Refurbishing Cutting Plates and Tips for Getting the Longest Life From Them

For years and years there have been all kinds of suggestions floating around on how to flatten warped Big Shot/Stampin’ Cut & Emboss Machine cutting plates. I’ve never found them to be particularly effective or worth the hassle, until now.

Just to be clear, the cutting plates on any die cutting/embossing machine are considered “consumables,” in that they are intended to be replaced periodically as they get marked by cuts and warped through use.

This method, presented by Jennifer McGuire, works really well to extend the life of your warped cutting plates. I watched her video, and the results she got convinced me to give it a go…and I’m sold!

Here’s one of my slightly warped plates:

And here it is after using Jennifer’s flattening method:

Wow, right?

So here’s what to do:

1) Boil 2 large pots of water. One will have the contents poured over the plate, the second will be set onto the plate to act as a heated weight.

2) Place a rimmed baking tray/sheet pan in your sink. Put the warped cutting plate in it with the arch in the plate is up.

3) Pour 1 pot of the boiling water into the sheet pan, submerging the cutting plate.

4) Place the 2nd pot of boiling water directly on top of the cutting plate.

5) Leave for 20 minutes.

6) If your plate has a lot of coloured cardstock embedded in the cuts, you can use a scrubby sponge to clean it.

7) Voila! Clean and flat cutting plates.

I had good results with both full size and mini cutting plates. Not all of them went perfectly flat, but they are very useable again, whereas before I wondered why I was keeping them at all.

Here’s the most exciting thing…it worked a treat on my badly warped Magnetic Plate! SU! had so many complaints about how quickly and badly these plates warped, they decided to pull them from the market. If you’ve got one sitting around but unusable I highly recommend you give this a try! Mine was almost U-shaped, and I’d tried putting it under heavy books weighted down with large cans of tomatoes for a week to no effect. Look at it now:

Does this mean I won’t be buying new cutting plates ever again? No.

While I try very hard to keep a cutting plate designated as the “top” plate for the non-cutting side, the dies do leave impressions on that plate, which can build up over time and wind up transferring to cardstock*.

Also, the bottom plate that gets all the cuts becomes so distressed it starts holding on to cardstock, making it difficult to use. So then my top plate becomes the bottom plate, and the very distressed one goes into the bin.

This method of plate rotation, along with being sure to flip my plates over frequently and now this refurbishment process allow me to get a long life from my plates, and I’m happy to pull out a new one when the time is right.

*Bonus tip: This is particularly true for our Foil Sheets, so I put a piece of pristine waxed/baking/parchment/printer paper over the foil, but under the die to shield the foil. Any wrinkles in your shield paper will transfer, so be sure to use a very smooth piece that covers your foil completely.


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