You can almost always take a regular cut shape and turn it into a print and cut design. But the opposite is not always true. Some print and cut images from the Silhouette Design Store (←this is an affiliate link, meaning if you click on it and buy something I may receive a small commission) you can separate into pieces so that you can use them as a regular cut or change the colors or patterns; some you can’t. It depends on how the designer created the file — whether they started with a raster image and just added a cut line around the outside, or combined a set of shapes that have different colors and fills.
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Each print and cut design will come with a cut line around the outside of the image. Sometimes you can use that alone.
But what do you do if you see a design you like in the SDS, but want to be able to cut it in separate pieces. There’s not a foolproof method for figuring out which ones you can break apart, but here are some things to look for that indicate you can’t:
This is a really good tip off that you cannot split apart the design into pieces. It’s usually just a raster image plus a cut line. The shading on this rose design on this example is a pretty good indication that you can’t break this apart.
And check out the shading on the hat, snow, nose and feet here:
Once in awhile, the shading you see in a design is just the way the artist created the sample for the SDS, but that’s rare.
Overly Complex design
If the design looks way too complex to cut, you probably can’t separate the pieces. Even if the shaded color wasn’t a tip-off, all the dotted pink lines are.
Because specific coloring is integral to the character licensing, print and cuts with these images are rarely individual pieces. I don’t think there are currently any of these in the SDS, but they come and go. In the past we’ve had DC Comics, Harry Potter, Beatrix Potter (no relation LOL!), Precious Moments, Warner Brothers, Care Bears, Strawberry Shortcake and more.
Designs by paper companies
Designs by paper companies are usually a raster image of one of their paper elements with a cut line around it, not individual pieces grouped together. Echo Park and Carta Bella are examples of paper companies.
With images already in your library, pull the image off to the side. A white background tells you it’s a raster image with a cut line, not individual pieces. However, the absence of a white background does not mean the image can be separated. PNG files, for example, may have a transparent background. But if you do see that white background — you know you can’t pull it apart into individual pieces.
Take a look at this calendar. Why in the world would you ever cut all that even if you could?
Another way to change up print and cut designs
If a print and cut image cannot be ungrouped to be cut or colored separately, you can change up the look a bit using the Image Effects options. Look for this icon in the right side icon bar.
Each row here is the same design, but I got varying looks by adjusting the coloring.
When you adjust coloring with the shader effects, sometimes the outside rectangular edge of the raster image will show up in color. You can reset the line color to Clear (none) if it bothers you. But since those lines are cut lines only and cut lines don’t print unless you make them, you can just leave it if you like.
What I love about all of this is that you get more bang for the buck with your designs.
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