Copyright Silhouette School 2016. Powered by Blogger.

Silhouette Studio Word Art: How to Have Text Form a Shape (Free Cut File)

Word Art in Silhouette Studio isn't exactly a "thing"... but there are definitely some workarounds that you can do to get some really cool Word Art effects in Silhouette Studio. This Silhouette Studio tutorial will walk you through how to get text to take the form of a shape. This word cloud-ish type effect is something I'm asked about repeatedly.

Silhouette cameo word art tutorial advanced

My whole goal with Silhouette School is to teach you rather than do for you...but today I'm doing both. I will show you exactly how to create this type of word art and I am going to give you the free Silhouette Studio cut file in hopes you are inspired to work through your own custom design!

I should warn you up front, this is definitely an advanced Silhouette tutorial that will assume you have some Silhouette Studio knowledge. You will also need Silhouette Studio Designer Edition in order to do this as it requires the Nesting tool.

Keep in mind as you work through this tutorial that it can be done with pretty much any shape and any set of word or words. I am using the shape of Christmas light as an example.

The first thing you want to do is open up or create the shape you want your word cloud to form. For me, that's the outline of a Christmas light.

silhouette studio free cut file christmas lights cameo

Create a duplicate copy of the design and pull it off to the side of your work area. You won't need the duplicate shape until later in process. 

The second step is to type out the words you want to take that shape. Each word should be typed out in its own text box.  You can type out as many words as you want. I went with five different words so 5 different text boxes.  Using a combination of word lengths is helpful as short words can fill small spaces and really help define the shape in the end.

 silhouette studio text shapes word art word clouds text tutorials

Select all of the words, fill them with a color and pick a font style.

Next select all of the words and replicate them...I would say at least 4-5 times.

advanced silhoeutte cameo tutorials silhouette studio tutorials designing in silhouette studio

Go through each set of words and do the following:
  • Change the font fill and line colors (optional) 
  • Change the font style
  • Change the font size

text fill shape silhouette studio
In order to nest the text as whole words - and not have it ungrouped as individual letters - we need to convert the text to path. Select all of the text > right click > Convert to Path.

Silhouette studio convert to path nesting tool

Click on the Nesting tool along the top tool bar.  This tool will only be an option if you have Silhouette Studio Designer Edition or higher.

silhouette studio designer edition, silhouette studio nesting tool tutorial, DE

Select the shape that you want the words to nest this case one of the Christmas lights.  From the Nesting window click "Set Selected Shape as Boundary" this will put a check in the circle next to "Use Selected."

Silhouette Studio word cloud tutorial force text into shape

The shape will disappear...don't panic.

Increase the Rotations to at least 4. You can adjust the Padding (space between words if you wish).

Click Nest.

The words will fill into the shape...if the entire shape is filled you're good to go.

If you don't have enough words to completely fill the shape, click Undo (circled above in blue).

Copy and paste another set of words to your work area so you have more text to fill the shape. 

Click "Nest" again. If not all of your words filled the shape, that's okay. Keep them in the work area as you may want to use them as swaps.

Silhouette Studio christmas cut file word art, christmas designs, free cut files, silhouette studio tutorials, silhoeutte cameo tutorials

Yay! You're almost there...but there's still work to do. In order to better define the shape, select the duplicate shape outline and drag it around the word cloud.

Silhouette cameo help, silhouette cameo tutorials, silhouette studio help , silhouette studio advanced settings

Now it's time to fine tune the words in the shape....if you have too many of the same font style, size or color close to each other you can select them and change the color or size or swap them with your spares still in the work area.

If you have space that you want to squeeze in an extra word you can use one of the words that didn't make it in while nesting.

Get creative...

Silhouette Studio Christmas lights word art

Now you have some options as far as how your finished design will look when it's cut.
To Make a Frame Around the Shape
With the shape only selected (not the words), click the Offset tool. The default offset works well...but if you want to increase it you can certainly increase the distance.

How to create a frame border in Silhouette Studio

To turn the offset into a frame, select both the offset and the original > right click > Make Compound Path.

Silhouette Studio compound path explanation 
Now you can fill the frame with a solid color.

To Make a Solid Shape

Select all of the words (but not the border shape) and group them together.

This time, with the shape only selected (not the words) fill the shape with a solid color.

Now select just the words and fill them with a contrasting solid color.  Change the line color to match.

Silhouette studio force text into shape silhouette cameo, cutting multiple color designs cameo

Cutting and Layering TIP: The easiest way to cut the framed design is to group all of the like colors together and then separate the layers.

For the solid fill design you could make a compound path then weed out the words to let the color of the surface show through rather than layering.

And here's a quick mock up to show you how each of these word cloud designs created in Silhouette Studio would look when cut on heat transfer vinyl with Silhouette CAMEO or Portrait.

mock ups in Silhouette Studio, mockups, silhouette studio tutorial, silhouette cameo business

Hopefully you've made it this far because now I have the free Silhouette Studio cut file for you to download. This is for personal use only please...also if you want to share, please share the link back to this tutorial, not the direct link to the cut file or the actual file.  Thanks, loves!

Click the image below to begin the download process

Free Silhouette Studio Cut file for Christmas word art download free design file
 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!

Get Silhouette School lessons delivered to your email inbox! Select Once Daily or Weekly.


  1. You are amazing! Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

  2. Why do my words keep coming apart and only 1/2 the word or certain letters are going into my nest?

  3. Whenever I click on "nest" it shuts down the silhouette studio. Do you know why this happens? And can you suggest a way to fix it?

    Btw I have the silhouette designer edition.

    1. Nesting has been buggy in several versions of Silhouette Studio. That is likely what is causing the issue for you.

  4. Hello I am looking to try adding word art to a portrait. Have you tried this? If so do you have a video or step by step on how to do this?

    1. The process would be the same no matter which machine since we all use the same software :)

  5. I am using this process with a heart shape. The words were created in separate text boxes with different fonts but are the same word. When I select the use shape as boundary, my heart turns blue. When I select the boxes then nest, nothing happens. Help...

    1. Hi there! Did you convert the text boxes to paths before nesting?

  6. Hey, so I did miss that step. It solved the issue!!!

  7. Hello Melissa, I'm having the problem that Priscilla had. I did convert to path before nesting. It's still turning blue. My "nest" button turned a light gray and could not be used as well. Is there another thing I can try to do to resolve this? Thank you


Thanks for leaving a comment! We get several hundred comments a day. While we appreciate every single one of them it's nearly impossible to respond back to all of them, all the time. So... if you could help me by treating these comments like a forum where readers help readers.

In addition, don't forget to look for specific answers by using the Search Box on the blog. If you're still not having any luck, feel free to email me with your question.