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Silhouette Print and Cut Tutorial for Beginners

The Print and Cut feature on the Silhouette is perhaps one of the most intimating on the die cut machine.  It's also one of the most amazing and powerful.  While it's understandable to be a little nervous about your first Print and Cut project, there's no reason to avoid it since it literally will make your crafting and scrapping life easier!

I promise you once you do one Silhouette cut and print project, you'll feel more comfortable and confident.  Because Printing and Cutting can be intimidating, I'm going to walk you through the Silhouette Cut and Print tutorial one step at a time and break this into four parts. 

1) Setting up your Print and Cut file in Silhouette Studio
2) Registration Marks
3) Printing Your File
4) Cutting & Registration Marks

Setting up Your Print and Cut File

First things first: open up Silhouette Studio and pick your design from either the free library or the Silhouette Online Store.  The first project you do I would highly recommend using a design that's specifically designed for print and cut (you can search 'print & cut' in the Silhouette Online Store's search box).  There are several free options that come in the Silhouette Library or you can buy one in the Silhouette Online Store.  If you're looking for free options here are a couple to start with from the library: Happy Birthday Tag, Candle Tag, Candles, Ho Ho HO Tag, Noel Tag, Vintage Flower.   I purchased the 'Your (sic) A Great Catch" Design #55095 so I could create Valentines for my son's pre-school class. 

NOTE: If you want to make several of the same design, we will duplicate the original after we get it all set up for print and cut. 

So let's get started...
Alright, pull your design into the Silhouette Studio work area. 

If you have a tag that has a punch out for a ribbon or tie you'll want to check that the hole is set to cut.  The first set of my Valentines I forgot to do this and I had to go back with a hole punch and do it.  It wasn't a big deal, but why not let Silhouette take care of it?

To do this, you need to ungroup your design first. Select design > right click> ungroup.

Once it's ungrouped, open the 'Cut Style Window' button (circled).  Select just the tag hole and under Cut Style check that 'cut' is selected...if it's not, click it.

Do the same thing with the edge of the design.  Here you can select 'cut edge' or 'cut'.

Immediately regroup the design by highlighting the entire design>right click>group.

Now you can resize your design and move it around the Studio work area to where you want it to print and cut.  If you want to cut more than one you can duplicate the image by highlighting>right click>duplicate.

Adding Registration Marks 

Now comes one of the most important parts!!! Click the 'Open the Registration Mark Setting Window' button on the top right (circled).  Check the box for 'Show Reg Marks'.

Once you do this a gray area will appear on your work area.  Be sure none of your designs are touching the gray area or the red line.  If they are, like the fish bowl on the bottom left is in the picture below, adjust them so they are inside that space.

You can adjust the Registration Mark settings here, but I would recommend leaving them at the default settings until you're at least comfortable with Print and Cut.

And now we're ready to print...


Be sure your computer is connected to your regular printer and that you have paper in the paper tray.  Then click the 'Send to Printer' button (to the left of the 'Send to Silhouette' button in Studio) and your design will print.   I had mine print on cardstock.  Here's what it looked like once it printed.

You can see Silhouette Studio places some markings on the top corners and the bottom left corner.  These are the registration marks and they are what tells the Silhouette where to cut the design. 

That was easy...and now we're ready for the fun part: Cutting!


Take your printed sheet and place it on the cutting mat so the top edge of the paper is in line with the top edge of the grid on the mat.

When your mat is prepared, click the 'Send to Silhouette' button in Studio.  At this point, usually you would load your mat and the cutting would begin, but for Print and Cut you need to do a few more steps.   Silhouette Studio walks you through all of them...and so will I. 

If you have already printed your design click 'Skip Printing'.

The next screen will tell you to load your mat.  It's very important to load your mat correctly or the Silhouette will not be able to find your registration marks.  Make sure the edge of your mat is lined up with the second marker as shown in the picture below.  Then press the feed button on the machine so the rollers start taking in the mat.

After the mat is loaded, in Silhouette Studio click 'Continue'.

The next step is about the registration marks.  Click 'Detect Automatically.'

If your mat is loaded correctly the blade mechanism will start moving around your paper to detect each registration mark.  It's not actually cutting at this point.  If you have trouble getting registration marks detected take the mat out and reload it again. You can manually try to detect the registration marks by using the arrow controls, but I have not had success with this.   Once Silhouette successfully registers the marks you will get a message saying it was successful.

You can now adjust your blade settings as you normally would and CUT! And now is where the magic happens!  So sit back and wait for your printed file to be cut to perfect...

Check this out.  How amazing is that?!

Now if you're wondering how I personalized my tags by adding my son's name to the tags for his Valentines, I will share that with you tomorrow.  I didn't want to get too crazy on you for your first Silhouette Print and Cut project! 

Let me see 'em! Share a link to your first Print and Cut project in the comments below or upload a picture to our Facebook wall! 

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  1. Hi, this bit of kit looks really great! I'm thinking about making a purchase to make my wedding stationary. I have a question, I'd like to make printed tags on quite thick card (too think to go through my printer). I think my best bet is to print onto paper/labels and stick it onto the card and then cut them out. Do you think that the Sillhouette would cut cleanly through both the paper and the card together? Or would the paper get scrunched up?
    Many thanks, your tutorials are great!

  2. Just to clarify, by card, I probably mean cardboard (do you call it chipboard in the USA?) it's probably the thickness of two cereal boxes. Having just looked at other tutorials on your site, would the silhouette be able to cut through this at all? Many thanks, Louise

  3. Can this be printed? I tried to subscribe to newsletter, but I was sent to Mail Chimp with missing page message.

  4. I would like to know how to print and cut on vinyl please.

  5. Do you have a tutorial that deals with print and cut color? My colors are way off from my screen? Do you have any suggestions?

  6. Hello
    I am wanting to do a print and cut file. However, I cannot find the 'free' examples you are talking about. I clicked on the left hand side that looks like a book and my library came up saying there are 153 files. There was nothing there. I then went into the store and could not find it there either.

    I am sure I am doing something wrong- please help! Thanks so much

  7. I got my image printed, but I don't see the "print image" screen you have pictured above that takes you through the rest of the steps for print and cut. I have the new Silhouette Cameo. Thank you!

    1. Here's the updated version

  8. I used 8 1/2 by 11 and my images got cut off, how do you set the page size?

  9. With the upgrade my registration lines do not look right and silhouette says registration failed. Please help. Thank you


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  11. Can a print and cut design be used for just cutting?

  12. Hi, what is the maximum print and cut area that can be used, 12x12 or will it work for anything that can fit on a cutting matt?


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