Raise your hand if you hate fussy cutting! Yep, that’s me. I hate it so much that it’s one of many reasons I decided to purchase a Silhouette machine.
I know that I’m not alone in my hatred for fussy cutting. If you’re like me and have a Silhouette machine that you’re not very familiar with how to use, keep reading.
How to Cut Printable Files Using a Silhouette
I’ve had many Squadettes ask in our facebook group how to create cut files for the free printables they find online. Today, I’m going to show you how I do it, step by step.
I would also like to note that the file I’m using in this tutorial is from the amazing Victoria Thatcher. I just love her printables!
Step 1: Convert PDF
Before you can import your file into your Silhouette software, you will have to convert it from a PDF to a JPG or PNG file.
While there may be free options for programs that will convert this for you, I personally use Photoshop since I already have that from my photography school days.
Step 2: Import File
Once you have your PDF converted to an image file, you can now open the image file with your Silhouette program. You can do this by dragging and dropping it into the software, or import through the library.
Step 3: Trace and Detach
At the top right-hand side of your Silhouette software, click on the trace button (it looks like a square with a little blue butterfly with yellow border).
Once you have selected the trace tool, you should see the following settings:
Click on “select trace area” and draw a box around what you want to trace. Notice I didn’t bother tracing the text along the top and bottom of the graphic, because I’m going to end up deleting that later, anyway.
Make sure to de-select “high pass filter”. Then turn the threshold up as high as it can go, and turn the scale down as low as it can go.
(Quick tip – if you’re having a hard time getting a clear trace, try doing it in sections, instead of all at once.)
Your image should turn yellow similar to the image below:
Once you have selected everything you would like to trace, select “trace and detach”. This will basically cut the images out of the background so you can move them around individually.
Step 4: Delete Background
Once you have detached all of the images, pull them off to the side out of the way. Then, select and delete the leftover background.
Step 5: Rearrange Graphics
Once the background image has been removed, rearrange your images where you want them on the document.
Step 6: Offset (Optional)
This step is only necessary if you want to have a bit of white edge around your stickers. If you don’t want the extra white space you can skip to the next step.
To create this white border, you will need to create an offset. Click on the image or images you want to offset. Then click on the offset tool along the top toolbar.
Adjust the settings so that it creates a red line border slightly from the edge of your images. I typically set my offset distance to .0125
It’s important to note that this red offset line is not your cut line. They look the same, but it’s only the line that will be traced whenever you make your cut lines in the next step.
Step 7: Trace Outer Edge
Once you have created your offset lines (if you choose to), you’re ready to trace your images again to create your cut lines.
Select the trace tool and highlight everything you want to cut. You’ll make your settings the exact same as you did in step 3, only this time you will select “trace outer edge”. This will create your cut lines.
Step 8: Print and cut
Once you have your cut lines made, you’re done! From here you’re ready to print and cut your stickers and start sticking them into your planners!
Did this tutorial work for you? Comment below and let us know. Also if you think this post may help others, we hope that you will share it with them as well.