What Is The Die Cutting Process?


From making boxes to designing parts for spacecraft, the uses of diemaker are endless. If it weren’t for the die-cutting process, the boxmaker wouldn’t have been able to offer us such a variety of packaging options. So, what exactly is the die-cutting process? Let’s find out.

In the simplest terms, die cutting is a complex industrial version of cookie cutting. Just like a cookie cutter is pressed into the dough to create intended shapes, a die cutter cuts out the shape and creates creases in cardboard and other materials. As a result, it makes possible the mass production of various packages.

At Beijing Graphic, we have been providing die-cutting solutions to boxmakers and the packaging industry for nearly two decades. Follow the discussion to learn more about the process.

Overview Of The Die Cutting Process

In die cutting a specialized tool called ‘Die’ cuts out shapes from hard materials using a press. This process found its first use in the shoe-making industry. Back then shoemakers used dies to cut out the soles of shoes. With time, many more industries recognized the potential of die-cutting and utilized it. For example, the packaging industry.

Die Making

The die-cutting process starts with the formation of the die. A die is similar to a ‘mold’. The diemaker designs it specifically for the shape you need to cut out. Later, you will mount this die on a die cutting machine (or similar machine) and mass-produce the shapes you want.

Die-making might be costly, but the huge number of packages you can produce with one die makes the initial investment worth it.

Moreover, die-cutting is the easiest method for creating thousands of customized packages in a short amount of time. And everyone knows how effective custom packaging can be in creating brand awareness.

Creating The Dielines

When you create a specific type of packaging using die-cutting, like a cardboard paper box maker, you need to set the outline on the die-cutting board.

First, you create a drawing of the outline. Later you will transfer this die line to the board as a digitized drawing using computer-aided design. For optimum precision, laser cutters will burn the lines onto the board’s surface. So, you must be a hundred percent sure about your design before moving it to the board.

During the process, the die cutting board takes its place securely underneath the material. It acts as a guide for the die blades that cut into the target. Hence, the die and die board programs the act of the die-cutting machine pressing the die onto the material to cut out the intended shapes.

Different Die Cutting Options

When the die cuts completely into the material it is called ‘through cutting’. Traditionally, this is what most people understand by die-cutting. However, with the evolution of technology, there are more affects you can achieve in the process instead of plain old through cutting.

If you need creasing, like in the production of corrugated paper boxes, you have to use steel rule dies. Here, the diemaker will hammer steel rules on the die board. As a result, the die blades bounce off those points and create creases instead of cuts. Later, these prominent impressions make folding the box very easy.

You can also program the process to create a series of minor cuts in the material. As a result, you can easily tear these parts later. In the die cutting industry, they call this “perforating. There is also the “scoring” option, which leaves impressions and partial cuts on an area you specify on the material.

Various Types Of Die Cutting Machines

When you reach out to a die-cutting solution provider, like Beijing Graphics, you will be presented with a variety of machine options. If you have some idea about them, it would be easier for you to choose the right option for your needs.

Flatbed Die cutting: The machine combines a flatbed die cutting press and steel rule dies for the process. There are various types of steel rule dies available and a die maker can easily manufacture them with a steel rule bending machine. This technique is excellent for cutting through hard materials with precision. However, flatbed cutting isn’t suitable for voluminous production.

Manual Die Cutting Machines: These machines apply the oldest technique for die cutting- pressure. First, the material is put between the die board and die. You will manually operate a crank which moves a roller mechanism to apply pressure and cut out the shapes.

Rotary Die Cutting Machines: When you are looking for high precision and accuracy the rotary machine is worth consideration. It combines a cylindrical die and a rotary press. You will feed your material through the machine and the rotation of the die will quickly create precise cuts on it. They are great for making ‘kiss cuts’.

Digital Technique: These techniques don’t use physical dies. Instead, computerized lasers, blades, or other tools make the necessary cuts and creases in the material. An auto laser die cutting machine is a good example of these techniques. Digital techniques reduce time and cost and increase precision and production volumes.

Finishing Options For Die Cut Box Making

One of the most popular uses of die-cutting in the industry is to create brand-specific packaging. And that can’t be completed without making your company name artfully appear on the custom boxes. There are a few options for how you can make that happen.

Embossing is a widely used method of printing your brand credentials on a corrugated paper box. Here the boxmaker will use metal dies at high temperatures to emboss the design on the box. The result is a raised printed design that never fails to catch attention.

If you want a sharper and more lively design, UV printing can be a great option. The boxmaker passes the packaging material through the printer where wet ink is applied to it. The ink then immediately encounters UV light. As a result, the ink never seeps into the material and appears remarkably vibrant.


Die cutting is the fastest and cheapest method for a boxmaker to create precise and accurate products. Beijing graphics has been serving the packaging industry as a die-cutting solution provider for a long time.

So, feel free to connect with us via Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram if you need a sustainable solution provider.