Texas Artist's Hands are Saved by Custom Die


Doug Land is an artist out of Cedar Hill, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. He produces art and sculptures from recycled materials, giving new life to stuff people throw away every day.

“Having some moral guilt about the wastefulness of art,” said Doug, “I was looking for a surface treatment that would utilize a recyclable element. Thus I arrived at aluminum cans.”


For several projects, Doug found himself cutting out small scale-like shapes from aluminum cans as well as thin sheets of plastic. The inspiration came from up-close photos of butterfly wings. Under a microscope butterfly wings look like bright, colorful, delicate layers of scales.

Doug says his displays take on a life of their own. “I can never seem to tell if they are swimming or if they are flying. The interesting thing about them is that I've never had any trouble lighting them for shows or installations.”

While his cutouts are beautiful and textural, they are time consuming and a little dangerous.

“Each can was hand cut with large scissors: tops and bottoms removed,” said Doug. “Each can took about an hour to process into scales.”

With a season of shows lined up, Doug says his original method wasn’t up to snuff.  “I had to find a faster solution,” he said. “My family and husband were beginning to think I was going crazy.”


His mother is a quilter, and she used similar products for quilts and applique designs. A fellow artist friend also uses a die made by Custom Shape Pros. He decided to investigate what it would take to have a custom steel-rule die made for himself.

“The response time was great!” said Doug. “And they tried to really understand my application, which albeit not the normal use.”

Along with his dies, he purchased an AccuCut GrandeMARK 2 Die-Cutting Machine.

Doug says the greatest commodity he has back is time.

“Time is money,” Doug said. “The dies have allowed me to make more products (shapes) consistently and with less wear on my hands, which means that I can spend more time thinking about my next sculpture to make instead of thinking about how many more shapes do I have to cut. Where it used to take me a month to make something the size of a dinner plate, I can now cover a piece in a week.”

More customer success stories: Creative Arts


Doug Land

Cedar Hill, Texas, USA

Customer Since

Die-Cutting Machine
AccuCut GrandeMARK 2 Die-Cutting Machine

Custom Die Type
Standard Steel-Rule Die


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