The Print and Cut feature on Silhouette Studio gives you SO much creative flexibility. I recently created a series of bookmarks for a church event and thought they would be a great project to show you more about Print and Cut. I’m going to share 5 great tips for using with your Print and Cut projects and how I used them in my bookmark designs. (If you haven’t done any Print and Cuts yet, then check out this post for beginner tips.)
Note: This post contains affiliate links. That means if you click the link and purchase something, I receive a small commission. You pay the same price. This helps me to be able to keep my business going and provide more tutorials.
#1: Get coordinating colors with color picker
Here’s an easy way to get specific or coordinating colors using the Color Picker tool.
- Choose a fill pattern or other raster image and add it to your design area. For my bookmarks, I used the logo for the event.
- Select one of your design pieces.
- In the fill panel, click on the color picker tool.
- Move your cursor over your raster image until the tip of the eyedropper is over the color you want and click.
I like to create small squares and fill them with the colors for a color palette. That makes it quicker to use the same color over and over. You can also just use the Recently Used section at the top of the panel.
You can even create a custom color palette if it’s something you intend to use often. I’ve done this with the colors of my business logo.
#2: Use shadows to create depth
Any printed page can look a bit flat because, well, it IS flat. One way to create some depth is to add shadows to your elements, particularly text.
The Shadow tool is found in the last tab of the Image Effects panel. You turn it on and can select a color, location and distance for the shadow.
I did find that in the current version of the Silhouette Studio software, the shadow tool was causing issues when cutting. If I grouped my shadowed shapes with my outer piece, it kept turning the shadow to Cut even if I set that particular text box on No Cut. Normally, I would just use Cut Edge on everything and then anything surrounded by that outer piece wouldn’t cut. However, I was going to use a bleed with that outer shape (see next tip), so that wouldn’t work.
So, instead of using the shadow tool, I made a copy of the text box, changed its fill color to what I wanted for a shadow, sent it behind the original text box, and moved it slightly away from the original text box.
One more way to do it is to purchase a font that has variations including a shadow option.
#3: Use thick lines to create a bleed
A bleed is a trick professional printers use. When you have a background color that’s different from the color of the paper, you want to make sure that color extends all the way to the edge of your cut. The best way to do that is to extend the color slightly beyond the cut edge. That way, if the cut is a tiny bit off, you still have color all the way to the edge.
There are a few different ways to add a bleed, but here’s one quick way.
- On your background shape, choose the same line color as your background.
- Increase the line thickness on that outer piece.
- Make sure that piece is set to Cut, not Cut Edge/AutoWeld.
What this will do is cut right down the center of the line. You’ll have a bit of color on each side of the line. I added a square with different colors on the fill and line so you can see more easily where it cuts.
Here’s the page after I’ve cut and removed the bookmark. You can see the bleed.
#4: Make sure the pieces print
When you create text in programs like word processors, you are doing it primarily for the purpose of printing them. With regular cut projects in Silhouette Studio, you are cutting them instead. What that means is that there is no print information by default unless you provide it.
There are 3 basic ways to get text — or any shape — to print–
- Choose “Print lines of selected shapes” in the Line Style panel. This one isn’t great, because the line thickness is still only 0.0. The software will only print a faint gray line.
- Raise the line thickness. Once you raise the line thickness a bit, you have provided printable (raster) information. You do NOT have to also select the “Print lines of selected shapes.” This is what we did in tip #1.
- Fill the text or shape with color or pattern. Again, you have provided some raster information and so the software can print something.
TIP: Set your line colors to None so that you can see the true colors without the red line.
#5: Set the internal pieces to No Cut
As I said above, text or shapes you create in Silhouette Studio are automatically going to cut. Regular shapes will be on Cut; text will be on Cut Edge (to understand those, see this post). Often, you will only want the outermost piece of your design to cut. That means you need to make some adjustments.
The easiest way to do this is to select all your pieces except your outermost piece and set them on No Cut.
My finished bookmarks
Here are 2 of the bookmarks printed and laminated.
Designs I used for my bookmarks
In case you’re wondering, here are the designs and fonts I used for my bookmarks.
- Hilborn font. This font has 6 coordinating font variations and tons of dingbats, including banners and frames. I used 3 of the font variations.
- Leaf Sprig Set (same name, different design)
To make the designs cohesive, I used shapes from the same designer. For more tips on coordinating elements and fonts in a design, see this post.