Using your Silhouette: The Basic How-to

so you bought a Silhouette. you have a somewhat intimidating digital cutting tool sitting there staring at you. now what? several of you asked for some tips on how to use it. the only way i know to do that, is to screen shot a project that i cut myself with my beloved Silhouette SD.

*please note this is just the basics. there is a lot more you can do with the new Silhouette Studio software, this is just to get your feet wet :)*

open up your Silhouette Studio software.
adjust your document size as needed for your project.

add your text or an image from your library that you want to cut.
i like to show the gridlines when i am designing. to view with gridlines, click on the Grid Menu shown above. i like to set my gridlines to be 1″ with 1/2 inch sub-lines. then click Show Grid.

if you click on your image to select it, Silhouette Studio will tell you the size of your image. this is handy!
*be sure that your image stays inside the red lines. whatever goes beyond the red lines will not be cut.*
when you have edited your image to your liking and are ready to cut, plug in your Silhouette to your computer, turn it on, load your media, and then click the Silhouette icon at the top of your computer screen.

*tip: when loading vinyl, you do not need the cutting mat…. but loading vinyl into the Silhouette can be a little tricky. you need to make sure your vinyl does load straight before you cut!  before you load your vinyl into the silhouette, make sure that the edge of the vinyl is cut straight before you feed it in. if the vinyl does not load in straight the first time, unload and try again. {it usually takes me 2 tries to load straight… like every time!} another trick is to use tweezers to pull the vinyl straight if it didn’t load straight, but be careful not to stretch your vinyl. {DO NOT use tweezers when the silhouette is cutting!!}

click on Change Setting to adjust the cutting settings for different medias.

select the media you are cutting. Silhouette Studio will then highlight the color of the blade you should use to cut your media with. insert the correct blade.
when you are ready to cut, click Send to Silhouette.

hopefully that helps you a little bit!!
happy crafting!

Hi! I'm Linda, the craft addict behind Craftaholics Anonymous®, a craft blog. Crafting is cheaper than therapy, right? When I'm not DIYing something, I can be found taxiing around our 4 crazy kids or working out. Or shoe shopping... because you can never have too many shoes! Happy crafting! ♥

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  1. 1
    Kim's Treasures

    Thank you, thank you! I've had my Silhouette for a month and it's still in the box because as soon as I got it, I became scared of it! LOL! You made it look pretty easy. Thanks!

  2. 2

    Thank you SO very much.
    I've been playing with mine but I get frustrated with it.
    I'll be watching your ever post. :)
    Appreciate it,

  3. 3
    The Crump Family

    Thanks for this. I have been using mine I just played with it, there are so many buttons in the program that do the exact same thing, I was using dofferent buttons to get me to the same place as you, but I did not knkow that I would not need a cutting mat for the vinyl! Tahnks again,~Andi

  4. 4

    Thanks for this. I have been playing with mine and found that the best way to learn, but it sure takes time. I'd love to see more silhouette tutorials from you!

  5. 5
    Amanda @ Serenity Now

    Awesome tutorial, Linda! I was really worried that I am the only one who can't load vinyl! I was getting so frustrated b/c it was taking me several tries to get it to load. I hope you'll consider linking this to my "I {Heart} My Crafty Cutter" party on the 21st! :)

  6. 6
    The Extra Ordinary Bree

    I love the new software! But I like the old trace method better… I get so confused on the new one!

  7. 7
    Kelly K.

    One question…my instructions say to put the paper to the top right, but then it cuts wrong. If I put it to the top left it works. Is this a mistake in their tutorial? Also, any tricks for getting things off the sticky loading sheet once your material is cut? I have only used cardstock and when I pulled things off they curled terribly. I can't imagine thin paper would go any better. Tips for this?

  8. 8

    I know I'm responding to an older post, but I'd love the answer to Kelly K.'s question. And I am having trouble getting my text to "fit" the object I'm working on. For example, if I have a 4×6 frame, and I want a simple verse on it, I put 4X6 in the page size and I pick a font that seems an appropriate fit on the screen. But it always comes out waaayyy to small for the space. Any pointers?

  9. 9
    The Amoah-Boadi Family

    LOve this Tutorial! I just bought one and was already feeling lost and i haven't even gotten it yet :)
    Now i feel like i can do it :)

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  11. 10

    You are a doll, Linda for putting up this tutorial! Thanks a million. I have not used my Silhouette very much since I bought it. You have given me the courage to jump right in now.
    Thank You!

    1. 10.1

      Awesome!! I hope you get that Silhouette out and get crafting, Lindy! If you have any questions, just let me know!
      happy crafting,

  12. 11

    Just got my silhouette. Out of box …. Now to learn what to do…