New Thing #325: Using A Die Cut Machine

Die_CutWhen I first started 365 New Things In 2013 I had a list of ideas of New Things I was intending to try but hadn't done yet and was kind of waiting for a challenge like this to make me finally just go and do them. Some of them - like trying stand-up - are not looking very likely to happen in the next 40 days. (Though hardly a day has gone by where I haven't thought about doing it, believe it or not.)

Others, well, I've done pretty well at making them happen.

Including today's. Although on my list it's not worded as "Use A Die Cut Machine".

Instead it reads, "Cut out word machine thing".

The 'cut out word machine thing' is indeed called a die cut. And, well, as far as modern-day machines go, it's a blast from the past.

The one we have at school runs by hand crank, and I've watched a bunch of people use it, but I never had myself. (For those not in the know, Letter_Cit's something where you put paper over a block stencil and it cuts out letters for you to put up on bulletin boards and such, rather than you having to cut out letters yourself. At right is an example. Don't feel bad if you've never heard of this: It's the type of thing that I only know exists because I'm a teacher.)

I came close to using it myself in September, but someone else was running their letters through the thing and they offered to take mine so I let them. I almost passed that off as a New Thing, but you know me - it didn't feel legit, so I waited until I did it myself.

That time came this week. Although, if we're being honest, I didn't 100% need to do it. I have some of the pre-cut letters that you buy at Staples that I could have used on my bulletin board. But I needed to try out the die cut machine, so I took my black construction paper and made my way to the faculty room.

I think you know this about me, but I'm not the most artsy-and-craftsy guy. I can take on something like a craft if I work myself up for it, but it's hard for me to initiate something like an art project.

Part of my reluctance is a fear I will mess something up and do irreversible damage. Like breaking a die cut machine.

Well, I didn't break it. I actually quickly became quite adept at it, re-using one piece of construction paper by running it through multiple times for a bunch of different letters.

I was kind of proud of myself for that - it seemed like a pretty pro die cut move on my part.

I've come a long way from a guy who just about a year ago was still calling it a 'cut out word machine thing.'