Tuesday Tutorial: Basics

I know we have a lot of new beginners with the past holiday weeks bringing joy and happiness in the form of the Silhouette.  So I am teaching a few of the basics I use everyday.  Create shape . Weld . Slice . Offset.  These are my most used go to’s when I create my projects.

My cute kiddo really loves reading and is so proud to be moving on to what she calls “chapter books”  Her grandma gave her a very special book from the American Doll collection “Lanie”.  Lanie just so happens to be her best friend she left behind when we moved from AZ, so of course this is her new favorite and she wont put it down!  Last night she asked me to make her a special book mark for it…and of course I jumped at the idea.  A fun bookmark special for her Lanie book!  Also, a perfect tutorial!

I started by selecting the rounded square shape on the left-hand toolbar.  The great thing about the rounded square is that you can use the right red toggle square to drag and create the “roundness” of your square or rectangle in this case.

Now that I have the shape I am looking for, I want to add the letter A to the top of it, her name starts with an A and really at this stage of life i remember loving anything and everything that was had a monogram or my name spelled out, so I thought this would be a fun accent.  Select your text button also on the left-hand toolbar.  Click on your project space and type the initial.  Here I am using one of my fave fonts Good Vibrations, you of course can use anyone you want.

I then resized it to fit the top a little better and overlapped it on the rectangle, I will end up welding it to the rectangle later.  I did not make it the full width because here I am wanting to create a mat around the initial.  In order to do this, select your text/initial and on the upper right-hand toolbar you will see the offset button.  Click on it and then click on offset and drag the slider bar to the offset dimension you want to see.  When you have it right where you want it, click apply.  You can always resize your offset and font if it does fit on the rectangle like you want it.

Ok now that you have it ready, select the offset and then right-click.  You will see the option to release compound path.  You will do this so that you can keep the offset holes for the initial.  Next select the offset outline and the round rectangle and click the modify button you will see in the upper right-hand toolbar.  Then click the weld button.

Once you have that welded select the offset holes and your new welded shape and right-click and click on group.  This way you can move your shape around and keep all its little pieces together!

Ok, now I want to add another little detail.  I really like the bottom of the card shape: card_C20090727125838_19414.  So I will import it from my library.  Ungroup this shape so that the flourish design and the card are separate.  You also want to group the flourish design to itself so that you don’t loose all the little details.  As you can see I rotated it to use its shape on the right side of the bookmark.  Using the slice tool from the left-hand toolbar I start a little above the shape and drag it just a little below the shape. If you want to have a perfectly straight slice, hold the shift button while you drag the slice tool.

From here delete the excess sliced shape.  Now place the new sliced shape in the position you want it. I have rotated the flourish design to fit the sliced shape.  I want to offset the sliced shape a little because it is the exact curve of the flourish design.  So select the sliced shape and the offset button and then offset as instructed above.  Move or delete the old sliced shape.  Then select the new offset sliced shape and the welded rectangle and go up to the modify button and select weld.

 You should now have your bookmark shape.  Here I have moved my original inital A and the flourish design off.  Here are the pieces you will cut.  I used cardstock for the base of my book mark and then cut the details out using the Silhouette Smooth Heat Transfer in Lemon Yellow.  You can also see from the picture that I added a few Metallic rhinestone details and created a mat using the offset button to add a little more weight to the bookmark.  Whew, that was a lot of info, but once you get these steps down you will be customizing stuff like a pro!

76 thoughts on “Tuesday Tutorial: Basics

  1. Lola says:

    Can the tutorials be printed. I would like to have them in a notebook I don’t like to go back and forth.

  2. To select individual shapes, hold down your shift key while clicking on the ones you want selected. You may need to ungroup or release compound paths if the parts are stuck together.

  3. Thanks krafting kelly, I will give that a try!!!

    Lola, I have printed the tutorials and made a notebook. I just clicked on the tutorial I wanted, did a print preview and then printed just the pages I needed. Hope this helps!

  4. Kelly says:

    Ok I have tried to make this several times now and I keep getting stuck! I am using the inital K so everytime I get to the point to the offset and weld and how your A goes into the bookmark part well my K won’t do that. What am I doing wrong?

  5. LOL, I’m using K also and it is still disappearing when I weld. Can’t get this figured out!!

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  7. I’m sorry you’re having such trouble. Make sure you are only selecting the offset and the rectangle, not the inner letter. I suggest just dragging over your offset line to the rectangle and leaving the original letter part off to the side. If the K and its outline are moving together, you need to make sure you’re selecting only the outside–with clicking and shift-clicking on the lines you want, and make sure they’re not “grouped”. (You won’t need to worry about the “release compound path” part of the tutorial because the letter K has no center for most fonts.)

    Any luck that way?

  8. Kelly says:

    Thank you Kelly!!! Thank you sooo much!! Finally it worked!! I didnt realized I didnt need to do the release compound path. Once i did it without it then it worked!!!! Now on to make the rest of it!!! :)

  9. Crystal says:

    I also just got a SIL… and I am slowly learning! Still unsure on A LOT of things though, but just learning as I go… kinda a trail and error thing!
    This may be a silly question but is there an easier way to determine the size of the letters? I am trying to cut out vinyl and just noticed that the size it is giving me is for the entire box…. not the size of the actual letters. Also… the only way that I have figured out how to change the size is by increasing font size or strecthing it. Is there an easier way??? Thanks in advance for any advice/ help!!

  10. Crystal, I use the grid to see what size my text will be. When you have the bounding box, you can drag on the corner handles to increase or decrease your text size quickly.

  11. Judy Ray says:

    I am a newbie and probably would not buy this machine again. I find it very difficult to use and am not happy with the results at all. I have talked to your support group but still am not happy. I spent 4 hours trying to get a simple grass border cut. This is going in the box and being returned.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Good afternoon! I have read and re-read so many posts on your blog about HOW to use the slice tool / knife. I must be dumb. Every time I try to use it… It does not work or cuts the wrong thing. It makes the little cut mark (3 sided rectangle) but then when I weld (tyring welding with many options…) I cant get it to work.

    Could you give more detail on the basics of Knife / Slice? I dont see hardly anything in the manuel and this is the best new feature of this software, but I can’t see to use it!




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  14. Important tip I found with the slice tool: Make sure if you’re slicing through two lines you must first make a compound path. If you have two circles, one inside the other, then if they’re just grouped then one is on top of the other, not a hole in the other. Your slice tool would be cutting into the center circle because it’s still a shape, not a hole.
    Traci has mentioned this in her tutorials but with trying all the tutorials exactly step by step, plus looking at the user manual (Chapter 6 about compound paths has a great visual explanation), and experimenting…I think I’ve finally got it!
    I hope this helps. (The user manual can be found under Help>User’s Manual at the top menu bar in the Sil software.)

  15. the little swirly detail does not seem to be cutting smoothly for me :(
    does anyone know how i can address this? AND also… if i want to smooth out the lines on some text, how do i do it?

  16. Deflated notions,
    I like the point-editing feature where I can “simplify” and rearrange specific problem points. You may just need to adjust your cut settings (lower the speed and change the thickness) for the material you’re cutting on the swirly detail. It might be too intricate for paper–more appropriate for vinyl or heat transfer.
    To smooth lines on text, type your text, click on it to get a bounding box, then click on your left-side button called “edit points” (an arrow with a blue dotted line). That will pull up point-editing options on your right, and the one you want first is “simplify”. That should break your letters apart.
    Next, click off the page to select nothing, then click on the letter you want to smooth out. It should show a whole bunch of dots, which you can edit one by one. I suggest clicking on “simplify” first, but you can move or delete every single one of those points! Just play with those point-editing options. When you want to go back to the full design, click on the regular “select” arrow on the left.
    That’s how I do it. I love the fine-point editing we can do with the Silhouette!

  17. LOVE the envelope for the announcement. I would totally use that. I am stopping over from Lemon Tree Creations.

  18. duleranne says:

    I LOVE all or your tutorials with the screen shots and very detailed instructions! Hope I win a Silhouette from Lemon Tree Creations so I can use these to learn!

  19. CaseyMarie says:

    Thank you for the tutorials!! I am another who does not even own a Silhouette YET. Very much looking forward to owning one. I have heard/read many wonderful things by owners of this machine.

    My favorite part… NO CARTRIDGES to loose or damage (I have a huge household)!!

    I am enjoying your tuts! Enjoying everything about your blog! Huge thanks & shout out to Craftaholics Anonymous… http://diaryofacraftaholic.blogspot.com/
    …for linking me to your blog!!!
    ~Casey Marie

  20. Anonymous says:

    I am trying to follow the about instuctions and learning a lot as I go but I am unable to find the card being use for the side. Quoted as “card shape: card_C20090727125838_19414″ can anyone point me in the right direction?
    Tries search but still elusive to me.

  21. I love this bookmark idea. I am a big reader and would love to make my own bookmarks! ooh and Happy Money Savers says hi and sent me over :)

  22. Excell says:

    Hi, I visit your blogs and read your content. Your content and blogs are very nice. The Custom bookmarks are uses to institution for business. I am impressed with your services.

  23. Iammai0616 says:

    I just received a silhouette cameo for Christmas (TOTAL surprise!!) This is my first project. I am trying to cut out the swirl but only the insides are cutting out and not the outside lines. What am I doing wrong?

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  25. This is a great idea for a small gift :D

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