If you've ever tried to cut a really small design on your Silhouette you know it's not always the easiest thing. Vinyl lifting off the backing and paper tearing are among the chief complaints. Cutting very small and delicate shapes is something the Silhouette can definitely handle, but it can be a lot less stressful - and let's face it, less wasteful - if you follow these few tips for success.
The first thing you want to do is slow the speed down....like to 2 or even one. In the cut settings, slow down the speed at which the blade moves. This can help prevent the tiny cuts from peeling up. Some people will tell you it's actually better to speed up the blade so it doesn't drag in the area causing the vinyl or paper to lift. I've always had luck with slooooooowwww cuts for tiny details, but if it doesn't work you can try the quick approach.
Double cutting can also be helpful especially if you're having trouble weeding the tiny design. Cutting twice just ensures that the material is cut completely so the design is easier to transfer. I don't double cut until I know that the design is going to have trouble. Try getting away with just slowing the speed before you go for the double cut.
Giving your design a very slight offset can be a huge factor in how well it cuts. If you can give the design even a .010 offset to 'thicken' it slightly without altering the design noticeably, I can pretty much guarantee you'll see a difference in how it cuts. Look closely and you'll notice that in the design on the right the monogram is slightly thicker than the non-offset image on the left.
Once your small design is cut, you've only won half the battle. Just look how tiny that design is - and it cut great!
But...now you need to weed. Grab your Silhouette hook and a good pair of tweezers. Place your design - still on the backing - on your cutting mat to keep it still while you're weeding. Then carefully weed the design. If you are working with paper, the Silhouette spatula is great for getting tiny designs up off the mat without tearing them.
Using clear transfer tape, I got a 100 yard roll from Expressions Vinyl, is a huge help when placing tiny designs...so is securing your target. (Gotta love painter's tape).
Because you can see through the tape and onto the surface where you're placing your tiny design, you're much more likely to get it perfect! I had the worst time lining up the monograms on these 5/8" acrylic studs (from Punch Place Plus) until I switched from transfer paper to the see-through clear transfer tape.
I hope these tips have helped you successfully cut even the smallest of projects with your Silhouette. I'm sure I'm leaving a few out ... so please weigh in by leaving a comment!
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!