A first for me - a photo tutorial!
If you own Spellbinders dies, you may have noticed that all are not created equal; some have more flat border around the cutting ridge, or the ridge is not centered on the flat border. This makes knowing exactly where the cutting is going to occur a little tricky - which matters if you are trying to die cut a stamped image or even a specific section of a patterned paper.
I thought I would share this little trick I use all the time that I learned from my local stamp store owner (Steve Thomson, Stampers). It is actually really easy - don't let the long-winded explanation scare you off.
This tip works for all Spellbinders dies - or similar thin dies. I have not tried it with the thicker steel rule dies, but it probably would work with them, too. For this tip, let's assume you want to stamp one of the amazing Vintage Ornaments from Waltzingmouse Stamps and then use the corresponding 2010 Heirloom Ornaments Spellbinders die to cut it out so that it is nicely centered with equal amounts of border around it.
"Special" supplies needed: plain light weight paper, removable tape.
1)Take a piece of plain text weight, printer or loose leaf paper that is about an inch bigger all around than the ornament die you want to use, and lay the die in the center of the paper (ridge side down).
2) Affix one or two pieces of removable tape to the edge of the die cut at the top OR on one side. (In photo above, tape is on the left hand side.) Put the tape on the metal and the outside paper; don't have any tape laying over the inside aperture of the die. Run through your die cutting machine of choice. (I use a Cuttlebug.)
3) Leave the die in place on the paper, but pop out the die cut, so the die is now sitting in the paper with the ornament-shaped hole in the center. Set aside.
4) Now stamp your ornament image on your card stock or other substrate.
5) Pick up your newly created paper and die "frame" and lift the metal die out of the way using the "hinge" of tape you created. Keep the die attached to the paper - just flip it back so that you can see the paper frame underneath. Lay that frame down on top of your stamped image and line up the image to center it inside the paper frame. You will be able to see exactly where the stamped image will sit inside the cut lines.
6) Once you have things aligned nicely, carefully flip the die back in place over top of the paper frame and the stamped image. It will "seat" into the paper frame over your image. If you look closely at the photo below (click on it to enlarge) it might appear that the die is not lined up accurately. This is because the flat border on either side of the ridge is not even. However, we are not eyeballing the placement; we are assured it is correct because we aligned our image to the cut frame template instead of relying on the appearance of the die's flat border.
7) At this point, you can place the unit of die, paper and substrate into your machine and cut. (Or, if you want to be extra secure in placement, you can add a piece of removable tape to connect the outer edge of the paper frame to the substrate underneath. I don't bother.)
8) Voila! A perfectly aligned cut image will emerge from your die cutting machine!
I have embossed these with the paper still in place and as long as you use thin paper to make your frame template (as opposed to cardstock) it works well. Click on the image below to see the embossed edge.
I save the paper frames and store them with my dies. I even store some of the smaller ones still attached to their dies so I don't have to re-tape next time I use them! I'm just lazy that way.
I hope you will try this - and if you do - let me know how it goes. I am sure you will be pleased with this exact placement instead of the old eyeball method that seems to work 80 percent of the time - but never when you really need it to!