In my last post, I showed you how to make inserts for a fun Muffin Tin Toss Game. As promised, I’m back to share with you the secret for cutting the laminated inserts while keeping the edges heat-sealed.
For durability, I laminate almost everything I create for the classroom. Over the years, I’ve used self-adhesive sheets as well as laminator machines of both the cold and hot variety. I get the best results when I cut all my items, run them through a hot laminator, and then cut again. When cutting the laminated items, two problems I often encounter are (a) trimming too close to the edge and thus breaking the heat seal and (b) ugly, irregular margins that come from trimming the lamination by hand. Using my Silhouette solves both of these issues – the “secret” is PixScan technology!
To best explain what PixScan technology is and what it does, here’s a direct quote from the Silhouette America website.
PixScan™ technology is a feature of the Silhouette cutting system that provides crafters and makers the ability to capture an image using a scanner or camera (including smartphones and tablets) and then import images directly into the Silhouette Studio® software in order to cut precisely around any printed design.
This technology works in conjunction with the PixScan mat, a specialty cutting mat which includes pre-printed registration marks and is available for the Portrait, Cameo, and Curio.
Before using the PixScan mat for the first time, you must create a calibration profile for your specific camera. Instructions for creating a calibration profile can be found here. Once you’ve done this, the profile is stored for all future images taken with the same camera. Multiple calibration profiles can be stored in the Silhouette Studio software. Calibration is not required if using a scanner to import images.
Using the PixScan mat
(All screenshots are from Silhouette Studio, Version 4.1)
- Place the laminated circles onto the PixScan mat. Be sure that the entire portion that you want to cut fits inside the rectangular border printed on the mat. Notice in this photo that some of the circles on the bottom and all of the circles on the top are too close to the border and won’t allow any margin when cutting. I cut the circles in the middle of the page first, then repeated the PixScan process with the remaining circles.
- Take a picture of the mat (or scan the image). Make sure to get the entire mat into your photo. I get the best results when I place my mat on the floor and take a photo from directly above. Once you have taken a photo, DO NOT MOVE ANYTHING ON THE MAT. If anything shifts, you will need to take another picture.
- Download the photo to your computer. (I text or email the photo to myself and then save it to my desktop.)
- Import the image into Silhouette Studio by opening up the PixScan Panel and clicking on “Import PixScan Image from File”.
- Once your image has been imported into Silhouette Studio, it’s time to add cut lines. There are two different ways of doing this – either by tracing the images in Studio or by drawing your own cut lines. Tracing works well for irregularly shaped images but since my cut lines for this project are simple, I found it easier to draw a 2” circle, replicate the circle as many times as necessary, and then manually center one circle over each part of the image to be cut.
- Once the cut lines are in place, load the PixScan mat into your Silhouette just like any other mat and send to the Silhouette. The machine will read the registration marks like an ordinary Print & Cut file. I used the Clear Sticker Material cut setting with only one pass (no double cut), which was perfect for my 3mm laminating pouches. Be sure to test your settings before cutting the entire sheet. (Hint: Depending on how many times your mat has been used, it may have lost some of it’s “sticky”. If this is the case, secure the edges of your laminated sheet with painter’s tape to avoid slippage when cutting.)
Ta-da!!! You now have a set of laminated circles that are precision-cut and ready to use in your Muffin Tin Toss Game.
I hope you’ve found this tutorial helpful and that you’re ready to try the Silhouette PixScan mat. If you’re an experienced PixScan user, I’d love to see some of your projects. As always, if you have any questions, please leave a comment below or message me on Facebook.
Until next time,
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