How to set up a Die-Cut mask file

In this example, we will show you how a custom Die-Cut shape mask should look like. A custom die-cut, for customers that are have not tried this, is the basically a cut which finishes the printed piece. Having a custom shaped business card is one unique way to represent your brand!

The key to making the perfect shaped business card is determining if your cut is basic, or intricate. Intricate shapes will NOT show correctly using the Laser Die-Cut option. If you’re unsure if your die-cut is too intricate or not, please feel free to email us [email protected] and one of our agents will take a look at the file!

See below for our short tutorial on how to set up a Die-Cut mask file.

Step One: Getting you started

The cup cake shape we used was not an intricate shape. We were able to get away with using the Laser Die-Cut with this mask file because the shape was simple enough. Even though the actual shape of the printed piece was not 100% exact to the mask file, however the simplicity of the cut makes it look exact. Please note that when having a precise/intricate cuts its possible to see darkening of edges on white or lighter colors used in the design.


We DO NOT recommend using the Laser Die-Cut option with intricate shapes. Intricate shapes must be quoted!

Step Two: Starting Flat

When sending in your die-cut business card files, you want to make sure the front print and back print file looks identical to below. Please do not send in files with the cut already applied to the design. Files must be submitted in a rectangle shape as the die-cut mask will show the actual cut.

Front Print File

Back Print File

Step Three: Create Your Custom Shape

As you submit artwork in for your die-cut business card job, only one die-cut mask file is required because this will represent the back as well. Below we have two mask files displayed to show how the back will be cut. Keep in mind when designing your die-cut shape, the back design fits inside the reversed shape.

When setting up your die-cut mask file, please make sure you have this die-cut on a white background and the die-line is colored RED. This will help production easily determine the shape of the business card.

Front Die-Cut Mask

Here is the FRONT of the business card’s custom die-cut shape.

Back Die-Cut Mask

Here is the BACK of the business card’s custom die-cut shape.

Front Print File

Back Print File

Step Four: The Final Cut!

Finally! We take the die-cut mask to the laser die-cutter where your business card takes shape! Just like any of the other print options offered, die-cutting has a shift tolerance up to 1/16″. Giving your card some ‘breathing’ room works great when trying to achieve a nice, thick border.

The Finished Product