July 9, 2011

Silhouette Studio Know How - Make Your Own Print & Cuts (With Your Own Patterns)

A reader of the blog asked a fabulous Silhouette question. I love getting questions because they help me learn more about the Silhouette Studio Software then I ever thought possible.

The Question: "Can you import backgrounds into the "fill pattern" section? Shouldn't the Silhouette be able to create printables?"

Silhouette's Answer in their manual this:  "Additional patterns cannot yet be downloaded and added to the pre-installed selections." (Sounds to me like there are future plans there, but none yet.)

I know some of you are thinking - I just print the pattern onto the paper and then cut the shape out. But seriously, where's the precision in that? Yes it's a solution, it's the first one I thought of, but it seemed like there had to be an even better one. Are you ready for it?

My Answer: There's another way to combine a pattern (or an image) with a shape you already own. I'm going to show you right now! This is a post full of pictures but it's so worth it. This is the end product:

Birthday Cupcake Toppers

The reader wants to make print and cuts for a Sunshine birthday for her little baby. How adorable, right? Now if it's a baby girl, you know I'd be buying up all the "Little Miss Sunshine" shapes from Silhouette and using those for the party. But, we're going to go with something more simple and more in line with the "typical" party packs.

So let's say I want a scalloped circle, a pennant banner, and a sign.

Fill A Shape With Your Own Pattern

1. Go through all your designs and choose the shapes that work for you. You will have to look at the designs differently. A frame might be the perfect shape for you sign, part of a flower might be exactly what you want for the circles, OR you might already have a shape for a pennant banner that is perfect!

In honor of the Sunshine Birthday I chose an adorable Sunshine image from the Silhouette store!
Sunshine Silhouette Image

2. Then choose the pattern you want to "fill" your shape with. You might have digital scrapbook paper (I'll be doing another post on that soon), it might be a picture, it might be an image you made and prepared already. This is your party you can choose whatever you want!

I decided to use my Everday Digital Scrapbook Kit from Sahlin Studio.

Your only limit is in the file types that Silhouette will load: .BMP, .GIF, .JPG, .PNG, .TIFF.

3. Open the file you want to fill your design with. Move aside off the screen to make working with the design easily. Put the image to the side of you work space so you can work with the design easily (it's hard to select the design pieces with the image directly behind them.

Choose the Image

4. Open the design you want to fill and if needed ungroup it and delete (or move) pieces until you are left with only the shape you want to fill. Then, if needed, resize it to your desired size. This is important because once the pattern is filled in, resizing it will make the image you fill with change in size as well.

Isolate the Design Piece

5. Move the image back onto the work space and align with the design. Select both the design and the pattern. Go to the Modify menu and select crop. WOW - that was easy right?!

No Cut Edge

6. There is one more step to that though, you need to change the cut line because for some reason it's set to "no cut" after the crop. Select the design and go to the Cut Style menu. Choose "Cut Edge".

Set to Cut

This shape is now a "Print & Cut" on it's own. You would just add registration marks, print and cut it if you are done at this step. But you can do much more with this if you want.

Create A Really Cute Print And Cut

We're moving forward with the same image we just made and turning it into something really cute for a birthday party.

1. You can either use other parts of the original image, or move ahead on your own. This is the part where you get to be creative. You most likely have an idea in your head of what you would like but I'm going to walk you through my idea one step at a time. For this button I decided to continue with the original design.

2. Take the center circle and change the fill color and line color to white. Don't worry about alignment yet, I'll show you how to do all that in a minute.  Draw another circle just smaller and make the fill color none.

Fill in the Color

*To make a perfect circle hold the Shift key as you drag the mouse.
Now go to the Line Color window and select the eye dropper. Hover over your original image and you are going to see a little window pop up with the color you are over. Now you can select a color from the pattern you filled and match exactly to it if you want! Lastly go to the Line Style window. Change the Line Style to dashed (second down), line thickness to about 7, Corner Style to Rounded, and End Cap Style to Rounded. You can play around with these settings, but this gives you a perfect polka dot circle.

Use Eyedropper to Match Colors

Create a Polka-Dot Line

3. At this point select all three images. Go to the Align window and click on centralize. Did you see that magic happen? You didn't have to try to line them up yourself at all. It just does it for you!

Select all to Center

4. I filled in the remaining pieces of the image (eyes mouth and cheeks) with colors from the menu. Make sure to change the line color too. I arranged them as I wanted over the original image.

Fill Design with Color

 Button Tut14

5. Lastly I select all the images except for the filled in image, go to the Cut Style Window, and choose "No Cut". I strongly suggest grouping this image unless you want to create another variation of the it.

Only Outer Edge Set To Cut

Variations: You could also put in text, fill in other shapes to put on top, put .png (scrapbook elements) on top and have a really fun time creating a lot of variations of this same shape.

 Variations of the Topper


angel said...

Wow! beyond impressed. Thanks so much for your help!!!


Marie said...

Who is the newest Maggie Muggins fan? That would be me!!! Awesome idea girl! Keep um coming!

Marie said...

I love it! Great idea!

listgirl said...

I have a Silhouette and I had no idea you could do this! Being a digital scrapbooking designer, I can now use my own digital papers and elements and do this. I'm beyond excited! Thanks for the tutorial, you totally rocked my socks off.

Holly said...

Thank you! I have a feeling this will give all my digital scrapbooking supplies new life! I've been playing around with this and am wondering if there is a way to fill part of a shape with one pattern/image and part of another? For example, I have a cutting file that is for a crayon/playing card box. I have a rectangular shaped image/pattern that I want to place separately on the front and back of the box. But I can't seem to figure out how to treat those two as one "fill."

Amy Edgar said...

Are you kidding me?! I've been trying to figure this out for two days straight! It was that easy?! Thank you a million times over for posting this tutorial. I will DEFINITELY be back to your blog. Thanks!

Bloqbeta said...

Hi Maggie,

I have figures a way to do it without losing the cutting lines:

1. Select both the cutting image and the digital paper pattern

2. choose Object>Modify>Intersection

And there you go!

Also, what I have done for Print and Cut is to maintain the pattern in an offset of the image to be cut . This way I make sure there will be no white spaces between the pattern and the cut line.

hope this helps

iamb said...

Holy Cow... Centralize!! where have you been,haha... Love that, and how easy to add a pattern!! Wonderful tut,thanks so much!

Betsy said...

Thanks a lot! I was trying to figure out how to do this and you really helped.

Rona said...

This is awesome! Thanks for posting such detailed instructions. Going to use this RIGHT NOW! :)

Vanessa said...

Thanks a million!!!!! I am your newest fan seriously!!

brisa said...

I'm so new with this studio. I just stumbled across this trying to do this with a picture of my son I tried the way you say but it doesn't work. Is it because it's a photo? Please help, I'm frustrated I can't properly use my silhouette.