Although custom cuts are not new to the print world, they are becoming more and more popular with wedding couples.
When custom cuts are created, they are generally done in large quantities, so it’s important to have a process that can provide volume production.
In the printing industry, we have two main ways of getting designs cut so that they are exactly what you are envisioning. Each is a completely different method and provide different results.
This cutting method has become very popular in the past 2-3 years as production costs become more affordable. These are, however, still classified as a luxury item, but the higher availability of printers with laser technology is helping to bring down the costs.
how is it done?
A large sheet of paper (or other cutting media) is placed under the laser and the design is inputted from the vector design file into the machine. The laser then uses the design file to cut through the material in the same design provided by the original file.
There are certainly pros to doing laser cut designs. Fist of all, the laser provides the ability to make very fine cuts that are far too intricate for a blade or die to create. The fancy lace designs you see? Yeah, most likely laser cut!
One major thing to be aware of with laser-cut designs is that there can be a residue left behind by the laser as it burns through the material. Although it is very tricky to calibrate each paper perfectly to eliminate the residue completely, some clients are unaware of this and are surprised to see a faint scorching on the reverse side of the cut.
A die is similar to a hole punch that you use to put the paper in your binder. A small thin blade is bent to match the shape of the material being cut. It is then mounted onto a backing board to keep the blade in place.
Die-cut pieces are usually limited to thin products like paper, cardstock or leather. Things that you would be able to cut with an Exacto knife.
how is it done?
Once the die is created, it is mounted to a press machine. The paper is fit into a slot and the machine closes on the paper and is cut into the shape of the die.
A definite pro for the die-cut is that there are no scorch marks that are left behind on the material. It also is a faster process to do a print run, as all the design is done with one push instead of the laser cutting a line at a time.
You can also add different cutting features to the die, including score lines and perforation areas, meaning the die can do multiple things at once.
Some cons are that it’s a more costly setup. Each die needs to be created before use, so there is a setup cost based on the size and intricacy of the design. The cration of a die usually takes an additional 3-5 business days, adding to the total time required to produce. Also, once it is built, the die is as it is. You cannot make it bigger or smaller. Any changes cannot be reprogramed, but the die needs to be remade. This makes any edits incredibly expensive.
Do you have a favourite type of cut? Need some help figuring out what method is best for you? Let us know! You can see both styles featured in the invitation set above. The invitation was laser cut, and the save the date card was cut with a die.