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. Hi! I am wondering if you can tell me why my silouette won’t trace white lettering?
    It won’t turn yellow 🙁

    Tricia says:
    1. Hi Tricia!
      Tracing anything white can be kind of tricky because Silhouette Studio won’t look at white like it does colors. The best thing you can do is bump up the filters until everything BUT the letters turn yellow. Then you’ll have the outline of the letters and can ungroup and delete the outside box, which will then just give you your letters. Does that make sense?

      Hope this helps!

      Kala says:
  2. Like Beth, I followed the steps above and it only prints the registration marks. My design was simply a circle with text inside of it. I first saved to my designs (I have the designer edition Silhouette cameo) and then went through the print and cut steps…just printed blank with registration marks showing. Then, I tried the trace steps and same thing when printing. What am I doing wrong??

    Dawn Solt says:
    1. Hi Dawn,
      I am sorry to hear you’re struggling with this! When you have the circle with the text inside of it, are you filling the shape with color or pattern? If you are just having the red lines, it will ignore those lines. If you’re filling it with color and it’s still not working, please email me so I can help you more-


      Kala says:
  3. I printed my picture, with my registration marks but can’t get my cameo 2 to read them. Occasionally, it will go down and across and back to start but say it’s done instead of cutting. Sometimes it gets to black box on page and says unable to read there. A couple of times it did cut but not in correct place. Any ideas…really frustrated! Thanks

    c l says:
  4. I followed all of these steps, but my printer will still not print anything but the registration marks.

    Beth Whittle says:
    1. Hi Beth,
      Can you send me your file?

      I will take a look!

      Kala says:
  5. I’ve been trying this for hours and it just won’t do it. after I trace I move the value on High pass filter and it just does not do anything, only the yellow lines get kind of distorted, thick but does not do all yellow on figure. What am I doing wrong? then I go and trace again and sometimes it just gives me double red line and don’t know how to get rid of one of the lines. Thank you for the tutorial, but not working for me. Ofelia

    OFELIA says:
    1. Hi Ofelia,
      There is the high pass filter and then there is the threshold, you can adjust both of these to get a better trace. If you just adjust the high pass filter, it will not necessarily fill it in, so you would need to adjust the threshold instead.

      If you do get a trace but you end up with double red lines, right click on the design and select “release compound path.” This will allow you to click on just the line you want to get rid of and then you can delete it.

      Hope this helps! If you continue to struggle, just contact me and I can help more!

      Kala says:
  6. hi, i would like to ask the cut settings to be use. blade type, blade number, speed, thickness. thanks.

    Mai says:
    1. Hi Mai,
      It really depends on what paper you are using. The paper I used is a thicker white cardstock so I used blade 3, speed 4, thickness 20 and that worked well, but you may need to adjust depending on how thick your paper is. I would do some test cuts to ensure that you have it set before you do a full print and then cut it.

      Let me know if you need help!


      Kala says:
  7. Will this work with curio? I just purchased a curio and I’m still learning how to use the machine and how to print my own image like my son’s art work.

    Fitri says:
    1. Yes, you can do Print and Cut with the Curio, you’d just need the Curio Pix Scan Mat. The directions otherwise are pretty much the same 🙂

      Kala says:
  8. Best instructions I’ve ever read!! Now I cant wait to go home and try it. Thank you!!!

    Kiki Resendes says:
  9. I am having trouble getting my picture to print in color. I know my printer is working, but I can’t get Silhouette to print it in color.

    Emily says:
    1. Hmmm… it might be a setting issue. Can you email the design to me so I can take a look?

      Kala says:

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