Paper/leather die cutting


After a bit of advice if anyone has any experience. I’ve been trying to cut rectangular windows out of card, as doing it with a scalpel doesn’t leave clean corners. Have successfully done it with the laser cutter, but am using white card stock and can’t seem to shift the brown edges produce by laser cutting, despite how slow or low power I go. So I was thinking maybe die cutting would be a better way, does anyone know if there’s anything in the way of cutters/press tools possibly used for leather work in the space?


Can I ask what you are cutting these for? Are these for window mounts for framing? How thick is the card you are cutting?

It’s a sleeve for a book to go in, so the book can be seen through the sleeve. Made of 300gsm card.

Design wise similar to this.

Ah ok 300gsm is pretty light so I can see tearing in the corners being a pain. Are you planning to wrap the case or are you leaving it as the raw material? If you are making a wrapped case, you might be able to disguise the rough edge of the scalpel marks. I would suggest using a single bevel knife if you can get hold of one as this will give you a cleaner cut on thicker material. Its the second bevel on a normal knife that makes it drift and causes the cut not to be square a single bevel helps keep the cut vertical. Something like a English pairing knife. (It Looks like some sort of prison contraband, but are a real thing!) I would bring one in to help but still waiting for membership.

If not maybe a good, sharp, clean chisel and a guide block to keep it vertical might be all you need.

It will be raw material but a case would make it a lot easier for sure. Thanks for the knife tip, they do indeed look like some sort of prison weapon but i’m sure would be a helpful tool for the arsenal.

Let us know when you’re membership’s through, would be great to meet fellow bookmakers!

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No problem at all. Make sure to get the correct one as they are handed. I got mine at Shepherds on Vauxhall bridge road, they normally have both left and right handed ones in there. Think they are about £23.

I have a couple of tools I would like to make for bookmaking: laying press, book plough, nipping press etc.

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@Kuniko and other paper cutters… Can you comment on whether it is possible to laser cut 300gsm paper without scorching?

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I don’t have much experience with laser cutters but I would guess this would be nigh on impossible to remove scorching completely due to the nature of the machine.

The best other possible option I can think of would be a plotter/cutter. I see there is a vinyl cutter in the space but not sure if it would be suitable for paper/thin card as this would need a backing material and also dull the blade quite quickly. It completely depends on how many need to be cut I suppose.

Looping back around to die cutting, this would be the best option if you can find the correct die. didn’t realise there were quite a few hobbyist options for this. I was thinking it would be expensive tooling for something that might only be a few dozen cases.

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A plotter cutter does seem like a good option, I think you’re correct about the edges of the laser always being slightly brown due to the nature of how it works.

Die cut would be the ideal clean way, I think custom ones are a fair bit so will try to find an off the shelf rectangle and see it that works. I’m doing 50 cases so a good punch would be ideal.

Also would be a great place to make tools for binding, a good press is hard to find.

Thanks for your help guys!

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Ah ok, once you get to that many its sometimes worth the investment! Hope it goes well

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I am a paper crafter as well as a woodworker.

Can confirm that rectangular dies are available as per the attached photo. Pretty sure these would work on 300gsm

The issue you would have would be finding the right die cutting machine to use with the die for the size of the base card ie is the aperture cut from an A4 or A5 piece of card. You would need to use a machine that can cope with A4 or A5 sizes. It is difficult to gauge the size of your book and sleeve.

I have one of these
Happy to arrange to bring it in to see if it works for you, let me know when you are about.

It cuts 45 degrees for internal picture mounts and 90degrees to cut mount board to size.

It’s not a professional one and is a pian to use but once you have it mastered it does a good job

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After 50 cases I think you will have it mastered!!

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I have previously managed to laser cut coloured card by using low power settings and fast but multiple passes through the card - that reduces scorching - I don’t have the exact settings to hand unfortunately… good luck :sun_with_face:

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Thanks! I’m cutting a flat net to be folded into an A5 box, the net is 240mmx360mm. I haven’t been able to find a home die roller that fits that size as I bought some of these as an initial test!

Thanks Mark! Would love to give this a go if you’re happy to bring it in and show me how to use it and not use it! I’m around most of this week.

I believe the blade on this cutter is “V” shaped so you would always get a little bit of over cut on a corner, never a sharp 90 degree corner, that if it is like the Jakar one I have. Even my Logan mount cutter kit cuts with the blade at an angle so would always get a bit over over cut.

Can you draw out a plan of your dimensions ? Based on your dimensions I am imagining a base in landscape style with the rectangle cut towards the bottom, middle slightly off centre to accommodate the box spine. Have I got the right ?

If that is the case the maximum width that would need to go through a die cutting machine would be the 240mm - if I have that right there are definitely machines that can accommodate that size. Admittedly they might be pricey but they are out there, but then everything is these days. Accucut machines come to mind. Most of the paper-crafting machines deal with an A4 size with the short side 210mm going through them. I will ask a crafty friend if she knows of any larger die-cutting machines.

I could also direct you to a Brother Scan-N-Cut machine which is a digital cutting machine that can deal with 305x610mm dimension paper/ card. The most up to date range (SDX) have an auto sensor that removes the need for the user to set the machine, so it can sense and move automatically between cutting vellum and construction card.

This one seems to fit your specs ?? Seen it for £229 new.

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Those dimensions are correct yes. All the machines you recommended look great, thank you for sending those.

I think some sort of cutter/plotter is the best route for this project, the Brother scan N Cut looks like a good option or something similar. I’m going to see if I can hire one as it’s a smallish run on this project. Have you had any experience with the Silhouette Cameo or Cricut cutters?

No to Cricut or Silouette (although to my shame I do have an unboxed mini Cricut somewhere !). I have an older version Scan’nCut which needs manual intervention. Never had any issues with what I have used it for - not sure I have gone as thick as 300gsm but seems as though that would not be a thick as construction board which it reputedly can cut. May need a couple of passes with blade adjustment but I have no experience.

For the Sizzix you might need to buy a buy bigger “tray” I think is the term they used to accommodate your item which would add to the cost undoubtedly!