One of THE best things about using a Silhouette machine instead of any other brand is the ability to design and cut projects that are larger than the mat. Couple that with the powerful software and you have quite a few tools at your fingertips. But do you know HOW to design and cut larger than the mat? That’s what today’s quick tip is about.
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The page setup
When you want to not be constrained to the confines of the mat, you just need to choose the right options in the Page Setup panel. We’re not going to go in order in the panel, and I’ll explain why as we go along.
To set a larger page size than the mat, you tell the Silhouette Studio software that aren’t using one. That’s the second option in the panel. Click the arrow at the end of the line and select None. That allows you to set the page length longer than 12″ — as high as 720″ (60 feet).
You should know that if you use the slider, you’ll only be able to go up to 24″. But you can use the arrows or input your numbers to go higher.
If you just need to cut longer than the mat and not design wider, that’s all you need to do. I do absolutely recommend you turn on Show Cut Border at the bottom of the page, as your margins are different when you cut without the mat. For a full explanation of how to cut successfully without a mat, see my series Cutting Without the Mat Without Losing Your Mind.
But what if you want to actually design a project that’s wider than the width your machine can cut? That’s possible too — keep reading.
Machine and Media size
I shared in this series how I made an entire wall in our church into a forest using vinyl. My trees needed to be wider than 12″, but at the time the only machine available was the Cameo. (I now have the Cameo Plus that’s 15″ and looking forward to the upcoming Pro at 20″.) That means I needed to divide them into chunks that I pieces together on the wall. In order to create the design, I want to set my page size as large as the wall — 45 feet long by 10 feet high. That brings us to our next choices in the Page Setup panel.
To create a page size that’s wider than your machine can cut, you tell the software you aren’t using a machine. Remember — this is only for the designing phase. Here’s what to do:
- In the top section, you’ll choose None on machine. That will automatically set the cutting mat to None as well.
- Uncheck Constrain to Cutting Mat.
- You can then set your page as long (high) as you like — even longer than the 720″. (By the way, if you are working with projects this large and want to work in terms of feet rather than inches, you can set that up in your Preferences). You can go up to 196.850″ on the width. As before, you can only go up to 24 with the sliders, so use the arrow keys or input your number. The software will automatically change Media Size to Custom.
Typically I would tell you to turn off the Show Cut Border, as it can be distracting. However, when you follow these steps you don’t have to because the software does it for you.
- If I were to set Cameo as my machine and keep the Constrain Media to Cutting Mat unchecked, I would then see the red line that indicates the cut border. I could turn it off if I choose.
- And if I then DID check the Constrain Media to Cutting Mat, my page width would automatically shrink to 12″ max.
To be aware of…
I have noticed that the order I make the choices in can make a difference in the max numbers I can input. If you run into that, just make sure to turn off Constrain Media to Cutting Mat and double check your other page settings. Then you should be able to design in those larger sizes.
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