This series of pop-up posts will focus on sharing ways in which I combine hand made art with commercial products. Since becoming a blogger for Spellbinders in 2013, I have had the opportunity to explore many supplies coming from the craft industry and to learn how to put my own twist on them as I add them into my artwork. The posts in this series may focus on completed art, process, product, and/or any other aspect of mixed media. So put the mix in the media and let's get creative...
Live and Let Die
Today's post is about thinking outside of the die. Traditionally, a die is used to cut paper (or other material) to a specific shape or design by running it through a die cutting machine. As the machine applies pressure, the blade on the die cuts the paper to the desired shape. There are, however, many alternate ways to use a die that will allow you to bring an added level of unique creativity to your work and allow you to make it your own.
I am using Spellbinders Grate Effect die to demonstrate a few of the many things you can do with die cutting.
First, here is what the die cut looks like when used as originally intended. I cut hand painted paper and mounted it on another sheet of paper, painted in a contrasting color.
I love this but it is only the beginning of what can be done.
One simple way to make a die cut unique is to cut it up and only use certain sections, often in a way that was not intended by the original design.
I outlined the inside of each small section with a black pencil to make the designs pop even further.
One of my favorite techniques is to use the part of the die cut that falls out and is often discarded.
Much like sequin waste (the stencil-like sheets that are leftover after sequins are cut), this die waste can be put to good use.
I love that when you use the drop-off, ANY die all of the sudden becomes MANY dies.
There are many ways to use a die that don't even involve cutting - the action that dies are born to do. As part of a background that I have started on this piece, I used the die as a template. I started by sketching around the inside of the shapes with a white gel pen, deliberately only outlining a few of the shapes.
I then filled in the shapes using Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Big Brush pens, first with white and then with a green gold.
The die can also be used as a stencil. You can choose to use the actual metal die itself as the stencil or cut a separate stencil using the die and heavy cardstock or other material. If you use the actual die, remember to immediately wash your die to remove the paint or paste.
For this background, I premixed Golden Fiber Paste with paint and applied it through the holes in the die using a palette knife.
There are many more ways to use a die, limited only by your imagination. Feel free to share in the comments the ways in which you think outside the die.
Spellbinders has generously provided my blog readers with a special code that can be used to save 20% off items in their online shop (doesn't include shipping, tax, or machines). Head to their store and use code 20OFFSA.