Die Cut Masking

by Dina Kowal

Use die cut painter's tape for precise masking techniques.


  • Dies (My Favorite Things By the Letters die set used here)
  • Painters tape, masking film or shelf liner (FrogTape Delicate Surface Painter's Tape and Con-Tact Brand Self-Adhesive Shelf Liner used here)
  • Cardstock or watercolor paper
  • Release sheet from label paper or other paper backing from adhesive paper
  • Coloring medium of choice (PanPastels and QoR watercolors used here)
  • Fixative for dry color media (Krylon Workable Fixatif used here)
  • Die cutting machine
  • Post-It Notes
  • Craft knife
  • Other supplies as needed to complete the project (used here: MISTI, Stamps (Impression Obsession H9396 French Script, E13268 Grunge Hearts Background, C13305 Expect Miracles; Sweet ‘n Sassy Stamps You clear set (retired), Sizzix Awareness Ribbon steel rule die, Scor-Pal, PanPastel Sofft tool, Versamark ink, Versafine Onyx Black ink)


  1. Step 1

    If working with a dry coloring medium, apply painter’s tape or other adhesive masking paper directly to the cutting plate of your die cutting machine. (For water-based media see below.)

  2. Arrange dies on the tape, and die cut as usual. (FrogTape was used in this sample.)

  3. Step 2

    Remove the excess tape around the die cut shapes.

  4. Step 3

    Carefully arrange the masks on your project surface.

    To align letters, use the edge of a sticky note as a base line.

  5. Step 4

    Apply a dry color medium over and around the tape. PanPastels were used for this sample. Sponged inks or chalks could also be used.

  6. Step 5

    If you wish, add some stamping over the masked area.

  7. TIP:
    If using PanPastels or chalks, stamp with Versamark ink, then reapply the medium lightly to highlight the stamped images.

  8. Step 6

    Carefully remove the tape using a craft knife. Use an eraser to remove any stray color. Use a spray fixative to prevent smearing.

  9. Add any finishing touches as desired.

  10. Step 7

    Use the panel to complete a card or other project.

  11. Step 8

    If using a wet medium, apply painter’s tape to a release sheet or other sticker backing before die cutting. This will prevent any shreds of paper from the cutting plate from sticking to the tape – these will compromise a good seal of the tape to the watercolor paper. Shelf liner was used for the sample here.

    Arrange dies on the tape, and die cut as usual.

  12. Step 9

    Align the die cuts on watercolor paper as above. (Smooth hot press paper will work best for this technique.)

  13. Run the panel through the die cutting machine again to secure the die cut pieces.

    Lay a sheet of tissue paper or text weight paper over the panel to prevent etching in the watercolor paper from the cutting plate’s surface.

  14. Step 10

    Paint or spray colored mists over the panel, either with full coverage of the panel or in a loose shape around the masking.

  15. If desired, a second layer of masking can be added over the first, after the panel has dried completely. The second layer will appear to be behind the first layer when the masks are removed.

  16. Step 11

    After the panel has dried completely, remove the tape to reveal the masked area. Leave the masked area white or add color and/or shading as desired.

  17. Step 12

    Use the panel to complete a card or other project.



  1. Try these techniques with other shape or frame dies.

  2. Try masking in an art journal or altered book – it’s a great way to highlight a key word or thought.

Your Turn

You've seen the tutorial, now you try it! We've got a section of the gallery set aside for Die Cut Masking. Try this technique, then upload your artwork to the gallery. Show us your creations!

***Please note - Internet Explorer/Edge is not a supported browser, and will not allow you to see the videos. Please use Chrome, Firefox or Safari to view our tutorial videos.

Questions and Comments

We'd love to get your feedback or questions. Leave your comment below.

This is the best video I have watched in a long time, and I watch them every day! I love all the tips and tricks you give in your easy going style. I look forward to my e-mail from you to see what you have come up with! Thank you for all your inspiration!
Rita Withawhy  |  Wed Jan 25, 2017 at 6:47 AM
WOW...fabulous...can't wait to dig out my contact paper and try this technique. Thank you so much.
Sherry Kovell  |  Wed Jan 25, 2017 at 8:20 AM
This is a wonderful technique. Thanks for sharing this tutorial!
Marilyn  |  Wed Jan 25, 2017 at 8:36 AM
Thank you for the shelf liner tip! You are a genius! Love all your efforts for Split Coast!
Sandy Brown  |  Wed Jan 25, 2017 at 8:42 AM
Wonderful video--thank you.
Prissequito  |  Wed Jan 25, 2017 at 8:47 AM
Interesting...I would think the contact paper would tear the cs. Need to give this a try.
Beverly Parkison  |  Wed Jan 25, 2017 at 9:18 AM

This is a gorgeous card! I love that you created this while I watched and even though it looks easy enough (I haven't tried it yet), it is a stunning card that I would love to give someone!
Tami Black  |  Wed Jan 25, 2017 at 9:19 AM
Now I'm going to turn off the computer and get crafting! Thanks so much for all of the tutorials you offer.
Jeanette Robertson  |  Wed Jan 25, 2017 at 9:28 AM
WAY cool technique Dina - can't wait to try this!!! Great samples too!
Libby  |  Wed Jan 25, 2017 at 12:17 PM
Thank you! You made it look so simple. I will give it a try.
Sheila Hatfield  |  Wed Jan 25, 2017 at 12:24 PM
Loved this. On my to do list....where do you get the magnetic sheets. Needs those BADLY
Debbie Mildwurm  |  Wed Jan 25, 2017 at 1:41 PM
Loved it thank you
eluned jeffery  |  Wed Jan 25, 2017 at 6:23 PM
Debbie, I got these at Home Depot with the HVAC supplies - they come 3 sheets to a pack for around $5. Amazon has sheets and also larger rolls.
dina  |  Wed Jan 25, 2017 at 6:33 PM
Dina, these are WONDERFUL!!! Wow. I can't wait to try them like everyone else. Fun, fun stuff. Hugz
Nancy Williams  |  Thu Jan 26, 2017 at 4:34 AM
Beautiful cards, Dina, and I LOVED the video and your step-outs. Fun how the shelf liner paper worked so well. Hugs!
Cheryl Scrivens  |  Thu Jan 26, 2017 at 1:47 PM
Very cool! Thank you for the tutorial.
Daria  |  Thu Jan 26, 2017 at 5:27 PM
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I can hardly wait to try this technique. I bookmarked this video.
ginger na  |  Fri Jan 27, 2017 at 12:04 PM
one more question. I have a lot of "sets" stamps and die cuts...how do you store those? I try to keep them together but it isn't working well. I love the magnetic sheet idea. I have some and plan to use that method but then I'm wondering what you do with the "sets"
Debbie Mildwurm  |  Fri Jan 27, 2017 at 12:38 PM
Love this technique! Thank You for the fab inspiration and for sharing your talent!
Shelly Schmidt  |  Fri Jan 27, 2017 at 2:38 PM
I have been wondering how to work with pastels and watercolors. Thanks for all the great tips and techniques!
Beth Ellis  |  Fri Jan 27, 2017 at 6:56 PM

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