I don’t think it’s supposed to look like that…

But I could be wrong. Check out the curve on that Cutting Plate. It’s so bent out of shape, I could probably eat soup off of it. Don’t worry, I can fix this. I’ll just flip it over and run it through upside down a bunch of times and it will eventually start to flatten out a bit. Will it ever flatten out completely? Nope, but that’s okay because it still works.17-6-30My cutting plates and Big Shot get a ton of use. I use it at least 5-6 times a week. Yes, really. So my cutting plates become warped and scratched very quickly. I’ll continue to use this set until it just won’t cut anymore. I do have a back-up set of cutting plates that I ordered a couple months ago. They are ready to go when these fall apart. When I received the new cutting plates, I was amazed at how clear and smooth they look. I forgot that you can actually see through them. 

Why am I telling you all this? So that you’ll know that your cutting plates will eventually warp and be scratched too. This is a normal side-effect of using them. I bet you’re thinking, how could I possibly still work with them in this condition? I do because they still do the job they are supposed to.

Today’s card was made using those old soup-bowl cutting plates. And if I hadn’t told you, you would never have guessed. The stitched circle, scallop circle, and leaves were all die cut on these plates. Amazing, isn’t it? This card is so lovely despite the condition of my old cutting plates. 17-6-28Here you can see the detail on the die cuts and they look like they would have been cut from pristine cutting plates. But now you know my secret. I’d rather save money on my cutting plates and buy more stamps and dies. It’s okay to cut corners when you craft. Keep using those old cutting plates until they can’t be used anymore. So you too can buy more stamps and dies. 🙂17-6-29I just love the way the tiny rosettes look on this card. Unfortunately, no die for them; they were hand cut. I’ve been so spoiled with all the different stamp sets with coordinating dies, that I debated cutting out all those tiny flowers. But it is so worth the final look. You might have noticed that my pearls are different sizes too. The new packages of pearls in the Annual Catalog no longer have the mini pearls. I’m glad I had a few left in my stash from the retired packs of pearls. 

A couple tips if you’re worried about the condition of your cutting plates…

  • If they look like mine, but still die cut when you run it through the machine keep using them.
  • If they look like mine and you are still using them, you might want to think about ordering a back-up set for when those finally go.
  • When they start to warp like this, remember to keep flipping them over and over. This will lessen the curvature.
  • When your plates start to show cracks (not the same thing as a scratch), be gentle with them. If it starts to crack in the center, it’s probably time to retire that plate. If it cracks along the edge, be aware that the cracks will eventually get bigger and could damage whatever you’re trying to cut.
  • Cutting plates come as a pair, but they don’t have to be retired as a pair. You’ll notice that the plate you use on the bottom, won’t warp as badly as the top plate. You only need to get rid of the one that’s broken. Not both.
  • If you prefer to swap both out at the same time, I would still hang onto the one plate just in case you run into a die-cutting emergency when the new plate breaks mid-project.
  • If you’re using warped plates with our framelits or thinlets, be careful when running it through the machine to avoid bending or breaking your dies. I still use my warped plates with our dies, but I make sure that I use them on the flat edges of the plates, rather than right in the center where it is most warped. 
  • If your plates are so warped that it takes multiple passes through to cut card stock or pattern paper, they need to be retired. 

If you’re worried about damaging your dies, buy a new set of cutting plates. They are certainly cheaper than the dies. I replace mine when needed, which is maybe every 15-18 months, but I use my Big Shot almost daily. If you use your machine once a week or less, your cutting plates should last years. Just remember that cutting plates are considered a consumable item and should eventually be replaced. 

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