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Cutting Laminated Shapes and Print and Cuts with Silhouette (Plus Perfect Cut Settings)

If there's one thing I know it's that there is always another way to use your Silhouette machine....like, say, with a laminator.  I recently got myself a (very basic) laminator (it set me back all of $22) and let me tell you, nothing is safe!  I know what you're thinking: laminators are only for teachers. WRONG!

Silhouette tutorial, Silhouette Cameo, laminated pieces

I've combined the powers of my Silhouette CAMEO and my laminator to make custom bookmarks, planner inserts, photo booth props, dry erase games for my kids, luggage tags, the list goes on.

Hear me out...

I got a very basic laminator - it's literally called the AmazonBasics LaminatorThe 100 pack laminator sleeve refills cost more than half the price of the laminator...but I digress.

Thinking about it, I knew to successfully pair my Silhouette CAMEO (or Portrait or Curio) with my laminator, I would need need to cut (or print and cut) the design first, laminate and then cut again.   Yes it's a multi-step process...but laminating the paper first and then cutting only once does not allow for the edges of the designs to be heat sealed by the laminator. You'll see what I mean as we walk through this tutorial

I'm going to demo this using a few different designs. I created some basic print and cut designs in Silhouette Studio. They were print on my home printer on cardstock and then cut with my Silhouette.

Silhouette tutorial, Silhouette Pixscan, laminated pieces

I also grabbed a paper bookmark I made for my daughter a few weeks ago that desperately needed a layer of protection and I quickly designed and print and cut a meal planner insert for my planner (after it's laminated it can be re-used by using dry erase markers).  I figured I had a whole laminating sheet I didn't want to waste it with just a few small designs.

After all my designs were cut I warmed up my laminator.  All of the paper cuts were placed into a laminating sleeve.   I made sure to leave enough room between each of the pieces so that when they were cut again they would still have a slight heat sealed border.

Silhouette tutorial, Silhouette Pixscan, laminated pieces

The sleeve was fed through the laminator and I was left with a nice laminated sheet when it was spit out the back just a few seconds later. All of my designs were nicely sealed inside.

Silhouette tutorial, Silhouette Pixscan, laminated pieces

Now here comes the fun part.  You need to get out your PixScan mat. (I have a Portrait sized Pixscan mat - that I can use on both my Portrait and my Cameo - and the full laminated sheet didn't fit on it so I simply cut it down with scissors.)

Silhouette tutorial, Silhouette Pixscan, laminated pieces

Place your laminated sheet onto the Pixscan mat and take a picture with your phone. Make sure the entire PixScan mat is captured.   This is the actual picture I used.

Silhouette tutorial, Silhouette Pixscan, laminated pieces, Pixscan mat

Whatever you do from here on out: DO NOT MOVE THE ELEMENTS ON THE PIXSCAN MAT!
If you're unfamiliar with how to use Silhouette Pixscan technology read this 101 tutorial before you go any further because I'm going to speed through this part. 
Open up Silhouette Studio and in a new work area import the picture of your Pixscan mat, using the Pixscan tool.

Silhouette tutorial, Silhouette Pixscan, laminated pieces

Once your PixScan mat with laminated items appears in Silhouette Studio, you're ready to go.   Our ultimate goal is to make a slight offset cut line around each of the designs so that we can cut them out, but keep their edges sealed.

Use the Trace tool to trace all of the elements. Uncheck the high pass filter and move the Threshold slider bar over  to the right. I like to get them all filled in yellow and then select 'Trace Edge'. This will put a cut line right around the edge of your designs.

Silhouette tutorial, Silhouette Pixscan, laminated pieces
Tip: If you get a bunch of static muck trace elsewhere on your mat (seen here in the green box), select everything > hold down 'shift' > de-select the cut lines you actually want to keep > hit 'Delete' on your keyboard to remove all the muck. 
Now you should only have cut lines around your designs.

If you loaded the Pixscan mat and cut just like this, you'd cut right along the edge of your design and you'd basically end up with a peeling-laminated piece. We don't want that. We want to keep the edges around the design heat sealed to protect the paper inside. So....we want to create a small offset.

Silhouette tutorial, Silhouette Pixscan, laminated pieces
Keep the original cut lines (I outlined one in green below) selected and pick the Offset tool from along the top tool bar.  Set the offset distance to whatever you want. I used .100. Click Apply.

Silhouette tutorial, Silhouette Pixscan, laminated pieces

You now have two cut lines around each design...go back and delete the original cut lines so you ONLY have the offsets (blue arrow) to cut. 

And now you're ready to cut. From the Cut Settings tool adjust your cut settings. Pick "Clear Sticker Material" from the material list.  The blade depth, thickness, speed and double cut all work perfectly with the laminated sleeves.  Don't forget to adjust the depth on the blade.

Silhouette tutorial, Silhouette Pixscan, laminated pieces

Load your Silhouette PixScan mat into your machine...and watch the magic happen.

Silhouette tutorial, Silhouette Pixscan, laminated pieces, Silhouette Cameo

When the machine is finished cutting, your laminated designs will pop right off the mat.

Silhouette tutorial, Silhouette Pixscan, laminated pieces

Silhouette tutorial, Silhouette Pixscan, laminated pieces

TIP: Don't throw out the excess laminated sheet...they're PERFECT for re-usable stencils!

The little 'hello' was adhered to a mini clothes pin.  I use it to mark the current week in my planner. The meal insert was attached to a clip in and was easily inserted into my planner, too.  And if you're wondering, yes I made the planner stickers...I mean I couldn't write a whole ebook about how to create beautiful stickers and not bling out my own planner with them!

Silhouette tutorial, Silhouette Pixscan, laminated pieces

And here's another example of a Silhouette project I print and cut and then laminated...these are photobooth props. Obviously laminating them gives the the paper a much needed layer of protection! 

Silhouette tutorial, Silhouette Pixscan, laminated pieces

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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19 comments

  1. That is so clever. I still have not used my Cameo I think I am afraid of it :? I really need to just use it.

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  2. I guess you already know you are a genius!!!!

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  3. I love this tutorial I can never cut clean lines now that I know I will never cut with scissors again!! Thanks for the post!

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  4. you had me very interested until the word pic scan mat ---I have tried and tried beyond trying to get that thing calibrated and just can't get it. So I gave up, chalking up the almost $10.00 to a bad decision.

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  6. Can I use the 5mil laminating pockets for cutting, or only the thinner type? I love this tutorial :)

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    Replies
    1. If you try to use the thicker sheets I thin you will need to increase the thickness and possibley use the deep cut blade.

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    2. Thanks Melissa! I'll have to experiment with this soon :)

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  7. I've been using this method for awhile, and I love it! Now, my question--I keep trying to cut out laminated bookmarks that are mostly white with words on them... Any ideas for getting that to work? The PixScan just doesn't pick up the borders very well with white on white. I've tried putting a colored piece of paper behind what I'm cutting out, but then what I'm cutting isn't stuck to the mat as firmly as when I don't put paper behind it... Wonder if you've come across this yet?
    Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. I've had the same issue trying to cut white, I ended up just using a similar shape (thankfully I was cutting out an oval shape and could easily make the cut lines just a little larger) it took a few minutes to figure out HOW, because it was not happening when I tried to trace.

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    2. That is one of the big problems with white and clear items - they are hard to trace. Instead of tracing, you could drop edit points and create your own cut border around the edge of the area to be traced.

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  8. How do I delete the original cut line?

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  9. Hi, can i do this with my portrait? I hace been having troubles with the print and cut settings, it always cut it wrong and with the pixscan y can never calibrate the image. Help

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    Replies
    1. You can definitely do it with your Portrait, just use the Portrait size pixscan mat. If you are having trouble with calibration you can print out the calibration sheet and use it to calibrate your phone

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  10. I can't get a straight cut line on light colored images and the scanner picks up the gloss from the laminating sheet. Any suggestions?

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  11. I can't get a straight cut line on light colored images and the scanner picks up the gloss from the laminating sheet. Any suggestions?

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    Replies
    1. I haven't had the glare issue with the Pixscan mat b/c the registration are on the mat rather than lamination sheet. If you are having trouble getting a good trace, you can use the Draw a Curve Shape tool and drop edit points to create a cut line that way.

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