Navbar button Logo PaperCrafter Search Button


Shadow die cuts

Die cutting Die cutting

Create negative effects with your die cuts

Shadow die cuts


Craft Essentials, Dies: heart, feather, Sentiment stamp


Save your scraps and double your options by using the negative space left behind from die cutting – perfect for savvy crafters! Always use tape to secure the die to card because die-cutting plates can often become bowed with repeated use, causing the die to move before it’s wound through the machine.


There are a number of effects you can create using the outline of a die-cut shape. For the illusion of 3D depth in your design, secure a second piece of darker paper behind a top layer; this creates a great shadow effect. For a subtle ‘show-through’ result, use positive and negative elements together in contrasting colours. To do this, just adhere a negative image to acetate and cover the inside of your card with patterned paper.


Using negative space allows you to build a collection of dies for future projects. Always remember to consider the element left behind – any image that has a strong visual shape will work brilliantly. This technique is a thrifty way of using essential leftovers in your craft room, so what are you waiting for? Get stash-busting now!

METHOD: Fallen feather

Cover the front of a 10cm x 15cm blank with grey card. Adhere a yellow panel to the centre and add a strip of stripy paper down the left-hand side.

Take a 9cm x 14cm piece of pink card, stamp a sentiment in the bottom right corner and die cut a feather from the top left. Fix this to the card using 3D foam pads.

Die cut another feather from green card, gently fold down the centre and glue to the card front at an angle.

METHOD: Heart to heart

Take two pieces of 12.5cm square white card. On the first, score a line 3cm from one edge and attach to the other card above the scored line. Layer grey and yellow card and adhere to the front.
Shadow die cuts

Using a heart die, follow step 1 (right) with an 11cm square piece of blue card and a 10.5cm square piece of navy card. Adhere the lighter card onto the darker, as shown in step 2.

Attach a square of floral paper to the yellow card and use 3D foam pads to stick the blue papers on top.

Die cut two small hearts and layer them. Stick to the card front and stamp a sentiment on the top heart. Embellish with silver gems.

METHOD: How to create shadows

Attach a die to coloured card and run through a die-cutting machine
Shadow die cuts

Layer two negative pieces of card, offsetting the bottom piece slightly
Shadow die cuts

Add foam pads underneath and stick to a patterned card front
Shadow die cuts

Glue layered embellishments to the top for a deeper shadow effect
Shadow die cuts

METHOD: Best wishes

Cover a 10cm x 15cm blank with grey card. Add a layer of pink card and floral paper to the centre
Shadow die cuts

Die cut a butterfly from the top of a 6.5cm x 10cm piece of white card and emboss with a floral pattern.

Add black patterned paper to the back of the butterfly aperture. Attach the white card on top using 3D foam pads.

More projects

Other popular templates