I love making Silhouette projects from paper. It’s the primary reason I bought my first machine. One thing I don’t like, however, is having to glue down each letter separately. It’s takes too much time and I am very bad at keeping them straight or the same distance apart. I could just always use script fonts, but sometimes I want a block one because I like the look of it. Today, I’m going to show you 3 ways to cut words from cardstock in a block text so that each word is a single piece.
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Technique #1: Overlap the block letters
The first way to make the words cut as one is to overlap the letters slightly. You can do that by altering the character and line spacing. You’ll find those options in the Text Style panel.
For detailed information on how to use those, see this post.
Depending on the font you’re using, you may need to play around with the letter locations and the mix of upper and lowercase letters to keep the text legible. That’s particularly true with lowercase letters. To get a good preview, fill the text with color but set the line color to clear.
You might find that some of the letters overlap before others do because of the way the font is made (for more on that, see this post).
If that’s the case and it doesn’t work for you, you can ungroup the letters and move them individually. You should just know that it’s important to make a copy of the text box first. Once you ungroup the letters, they are images and not editable text any longer. That means you can’t change the letters or font, or even figure out what the font is. By making a copy, you have that information and can start over as needed.
In the current version of the Silhouette Studio software, text is by default set on Cut Edge in Simple mode. What that means is that if independent shapes overlap one another, the machine will only cut around the outer edges. Any areas where they overlap, the cut lines don’t cut. That’s great, because you can use script fonts without having to remember to weld the letters. That also keeps the text editable, as welding does not.
If you’re cutting by Line, Fill or Layer, you have to manually turn on AutoWeld.
Technique #2: Add a shape around the block text
Another way to create block text as a single piece is to add a shape around the words. It can be any shape you like. Here are a few examples:
It can be confusing to see how it will cut, so here’s a trick. Fill your words with white and your shape with a color as I did. Make sure the text is in front. That helps you visualize the outcome. It also helps if your design is in a compound path.
Another tricky thing here is that inner parts of letters, such as the middle of an “o,” won’t be connected. Look for anything that’s in color inside your white words.
You can use that as a design feature like this:
You don’t have to do anything to make that happen. The pieces will just be separate when you cut.
If you don’t like that, you’ll still have those pieces so can glue them in if you like.
Or, you can connect the middle parts with Modify options or point editing just as you would on a stencil (my favorite style is as on the “R”).
For more info on how to do that, see this post.
In this case, you don’t have to use Cut Edge or AutoWeld. You can if you make everything a compound path, but if it isn’t then your words won’t cut.
Technique #3: Use a connecting shape
Another way to connect letter of a block font is to use another shape to connect them. For example, you can draw a rectangle all the way across the word like this:
Again, using line and fill colors can help you visualize how it will cut.
But it doesn’t have to be a rectangle. You can use any shape or even multiple words. Here are a few more ideas:
I definitely recommend using Cut Edge or AutoWeld in this technique as well, so that the pieces aren’t permanently joined together. That gives you much greater flexibility. You have to be more aware of that with shapes, as they won’t default to Cut Edge as text does.
The great thing about this is that you can use existing designs and fonts from the Silhouette Design Store to create new ones.
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