Welcome to Part 3 of the die cutting series! In Part 1 we covered using steel rule dies, Part 2 was all about wafer thin dies and now we’re going to talk about die cutting iron-on glitter. I highly recommend you check out Parts 1 & 2 before continuing on with this post. Unless you’ve got lots of experience with die cutting in which case, proceed!
**Please note: Iron-on glitter is no longer available in the shop, but Glitter Felt sheets are!
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Iron-on glitter, is a sheet of glitter vinyl that can be adhered to fabric with an iron. In this post we’ll be covering how to cut the glitter before and after it has been backed with felt. There are many uses for glitter felt, I typically use it for leaves on Christmas wreaths, but I’ve seen hair bows and other accents and accessories using glitter. However it doesn’t have the same flexibility as regular felt, so there are limitations to it’s uses. Tips and tricks for working with glitter felt will be covered in another post.
Iron-on Glitter can be die cut either backed with felt or unbacked. Throughout this post, any shots of glitter that appear super shiny is unbacked glitter, as it still has the protective film on it.
Die Cutting Tools and Equipment
Die Cutter & Accessories
There are many brands and styles of die cutters on the market and they generally all work the same way. I recommend using the Sizzix brand of die cutter, and more specifically the Sizzix Big Shot Plus. There are different sizes and widths of die cutter, and I just find that the Big Shot Plus is the best size for working with 9×12 felt sheets and the Big Shot Plus is easily tucked away when you’re done with it.
Typically when you purchase a die cutter it will come with the cutting pads and platforms that you will need for cutting. Those items are necessary, so make sure that you have them already or that they are in fact included in your purchase!
There are 2 main types of dies; wafer thin and steel rule. Both types will work in varying degrees with the iron-on glitter. Refer back to Parts 1 & 2 of the series to learn more about specifically working with each type of die.
Where to Find Dies
My one stop shop for all things die cutting is Scrapbook.com. I have purchased my die cutter and many dies from that website. It is reliable, with reasonable pricing and shipping options.
I’ve also had excellent experiences shopping at SimonSaysStamp.com. They have a large selection of steel rule dies, wafer thin dies, die cutting tools and accessories and their customer service is excellent.
Die Cutting Glitter
Unbacked Glitter & Wafer Thin Dies
‘Unbacked Glitter’ just means that the glitter has not been ironed on to the felt or other fabric yet. It’s just the sheet of glitter with the shiny protective film still on it.
To die cut unbacked glitter with wafer thin dies, you will want to place it glitter side down on your cutting pads and place your dies against the back side of the glitter. This is because the protective film doesn’t cut very well. So a more intricate die won’t get through the film, but it will still cut through the glitter. Simpler shapes will cut through both.
If you are using an intricate die, such as this seashell, you can carefully peel away the bits of cut glitter using tweezers and leave the film in place. It will get peeled off after the glitter has been ironed onto your felt.
Backed Glitter & Wafer Thin Dies
‘Backed Glitter’ is glitter that has been ironed on to your fabric of choice, in this case felt. Wafer thin dies can only cut through backed glitter if the shapes are fairly simple. The seashell die for example, does not cut through it even after multiple passes through the die cutter. But bows and leaves are no problem!
In this case, you can place your wafer thin die on either the top or back side of the glitter. I prefer to put it on the top, but you can play around with it to figure out what works best for you. And you may want to run it through the die cutter twice just to ensure a clean cut. After your shapes are cut, you’ll have to carefully peel them away from the excess felt. It is kind of like tearing a perforated piece of paper. I suspect that over time, frequently cutting glitter felt will eventually dull the dies. But they should still last a good long while.
Backed or Unbacked Glitter & Steel Rule Dies
Steel rule dies have no trouble cutting through either backed or unbacked glitter. Simply place your glitter face up on top of your die and cut as you normally would. The only thing to keep in mind is that the glitter is ‘grabby’ once the film is removed. (Kind of like velcro) So if you are cutting backed glitter and the film is removed, the glitter might pick up any little bits of fluff that are stuck to your cutting pads. And once the glitter has hold of something, it’s very difficult to pick out. Again, I recommend sticking with simple shapes.
I’d really love to know: What do you use iron-on glitter for? 🙂