Die Cutting FAQs

What is a die cut?

Steel rule knife and, when needed, scoring rules for folds are prepared from a digital file and fitted to a laser cut plywood base. This cutting die is locked in the press and the paper is fed through and cut a sheet at a time in tight register. This is how we cut the paper to a final shape when the project requires something other than a straight trim on a guillotine cutter. This is typically the last step in the print production process.

What is a kiss cut?

A kiss cut is a die cut through only the first layer of a label stock material. Label stock material usually has a crack-and-peel backer sheet. The kiss cut leaves the sticker shapes ready to peel away from the backer sheet.

What is a matrix score?

A matrix score is used to make a crease in a sheet of paper to provide a place for folding. This type of scoring is also accomplished with a letterpress printing press using a scoring rule and a u-shaped channel. The paper is pushed down into the channel making the most crisp and square crease possible.

What is a cut score?

A cut score is for extra heavy materials. A cut score is used to cut only part of the way through a thick material, giving the material a place to fold. When using a material above 140lbC or 24pt, things can difficult to crease and fold. A cut score is a good option for thick paper applications, especially 2 ply sheets and board stocks.

Can I edge color my die cut business cards?

We do not combine edge coloring with die cutting. Paper edges cut with a die are not able to color clean enough for our quality standards.

What are paper dummies?

This is an important part of the design process used to check your paper structure. A paper dummy is an actual size mock up with the actual paper stock you intend to use for production. We recommend all designers make a paper dummy for anything they intend to print. This is especially true of anything that has folding and fitting considerations. Pieces like disc packaging, custom boxes, LP jackets and pocket folders are especially important to double check size and fit before sending a job to print.

Will you design my die line for me?

If you need help developing a structure and making sure your die line is ready for production, please let us know in advance of submitting production files. We can do it, and it does add additional pre press time for making paper dummies and adjusting files for production.

Can you die cut my logo?

Most text and logos are too complex to be die cut. Steel rule dies are limited in their complexity. Small detail is especially difficult to cut from thick materials. For complex cutting, we use laser cutting partners to finish your project.

Can you give a ballpark cost on a die cut?

Costs on die cutting are very subject to complexity. We need to see a digitally provided die line in order to price any die cutting and assembly costs.