How to die-cut shapes using the Xcut Xpress Machine

The Xcut Xpress Die-cutting Machine  is the perfect solution for die-cutting and embossing, with a capacity for up to A4 size accessories. Michelle Gower shows you how, with just some cardstock, acetate, a couple of sets of dies and the Xcut Xpress, everyone can create a unique album to showcase your special photographs. 


1. To create your album framework, use the two largest Xcut Parenthesis Dies. Apply some sticky tape to the back of the largest die at several points. Position the smaller die inside the larger to create an evenly spaced frame and press onto the tape to secure the two dies together. Sprinkle a little talc or flour onto the visible tape and shake off. This is to ensure the card doesn’t stick to the tape and tear.

2. Place your dies face up onto the Xpress base plate then lay your cardstock on top. Place the top plate on top of the cardstock, making sure it is aligned with the base plate then push your ‘sandwich’ in-between the Xpress rollers until the handle starts to engage.  Let go of the sandwich and turn the crank handle until the plates pass fully through the rollers. You will need to die cut two black frames and six green. These will form your page frames.

TIP For best results, always make sure you set the dial to the correct number to suit the material you are cutting!

3. Cut four pieces of Papermania acetate to fit your apertures allowing for a slight overlap onto the card surround. Stick a piece of acetate to one of the card frames ensuring the acetate edge does not protrude outside the frame. Stick another cardstock frame on the opposite side to create a sandwich of frame-acetate-frame. Repeat for the four pages.

4. (B) Trim the largest of four photos to 5.5” wide x 4” high, then trim the next photo so that they are the same height but make it at least 1” narrower. Repeat until you have four photos all different widths. Cut pieces of card to the exact same dimensions as your photos.

5. Stick the largest photo centrally within the frame to the last page. Stick the matching piece of card to the back of the page covering the back of the photo. Place the next acetate page on top of the last page, making sure to align them carefully. Align the second largest photo left edge with the left edge of the photo on the last page and stick down. Stick the matching piece of card to the back of the acetate page covering the back of the photo. Repeat for last two pages.

6. Bind the four pages together fairly tightly using either a binding wire, ribbon and eyelets or small book rings.

7. (C) Die cut ‘a lot’ of leaf shapes (XCU 503041 and XCU 503195). Leave some of the shapes plain and spritz on both sides some with white Artiste spritzing ink and some with gold ink. Blend brown ink around the edges of the all the shapes, this helps create depth when layered. Keep six varied leaves to one side.

8. On the back of the first page arrange leaf shapes along the edge of the cardstock panel nearest the binding and the top and bottom edges only, do not obscure the edge farthest from the binding. Once you are happy with the leaf arrangement glue the leaf shapes to the cardstock on the back of the page. Stick leaves to the back of each page being careful not to obscure the overlapping edge of the photo. This builds a dimensional leaf background. On the last page surround the back of the entire photo with leaves.

9. Print your journaling to fit the back of each photo and stick on the leaf shapes.
If using a binding wire or book rings, decorate with ribbons, Take the six leftover leaf shapes and punch a hole in the top of each. Thread onto a ball chain and attach to your binding.

With simple yet effective use of die-cuts, some spritzing inks and an ink pad, you can increase the illusion of depth to your backgrounds. Make it your own and have fun with your Xpress die cutter!