Silhouette 102: How to Make Print & Cut Files, From Scratch!

Have you tried using the Print and Cut feature with your Silhouette machine yet?  If not, what are you waiting for??  This is SUCH a cool feature that you’ll wonder why you waited so long to give it a try.

How to take ANY JPEG and make it into a Print & Cut file with the Silhouette Studio Software.

There are two ways to use the Print and Cut function with your Silhouette machine.

  1. You can purchase pre-made designs that are ready to Print and Cut
  2. You can make your own images from scratch

This post will cover how to work with files that you make from scratch (and I promise, it’s super easy!)

If you’re interested in using premade files, you will want to check out this tutorial: Silhouette 101: How to Print & Cut Designs with your Silhouette Cameo.   Even if you are making the file from scratch, I would recommend reviewing this post as there are more details in this post involving the Print & Cut digital mat and more!

Have you ever tried to bring a JPEG into Silhouette Studio and print it?  The printer “prints” but the page is blank?  If you don’t follow the steps below, Silhouette Studio will not recognize the image and it won’t know what to do with the information on the screen (so it won’t do anything at all).  Below is all the information you need to make Silhouette recognize your images:

To make your own print and cut files, you must first find a JPEG image that you want to work with.  Save the file to your computer and then open it up in Silhouette Studio.  

To create your own Print & Cut file, first you will need to import a JPEG image into Silhouette Studio. Save the JPEG to your computer then go to File-->Open and select the image.

Next, trace your object.  Click on the Trace window and drag the trace box around the image you would like to change into a Print and Cut file.  Adjust the High Pass Filter (or Low Pass Filter) and the threshold until the whole image is yellow:

Once you have your JPEG in Silhouette Studio, click on the "Trace" window. Draw the trace box around your image and then adjust the filter settings to make your whole image yellow.

Click “Trace and Detach.”  This will cut the image out from the image backing:

Click the "Trace & Detach" button in Silhouette Cameo software and Silhouette Studio will "cut out" your image from the background. This makes it so Silhouette now recognizes your image.

This now makes the Silhouette software recognize your image.  Each piece of the cupcake (for example), is now independently able to be moved around, in case you want to resize or change anything:

Each of your pieces is now able to be moved and resized as individual pieces.

If you just want to print your image, you can stop right here.  If you want to add a small white border around your image, you need to add an offset.

Select all of your pieces, then click the offset button at the bottom (it looks like a little bulls eye).

Tip: To select more than one piece, you can click on each piece while holding shift or you can left click with your mouse and drag a box around the whole image at once.

To add a white border around your print and cut design, select all the parts of your image and then click the "Offset" button at the bottom. Adjust the offset distance to ensure that your lines overlap and then click Apply.

This will draw an outline around every piece.  Adjust your “Distance” on the right hand side to make a larger or thinner border.  Make sure your borders overlap each other then click “Apply.”

Once you click “Apply” it should then weld everything together that is touching.

Next, select the outside border and the image and group them.

You can Group by selecting all your pieces and:

  1. Right click and selecting “Group”
  2. Pressing Ctrl and G on your keyboard
  3. Going to Object –> Group 

Make sure you select all the pieces at once and then group them together:

Select your pieces and your border and select Group to make your final Print and Cut image.

Now you have an image ready to be a Print and Cut file!

To turn this file into a card, I first sized it down to fit on a card base.  I drew in a few lines to make a box the same size as a card front, this helped me make sure my pieces would fit on the card base (you can completely skip this step if you’re not as visual as I am):

Resize your image to fit the front of your card. I add in a few lines to visually see how big the image will be on the front of the card.

Once I was happy that my image was the right size, I opened the Registration Mark window and picked my mat size under style:

To Print and Cut your image, you'll need to add in Registration Marks. Click on the Registration Mark window and select the mat that you are using under the style window.

Next, I moved my cupcake and pennant out of the cross hatch area and made sure they were within the red cut border.

Silhouette Print and Cut mat settings can be confusing, so here's a helpful diagram of what you see. Make sure you keep your image inside the red cut box and any printed images out of the cross hatch area. If you can do that, you can Print and Cut!

I selected “Send to printer” and my printer printed off the design on a sheet of white cardstock.  I stuck the printed sheet to the upper left hand corner of my Silhouette Cameo cutting mat:

Your printer will print off registration marks, but note that the gray cross hatch lines are not visible. Stick the printed sheet in the top left corner of your Silhouette cutting mat and ensure you are aligning it straight.

Next, I fed the cutting mat into the Cameo machine and clicked the “Send to Silhouette” button.  The Cameo then read the registration marks (the black square and lines that are printed on the sheet with the images) and cut the images out:Load your cutting mat into your Silhouette machine, then click the "send to Silhouette" button. Your Silhouette machine will read all of the printed registration marks and then start cutting your designs.

To turn this into a card, I cut a piece of white cardstock for the card base.  I added some foam adhesive squares to the backs of my cupcake and banner and stacked them up to give some dimension to the card:

I took my Print and Cut cupcake and made it into a card by simply adding some adhesive foam dots on the back of the cupcake and the banner. I stacked them up to give the card dimension. Who knew Print and Cut was so easy?! You can make so many things using Print and Cut, it's a great feature!

Learning how to make your own Print and Cut files will open up new Silhouette possibilities for you!  Imagine being able to turn any JPG you want into your own printed embellishments!  You can even import your own images (think: Kids drawings, handwriting, photos and more).

Will you give Print and Cut a try?

Silhouette cameo tutorial




39 Replies to “Silhouette 102: How to Make Print & Cut Files, From Scratch!”

  1. Oh my gosh!!! Thank you for this tutorial! I’ve been struggling with this forever.

    Chrissy says:
  2. I am slightly confused. I just got a cameo 3 and it holds 2 tools to be able to print and cut at the same time and also a set of sketch pens. If it can’t print what do these features do?

    Hallie Whitman says:
    1. Hi Hallie,
      The Cameo itself does not print, you would need to have a separate printer for print and cut jobs. You can sketch with the machine, but actual printing needs a printer.

      Hope this helps explain! Please let me know if you have additional questions!

      Thank you

      Kala says:
  3. Hi, I’ve just followed the instructions to do a print and cut from a jeg, however, when I do the trace and detach, nothing happens!

    Pauline says:
    1. Hi Pauline,
      I can try to help you out, if you want to email me the file, I’ll take a look-

      Thank you

      Kala says:
  4. Yes, thanks to your tutorial I will. I always thought it was to much work but you make it look ez – pezy. Thanks for sharing.

    Christine says:
  5. What if your picture has the dotted fold lines on it? Thanks!

    Michelle says:
    1. If your picture has dotted lines on it, it should print those lines. If you wanted to cut the lines instead of printing, you could move those lines off before you print, then put them back to cut?

      Kala says:
  6. How does the cupcake get colored from the silhouette cameo? Newbie here… :/



    Donnie says:
    1. Hi Donnie!
      The Cameo did not print the cupcake, it was printed with a printer. When you do print and cut, you need to print the design first, then tell the Cameo to cut it out. I hope that helps! You might also find this post helpful:


      Kala says:
  7. Hi,
    Thanks for the tutorial. Just wondering what sort of paper did you use to print on?

    Noelene Apap says:
    1. This is a heavier paper that I’ve had in my stack for a while now. I don’t know the weight or brand of it, but it’s like a heavy cardstock that came in a pack of 100 sheets. I use it for all my card bases and it works nice for print and cut. I’m sorry I don’t have more information, I’ve had this paper for about 5 years now.

      Kala says:
  8. Such a good tutorial,i am quite new to using my Portrait machine,i fully understood your tutorial it was simply put and informative ,im very grateful so Thank You.

    Margaret Bentley says:
  9. Just got a Cricut Explore Air – first time cricut-ting so I’m wondering if your instructions are similar to the Explore.

    patricia says:
    1. I have worked with the Cricut software and it is completely different. Unfortunately I have a lot more experience with the Cameo than I do the Cricut. If you find how to do Print and Cut with the Explore, I would love to see what you make!


      Kala says:
  10. Thanks for this tutorial. You have a very clear and simple step by step explanations. I am going to give it a try someday. Right now I am all about the vinyl.

    Nancy says:

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