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Silhouette Tips and Tricks from the Pros!
Silhouette Instructors Share their Favorite Hints

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I’ve been working on a fun project this week that I’m eager to share with you, but my lips are sealed for the next couple of days. (Bummer!) But don’t worry, I’m not leaving you high and dry today! I’ve asked a few of my fellow Terri Johnson Creates Licensed Instructors to share their favorite Silhouette tips and tricks with you. I guarantee you’ll find something on this list that you haven’t heard before (I know I did!). Then be sure to come back on Saturday, September 1 to see what I’ve been working on and what all the “mystery” is about!

I asked a few of my fellow instructors, “What are some of your favorite Silhouette tips & tricks?” and here’s what they had to say:

Libby Ashcraft (Texas)
Website: libbyashcraft.com
Facebook: Libby’s Loft

  • Always make a copy of lettering and put it to the side. That way, if you need to add another name or change things, you’ll always know what font you used.
  • Don’t point out your mistakes or “how I could have made this better” when people compliment your creations … just say “thank you”!
  • If you are making things for customers or friends, always buy 3 blanks … one for the customer, one for their friend who will “love it”, and one just in case something goes wrong!

Joyce Toledo-Bayle (New Mexico & Philippines)
Facebook: Joyce’ Store

  • The best tip for beginning Silhouette users would be the TEST CUT. This will definitely save time and money!
  • Peeling the mat away from the material works better than peeling the material away from the mat and helps keep paper/vinyl flat.  The paper/vinyl may curl up if you peel it off the mat, which may in turn ruin your design.

Kimberly Fitzpatrick (Virginia)
Email: [email protected]

Facebook: Silhouette Coach

  • Warm up your heat press pad to make weeding vinyl easier (I learned this from Joe at Siser!)
  • When using the Conical Warp function, be sure you’ve sized your design correctly first.

Barbara Foster (Ohio)
Website: letsgosilhouetting.com
Facebook: Let’s Go Silhouetting

  • Not sure how large your design should be for your project?  Try creating a “mock-up” of your finished project.  Create the project base, such as a large rectangle to represent a towel, or a small square the size of a card, etc. Fill the project base with color so the “mock-up” represents the item as closely as possible. After the design is created, place it on the project base to determine whether the size is appropriate or needs to be adjusted.
  • Unsure whether a poor cut is the result of a dull blade or a less sticky mat?  Label the blades and mats so you know when each is placed into service.  I use a label maker to place a date inside the top of a Ratchet Blade (and number my mats #5, #6, etc.).  If a cut is going poorly, the date on the blade or the number on the mat may give a clue whether it is time for a new one or not.

  • Get any and every free design at the Silhouette Design Store, checking regularly for new free designs.  Though it may not be to your liking, a piece or part of a design may come in handy in the future when creating a custom design.

Elly Habets (Virginia)
Website: silhouette-secrets.com

Facebook: Silhouette Secrets+ with EllyMae

  • I turn off Automatic updates in Silhouette Studio. Then I can choose when I want to update the software…. under the Preferences > Updates – I change mine to “Never”.
  • When I have cutting issues I always start by checking the Cut Settings, making sure the correct material is selected. If everything looks right in the Settings, I check my blade.
    1. Is it installed correctly with no gap?
    2. Has it been cleaned out recently? Is the white cap screwed on properly?
    3. How old is the blade?
  • Always keep an extra blade and mat on hand. When you’re experiencing problems and nothing else works, try a new mat and/or blade.

Heather Hudson (Texas)
Website: craftmenu.com

  • The mat doesn’t always lose its “stickiness”, but it gets clogged up with fibers from cutting paper or the adhesive from cutting vinyl and needs cleaning.
  • Always keep your mats covered when not in use. I store mine in big artist folders or hang them up.

Julie Huggins (Georgia)
Website: www.sewcraftnspired.com
Facebook: Sew Craft N’Spired Creations

  • Make your own weeding tools quickly and easily!
What you’ll need:

  • Wire cutters

Just snip the ball off the head of the pin and replace the pencil leads with the pin. That’s it! Inexpensive and works great 🙂 .


Nancy Lopez (North Carolina)
Facebook: How to create with your Cameo with Busybeeclt

  • Blue painters tape for everything – to keep vinyl from moving, to clean off transfer tape residue, to collect weeded pieces, etc.
  • Use the extra space inside letters or around the design to cut more dots, exclamation marks, commas, etc. That way you have extras and that vinyl is going to be weeded anyway.
And here are a couple from me:
  • When my mat is losing its “sticky”, I use a Pampered Chef dough roller to help adhere my media to the mat. Works especially well with cardstock or vinyl!
  • The key to learning is to practice, practice, practice – and then practice some more! Don’t be afraid to “waste” a little material. Cut on paper first instead of using expensive vinyl. And most of all, have FUN!!!


Wasn’t that a great list of tips and tricks? And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! The Silhouette machines have such a wide range of capabilities that there is ALWAYS something new to learn! Have a tip of your own to share? Leave a comment below or visit me over on Facebook!

See you on Saturday!

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