by Louise

October 6, 2016

How to get the perfect cut on your silhouette with print and cut

How to get the perfect cut on your silhouette with print and cut

Maybe you are new to the silhouette or have been an owner for some time, either way you need to know that your silhouette has itโ€™s own life. At times it will act up and you will not be the best of friends.

If you are having problems getting your machine to cut right – like the whole way down the sticker page, then this post might help you getting closer with your machine again ๐Ÿ˜€

Troubleshooting: This post is about the silhouette machine (mine is the Cameo) and the irritating problem of your machine cutting more and more off the further down the page it is cutting. ย 

If you have problems with the cuts on the whole page, and the offset is the same on the entire page, you will not solve it with these tips – you need to calibrate your machine then, and that is a whole other problem ๐Ÿ™‚ You can read about it here on the silhouette page – I think the tutorial is understandable and I hope you do too ๐Ÿ™‚

So again this is what helped me when my machine was cutting fine in the beginning of the page, but acted up further down – ruining my stickers.

Okay tip no 1 – your light source

The light is a major player when it comes to the perfect print and cut jobs. If the room you are working in is too dark, your machine will not be able to register the registration marks properly. However, it might not solve the problem to just bang a lot of light onto the machine, since too much light can wash out the little laser, that your machine is using to read the marks.

So what I have done is to turn off my table light, because it doesnโ€™t shoot the light directly on the machine, hence it makes some weird shadows that my machine might use to read the marks wrong.

I am using another light source that I can position in a straight angle on top of the laser, right before I send to silhouette. This light is basically just a big flashlight that I was given for another purpose ( white light – not yellow).

My trick to not wash out the laser is basically the same as photographers use, which is to diffuse the light – like blurring it and taking away the โ€œflash effectโ€ – that we all hate on photos, because it makes us shine like crazy. I do that by taping a kleenex around the light, so really cheap and not cute looking – but is works. By diffusing the light I simulate natural light in the best way possible, and this is one of the reasons why my machine is cutting just like I see on the screen.

Tip no 2 – Your mat ย ย ย 

Now this is a big one too – I think it is just as important as the light source. For the longest time, I was struggling with my cuts, and it is just so annoying when your print job is beautiful.

My mat is about a year old – yeah it’s an oldie. I like my mat to be almost non-sticky, because the sticky mat will curl and ruin my paper. What I didnโ€™t realize was that with a less sticky mat the paper can move around when the machine is cutting. I had taped my sticker paper down at the top and the bottom, and was still having problems with the cut.

What I did to prevent the paper from sliding down the mat with the machine was to use some stronger tape – washi is not enough for me, and tape it down on the sides as well.

Of course, you can also just buy a new mat, but if you prefer an older less sticky one, like me, this is the way to go. Now, you can also buy some spray on adhesive to make your mat sticky again ๐Ÿ™‚ย 

So be aware of the mat if your machine is just starting to cut wrong – it might be the reason for your struggles.

Tip no 3 – your registration marks

This might the biggest one, or it might be your โ€œI already got it downโ€-tip.

When you are cutting your stickers you need the registrations marks to be able to print and cut your designs. However, so many things can go wrong with these, because the program gives you the possibility to move them around.

Everywhere I go, I see people messing the marks up because they adjust them – so my number one advice is to not touch them! I never do – and I have no problems with my cuts. I know many people are messing with the settings, but more often or not this is the main reason why your machine is cutting wonky.

When that is said there are some things that you have to check for if your registration is failing when you send your stickers to the silhouette.

  1. make sure that you’ve actually turned on the registration marks – this is a total facepalm mistake, but I have been there in my excitement to get cutting, so I wanted to throw it in there ๐Ÿ™‚
  2. Check that the bottom mark is printed correctly. many times the bottom mark will not be printed right if you have adjusted the registration marks. It needs to look exactly like on your screen – with all the three marks.
  3. check to see if your artwork is in the grayed out area – if it is you need to reposition your stickers because this can give you some problems. Again every machine is different, so some people are able to pull it off, others are not.
  4. last thing you can do if you have checked all of the above is to darken your marks with a black pen, to make it more visible to the machine – I have never done this, but I see people advising this to other creators, so I included it, since this might be exactly what your machine is needing.

I hope that this helped you out, so you are able to cut perfect stickers. If you are having problems with kiss cutting you can check this post out, where I write about how I found mine without wasting a bunch of my sticker paper.

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About the author

Louise is a graphic designer, a creative planner and a business owner. In her spare time, she likes to make all sorts of crafts and draw digitally. She likes to travel the world and spend time with family. She lives a wonderful life in the country of Denmark with her husband and their one-year-old little girl.

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