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Adding Weeding Lines in Silhouette Studio (Why and How)

Weeding lines, Silhouette Studio, Silhouette tutorial

Did you ever try to weed a large piece of vinyl only to end up with the excess sticking  - and maybe even ruining - your cut piece because you couldn't keep it out of the way?   You almost need 3 or 4 hands at times to help weed or at least a close pair of scissors to cut the excess.  With weeding lines, you're essentially having the machine cutting the excess into smaller sections so it's much easier to work with.

In just a few steps you'll be on your way to easier weeding.
Open up Silhouette Studio.

Holding down the shift key down draw a straight line.  Shift just makes sure it's perfectly straight.

Weeding lines, Silhouette Studio, Silhouette tutorial, draw a line

Click the icon to open the Replicate window.  Scroll down and click on the advanced options. Do not panic. :)

Weeding lines, Silhouette Studio, Silhouette tutorial, replicate

Decide how many lines you want in total. I'm going to start with 6.  So where it says 'Number of Copies' type 6. 

Moving down I pick 'Custom Position' and then I set my position with the X and Y coordinates.  I'm not good at math or geography so don't ask me too much about this nonsense...but keep X at 0 (If you wanted lines across the page instead of down the page you'd change the X number).   Change the Y to the distance you want the lines. I'm going with 1 inch. (You will likely adjust these in a future step.)

Weeding lines, Silhouette Studio, Silhouette tutorial, replicate

Now select the line you drew.  And then you're ready to hit 'Replicate' (which is just slightly further down in the window out of my screen shot). And you'll get 6 horizontal lines evenly spaced 1 inch part on your page.  (Wipe your brow, you did it!)

Weeding lines, Silhouette Studio, Silhouette tutorial, replicate, spacing

At this point you can go find your design and open it. If you opened your design first before drawing your lines, you need to make sure it's 'in front.' I do this by Cutting/Pasting it.

Weeding lines, Silhouette Studio, Silhouette tutorial

The position of the design and the lines is what is going to help you weeding it.  So...what you are looking to avoid is creating extra small spaces. I have circled the problem areas.  If you leave the lines like they are now you'll have to weed two little pieces of the counter inside the R instead of one since the line splits right down the middle of the counter.  Same thing for the counter in the O.

Weeding lines, Silhouette Studio, Silhouette tutorial

To avoid this, you'll have to move some of the lines slightly.  Click on the line you need to adjust and use your arrow key (NOT YOUR MOUSE) to nudge the line up or down depending on what is needed.   Ideal the line will go through the middle of the letter and not the counter. ("But aren't I cutting the letter in half?" you ask...hold on there).  I can't avoid going through the middle of the O, but at least the weeding line makes is so the two pieces aren't so small.

Weeding lines, Silhouette Studio, Silhouette tutorial

Once all your lines are positioned nicely select all of the lines but NOT the actual design you want to cut.  Right click and make the lines a compound path. Be sure you DO NOT include the design in the compound path.

Finally, highlight the lines and the design > Click the Modify Window icon and choose 'SUBTRACT ALL'.

Weeding lines, Silhouette Studio, Silhouette tutorial, modify, subtract all
 
You can see that now you have weeding lines in all of your excess/negative area, but not through your design.  The space between the weeding lines will come up as 1 inch sections of horizontal vinyl rather than one large piece of vinyl that would otherwise be going around your entire design.

Weeding lines, Silhouette Studio, Silhouette tutorial

Here's how it looks as you are weeding...(apologies this was from a different project, but it's the exact same technique).



So as you can see on this other large piece I worked on, using weeding lines, it makes weeding large (or even smaller) areas much easier because you are not fighting to keep the vinyl away as you pull up the rest of the negative space.

Weeding lines, Silhouette Studio, Silhouette tutorial


Note: This post may contain affiliate links. By clicking on them and purchasing products through my links, I received a small commission. That's what helps fund Silhouette School so I can keep buying new Silhouette-related products to show you how to get the most out of your machine! 

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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22 comments

  1. Would method work with using two different colors of vinyl, or how would you do that?

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  2. Brilliant, thank you. Linda x

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  3. OMG, this is so simply and effective! One of those, "Of course!" moments. Thank you. I just joined.

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  4. Help - When I subtract it just leaves the lines INSIDE the letters, not on the outside. i even cut & paste in front the design. Any suggestions??

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  5. oh my gosh, brilliant! Thank you!

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  6. I'd love to get it to work, but so far I cannot. I have followed to the letter exactly what you did, but it just won't work. Could I weld or something else? When I try what you said, it leaves all the lines and makes a second set of lines. the one set can be deleted, the other set is stuck to the text, but doesn't eliminate in-between the lines

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  7. I followed this tutorial and have loved it for a while, such a genius idea. However, I have just discovered it creating a problem for me. Once I do the subtract all, after it renders the photo it creates a slight double line (most visible on the curves when you zoom WAY in). I didn't notice it, but when I went to cut my machine was cutting it horribly. After a lot of trial and error I figured this out. I don't have design edition. I wonder if it's a problem in designer as well. Just trying to save people the headache I have gone through. Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. I had a similar issue - but it wasn't just leave double lines, it was leaving several dozen -like 30 to 40 lines. And not just the weeding lines. Some, but not all, of the actual image would also acquire many tens of extra duplicate lines. Deleting them is a nightmare. I've been adding weeding lines by hand which is time consuming too. If anyone figures out how to eliminate the duplicates, please let us know. I also do not have the designer edition.

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  8. I just followed this tutorial for a large decal I was making and when it cut, it put the weeding lines through the design. I followed every step you listed above, so I'm not sure what I did wrong. Is there a certain cut function I should have clicked on or something? Please help!!! I need this for a customer and I can't afford for the next one to get messed up too. :(

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  9. This worked beautifully the very first time. Because of that I ordered the bundle of e-books. I cannot wait to learn more. I am thrilled. THANK YOU!

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  10. I am having trouble getting the weeding lines right some designs i use come out right but 80% do not add the weeding line correct. it still shows the lines rigt through the image and i have followed the steps exactly correct? pse help

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  11. Well, I see everyone is having the same problem that I am having and I do not see a solution posted....
    when I do one line, sure, it works perfectly.... after making compound path and trying it, nope... subtract all makes all the lines thicker still on top of the letters....

    ANYONE????

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  12. I just put a square around what I was weeding it doesn't sound as detailed as the above lesson (which I haven't tried yet) but it does cut down on the amount of vinyl you are dealing with. You could try putting a square around each word???just a thought.
    Lynette from Australia

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    Replies
    1. Glad you tried this because I am making some word stencils and cutting 2 or three words on the same page. This will give me good shapes for the stencil and I won't have so many odd shaped pieces. Glad to know this because I have a lot of stencils to make!!

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  13. THANK YOU! This was so easy. I made a weeding file and saved it in my library so now all I have to do is add my design when I am ready to cut.

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  14. After working for a sign company for 9 yrs I know a bit about weeding vinyl, and VERY large pieces at that. I weed with an exacto knife, and simply 'kiss' cut between sections of the design to make workable pieces. No settings to remember, or screw up :) But I am using your blog to learn many aspects of the silhouette software, and am learning a lot here! Thanks!

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  15. Doesn't this method waste vinyl? If you just cut the large areas with scissors you can reuse the scraps.

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  16. Unable to make this work. Followed the tut to the letter. When I select the Modify Window and Subtract all the image does not appear in front of the cut lines.

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  17. I had to send my lines to the back in order for this to work. Maybe that will help some of you?

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    Replies
    1. OMG 20 mins of trying to get this to work did this and it worked thanks :)

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  18. Perfect. Thanks for posting this. Just made my job easier. This works on smaller projects where there is a lot of open space between or lettering that is intricate. Just right for what I was doing today.

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