Become a Knife Tool Ninja

March 18, 2014 at 1:04 pm 30 comments

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).

Screen Shot 2014-03-18 at 11.22.49 AM

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,

Screen Shot 2014-03-18 at 11.16.35 AM

or set it high to cut a wide swath.

Screen Shot 2014-03-18 at 11.17.17 AM

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.

Screen Shot 2014-03-18 at 11.15.35 AM

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.

Screen Shot 2014-03-18 at 12.08.18 PM

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

Screen Shot 2014-03-18 at 11.12.38 AM

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!

Screen Shot 2014-03-18 at 1.02.09 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2014-03-18 at 11.19.19 AM

Entry filed under: Silhouette. Tags: , .

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30 Comments Add your own

  • 1. debsanderson  |  March 18, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    Thank you so much for ALL the tips and videos you share…

  • 2. Elizabeth Barnett  |  March 18, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    so many of these things I did *not* know … have I mentioned lately that I love you?!?! {giggle}

  • 3. Cindy  |  March 18, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    Fantastic video! Thank you so much for your great tutorials.

  • 4. Jenny  |  March 18, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    OMG! This is FABULOUS! Can I claim to be YOUR #1 Fan??? Love your video’s, blog and all the helpful knowledge you share! You’re my new BESTIE! lol

  • 5. blurooferika  |  March 18, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing the results of your explorations with cutting software. Keep experimenting! We love the results. :)

  • 6. Sara  |  March 18, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    You are awesome!!!! Thanks for sharing all of your amazing tips!

  • 7. mypapercraze  |  March 18, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    Thanks for the great tips! I really need to practice with the knife tool.

  • 8. Lisa Chin  |  March 18, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    Another brilliant tutorial! Thank you so much!

  • 9. fairyalchemy  |  March 18, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    I don’t have time to play with all the features of the Silhouette DE but ALL your tips and tutorials are always just what I need to accomplish something! A big Thank You to you!

  • 10. Janis Capraro  |  March 18, 2014 at 6:10 pm


    You are amazing – I have watched all of your videos, and I can’t believe how much I learned and how many things you showed me that I didnít even know Silhouette software could do. There was a guy from the UK on the Silhouette Facebook page that wanted to know how to marry text along a line/shape, and I told him about your Text To Path Power User video. I hope he sees my post.

    Thanks again, Janis

  • 11. Robyn Josephs  |  March 18, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    another fab lesson. I knew there was more to be done with the knife and not i don’t have to figure it out by myself.

  • 12. dottiej27  |  March 18, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    Haven’t been following your blog very long. I can see I need to dig into your archives! I am a relatively new silhouette user and recently upgraded to the Designer Edition. I learned a bunch from this one video and need to take some time to learn all that this amazing tool can do. Thanks so much for this lesson.

  • 13. Marisol Adams  |  March 19, 2014 at 4:38 am

    And, did you know, you can draw left to right or right to left? It only matters if you’re using one of the serrated (although they look like wonky scallops to me) options – lt to rt = bumps on bottom; rt to lt = bumps on top! :)

    • 14. Kay  |  March 19, 2014 at 10:29 am

      Cool! Not what I would have expected. You can also rotate or flip to change the orientation and have it consistent, which I often use on the scallops. Completely forgot to include it. Thanks for bringing this up.

  • 15. Amy Dann  |  March 19, 2014 at 10:33 am

    Kay, THANK YOU. I TRULY appreciate the time you put into making these videos. I’d like to think I’m fairly savvy with the software, but I ALWAYS learn something from you. Thank you again!

  • 16. pauliine purdum  |  March 19, 2014 at 11:38 am

    This is brilliant, thanks so much for putting this video together. I wish I had watched it two days ago, I learned sooooo much

  • 17. Cindy O  |  March 20, 2014 at 9:52 am

    Thank you. The examples are so helpful. The knife tool was a mystery to me, and now I see a lot of potential for using it!

  • 18. Kristy gd  |  March 20, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    I’m.. speechless. This absolutely amazing, and actually makes me *want* to use the knife tool. Thanks so much for sharing!!

  • 19. Patty  |  March 20, 2014 at 11:19 pm

    You are A-M-A-Z-I-N-G !!!! Thank you for sharing this very detailed description of the knife tool. I can’t believe what I just learned — thanks to you.

  • 20. Gail  |  March 21, 2014 at 8:50 pm

    Cool! Thanks!

  • 21. kathleen schriber  |  March 24, 2014 at 11:36 am

    thank you very much. i hope it was alright to ‘share’ this good information.

    • 22. Kay  |  March 24, 2014 at 12:58 pm

      Absolutely, sharing links to any posts here is highly appreciated. Thank you!

  • 23. Laurie M.  |  March 26, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    Jenny is NOT your #1 fan! :p I * AM * !!!!

  • 24. Charlene Mitchell  |  March 29, 2014 at 10:37 pm

    Fantastic video! I’m a very new user and am excited to start experimenting! Thanks so much!

  • 25. Mary Morand  |  March 31, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    Kay, Thank you for the Knife Ninja video. Watched it 2 already but am still having trouble with my knife. I have Silhouette Designer Studio Cameo. Most of the time my knife it will not cut cleanly. It leaves a tail. The eraser leaves a big tail too. And lots of time the knife will not let go and stop cutting. It acts like it is stuck to my file. I have a picture of what it does I can send you if you need to see an example. I am beyond frustrated as I am unable to tell why it works when it does work and why it wont work other times. I was so excited that it worked after watching the knife video but my joy was short lived as it only worked on one file and not another. I am embarassed to ask for help but I am also desperate. Thank you for your time as I am sure you are inundated with needy notes.
    I remain in awe of your sharing heart,
    Mary Morand

  • 26. Sandra  |  April 9, 2014 at 8:36 pm

    What a fantastic video. It never occurred to me that I could do all those things with the knife tool. Thanks for the tutorial.

  • 27. Patricia karstens  |  April 8, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    Thank you for all your help

  • 28. Carol  |  May 28, 2015 at 6:51 pm

    Thank you! This was very helpful!

  • 29. Toni Murro Borden  |  August 5, 2015 at 5:46 pm

    This was great! I never realized you could do so much with the knife tool, Thank you!

  • 30. Susi McDonald  |  September 7, 2015 at 4:44 pm

    Thank you SOO much for this super helpful tutorial! It answered a buch of my questions! Susi


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