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Sun 26

How to Make a Solid Background for an Open Die
by Dave Brethauer

Here's a quick tip that I use for creating a background piece for a die - and it is an easy tip that I have used over the years! 

Sometimes when I design an intricate die, I create a coordinating solid die that can be cut out and placed behind the die. This adds a bit of dimension to the die and gives it another look.


For example, the Scribble Rose dies have a set of outlines and a set of backgrounds. I can use these together to create a dimensional project like this...


But other times, I don't create a background die - in this case, if I do want to fill in the background I have found a way to create a "solid" background.

I discovered this at one point when I ran my die through my machine and noticed that the die didn't cut all the way through. This usually happens with thicker cardstock - and it happens all of the time with watercolor paper! I am betting that this may have happened to you before as well.

Instead of running it through again, or adding a metal adaptor plate to get a clean cut and have all of the inner pieces fall out, I realized that with all of the inner portions intact, it could be used as a background piece.


As you can see here, I have run the die through the machine with watercolor paper. This is 140 lb cold press watercolor paper (it has a little bit of dimpled texture to it). Without a metal adaptor plate, the pieces don't cut all the way through, so all of those little petals stay stuck.

This is great!

I wet the paper and added some watercolor to it - just start by painting with plain water then add a little yellow in the center and some pink around the flower. The wet surface will let the paint move a bit.


While the watercolor piece is drying, cut the die out again on some plain white cardstock.

This time you want a clean cut - I always use a metal adaptor plate on these intricate dies when I do want the inner portion to come out.


Now all you have to do is glue the white cardstock piece onto the watercolor piece - and presto!

It looks as though you had a background piece all along!

Since the watercolor paper is a bit warped, I flatten things out by running this glued piece through my die cut machine - this flattens things together lickety split.

This will work with any die - the trick is to use some thick paper, like watercolor paper, and get a "bad cut". Because of the way a die presses inside the machine - the edges get the most pressure, so they cut through, while the insides get less pressure and tend to stay intact.

This works perfectly on the Fringed Peony - shown here - but look through your stash and this little tip will give new life to designs you may already have!


Add a simple inked background and a sentiment - and you have a gorgeous card!




Now, this is a great idea and I don't even have to buy anything!! THANK YOU!

Thanks for sharing this fabulous tip.Such a lovely card.

Great idea!

Love this idea! Thanks, Dave!

Thanks I am all excited to give this a try!

Fabulous idea. Your card is so lovely. Can't wait to try this method of cutting and coloring. tfs

WOW...and I was wishing for a background die for this die - and did not buy it for that reason! Now, I can rethink that decision....what a great TIP...thanks Dave!!!!
Paper Hugs,

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