Using a Silhouette Cameo and FREE Disney Printables to Create Professional-Looking Disney Die Cuts
Hi everyone! Britt here, to give you a little tutorial about how you can use official Disney printables on your Silhouette Cameo machine.
For those who don’t know, a Silhouette Cameo is an electronic cutting tool that plugs right into your computer. You use Silhouette’s free Silhouette Studio software to precisley cut out virtually ANYTHING! Their catchphrase is “Dream It Up. Cut it Out.” And that is a perfect explanation of what this little puppy can do.
Last week Steph wrote a GREAT article on using Spoonful.com to download and use free Official Disney PDF printables. I thought it would be really great to show you how I used my Silhouette Cameo to take those free Disney images and cut them out perfectly and precisely without ever picking up a pair of scissors.
I made a video showing you how I did this, but I’ve also written up a step-by-step tutorial below.
Getting Ready to Print & Cut
My daughter, Scarlett, is about to turn 2 and we’re planning a Winnie the Pooh birthday party for her. I went to Spoonful.com (which is a Disney-owned site) and did a search for Winnie the Pooh printables and found SOOO many adorable ideas and projects! One that I thought would be easy and fun for her party was a printable Pin the Tail on Eeyore game. I saved my free PDF and opened it up in Preview (that’s the default program that opens PDFs on my Mac).
It’s a 6 page PDF – the first 4 pages are the big image of Eeyore to print out and tape together. The 5th page is the page I wanted to focus on – the Eeyore tails. The 5th page looks like this:
If you don’t need very many tails, or if you’re using a different PDF that only has what you want cut out, then you could just use the PDF just like it is. But for me, I wanted to utilize my paper space and squeeze one more tail on a page – 3 tails per page. So, I used my select tool in Preview, and selected just 1 of the tails.
Once its selected, click on Tools > Crop (or just command+K) and it will crop down to just what you had selected. (The nice thing about cropping the PDF this way is that it does not damage your original PDF file. You can go to View > PDF Display and click on Media Box instead of Crop Box and it will take you back to the full original page.)
Now that its cropped to just what I want cut out, I make sure the correct page is highlighted in the Preview sidebar and simply drag that page onto my Sillhouette Studio program icon in my dock. This will open your newly cropped PDF in Silhouette Studio.
Now it’s time to tell your Silhouette machine where to cut. I simply click the little Trace icon along the top bar, then click Select Trace Area. Drag out the box around your image. The yellow is where the cuts will be. And I can see that I have lots of yellow that doesn’t meet up. I want to just cut out the outside edge, so here’s what I do: I slide my High Pass Filter all the way up. That definitely makes all the yellow meet up. Then I can click “Trace Outer Edge” and I can see I have a perfectly smooth red cut line all around just the outside of my tail. Perfect.
Now that I have my Cut Lines finished, its time to duplicate and rotate the images and the cut lines to fit as many as I can on the page. Since I’m going to do a Print & Cut I need to change my page to 8.5×11 since that’s the size paper I’ll be printing on. AND I need to click turn on my Registration Marks. These are crucial to Silhouette’s Print & Cut process.
If you’ve never done a Print & Cut these are a couple tutorials and videos that helped me:
Make sure to keep BOTH the image and cut lines selected as you move them around. As you place them, make sure to keep them inside the grey cross-hatched area. I had to scale my design down just a tad to get it to fit. Then I duplicated the tails and rotated them and played around until I got 3 tails on a page.
Save this .studio file now (if you haven’t already) using File > Save As so you have the .studio file ready to be cut by the Silhouette once your print is done.
Now I’m ready to PRINT!
If you have a good home printer, you can simply click the “send to printer” icon in the top bar and print your sheet. I however, do NOT have a good home printer. In fact, its broken right now. But, even if it was working, I want a more professional looking print made. So I sent my tails off to be printed at a local copy shop (you can use Kinkos, Staples, etc). A color sheet was only 74 cents printed on nice white card stock and I could email the image to the shop and go pick it up when it was ready.
BUT you can’t email them a .studio file! That won’t open for them. What you need to do is save this image as a PDF. It’s super simple. Just click on “send to printer”. And instead of clicking print, click the little PDF drop down box. Click “Save as PDF”.
Name your file and save it wherever you want. Now you have a PDF ready to be sent away for printing. Make sure you’ve saved your .studio file! You have to have it in order to cut.
**** THIS IS SO IMPORTANT!!!!! **** Make sure to tell the print shop that you need your PDF printed at 100%! If they use the “fill to printable area” setting your image will NOT be the right size and the Silhouette will NOT know how to cut it out correctly!! This took me 2 very stressful hours of wanting to pull my hair out to figure out. The print shop, despite my instructions, didn’t print at 100% and it made my image just a smidge smaller. I didn’t notice right off the bat because it was only about 1/8″ difference. But once I took out my ruler and figured out they hadn’t printed at 100%, I was able to get my order reprinted correctly and everything worked perfectly.
Once your 100% print comes back, you can move on to the cutting phase, which is SUPER easy and so much fun!
Open your .studio file that you saved earlier and click “Send to Silhouette”. You can then click “skip printing” because your image has already been printed. Make sure you lay the printed sheet on the cutting mat exactly as it shows on the screen. Then follow the next list of instructions that come up, loading your mat into the machine and click “Continue”. Click “Detect Automatically”. Your silhouette will start looking for those oh-so-important registration marks so it knows how to line up the cutting.
If your machine can’t ready your registration marks (aka if you don’t see the following message come up after your click “detect”) you may want to check the size of your print. This is what I struggled with for 2 hours when I was having the print size issues.
Once your settings are right for the material you’re cutting, you can click print. Your Silhouette should cut EXACTLY around your adorable Eeyore tails (or whatever image you traced). Here are some images of my tails as I loaded them into the cutter and after they came out all cut out and perfect.
Now I have a dozen perfectly cut, professional-looking die cut Eeyore Tails for Scarlett’s birthday. You could totally use this same method to create decorations, die cuts for scrapbooking, project life embellishments, cut outs and cards, and so much more! I used my Silhouette and this method of Print & Cut to make Scarlett’s invitations, and I have a few more Silhouette projects planned for party decorations. I’m all about any way to bring Disney magic into your home and your life! It’s a super fun, easy and inexpensive project! In fact, its pretty much FREE if you print at home! My dozen tails only cost me $3. Pretty great for a cute party game!
Good luck with your own Silhouette projects!! Let me know if you have any tips/ideas/questions. I’m happy to help if I can!