Sunday, February 08, 2015

I got this die. Now what? (Kathy Berger)

I got this die. Now what?
by Kathy Berger

Frantic Stamper recently released this very unusual looking die set meant for making pop-up cards. Since this die is pretty unusual, I thought I would try to explain a bit about each of the components of the die. Before I do, though, I want to apologize in advance for the quality of the photos. It is a pretty gray day here, with more gray days forecast, so it is just a lot tougher to get a good shot.

Today I will only be showing you how to use the main pop-up mechanism die, which is the largest one in the set, shown on the left of the above photo. I will try to get to the rest of them in soon, but my schedule is pretty tight, with all the die design work. I will tell you a bit about the other pieces, though.

First, though, let's deal with that main mechanism die. The thin pieces that extend out from the sides of this die have two purposes. Firstly, they will help you to place the die on you card-stock or paper, and secondly, they will score a fold line where they are placed. To make the most basic kind of pop-up card, you would position these extensions along the line where the card would be folded. I find it easiest to make small score marks at the edges of my card at the center line using my score board, draw a line between the score lines, and line up my extensions on that line.

Run the positioned die through the die-cutting machine and you will have a two little slits in your paper, and a few score lines. I chose to run mine through the die cut machine three times in total, two in one direction, one in the other. This works perfectly fine as long as those extensions on the die are on that same center line.

Reinforce the scores with a ruler and a stylus or on a score board, and extend them to the edge of the card if necessary. Valley fold the main score line and the folds at the top and bottom of the two slits. Mountain fold the remaining score. You will have made a narrow stair pop-up.

What can you do with those stairs? That is up to your imagination!

Glue something to the front of each one, individually, or do like I did with my two lower stairs and glue something between two of them.

I think you get the idea. Here are a couple of other views to show the mechanisms a little better.

But what about all these other pieces? What are they for? Let's get the simpler ones to explain out of the way first.

The half-circle dies can be used in a few different ways. They can be used to cut a nice semi-circular slit for closing a fold-over flap, or to cut out a nice finger gap for a pocket. And they can be used to support or reinforce a popped-up piece of card-stock. Cut so that the diameter of the semi-circle is at the same level as the popped-up piece, the half-circle can be folded back and glued to the piece, just adding stability for a bigger pop-up.

The long rounded rectangle can be used to stamp a tiny phrase onto. It can also be used as a reinforcement for a pull-tab for all sorts of mechanical card mechanisms. And it can be used to create a slot in a card for some mechanical card mechanisms (like a push-me-pull-you card).

That leaves us with the other three rectangular mechanisms. These are intended to work with the main pop-up mechanism, as supports for taller pieces. If, for example, you want to have a tall vase filled with flowers pop up, if you simply attach the vase to the main pop-up, the flowers might flop a lot when the card is opened since they would only be attached to the vase, and not to the card.

The longer of the three rectangles is meant to be the support at the top of that vase of flowers. It will cut a support mechanism that is the same depth as the main die. Cut it, valley fold the score on the part still attached, mountain fold the other, and you have a perfect support for those flowers.

Let us suppose that you want to create a pop-up jar of flowers. You would first cut the main pop-up, attach the jar to that, then glue some flowers to the inside of the top of the jar. You would reinforce the flowers with the longer rectangular die. And you would have a lovely jar of flowers.

But even though it pops off the page, it still somehow lacks dimension. What if you used some pop-dots to attach some more flowers BEHIND ones you already have. You could use the other dies to reinforce those! These dies cut supports that don't pop-out as far as the longer one, so they can be used to help hold those flowers that are to the rear of the main.

Think about the depth you could achieve in that vase... I think when I have time, that is exactly what I will do! And when I do, I will be sure to share exactly how I used them.

But for now, I hope that I have answered some of your questions!

There are so many ways to use these dies, so many possibilities. Go ahead and give this set a try. I think you will really love all it can do for you, from the simplest pop-ups to something much more involved.


*** Materials for this project available at


  1. Kathy this is a great tutorial!

  2. Excellent tutorial Kathy! Thank you! You should post it in FB and encourage others to come to the blog!

  3. Genius!! I MUST HAVE THIS!! :)