Two questions I get asked all the time: "How do you cut your shapes so perfect?" and "Can I die-cut felt?!" Yes, I say while nodding my head enthusiastically! You can die cut felt -it creates perfect edges every time and makes Benzie's felt even more versatile and production friendly.
It is important to first note that there are two categories of machines: electronic and manual. Manual machines have been the most fool-proof option for our felt crafting uses and we will talk about them today. Read more about electronic cutting machines here!
There a several different brands of manual machines and dies available and most are are interchangeable using a combination of platforms and shims. We really love Sizzix's brand of machines and dies. The machines feel substantial and have held up to thousands and thousands of cuts (we cut A LOT of felt here!). We love them so much we offer our favorite machines and dies right in our shop!
There are two main categories of dies: wafer thin dies and steel rule dies. Wafer thin dies are the flat silver ones shown in the above photo -they have a little raised border that cuts the felt when rolled through a die cut machine. Steel rule dies are approximately 3/4" thick dies encased in foam (the black die shown in the photo). Both dies work with our felt -but we have found the steel rule dies are are foolproof AND you can cut multiple layers of felt at one time -it's magical!
To get a perfect cut you will first need to make up a 'die-cut sandwich'. The basic level sandwich starts with a cutting pad, a steel rule die, a sheet of felt and is topped with a second cutting pad. Cutting pads are clear acrylic rectangles that the die cuts into as they cut the felt. Don't let this alarm you -they last for hundreds (and hundreds!) of cuts but you can alway purchase replacement ones when they wear out! Benzie's wool blend felt is a great match to die cuts -use our 6x9" sheets -they fit in the machine perfectly!
To use the wafer thin dies -you'll need the addition of the 'multipurpose platform'. This will give you just the thickness needed to cut the felt! Occasionally you will find that the thin dies are not cutting well -we have found adding a card stock shim in addition to the platform provides just enough pressure to give the felt a clean cut! We give more tips about the thin dies in this fun banner tutorial!
Now take your sandwich and roll it though the machine.
Remove the sandwich from the machine and see what you have! We used the Camellia steel rule die (Pansy makes a great alternative!) to make these fun flower shapes!
We turned the flat petals into dimensional flowers by forming the flowers around a felt ball using a little hot glue! This die has a lot of possibilities!
You'll be making full felt bouquets (or bows or garlands or animal friends) in no time at all with a few time saving tools! Happy crafting friends!