals as well, many before I knew about China dies. However, they do not have everything, so I still by branded when I love something. Its just really been fun to increase my collection. I wish I knew which company was the parent company on many that I have because then I can buy other dies that coordinate with them. I have learned a few, but I wish there was a list as then we could also support that parent company.
I had no idea there was anything like unbranded dies until I read it on another site and then found it on yours. I have followed your blog for a long time now and I went to search out the unbranded dies – and made several purchases. I found a die that I wanted for $2.84 as opposed to $28.99 after shipping on another site. I am not working right now and I could not afford the $28.99 so am very happy with the lower price. Thank you for the information and I like others can use it as we see fit (to buy or not to buy). Also, thank you for the SVGs, I do have an electronic cutter also.