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Silhouette Tutorial: Modifying Fonts to Eliminate the Annoying 'Middles' (ie A, B, D)

I cannot be the only one who is driven bonkers by the annoying middle part of certain letters..not naming any names A a B b D d e g O o P p Q q R.  Actually, I know I'm not the only one who is often frustrated by the tedious task of weeding these letters - I have gotten several emails about how to work around them or fix them or avoid them totally.

If you follow Silhouette School on Facebook you may have been wondering why I was asking about what the cut out part is actually called...apparently it's a 'Counter'.  (Thank you, Amber!).  Now you know... :)

While that little part may be small, it's necessary on most all Silhouette projects (stencils, cards, signs, apparel) that aren't print and cut.  If you're making a stencil they're definitely essential because without the counters letter look oddly shaped.

I have come up with a little work around to make your life a whole lot easier.
This way will make the letters all one cut and will eliminate the counter altogether so there's no positioning, losing small pieces, or gluing your fingers together trying to slide the inner 'e' into place!   It's some work up front, but it will save you the headache later - especially if you save the modified font files you create. 

First things first - you must pick a good starting font.   I am working with 'Great Vibes' because 
it has some letters that already avoid the counter and some that just need to be slightly modified. It's also a good basic script font and using it in Silhouettte is nice because the letters can easily be welded together. 

I am going to show you how to modify the letters using one script font (Great Vibes) and one sans serif font (Arial).  This technique can be used on other fonts, too.  My suggestion is to 1) pick a font you use often to modify 2) save the .studio files created with the new fonts so you have them for future reference.

Let's get started. If you don't have Great Vibes in your font library click here to learn how to download and install new fonts in Silhouette Studio

You can see that most of the predictable letters have the counters.  We do get a head start since a few letters (a, b, q) with the counters are already designed to avoid that extra weeding since they have a little space that breaks up what otherwise would be a counter.

Now I'll show you how to modify the other letters to make them more user friendly, too.

Type out your letters > ungroup and zoom in!

I'm going to focus on 'd', but the process is the same for all the letters (script or serif/sans serif).

As you can see above the 'd' connects at top of the rounded area and the vertical. (The b does not, coincidentally.) Inside that area is where we get the counter.  So to eliminate that round separate cut we need to break up that middle area.  To do this we are going to be working with the knife and edit point tools.

Start by zooming in really close to that intersection.  Use the knife tool (circled) to draw a slice in the area of the intersection.

That's a tiny slice. We need it slightly bigger so the medium doesn't tear when we cut or remove the negative space after the machine cuts our letter.  So go ahead and make a second slice just slightly to the left.  This makes a little rectangle-ish piece.

Click the select tool (circled) and then you can highlight that little rectangle piece and delete it.

At this point you can see that when the silhouette cuts the 'd' there will be no need to weed the counter because it's sort of built into the letter already. 
However, you may want to smooth out the area so click on your edit points tool (circled) > double click the design and move the edit points around or delete them until the lines are smooth.

I also curved the edge of the rounded area on the left a little bit by adding two extra edit points and pulling them out slightly.

And here's how our 'd' looks now....

This was the same technique I used on all the Great Vibe letters that needed modifying.  Some letters like f and o were trickier than others, but just get creative and you'll soon eliminate all those counter! (Can I get an amen!)

Here's an example of how you could modify letters in a Sans Serif font such as Arial.

And here's how the original vs modified letters look when they are cut.  So much easier to work with them right?

Thanks for coming to class today at Silhouette School.  If you like what you see, I'd love for you to pin it!

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  1. Thank you so much for this. You've saved hours off a project of mine.

  2. Hi Melissa
    I cannot get the nodes to appear. Followed your tut to the knife slice. Your path closes off- mine stays open and I cannot get the nodes to appear. I am using the same font.


    1. Hi Loraine

      I had the same problem but when you use the knife slice.. change the setting on the right hand side to SOLID and it will do what you want. You place the knife over the bit you want to remove and left click and hold down your mouse button and a red circle will appear drag to the other side and release your button and it does exactly as shown.

      Hope this helps

    2. Got it!!! Thank you so much. This is a never-ending learning curve!

    3. oh my gosh!!! This has been bugging me for weeks!! I'm so glad that I read this. thank you thank you thank you!!!!

  3. Melissa

    Thank You! so much I have been struggling with this problem for months, I had tried altering the points but it never looked good, I had tried the knife as well but did not know to double click first so I gave up on it..BUT this is just PERFECT.

    I cannot thank you enough

    Hilary x

  4. Is there a way to save the edited font so you don't have to do this everytime? I would like to do a bigger project and don't want to have to fix every counter. Thanks!

    1. I would just save every letter in a .studio file.

  5. I have been trial testing the Cameo for a frustrated friend for a couple of months. Is there a test to determine when the blade should be replaced as opposed to cranking the blade setting way up? Hal


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