I love my Silhouette, and I use it for many reasons. But my #1 reason for using my Silhouette is to cut vinyl. I love cutting vinyl and have found so many uses for it around my home for decorating, labeling, stenciling etc. Vinyl rocks!
Recently I wanted to create a board that I had seen somewhere for my home. I wanted my board size to be about 12″w by 20″ l. I knew I could cut out all my lines individually and place them all separately, but I was worried I wouldn’t get my spacing evenly and that would really bug me.
So I designed my first layout in Silhouette for vinyl that was longer then my 12″ cutting mat. And it was so stinkin’ simple, I was kicking myself for not doing it sooner!
First of all I ordered the following two sheets of vinyl from Expressions Vinyl: Beige and Light Brown.
I ordered mine in 12″x24″ sheets, I only needed one sheet of each, but since it was my first time doing this, I ordered a couple sheets just in case I did something wrong.
Next I designed my layout in the Silhouette Software. I knew that I would want two layers of vinyl, both cut in different colors. However, my years of design background have turned me into a perfectionist and I knew that I wanted to make sure that the final layout had everything laid out in a proportional even fashion. So I designed my FINAL board layout in the Silhouette software first.
My final layout looked like this:
Before you begin designing though, be sure to go to your “Page” dialog box on the right side of the screen. You can manually choose the height and width of your final page / vinyl.
Remember that your vinyl needs to be wide enough to go underneath the rollers. Otherwise you will have to use a cutting mat. (9″ on the Silhouette SD and just over 12″ or 9″ on the Silhouette Cameo. If you have the Silhouette Cameo and are trying to use a piece of vinyl approximately 9″ wide, you will need to remember to move your rollers in to the smaller width.)
Once you have set your page size, design away! You can import images from the online Silhouette store, design your own image using text, or import and trace and image. I used regular text as well as curved text to create my board.
Remember that if you want to cut out of two different colors of vinyl, each portion will need to be a separate group so use as many text boxes as you need to for this design.
I lined everything up perfectly using the grid lines in the Silhouette Studio. I love how I can line everything up exactly how I want it!
Once everything was lined up exactly how I wanted it to appear on my final board, I saved this file.
Then I did a “save-as” and renamed my file according to the vinyl color I would cut it out of.
After this file was saved, go ahead and throw all the pieces you don’t want to be cut out of this piece of vinyl on the side of the cutting area.
Go ahead and Group the area that you will cut, just to be sure the alignment stays in place. You can “Group” the text boxes by selecting all the text boxes together, Right-Click and select Group. When you are done, be sure to Save this.
Next, open your original file, do another “save-as” and repeat the last few steps with the text / images you want as the second color.
Be sure to save this file as well.
Then you are ready to cut!
You will want go to your Cut dialog box on the right side bar. Select “Change your Settings” and then set your media type to Vinyl. Next you will want to be sure that the Cutting Mat box is Unchecked.
Change any other settings you deem fit and then plug in your Silhouette and turn it on. Select the option to “load media without cutting mat” and insert your vinyl.
Be sure the vinyl is wide enough to fit under your rollers and a few inches longer then you need cut. (The rollers need a few extra inches in the length, if you don’t allow this, your vinyl may slip and your image won’t cut straight.)
Then go ahead and cut both colors of vinyl out!
Once they are cut, weed the vinyl, and use your Transfer Tape to adhere the bottom layer of vinyl to your prepared board. Then adhere the top layer of vinyl, being careful that the bottom layer stays down when you remove the transfer tape.
And that’s it! It is so simple to cut vinyl without using a cutting mat! And not only can you cut vinyl almost as long as you could ever want (10′ long on the Silhouette Cameo!!) but it also saves wear and tear on your cutting mat!
Ashley Phipps is an Interior Designer, NCIDQ #25242, living in the Indianapolis area, and author of the blog Simply Designing.