If you do not have access to a die cutting machine, then I would use an X-acto knife or similar blade that will allow you to make neat and intricate cuts. As far as making your own shapes, you can find simple designs on the Internet, in children's coloring books, or plastic stencils purchased from a craft store. Simply trace the object onto the chipboard - I would use a pencil so that any ink from a pen or marker does not bleed or show through when you cover the chipboard with paper. Once your paper is glued on, you can trim the excess paper with your craft knife or lightly sand the edges with ultra fine sandpaper. Hope this helps. Enjoy your journey into scrap booking, but watch out because it's addictive!