Scaling Shapes
First Cut

Scaling Shapes

 I remember when I first got my CAMEO, I couldn’t wait to start creating! Just like with any new program I get on the computer, I had to click all of the icons, and try out all of the options. No fear, just full steam ahead! Since then I have learned so many things, and find new tricks all the time. But, the things I learned when I first got my Silhouette, are the things I now do on a daily basis without even thinking about it. The basics… once you get the hang of those, possibilities are endless!

Today I thought I’d share a couple of quick projects that illustrate one of the options in Silhouette studio that I admittedly take for granted. The scale option. Seriously, opening a shape into Silhouette studio and being able to make it any size I need is awesome.

Now, when you open different shapes from your library you will notice that they come in all different sizes. Great thing is, you don’t have to use the shape at that size, depending on the material you are cutting, or the Silhouette you are using, you can make it just about any size you want. In the screen shot below you can see that when I opened this ‘today thought bubble’ shape it is 5.65″ wide and 3.74″ high.

I wanted to add this shape to a 3″ x 4″ card for my scrapbook, so I knew it needed to be smaller than it’s default size.

You can change the size of the shapes a couple of different ways, by either dragging the small squares in the bounding box that surrounds the shape, or by entering the exact dimensions in the scale window. For this little card, the size didn’t matter to me as much as how it would look in proportion to the card. So, I used the 3″ x 4″ card shape as a guide and then dragged the bottom right square of the bounding box toward the center of the shape to reduce it’s size until it fit nicely in the space I wanted it to go. {by dragging from the corners it keeps the right proportions too!}

The next project I made, a chalkboard vinyl cut out for daily reminders, used the same shape on a larger scale.

For this one the exact dimensions were a little more important because I knew it had to fit inside a space that was 14″ wide.  So, with the shape selected I used the handy scale window, marked the ‘lock aspect ratio’ box, entered 12.5 in the width box and clicked apply. It kept all of the correct proportions and was exactly the size I needed.

I kinda love the scale feature! What are some of the basics you wish you knew when you first started using your Silhouette?




Based in Lindon, Utah and founded in October 2009, Silhouette is a manufacturer of arts and craft products and Silhouette desktop cutting systems. Silhouette continues to innovate products and technologies aimed at allowing creative people everywhere the most options and fewest restrictions for electronic cutting, designing, and crafting.


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  1. Thanks we tend to forget the more easier ways

  2. Sounds pretty stupid, but I just LOVE the fact that you can make a PERFECT circle with your Silhouette by holding the shift button. Had to watch you tube videos to figure that out, but now that I found it, I use it so much!!

  3. i found out thru a youtube video that you can drag shapes off the mat (on the screen) and move them to the blank space beside it. never realized this was usable space before – its like a virtual desk. very cool when you are doing multiple shapes or letters.

  4. 2 weeks after i had bought my cameo..I am cutting a file in 5 copies of A4..i had forgotten that I did not load the mat after I press cut on the next page..I never know then that the cameo will still cut even if the mat was not loaded..I thought it is like a printer that will not print if there is no paper loaded..I hope that the next cameo will have this feature that will detect if the mat is loaded before cutting..

    1. There are many materials that you can cut without using the mat. When you cut vinyl for instance, you load the vinyl without the mat. I’m guessing that’s why they don’t have that feature.

  5. This may be a dumb question, I am trying to compare and decide which brand and machine to get. What machine were you working on? I make stencils mainly for throw pillows and some signs, any recommendation which of your machines would be the best suited? Thanks 🙂

  6. On the TODAY was pretty fabulous, is that two different cuts? Or did you use the sketch pens on the pink area? It just looks perfect!

  7. What can you write on the chalkboard vinyl with?

    1. Regular chalk, or I love the chalkboard markers! You can get a pack of 4 colors at Michaels around $12

  8. How did you get the sentiment with the dotted border on there?

    1. Since she has to font name at the end of the post, I’m guessing it was done as a print & cut. You can type onto a shape by using the text tool and typing with your chosen font right over it, than print it before cutting.

    2. I am sure that the pink was a straightforward cut and then white part was made using a sketch pen and then cut out (after cutting the word ‘today’ off the top of the image.

      Using your knife tool (knife icon on left hand side bar), cut a straight line under the word ‘today’, leaving just a regular shape thought bubble.

      Now you just have the thought bubble shape, create an internal offset line within the shape.

      Go to the lines style window and select the dotten line. This will change the offset line into a dotted line.

      Go the the ‘A’ on the left menu bar – which is the text feature, then type your message within this dotted line (Jeana stated she used ‘amatic’ font. Size your message to fit within the bubble.

      Open the the ‘cut style menu’ (scissors icon on menu bar) and select only the text and the dotted line – this should make them stand out in a red line. Make sure you haven’t got the bubble shape selected at this point.

      Next, insert your media on the mat, then go to the ‘silhouette cut settings’ and select the ‘sketch pen’ NOT THE BLADE!

      Swap your blade for a sketch pen (in colour of choice).

      Now press ‘CUT’.

      Once this has completed DO NOT unload your mat.

      Now, go back to the cut style window (scissors icon) and de-select the dotted line and text, and select the outer bubble shape. Now that should show up bold and the dotted line and text should not.

      Switch your sketch pen back to your blade.

      Now, with the appropriate cut settings selected for the media you have on your mat, press CUT.

      Unload media.

      Now you should have a bubble shape with a dotten line around the edge, and your text of choice within the dotted line.

      This is an alternative to your print and cut feature. You can use an internal offset line for any file you are cutting out, swap the straight line for a dotted or dashed line and use the sketch pen to draw this, then switch back to your blade and cut the original (outer) cut line. Just remember to never unload your media, otherwise, chances are you won’t reload it acurate enough for a perfect cut line around your sketched line…. experiment with different colour pens and text within different shapes… you can basically use this feature for journalling then cutting out a shape for scrapbooking, or use the sketch pen to write different words on tabs you are cutting, write words on ribbon flags, labels – you can also sketch a fancy shape with the pen, and cut out a regular shape around it… the possibilities are endless really…

      Hope this has helped explain a little more.

      Paula xxx

    3. Thank you for your step-by-step breakdown. I have downloaded the software and am trying to learn it while I save my pennies so I can (hopefully) buy myself this for Christmas. In the meantime, I have started reading blogs and trying to figure out everything without the cutting. Surprisingly, on a lot of projects, if I print the cut lines in a different color I can approximate what would happen if I was able to cut. This gives me some idea of how to do things, but I am hoarding those pennies and nickels and dimes for my present to myself so I can do it “for reals” as my son used to say.

  9. I’m pretty new at this so A, I’m so glad I found your blog and B, can’t wait to read more.

  10. I remember how happy I was to discover how to weld cursive letters together easily, by just clicking on the word and hitting “weld”. I used to type up each letter separately, try to space them out the right way, it would take forever…

  11. Am just learning the basics (and I’m so excited about moving on from there!), have watched a few tutorials and read some blog posts – all so helpful – but right now my brain is on overload. I was trying to weld some letters together, so decreased spacing so they overlapped, but a couple of letter overlapped too much. Tried to use erase tool to remove the “tails” (easier said than done without distorting the shape), but how do I cancel the eraser when I’m finished with it? Ditto for other tools? I’m sure this sounds really dumb to the more experienced, but to a novice it’s a real obstacle. 🙂

    1. You can go back and select the arrow after each use of another tool, or your can go to your options menu and make it so that each time you use a tool, it automatically deselects it after use. This way you aren’t likely to carry on erasing something that you didn’t mean to after you’d finished, or cutting something with the knife you didn’t mean to either… here’s how:

      Tool Selection
      You can now choose to default back to having to select the knife/eraser tools, or continue with them until you click on the arrow ‘select’ icon manually when you’ve finished.

      Going to File, Preferences – you can change all kinds of defaults here, also set what measurements you want – either inches or cms – there are lots of other choices too. It’s a very useful menu actually…

      Hope this helps.

      Paula x x x

    2. Oh, also when you feel that some letters are closer than others, but they’ve all moved at the same time – don’t use the ‘erase’ tool…

      click on your text – this should bring the outline box up with the circle in the corner… in this box, select (by highlighting) only the letters you want to move apart again. Go back to the letter spacing part and move the slider so that they move apart rather than together…

      Alternatively, ungroup the letters – and move them around this way – you can always make sure they line up afterwards by using the ‘Align’ window.

      Hope this helps too!

      Paula xxx

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