How to PRINT & CUT w/ Silhouette Connect and Illustrator

Oh hey, so I made a YouTube Channel. I technically had one for a while, but there was like one speedpaint video that wasn’t that good and I deleted it. But now I’m actually gonna like… update it… on a schedule. Hopefully!

My first video almost HAD to be this. Back when I first got my Silhouette Cameo die cutter, I had such a hard time figuring out how to use it. The reason I got the Silhouette Cameo (and not some other brand) is because I wanted to be able to use graphic software that I was already used to, instead of relying on some program I never used before. The Silhouette lets you connect to Adobe Illustrator. But like… it didn’t come with instructions. I had no idea how to use it.

Like, no idea.

Like, I ended up calling customer support to ask them why I couldn’t add registration marks to my file. Apparently you have to have a path on your file (your cut lines) in order to add registration marks. I guess that makes sense, even though to me, the logical order of this whole thing would be a) add registration marks, b) layout your file, c) add cut lines. NOPE!

“Real quick, what are you talking about Jacey?

To summarize, a die cutter is a machine that lets you make precise cuts. It’s like a printer, except instead of ink it has KNIVES! Well, blades. Well, one blade. You can use it to cut out construction paper and glue stuff and make crafts and junk. Which is cool, but if you want to cut out a printed design, you gotta make sure the die cutter knows EXACTLY where your printed design IS on the paper… otherwise it’ll just guess and cut through stuff and look terrible. The registration marks on the page let the die cutter know EXACLTY where it should cut….

…even if you loaded the paper into it really, really badly.

So if you also want to make stickers (or do another kind of print and cut project) and you have a Silhouette Cameo AND you have Adobe Illustrator, then here are the steps:

1. Lay Out your file

I layout everything in Photoshop first because I’m kind of scared of Illustrator and this is my comfort zone. Honestly, it doesn’t matter where you do it.

What matters is THOSE MARGINS. Make sure you have a 1.5″ margin around the whole page. That will guarantee your registration marks fit.

2. Add Cut Lines

Open your file in Illustrator. (You might already be IN Illustrator if you’re not a scared punk like me and used it to lay out your file.)

On a new layer, use the pen tool to make a path around the design you want to cut out. (If you don’t know how to use the pen tool, check the video for a demonstration.)

If you’re printing a sheet of all the same stickers like I am, you can use the selection tool to grab the path you made, and copy and paste it a bunch of times.

3. Add Registration Marks

Now that you have a file with paths, the software will finally catch on to what you’re doing and let you add those registration marks. It’s like “Oh, you want to print and cut? Well you should probably add registration marks so the die cutter can tell where it should be cutting!”

Go to File > Silhouette Connect > Silhouette Registration Marks

Then don’t mess with the settings because I don’t know what they mean.

4. Print it out!

Make sure you hide those cut lines or they will print out!

(Or remove the stroke from your path—that works too.)

5. Send the File to Silhouette Studio

Make sure you turn your cut lines back on (and hide your artwork layer) before you send the file to Silhouette Studio.

Go to File > Silhouette Connect > Send to Silhouette Connect

6. Choose Your Settings and Cut!

Make sure your paper is loaded into your Silhouette Cameo. (Duh.) Then Choose your cut settings. Your settings are going to vary based on what kind of paper you’re using, etc.

I’m using kiss cut settings, meaning only the top layer of my sticker paper will be cut. If you’re curious, these are my settings:

Material Type: White Sticker Paper
Blade: 2
Speed: 3
Thickness: 4
Double Cut: unchecked

Make sure you change your blade settings IRL and not just in the program. Sounds like a no-brainer buuuut I’ve done it.

Then hit start and plug your ears because that ish is LOUD AF!

DONE!

Boom! Now you have stickers! Assuming you printed on sticker paper and were even making stickers in the first place… to be honest I didn’t even think to ask about your project. There’s totally other legit reasons to print and cut besides stickers.

But if you did make stickers…

STICK ‘EM ON EVERYTHING!

By the way, if you like my stickers, you can get them on my Etsy Store!

Were you also mystified by Silhouette Connect? Are you making cool stuff with your Silhouette Cameo? Leave a comment!

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