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How to Cut a Cereal Box with Silhouette (It's Easy and Awesome)

How To Cut a Cereal Box with SilhouetteI'm handing the class over to the very talented Christine from Where the Smiles Have Been blog today.  Believe me she's awesome and she has some really cool tips for you today to save money on Silhouette supplies. I'll let Christine take it from here.

One of my favorite craft supplies to use with my Silhouette is not an actual craft supply at all....it's a cereal box! Yep, an everyday, run of the mill, weekly grocery store grab is an excellent substitute for chipboard or even wood. Here are some of the reasons why I love using cereal boxes for crafts:
  • FREE craft supplies! You buy the cereal and the box is an added free bonus....what a great two-for-one!
  • It's an easy way to be green and upcycle.
  • They cut nicely with a Silhouette and also take paint (both spray and craft paints) very well. They also can easily be covered with scrapbook paper, vinyl, or other materials if you don't feel like painting.
  • They are lightweight and easy to hang but still firm and sturdy.
No chipboard? No problem! Your Silhouette machine can transform a cereal box into a variety of projects: additions to wreaths, holiday decor, Christmas ornaments, door signs, gift tags, wine charms, scrapbooking features....the possibilities are nearly endless!
 I love using cereal boxes to make custom signs and holiday decor (especially for wreaths). Recently I created a custom monogram state sign for a fall burlap wreath (I'll spare you all the details on how I added my monogram to my Sweet Home Alabama state. Just check out Silhouette School's recent tutorial for creating a custom monogram pumpkin.....that will give you a great step-by-step.).

I will, however, be sharing with you how I cut it out and turned it from blah to beautiful....now on with the tutorial!

 #1 Prepping the Cereal Box: Disassembling The Box- After creating my design in Silhouette Studio, I of course needed to prep my cereal box for cutting. Using a pair of scissors, I cut along all of the box's seams to remove the large front and back panels. I made sure to pay extra attention to the edges and trim up all of the folded seams. 

How To Cut a Cereal Box with Silhouette   

 #2 Loading Your Box Panel: Consider Which Side of the Box You Want To Use- You need to consider which side of the box you want to be the front of your project...the sides have different textures and take some mediums (i.e. paint) differently. Since I was going to be painting my final sign with craft paint, I chose to place the box panel with the outside facing down on the mat. This is because the outside of the box is shiny and smooth, and sometimes can be difficult to cover with light-colored craft paint (spray paint usually works just fine at covering it though). The inside of the box is textured and holds paint better, usually needing only one coat for complete coverage. 

Painter's Tape Is Your Friend- I always use some painter's tape to help hold my box in place while being cut. Since it's a thicker material and will have a double cut (more on the cut settings later), it can easily shift during cutting. Just a couple strips of tape around the edges, though, keep it nice and snug on the mat. I would suggest being strategic in where you place the strips of tape, however, because sometimes they can peel up some of the box when being removed. You don't want part of your design being peeled away right after a successful cut! 

How To Cut a Cereal Box with Silhouette    
#3 Cutting The Design: Resize Your Page- Now that my cereal box was loaded and ready, it was time to finalize my cut settings. I first went to the Page Tools window in Silhouette Studio and resized my page to the dimensions of my cereal box (they were 6.5" x 10.5"). Then I resized my design as large as possible to fit inside the boundaries. [Yes, I'm still rocking Version 2. Maybe someday I'll get around to updating!]

  How To Cut a Cereal Box with Silhouette    

Silhouette Cut Settings- When cutting a cereal box, I always use the 'Coverstock' option from the list of materials, and more times than not, I leave all the defaults as is:
  • Speed: 1
  • Thickness: 33
  • Blade: 7
  • Cutting Mat: Checked
  • Double Cut: Checked
Test Cut- I also always perform a test cut just to make sure everything is a-okay....a cereal box is obviously not a standard craft material and different brands have different thicknesses. Sometimes I adjust my blade to 8, but like I just mentioned, usually the default settings are spot-on. In this case, a test cut revealed the default settings were perfect, so I hit 'Cut' and let the magic happen!

How To Cut a Cereal Box with Silhouette Cut Settings  

Prepare To Wait- If you have only ever cut paper or vinyl on your Silhouette, be prepared for a little waiting game here. Since this setting has a Speed of one and performs a double cut, it can feel like it takes forever for this to finish cutting. If you can pull yourself away from your Silhouette for a bit (I feel like I have to be right next to it at all times, sending it encouraging words and positive vibes for a successful cut!), make yourself a cup of coffee, do some laundry, or read a chapter in that book you're in the middle of, because trust me, you'll have some time.

How To Cut a Cereal Box with Silhouette  

 #4 Embellish Your Project: Get Creative!- Now that your box is cut, you can get creative in what you want to do with it next: paint it, spray paint it, slap some scrapbook paper or vinyl on it, glue little doodads to the front, maybe add some ribbon, twine, or hooks and hang it, use it in a scrapbook feature or part of a card....so many options! Like I mentioned, this particular project is going to be hung on a burlap wreath I made, so I chose to (finger) paint it with some metallic gold craft paint. The print on the inside of the box was easily covered with one coat, whereas the shiny frontside (which is now the backside of my sign) needed three coats to be fully covered (see what I mean about being strategic on which side you place face-up on the mat?). I also made sure to cover all of the side edges with paint as well. I then hot glued a couple hooks that I fashioned from some floral wire onto the back for hanging on my burlap wreath. I've noticed that if a box starts to curl up a little while being painted, it will usually flatten itself out once dry (so no need to panic!). If not, placing it under a heavy pot or book will do the job just fine. 

How To Cut a Cereal Box with Silhouette   

And voila! My cereal box transformation is complete. You can't even tell this cute monogram sign was the previous home to some super healthy (and from what my husband tells me, only moderately delicious) breakfast cereal. Horray for upcycling! 

How To Cut a Cereal Box with Silhouette How To Cut a Cereal Box with Silhouette How To Cut a Cereal Box with Silhouette   

 Here are some other projects that I've made with cereal boxes:
3-Letter Monogram Sign (spray paint)
How To Cut a Cereal Box with Silhouette  
Pumpkin Wreath (craft paint)
Pumpkin Wreath via Where The Smiles Have Been  
House Divided Ornament Wreath via Where The Smiles Have Been  
Sleeping Baby Door Hanger (scrapbook paper & vinyl)
Sleeping Baby Door Hanger via Where The Smiles Have Been   

 Not Just for Cereal Boxes!- Cereal boxes are obviously not the only boxes in your house you can use with your Silhouette! Just about any other thin box laying around the house can be used: other food/snack boxes, tissue boxes, household items, etc. So think outside the box for your craft supplies! 
Lastly, I'll leave you with some tips for using cereal (or other) boxes in a Silhouette project:
  • Use a family-size box for a large design.
  • Look for a box that isn't too beat up or damaged, especially the corners (yes, I scope out the condition of my cereal boxes more than the nutritional information).
  • Be mindful of which side of the box you want to use (the shiny outside or the textured inside) and place it accordingly on your mat.
  • Unless you have a brand spankin' new mat that is super sticky, use some painter's tape to help hold the box in place on your mat while cutting.
  • Place your painter's tape strategically on your box....it can pull up and tear some of the box when removing.
  • Do a test cut!
  • If painting your project, don't forget to paint the edges.
  • If your box starts to curl a little after being painted, just place it under a heavy object and it should flatten right out.
  • Obviously, recommended use is indoors only, although you may be able to seal it to use outside....if you try this, let me know how it turns out!
Thanks so much for checking out my tutorial! I hope you've found it helpful and that it has inspired you to raid your pantry for something other than an afternoon snack. :) Happy crafting everyone!
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Note: This post may contain affiliate links. By clicking on them and purchasing products through my links, I receive 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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2 comments

  1. Hi Melissa,
    My name is Eve I bought my first ever cutting machine which is a Silhouette Portrait. I would like to use it to cut 2mm foam to enable me to make my own stamps. I woundwered if you have any advice on the cutting setting's for me please.
    I am very happy to have found your cereal box tutorial as you have already answered some of my questions. I am also interested in foil packaging and thin temporary cooking foil containers.
    I am a keen photoshopper and have made many of my own designs which I would like to use in conjunction with the Sillhouette.
    Thank you for any advice you can give me,
    Kind regards
    Eve

    ReplyDelete
  2. I realize this is a pretty old post, but....
    I've found different cereal boxes are better than others for being able to cut through: Chex brand uses great cardboard but are a little too thick and you'll have to finish the cutting with an Xacto knife. "Organic" cereals use thinner board and can be cut through with the blade set at "9" or "10" but, of course, they are flimsier.
    Double cuts are a must plus I extend the cut lines ("Line Segment Overcut: On") to help with sharp angles.
    I've made a couple of models and jigsaw puzzles with cereal boxes. It's a lot of fun! (Cut a puzzle of the cereal bowl on the front of the box & see how hard it is to put it back together.) ;-)

    ReplyDelete

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