It seems a little strange that I would be finally getting around to putting a tutorial up to show you how to load a cut file to make a stenciled sign. But here I am, doing it anyway. Today, I’m going to show you how to load a cut file to the Silhouette Cameo.
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I have just assumed that most of my blog readers have landed on my blog by looking for the free SVG cut files I offer in my Resource Library. This was an incorrect assumption. It just recently occurred to me that some of my readers may not understand what a Silhouette Cameo is or the magic it can create.
When I meet someone, they will ask what it is that I do. I’ll mention I create cut files for people to use with their Silhouette. They give me kind of a blank stare and then I’ll add, “and Cricut cutters, too.” Then I’ll see the light bulb click on. Most people know what a Cricut is, just because they’ve been around for so long.
I’ll agree that a Cricut is like a Silhouette, but after having one of the earlier versions of a Cricut Expression, I have decided I like the Silhouette a little bit more.
Awhile back, I created a video that explained how to ungroup an SVG cut file when the option is not available. That video has gotten a decent number of views (for a new blog anyway) and has brought some visitors here to read my blog. And that’s what we bloggers want, right? Traffic is where it’s at and it’s why we do what we do. I have lots to share and I want to reach as many people as I can.
What Is A Silhouette Cameo?
Here’s a very simple explanation of what a Silhouette Cameo is. It’s a cutting machine for personal use. It plugs into your computer much like you would a printer. But, instead of functioning as a printer, it uses a blade to cut paper, cardstock, vinyl, fabric and much more. It will cut up to 12 inches wide and up to 10 feet long.
A better explanation of what a Silhouette Cameo can do can be found on the Silhouette America website. I haven’t even come close to tapping into the potential of everything my Silhouette Cameo can do! It is probably the most versatile craft tool on the market!
How To Load A Cut File To Make A Stenciled Sign
Step One: Open the file
Go to File > Open your Silhouette Studio program. Open and select the SVG file that you’ve downloaded here from Craft Your Happy.
Please note: you must have the Silhouette Studio Designer’s Edition in order to use SVG cut files. The Silhouette Cameo comes with a very basic software and you have to upgrade to the get the Designer’s Edition. Without the Designer’s Edition, you’ll only be able to use *.studio3 files. This is a file format that’s proprietary to Silhouette America and the only place you can purchase them legally is through the Silhouette Store. The Designer’s Edition will open up a whole, big world of SVG cut files. It’s well worth the extra money.
Step Two: Resize your file
It’s likely when you load the file that you’ve chosen it will not be the same size that you’re wanting to cut. It’ll either be too large or too small. In this example, the file is too large. We will need to resize it to fit the board of the sign we are making. Our board, in this case, is 12 inches wide by 18 inches long. We need to resize the design to fit within those parameters.
The first thing you’ll want to do is make the viewing area smaller so you can see the size of the file you’re working with.
Go to View > Zoom Out until the file fits on your screen. This will allow you to see the entire file and how it fits on the cutting mat.
Now you can see the entire file on the screen.
Step 3: Resize the file
Now that we can see the entire file on the screen, we need to resize our file.
If you’re cutting with a mat, you’ll need a 12×24 inch mat to cut this design, unless you want to cut it smaller than 12×18. It’s possible to cut a 6×9 sized file or whatever size you wish as long as it’s not wider than 12 inches. You can cut larger format files, it just takes a little finessing to make that work. Maybe I’ll show you that someday, too.
For our purposes, we are cutting it to fit a 12×18 inch board. So you’ll want to go over to the page set up box on the right-hand side of the screen. If it’s not available to you, just go to
View > Design Page Settings and click on that. Once you do, the box like the one shown here on the right side will appear.
In that box, you’ll set the size of the size of the design. Under Page size, change the width to 12 inches and the height to 18 inches. We are using a portrait orientation.
Under Cutting Mat change it to 12×24 if you’re using that size of a mat. If you’re using a feeder roller like I do, choose no mat.
Now, it’s time to resize the file. Click on the file so the bounding box shows up around it. Towards the upper left-hand side of the screen (where the arrow is pointing to) change the size of the file. Click the padlock to lock the aspect ratio. That will automatically resize the height when you change the width and vice versa. Enter in the width that you want. In this case, we’re going to set it to 11 inches because the board itself is 12 inches. We don’t want it right to the edge of the board. You’ll notice when you change the width to 11 inches, it automatically changed the height to 16.042, which will fit our 18-inch long board.
Step 4: Choose the material and set the cut settings
Now that we’ve changed the size of the file to fit our board, we need to set the cut settings for the Silhouette Cameo and choose the material.
Click on the SEND tab on the far right-hand side of the screen.
Under Material choose: Vinyl. You’ll notice there are many different types of vinyl. But nowhere is there anything listed for Oramask 813, which the material I use when I’m cutting sign stencils. So for my purposes, I choose matte vinyl, because Oramask isn’t shiny. It seemed reasonable to choose that. I’m sure many other people have many other ideas, but this works for me.
We keep our Action set to Cut. I change my tool to ratchet blade because I don’t have an auto blade. I use a ratchet blade which means I have to change the depth of my blade manually. Your machine may have an auto blade. If you have one, you’ll know it. When all else fails, check the owner’s manual.
Make sure you’ve clicked on the Cut setting and change your settings to the following:
This a good setting for Oramask 813, which is the only stencil material I use when making my signs.
The red outline appears around your design and this is exactly what we want. This shows that the Silhouette will cut everything in red. This means it will cut around the design to leave you with the stencil we are wanting to have.
Final step: Click send
WAIT! Before you hit send, make sure your Silhouette is connected to your computer using the USB-B cable that came with your Silhouette. This is just like having to connect a printer to your computer. Your computer should recognize it as soon as you plug it in.
Sit back, drink some coffee and wait for your file to cut!
Now that you’ve cut your file, head over to this tutorial that shows you how to make a stenciled sign from start to finish!
Free SVG Cut File
The cut file pictured in this tutorial is available at no cost to you in my Free Resource Library. You can have access to this file and many others in there just by signing up for my mailing list. Use the form below:
What will you do to Craft Your Happy today?
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