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Vinyl Cutting

A guide to operating the Silhouette Cameo 4 owned by the WeatherTech Innovation Lab

Silhouette Studio

Silhouette Studio is the software that comes alongside all Silhouette products and is pre-installed on one of the Innovation Lab's computers, though it is only available on a first-come first-serve basis. If you want to use it for yourself, Silhouette Studio can easily be installed from Silhouette’s website.

To cut a design, you have two options. The simple option would be to download pre-existing designs. The Innovation Lab has 100+ templates alone, and many can be found and downloaded from websites such as the Silhouette Design Store, though depending on the website, you will likely have to pay (albeit, usually less than $1 for one design). After acquiring a design, go to the “library” tab in Silhouette Studio (in the upper-right corner) and select the design. From here, you can alter the design as you please or try to print it directly. You can also drag in a JPEG, PNG, and DXF files into Silhouette Studio though which will be able to be cut, though you should also make sure you have permission to use the image before using them.

Screenshot of Silhouette Design Store

Left sidebar of Silhouette StudioIf you don't want to or can't, the second option is to use the tools in Silhouette Studio. There are good tutorials for  using all of the features on this page, but to summarize it: use the "line" and "shape" tools to create your ideal shape. 

  • The "edit points" tool can help curve the lines more if you want more precision. 
  • The knife tool splits items up into two separate ones based on the cut.
  • There is also a "free draw" option that allows you to draw as you please.
  • The "text" option allows you to write text to cut out and you have flexibility with what font you want to use.
  • The "notes" option allows you to post reminders on your design, but will not be included in the cut. 
  • Additionally, the shape tool is useful for making a “weed box”, or using the rectangle shape to draw a border around your object so that you can weed that without wasting the rest of the vinyl.

 

 

 

The first part of the top barThere are additional options on the top of the screen when you click on one of the shapes you created. 

  • The "W" and "H" indicators display the size of the object in terms of width and height, and they can be altered through these options and they automatically scale up too.
  • Meanwhile, the "X" and "Y" options display the position of the object on the mat and can be altered here too.
  • The next two options are "align" and "center" which prove helpful for lining up all of your selected objects in specific areas such as the top or center of the mat.

 

 

Following that are "group selected shapes" and "ungroup selected shapes." 

  • The second part of the top bar"Group selected shapes" allows you to combine selected objects into one, giving you the ability to drag all of the objects together. This is achieved by either right-clicking or holding down the mouse and dragging over all of the objects on the mat before selecting the option. 
  • "Ungroup selected shapes" causes the objects to ungroup, allowing you to move them individually or alter individual pieces, which is helpful when dealing with templates that are comprised of several individual pieces. 

The next four options are "bring to front", "send to back", "bring forward", "send backwards" which affect the positioning of objects if they are overlapping with each other.

  • "Bring to front" ensures the object is in front while "send to back" ensures the object is in the back. "Bring forward" and "sends backwards" are more precise adjustments to the positioning.

This is followed by the "weld selected shapes into one shape" and the "offset" options.

  • The "weld selected shapes into one shape" option is similar to the "group selected shapes" option but they combine the objects together, making them into one object, not merely just allowing them all to be dragged together. All welded objects also become the same color too.
  • The "offset" option is one of the more unique features of Silhouette Studio. Essentially it makes an outline of the object on either the outside or inside edge, and is an extremely valuable feature if you want to make an outline of the object or cut the inside portion of the object out. This is a standout feature and I highly recommend making use of this feature.
  • Finally, there is a "duplicate" command that allows you to duplicate the object(s) you have selected.Silhouette right sidebar

 

On the right side there are also a number of features present too, many of which are similar to the features on the top row such as "offset" and "align." Others include adjusting font, color, the size of the mat, line thickness and other, more advanced options you will probably not need for most cuts. For more information, this video     is a good resource for explaining all of the features of Silhouette Studio: 

Make sure the files are .svg, otherwise it will not be compatible to print.

 

Downloading Silhouette Studio

If you want to use Silhouette Studio for yourself, click the link to go to the download page or go to Silhouette America's website and find the page yourself. Afterwards, you will be able to download it, but if you want any new designs from the Silhouette Design Store, you will need to make an account on the design store.

Additionally, if you register a new Silhouette Cameo 4 with your account, you get 100 free designs to try out. The Innovation Lab has these free designs, so do not feel pressured to purchase your own Cameo 4 just to get access to these designs.