Become a Knife Tool Ninja

CleverSomeday teaches how to be a Knife Tool Ninja!Turns out the Knife Tool in Silhouette Studio Designer Edition isn’t as boring and useless as I originally thought. Take a gander at these 7 things you didn’t know it could do and watch the video to become a Knife Tool Ninja!

1) Constrain to horizontal, vertical and 45 degree angles. For the straight knife this is done with the Shift key, no big secret there. But for the pattern knives, let the knife “snap” to these positions (no settings for this,  it’s just automatic).

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Important Ninja Secret: For these next 6 tricks, you must uncheck the Auto Apply box after selecting the Knife Tool.


2) Change the width. Default line width for the knife tool leaves a problematic gap. Go to the Line Settings panel to reduce it to 0.05 for a negligible gap,

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or set it high to cut a wide swath.

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3) Adjust the pattern. The red dot adjusts amplitude (height or width) of the pattern knives. The slider adjusts the wavelength or distance between repeats.

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You can also rotate or flip your knives so your scallops, for instance are facing the right direction.

4) Point edit the knife. The top 3 knives (straight, poly and curve) can be point edited just like any other shape them for precision placement before you apply the knife.

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5) Copy and paste, duplicate or replicate a knife. I know!

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6) Convert knife to path. Object>Convert to Path to turn a knife into a path. Get more mileage out of the pattern knife tools by using them to create plain old cut or draw lines. In fact, you don’t even have to convert the knife for it to function this way, so it can remain easily adjustable. How cool is that!

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7) Save knives to your Library. Got a favorite size, shape, pattern or width? Save it with a document, or to your Library for easy access instead of recreating it each time.

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March 18, 2014 at 1:04 pm 26 comments

Centerline trace with Rapid Resizer

I’ve covered Rapid Resizer before but I want to go into more detail on one of its most useful features, the centerline trace. Let’s say we want to take a line drawing and sketch it with gel pens in our diecutter. If we trace it in our cutting software we will get a double line trace, and our sketch will not look natural. What we need is a way to trace down the center of the line. Rapid Resizer gives us an easy way to do this.


Written steps follow.

Find an image you want to trace. I picked this coloring book image of dolphins and downloaded it.

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Next I opened the Rapid Resizer Raster to Vector Online Converter and clicked the Choose File button and navigated to the image I just downloaded. Select centerline trace from the first pulldown box and SVG from the second (you can also choose DXF if you do not have Silhouette Studio Designer Edition or another program that can open SVGs). Click the trace button.


If you chose SVG, you will see the results of the trace on the next screen. Right click to choose Save File or go to the File menu and choose Save Page As (this may vary slightly depending on your browser) and name and save the SVG to the location of your choice.

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Open the SVG in your cutting software and prepare to draw as you would any other SVG sketch file.

To use these SVGs in Cricut Design Space choose vector upload.

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While Rapid Resizer is the easiest way I’ve found to do centerline traces, it is limited and won’t work well on all or even most images. The best centerline tracing options are Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw, but there are a couple of other free options. Kristy over at Craftermath has tutorials for the Autotrace web app and for Win Topo.

March 4, 2014 at 10:44 pm 7 comments

Class of 2014 free SVG

I’ve got 2 daughters graduating this year, God willing, so in their honor I’m posting the 2014 edition of my “class of” SVG and .studio files. Hope you enjoy the file and congrats to all your graduates!

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Click here to download in SVG format

Click here to download in .studio format

Terms: Free for personal and commercial use. Just don’t sell the file in digital form. Please share the link to this post, rather than the file itself. Thank you!

2011 is here

2012 is here

2013 is here

February 22, 2014 at 2:13 pm 33 comments

Canvas sketch project and a share

Sketch on Fabric with a SIlhouette machine

I’ve been playing around with drawing on fabric for a while, but haven’t been able to pull it together into a project until now. Pretty excited about how this turned out and about the potential here. The rough texture of the canvas really makes this piece work.


Here’s how it’s done (measurements are for an 11 x 14 canvas):

- Cut and iron a piece of canvas fabric (cotton duck) at least 13 x 16 inches.

- Cut a slightly larger piece of freezer paper and iron it wax side to wrong side of canvas.


-Trim neatly to 13 x 16 inches (rotary cutter preferred). The leading edge should be especially clean and straight, other edges not as critical.


- Load fabric pen into pen holder. I am using the Marvy Ball and Brush pen with the ball end. I used the new style Silhouette pen holder because this particular pen fits at the proper depth. You can also use the Chomas marker holder.


- Set rollers at 12 inches apart. This is the slot second from the right.

- Load 13 inch edge of prepared fabric into Cameo centered on rollers (1/2 inch fabric extending outboard of each roller)


- Load pen holder into Cameo.

- Open sketch file in Silhouette Studio.

- From the Cut Setting Panel choose settings for Sketch Pen.

cut settings

- Press Cut.

(You can see in the photo below that I used 12 inch wide fabric in my sample. It worked but was too nerve-racking so that’s why I specify 13 inch wide.)

Sketch on Fabric with a Silhouette machine!

The most complicated part of this project is finding a suitable sketch file. At small sizes you can get away with a standard trace of a line art, but at 11 x 14 a true sketch file with open path strokes is going to be needed.

Here’s a comparison of what a normal trace versus a proper sketch file looks like in Silhouette Studio to show you what I mean. Click to enlarge.

trace compare-1

Here’s how I went about creating the file (not for the faint-hearted … Adobe Illustrator, intermediate graphic design skills and lot of patience required):

- I selected a vintage image of an anchor. I have zero artistic ability so I needed something with just enough detail that I could handle.


- I printed it out at full page size.


- I taped a piece of tracing paper on top and hand traced it  with an ultra fine pen. The idea here is to recreate the drawing with pen strokes that do not touch each other.



- I scanned my hand trace into Adobe Illustrator.


- In AI, I performed a center line trace (unlike the normal trace that finds both edges of a line, this attempts to find the center of the line and returns it as an open path.)



- I then point edited to clean up messy areas like this where the strokes overlap and can’t be traced as intended. This was the most tedious part.

cleanup close

- Saved as SVG. (You can export to DXF if you don’t have DE.)

- Merged the SVG into a blank 12 x 16, no mat page in Silhouette Studio Designer Edition.

- Applied sketch effects to the anchor SVG to give it a little more natural look. This step was optional, and the effect was subtle, but I recommend it if you have DE.

sketch effects

- Added text (I used Always Here font and added 1 internal offset at 0.010 as fill)


- Arranged layout and centered in 11 x 14 rectangle. (In my original I did not draw the rectangle, but in the future I will as it would help for final trimming of the canvas to fit the frame).

file preview

I found creating the sketch file to be a long and tedious process and I don’t recommend it unless you are very determined. No worries, though, because I’m sharing my file with you. Personal use only, and please share the link to this post, not the file itself, and whatever you do don’t try to cut this file with a blade, it’s for sketching only. Click here for the .studio file and here for the SVG. Thank you.

Now in case you are wondering why the sudden inspiration to complete a project, I am participating in a challenge. If you’d like to see more great fabric-related (our theme this month) projects, take a look below.


  1. No-Sew Valentine’s Day Pillows by A Tossed Salad Life
  2. No-Sew Interchangeable Fabric Bunting by unOriginal Mom
  3. Monogrammed Burlap Garden Flag by The Turquoise Home
  4. Crawl, Walk, Bike by It’s Always Craft Time
  5. Freezer Paper Stenciled Tote Bags by Weekend Craft
  6. DIY Bleach Spray Shirt by Practically Functional
  7. Stenciling Sherlock by Please Excuse My Craftermath…
  8. Felt Star Wands by Cutesy Crafts
  9. Yoda Kid’s T-Shirt by Architecture of a Mom
  10. Mark Your Territory- Dog Flags by Black and White Obsession
  11. Nautical Pillows by Lil’ Mrs. Tori
  12. Big Sister Gift & Silhouette Cut File by Creative Ramblings
  13. Nerdy Baby Onesies + Free Cut File by Essentially Eclectic
  14. Easy Easter Bunny Onesie – Silhouette Cameo Craft by Adventures in All Things Food & Family
  15. Fabric Envelopes for LEARNING LETTERS! (& cut file) by From Wine to Whine
  16. “Good Morning, Sunshine!” Memo Board by Tried & True
  17. Hearts-A-Lot Burlap Pillow Cover by My Paper Craze
  18. Baby Quilt by Dragonfly & Lily Pads
  19. Surprise Holiday Banner by Whats Next Ma
  20. “Team Betty” Tote Bag by The Thinking Closet
  21. DIY Sock Minion by Create it. Go!
  22. Pretty Up Some Organza Bags by Getsilvered
  23. Easy Heart Appliqued Onsies by Create & Babble
  24. Bleach Pen Gel & Freezer Paper Stencils Made with the Silhouette Machine by Bringing Creativity 2 Life
  25. Valentines Baby Onesie & Boy’s Shirt + Free Cut Files by The Frill of Life
  26. Valentine’s OWL Always Love You T-shirt by My Favorite Finds
  27. DIY Screen Printed Curtains by Chicken Scratch NY
  28. Fabric Painted Quilted Wall Hanging by Terri Johnson Creates
  29. Glitter Iron-On Top by Simply Kelly Designs
  30. DIY Monogrammed T-shirts with Silhouette Heat Transfer Material by Pitter and Glink
  31. Birthday Challenge by Fadville
  32. Machine Applique with SIlhouette Cameo by The Sensory Emporium
  33. Fabric Applique Valentine’s Day T-Shirt by DailyDwelling
  34. “Cute as Cupid” shirt by crafts, cakes, and cats
  35. Sew Cute Applique by Life After Laundry
  36. Rhino Onesie by It Happens in a Blink
  37. Upcycled Birchbox Cameo Accesory Organizer by Cupcakes&Crowbars
  38. Customizing textiles with Heat Transfer Vinyl (working title) by feto soap
  39. Easy Fabric Art by McCall Manor
  40. Lady Bug Tote Bag with Silhouette Rhinestones by Ginger Snap Crafts
  41. Mommy and Em’s Coordinated Aprons by TitiCrafty
  42. Canvas sketch project and a share by Clever Someday
  43. Foxy Lady Pajamas by Mabey She Made It
  44. Teddy Bear by Work in Progress

February 10, 2014 at 10:00 am 23 comments

How to make custom templates in SVG format with Ideogram

Ideogram has had a big upgrade and now generates SVG templates. Also added to the tuck boxes and envelopes are pillow boxes, shadow boxes, stars, milk cartons, boxes with polygonal cross sections, gift bags and more, all to your exact specifications! If you’ve ever tried to trace a template or design one from scratch I know you’ll be excited about these new free online tools. Let me show you how easy it is to generate custom templates for Silhouette Studio Designer Edition as well as  Make the Cut ,  Sure Cuts A Lot or Cricut Design Space with it.

- Go to

Custom templates in SVG format!

- Scroll down the page to find the shape you want. Lets try the new truncated cone shape and make a wrap for a votive holder as an example. (You MTC folks can indulge the rest on this choice and even though you don’t need a conical shape generator and don’t need a scale factor, the other steps may be helpful for the other templates)

- Click More Options


- Enter your units, the two diameters of your object and the height (to the “table”). The order of the 2 diameters doesn’t matter.


- Leave the others measurements as is. They don’t seem to be working yet.

- Click the SVG button


- You will see the wrap shape on the next page. It may say “pdf” but this is actually the SVG.

Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 2.17.19 PM

- Right click and Save or Select File >Save Page As (may vary depending on your browser)


- Select a location and click Save.

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- We need to check/change a couple of things in Silhouette Studio preferences to be sure this works as expected. Click on Import Options on the left and at the bottom under “When Importing SVG” click As-is and check both boxes.

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- From a blank document in Silhouette Studio Designer Edition select File>Merge and navigate to the location where you just saved the template, (if you are using Windows, choose SVG or All Files from the File Type pull down at the bottom of the window), select your file and click OK.

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- You will see the shape on your mat, but it is obviously not the right size. File>Select All and Object>Group before doing anything else.

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- Through experimentation, I have determined that the scale factor needed is either 125% or 250% so we will try 125% first. Click the Scale button and enter 125% in the first box and click Apply.

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- Turn on the grid and eyeball the size to see if it looks realistic to you. Since my votive holder is 2.6 inches high, I know that the straight side should be about that dimension. Clearly this is still too small. With boxes and envelopes there will be at least one side you know the dimension of so this is an easy process once you get used to it.

Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 2.23.15 PM

- Click 200% in the Scale window (to bring us to a total scale of 250%)

Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 2.23.51 PM

- That looks like the right size so now I can, remove the text and work with just the template. I want to set the line widths to zero. Select all, then slide the slider to the right and then back hard left. (It may erroneously show zero with multiple objects selected but this will make sure they all zero out.)

Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 3.44.08 PM

- in the Cut Style window set the shape to Cut. I can also use this shape to crop a pattern, or to wrap text, add cutouts, etc.

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- If I want to remove or change the score line, I simply select the line, remove it, or change to solid or a different dash style.

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I am hoping there will soon be an option to generate the template without the tab, but until then, if you do not want the tab,

- Draw a rectangle on top of the shape as shown, select both shapes and Object>Modify>Subtract.

Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 3.46.05 PM

Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 3.46.19 PM

Hope this helps you make the most of ideogram and your cutter. So now geometry shall no longer stand between you and a fabulous project!

February 5, 2014 at 4:14 pm 11 comments

Distressed HTV Technique

Get a distressed look with heat transfer vinyl without tedious weeding.
I’ve been experimenting with a new technique for getting a distressed look with heat transfer vinyl and while it may not be ready for widespread adoption, I wanted to go ahead and share it with you.

What you need:
heat transfer vinyl with mylar backing (I’m using Siser Easy Weed)
a cutting board or other hard surface you don’t mind damaging
a new or clean Ped-Egg
optionally, a new cheese grater like the one pictured from Dollar Tree


Cut and weed your HTV as usual. It’s a good idea to practice with scraps so grab some of that HTV you forgot to mirror!


Place it on your surface sticky side up and begin to scrape across it with the Ped-Egg. The goal is to cut through the vinyl layer without lifting it, and to do minimum damage to the mylar. Start slowly and lightly and increase your pressure until you get it right.


It helps to extend it over the edge of your cutting surface for better contact with the cutting teeth.


After a bit, brush the excess away from your design onto the surrounding sticky area and see what your design looks like from the mylar side. Continue with several more cycles until you reach the desired level of distress.


Inspect the vinyl surface and remove or tamp down any larger flaps or tears that would hinder the vinyl from laying flat.
Press as usual or a little shorter on time, then remove the backing and repress with just the teflon sheet for a few seconds to be sure all the vinyl is secure.


Because the teeth on the Ped-Egg are small, it produces small scale distress (the letters above are 1 inch tall). For larger scale images, try the large round holes on the Dollar Tree cheese grater. This will result in more flaps and damage to the vinyl and backing, but you can use the Ped-Egg in a subsequent pass to help clean it up.

IMPORTANT: Let me emphasize that this is experimental. This technique obviously does not allow for optimal adhesion of the vinyl across 100% of its surface and especially along the distressed edges. Some of the tiny pieces will not adhere at all because they will be upside down. I do not have long term wear or laundering experience with this. Use this technique at your own risk. And of course, use appropriate caution when handling sharp objects.

January 29, 2014 at 1:02 pm 8 comments

Print and Emboss Cards

Its been over 3 years since I first tried matching print files to embossing folders and it was such a pain that I left it alone after that. But now that Darice is publishing nice black and white previews of their embossing folders, I decided to brave it again. Each of these is a lot of work up front, but once the template is done, you can crank out a lovely, customized card in minutes.

The Banner folder from Paper Studio (Hobby Lobby house brand) is so versatile, and I love using it with this technique. Graphics are from the Bicycle Craze collection by Lettering Delights.

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Print and Emboss Cards
Here are a few more I made with the same folder while I was experimenting


You can make a simple template just for positioning text between embossed areas, as I’ve done here with the Darice Grass folder and still get a stunning look.


Or you can go all out and print the entire embossed area like this. The photo just does not do this one justice, but even so don’t expect 100% perfect results because the paper deforms as it goes through the embossing process.


Changing colors only take a few clicks.


Once you have a template, you can pick out just one key element to print if you like, as I’ve done here with the Darice Butterfly on Flower folder.


I used the same idea here, with the Darice Bird on Branch folder except that I used the sketch tool in Silhouette Studio to give the bird a hand drawn look.


And I think this card I made with the Darice Boot Tracks folder is my favorite. This is an unusual, inverted folder so the boot prints are indented instead of raised. Wouldn’t this be great for Operation Write Home?

Print and Emboss Card

I will be my sharing templates soon, but wanted to go ahead and get this posted, so please check back. And if you can help me spread the word with a pin, tweet or FaceBook post, that’d be most appreciated.

January 18, 2014 at 3:31 pm 34 comments

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