Die cutting is a process employed to create precise and unique customized shapes in materials like paper or cardboard. It can be combined with a variety of other finishing methods or simply used on its own.

The process begins with the design phase.  This is where your intended pattern is translated onto a specially crafted die, usually made of steel, through methods like engraving or digital imaging. Skilled professionals then fashion the die according to your design specifications. Think of the die as a sharp durable cookie cutter. Once the die is prepared, it is mounted onto a flatbed or rotary press die-cutting machine.  The material to be cut, is then carefully positioned on the machine. As the material passes through the die-cutting machine, the die presses against the material, precisely cutting and shaping it according to your desired design.

Common applications for die-cutting are tags, labels, and marketing collateral.

Three Variations to consider

There are three main variations on how die-cutting can be used- Perforating, kiss cutting, and laser cutting.

Perforating is a technique that involves creating a series of small holes or punctures in a material.  This allows for easy tearing or separation along the perforation lines. This process is commonly employed in applications such as tear-off sections on forms, tickets, coupons, or any other printed material where a clean and controlled tear is desirable. Perforations are designed to weaken the material along specific lines.  This ensures that it tears easily and cleanly when pressure is applied.

Kiss cutting is a precise and controlled form where a die is set up to cut through a material partially while leaving the backing or substrate intact. The term “kiss” refers to the gentle contact between the cutting die and the material. This technique is often used in the production of stickers, labels, or decals. The purpose is to cut the top layer of the material without cutting through the backing.  This allows for easy removal or peeling of individual labels while keeping them attached to a backing sheet. Kiss cutting is particularly useful for creating intricate designs without compromising the stability of the backing material.

Laser cutting is a modern and versatile method of cutting materials using a focused laser beam. While it differs from traditional die cutting, the principles remain the same — removing material to create a specific shape or pattern. In laser cutting, a computer-controlled laser is directed onto the material’s surface to achieve the desired cut. This method is highly precise, allowing for intricate designs and fine details. On the other hand, the level of detail is realized with a high-cost per piece attached.

Why die-cut?

If you really want to capture someone’s attention, die-cutting is perfect for the job. Novelty plays an important role in marketing collateral. A strategically planned design can make a big impact, like Absolut Vodka when they included gift tags in a direct mail piece sent out for the holidays. For more information about finishing techniques we can use to make your print stand out, reach out to our team today.

Published On: January 17, 2024Categories: Marketing, Printing


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