If you are new to your Silhouette CAMEO or Portrait, these simple tips will help you understand the basics of working with text in Silhouette Studio so that you will be able to cut words out with ease and leave the frustration behind. Included are tips and tricks on choosing your font, working with script fonts, welding to eliminate unwanted cut lines, grouping your text, text spacing,and creating outlines of your text for multilayer projects.
Learning how to design well with text is one of the best things you can do to open up a world of projects to be created! You can use text to make everything from shirts with heat transfer, to cutting vinyl for coffee mugs, yeti cups, and water bottles, to making wooden pallet or canvas signs. The options are endless! We are about to dive in, but before we start a couple of things I want to make sure you know! You can see all of my Silhouette tutorials and project inspiration here. Also to make sure you have all the important Silhouette info and freebies when you need them, do these two important things:
- Sign up for my Crafty Newsletter! This will deliver all crafting posts including each new Silhouette 101 tutorial right to your inbox as they are released, so you don’t miss a thing! SIGN UP HERE!
- Pin the Silhouette 101 page to your Silhouette or craft board on Pinterest (and make sure to follow me while you are there!) My Silhouette 101 post is a library of all the beginner tutorials I post. Now, if you are crafting and have questions, you have an easy place to find this post and a place to reference for all of your questions! You can repin the Silhouette 101 pin here!
Best Beginner Tips for Designing Text to Cut with your Silhouette CAMEO
When I started as a newbie with my Silhouette CAMEO in hand, almost all of the first projects I did involved cutting text out. Luckily, Silhouette Studio (the software program you use with your CAMEO or Portrait) is really great for designing text in. There are a few little tips and tricks to know that will help alleviate some major frustration as you get started and I am excited to share them with you today here in the post and in a video where I walk through each step. If you have questions after everything, leave them in the comments! I am happy to help!
Tip 1: How to pick your font
One of the best features of Silhouette Studio is that you can use any font that you have on your computer! It might actually be the worst feature since I now have a ton of fonts installed so that I have limitless design options ha! You can see my tips on where to find free or cheap fonts here.
With all the fonts that come on your computer plus any you might add, it can be hard to sort through them all to figure out what you want to use for each project. My best tip? Use the website Wordmark.it to see the word you want to cut in all of your fonts at once!
Just type in your word at the top of the screen and then hit load fonts and it will load all of them for you side by side! I talk about a couple of other little tricks with the website in the video so make sure to watch!
Tip 2: Weld Overlapping Letters
When you have script (cursive) fonts that you want to cut, you will notice that if you zoom in on the letters that there are cut lines around each of the letters individually instead of just having the cutline around the outside of the entire word. In almost all cases you won’t want the letters to cut out individually in a script font, but you will want one continuous cut around the entire word.
The way you do this is to type your word, then right click on it and go down to the menu option Weld. You will see the lines between each of the individual letters disappear and leave one continuous line around the word remaining. The weld function takes any cutlines that are overlapping and “welds” them together or merges them to just leave the outer cut lines so it is a really useful function.
The weld function is only needed when letters are overlapping, so it primarily used for script fonts but from time to time you might use it on a standard font as well if there is overlap in characters, or you can adjust the character spacing as we talk about in the next tip!
Tip 3: Adjust Character & Line Spacing
The next tip for working with fonts is to know how and when to adjust your character and line spacing. I frequently use character (letter) spacing for a couple of reasons. Sometimes when you write the script fonts you will notice that the individual letters in the word can be a tad to close resulting in too much overlap when you weld, or a bit too far apart where they aren’t quite overlapping and then they won’t weld. IMPORTANT NOTE: You will need to do this BEFORE welding your letters together as we discussed in the step above.
For both of these instances we will adjust the character spacing. You can use the slider or get a bit more exact by typing in the exact spacing you want in the character spacing section in the text window on the right of your screen. If you increase the spacing the letters will move farther apart or reduce the spacing and they will move closer together.
This is not only helpful on cursive style lettering, but also on standard print fonts. At times it makes more sense for the spacing of the letters to be closer or you will find that even though the font is not cursive that it still overlaps on some letters. If that happens you can just adjust the spacing wider and it will allow you not have them overlap.
Line spacing will have the same effect except with lines instead of individual letters. So if you type two lines of text in one text box, it will allow you to move the lines further apart or closer together. Honestly though, I rarely ever use this. I find that it is much more flexible to just put text you want on different lines into different text boxes so that you have the ability to move or manipulate them any way you want. See… you have options!
Tip 4: Group Your Letters
Once you weld your letters together, resize them, or change them, changes are they will now be individual instead of being stuck together like they were originally. What I mean by this is if you look at the word Dance in the example, the D is not connected to the ance, which is one piece after welding. If you try to reposition or move the word on your screen, then when you grab one piece of it it will not move with the other. So if you grabbed on to the “ance” it would move but the D would be left behind. This is a very easy fix though, and one I recommend getting in the habit of doing so that you can keep your text lines perfect.
What you will do to group your text is just drag your mouse across the entire word to make sure that all letters in the word are selected, in this example, the “D” and the “ance” pieces are both selected. Then right click the box and select group. Now if you grab the word, all pieces of the word will move together. If you decide you want to edit or change a letter, for example make the first letter bigger, then you can right click the word again and choose ungroup.
Tip 5: How to Outline Your Text
I wanted to include this one since it is an effect I absolutely love and is really easy to do, but not so easy to figure out how to do when you don’t know the correct terminology. Outlining your text is done by using the Offset feature in the software. I have a detailed post on How to Outline Your Text in Silhouette Studio here, or you can see my step by step in the video!
Well that is it for tips today! Hopefully this gets you pretty far along on the way to designing with text! The sky is the limit for projects with text. I would love to see your creations! Tag me on your pic on Instagram so I can see @thepinningmama! And if you still have questions feel free to leave them in the comments below! I love hearing from readers… it makes my day to get a comment and I read each and every one.