Posts tagged ‘Silhouette Studio DE’

Updated Cheat Sheet: File Formats in Silhouette Studio

Finally updated my Silh Studio File Formats Cheat Sheet for V3. Click here for a printable PDF.


The changes from version 2: Macs lost the ability to open .ai files, Mac basic users lost the abililty to open .pdf files. Win DE users gained the ability to open PDFs, and all DE users can take full advantage of vector PDFs as of version 3.3. BE added new vector options.

I’ve also prepared a new chart just to help you understand how to handle a PDF depending on its content and what version of Silhouette Studio you have.

PDFs in SS

To determine if a PDF has vector or bitmap content, zoom in to at least 800% and if the lines are still crisp, it is a vector. If the lines are blurry or pixellated, it is a bitmap. If you need help understanding the difference between vectors and bitmaps in general, this video should help.


February 21, 2015 at 4:18 pm 26 comments

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).

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

March 18, 2014 at 1:04 pm 30 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 32 comments

Cheat Sheet: Cut vs. Cut Edge

Screen Shot 2013-03-14 at 6.19.11 PM

I have all kinds of powerful software to work in, but I can’t help exploring Silhouette Studio to try and find out why it behaves as it does. I began researching yet another double line problem and discovered some interesting facts about how SS operates. I figured out how to keep the double lines at bay, which also led me to a way to offset text and keep it editable, and a way to add a quick bleed zone to objects. You know I’m not one to keep the minutiae to myself :) Click here for a printable PDF.

April 8, 2013 at 10:41 am 15 comments

Silhouette software comparison updated

It’s been over a year since I visited the details of each software package available to drive a Silhouette cutter. There’s still no clear winner for everyone, because so much depends on what you want to do, how much learning curve you are willing to endure and how much you want to spend, not to mention personal preference. I have made a radical update to my comparison chart to help you choose what’s right for you among Silhouette’s own software, Make the Cut or Sure Cuts a Lot. Funtime Pro is also an option now, but I’ve not had a copy to compare so the items on the chart in that column are provisional at best. Hoping for some input from Funtime users on this. I know many of you are like me, and already use more than one of these software packages. In that case, I hope this chart will help you find the best one for the task at hand.

untitled folder

In addition, I’ve added a detailed chart on file formats. Most of you can probably skip this, but if you are interested in being able to cut a particular file format (or a lot of them) then this may help you make a decision. This information may also be helpful to designers choosing which file formats to offer.

untitled folder-1

(Click each image to open/download the corresponding PDF)

Note: this chart was revised 3/24/13 to include new features in Make-the-Cut v4.6.0

March 19, 2013 at 10:42 am 15 comments

Exporting vector content to SSDE with a Mac

Silhouette Studio Designer Edition is limited in terms of the vector file formats it can read, but by making use of an online converter, we can change popular formats such as EPS and PDF to SVG. We can also use this in conjunction with the Mac’s built in PDF generation to extract vector content from many online sources. Here’s a video to demonstrate the process.

Update: The Ideogram site now generates SVGs (just click the More Options button) so you do not need this technique for that site, but these steps are still applicable for other sites with vector PDF content.

Here are the written steps for starting with a vector PDF (this also works on a Windows machine as an alternate to “print to SVG”):

-Open or generate your printable *vector* content. (see list of suggested sources in this post)

We used Ideogram’s free online template maker for the video

-Enter your dimensions and click the Create button

-Press the Save button (disk icon). The PDF will save to your Downloads folder with the name “template”

-Go to the Misc2SVG file converter site.

-Click the Choose File button and select the PDF you just saved and click Open.

-Press the Senden button.

-Click the Download link.

-Control-click (or right click) the resultant SVG and select Save As or Save Page As.

-Enter a name and location for your file and click Save.

-From Silhouette Studio, open the SVG file you just saved.

-Click to select the SVG and then on the Cut Styles Pane click Cut. If no lines turn red, click the ungroup button one or more times and try again.

-Click the Scale button and enter 80% in the custom window. Click Apply. This will return templates from Ideogram to their exact size for cutting.

Here are the written steps for vector content that can be printed, such as from

-Create your Wordle and press the Print button at the bottom of the page.

-Click the PDF button, it will pull down and then you can click Save as PDF.

-Name the file, give it a location and click the Save button.

-Go to the Misc2SVG file converter site.

-Click the Choose File button and select the PDF you just saved and click Open.

-Press the Senden button.

-Click the Download link.

-Command-click (or rightclick) the resultant SVG and select Save Page As.

-Enter a name and location for your file and click Save.

-From Silhouette Studio, open the SVG file you just saved .

-Select the SVG and on the Cut Styles Pane click Cut Edge. If no lines turn red, click the ungroup button one or more times and try again.

-Remove the background and make other edits as desired. Additional ungrouping may be necessary before you can do this.

In the video, we also drag the Wordle PDF to the mat to use for extracting colors. Select all the letters you want a certain color, then click the eye dropper and the color sample. Repeat for each color.

March 10, 2013 at 3:49 pm 6 comments

Cheat Sheet: File Formats in Silhouette Studio

Update: this post applies to Silhouette Studio version 2. If you have version 3, please refer to the updated chart here instead.

It turns out that the question about what file formats Silhouette Studio can use is not all that easy to answer, partly because the facts vary quite a bit from the official Silhouette America information. I think I got it sorted out and into chart form. Hope this is helpful to some of you. Click here for a printable PDF.


If you need help understanding the difference between vectors and bitmaps, this video should help.

February 22, 2013 at 6:21 pm 23 comments

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