Die Cut Scrap Hacks – Use What You Have

If you have a die cutting machine, most likely you have had every intention of using the negative space (“leftover” paper or cardstock) for a new project. But often, those negative space cutouts end up in a pile until the pile becomes a mess of “cutout confusion”. At that point, I usually end up tossing the whole pile. Wasteful!

Watch the video outlining several crafty solutions to using your pile of die cut scraps:

To solve the problem of accumulating a huge pile of scraps, I have come up with 5 ULTIMATE TIPS & TRICKS! First of all, I found that if I am more purposeful WHEN I ACTUALLY DO THE DIE CUTTING, I can multi-task my projects AND keep my area clutter-free! If you have a large electronic cutting machine (like a Brother Scan N Cut or a Cricut), you may want to skip “Tips While Cutting”.

TIPS WHILE CUTTING (hand-crank or small electric machines):
Get in the habit of saving ACTUAL DIE CUTS instead of random scraps of paper. Maybe you think you only need to cut one leaf or flower right now, but why not go ahead and cut 8 or 10 while you already have the machine and the die right there?

Size your “negative space” paper BEFORE you die cut. You know you have plenty of cardstock and patterned paper… PLENTY. Go ahead and use a brand new sheet, or at LEAST a half-sheet. Then, take an extra minute or two AT THIS STAGE and make a deliberate pattern in the paper you are die cutting. As papercrafters, we think very carefully about how and where we place the smallest details. Use that same thought process when die cutting. As you prepare to die cut, imagine that you are creating a background with “holes” instead of stamps or stencils.

Joyful Butterfly Die Set by Dare 2B Artzy


1. Use as a stencil. Sturdy cardstock can withstand paint, ink and texture paste.

2. Create patterns on your gel printing plate. Not only will you get a great print, but you also can continue to use the paint-stained negative space on other projects, too!

3. Use as “faux” texture paste. Adhere to a blank page, and gesso or paint over top. Instant mixed media texture!

4. Tone down “loud” patterned papers. Adhere the negative space cutout over top patterned paper, so you see the pattern THROUGH the holes. Use as you would regular patterned paper.

5. FUN HACK: Use to “stencil” a powdered sugar-design on top of brownies. AMAZING!


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