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Beginner Silhouette Print and Cut Tutorial for V4 (Free Silhouette Design File)

Silhouette Print and Cut is one of the most popular - but intimidating - ways to use the Silhouette cutting machines. With the May 2017 release of Silhouette Studio V4 it's become even more confusing because most of the print and cut tutorials are in old versions of the software.

For that reason I thought it was worth sharing an updated version of the Print and Cut with Silhouette CAMEO tutorial for beginners for those just starting out with Silhouette Studio V4 or those transitioning over! If you're learning to print and cut in Silhouette Studio V3 (aka your software looks different than what you see here) check out this beginner CAMEO tutorial.

Print and Cut with Silhouette Basics

All of the Silhouette cutting machines can Print and Cut - including the Curio!  This tutorial will references the Silhouette CAMEO 3, but just know the process is the same for the other machines as well.  In Silhouette Studio V4, the basics of print and cut remain the same as in previous versions of the software:
  • Create your own, convert, or open a Silhouette print and cut file
  • Add registration marks 
  • Print on your home computer
  • Cut the print and cut design with your Silhouette cutting machine
While the process remains the same, the slight changes in the V4 software can be enough to throw a beginner off.  What I am trying to avoid is having you throw your Silhouette CAMEO out the window while attempting to print and cut with it!  :)

Finding Print and Cut Files for Silhouette CAMEO

Since it can be difficult to know what a Silhouette print and cut file looks like, I'm going to provide you with a free design to download. This way we're all working on the same Silhouette design and it will be easier to follow this V4 tutorial.

Once you've downloaded the free Silhouette design on your computer open Silhouette Studio and go to the File menu. Click "Open".

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Navigate to the file on your computer. This will open the design in your Silhouette Studio design work space.

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If you purchase print and cut designs from the Silhouette Online Store (they will be marked with a "P" in the store), they will save to your Cloud folder. To open a design fro your Silhouette Cloud folder or the library, go to the library, find the design, double click it and it will open in the work space ready to print and cut.

You can also convert Silhouette cut files into print and cut files, but that's a slightly more advanced technique. Check out this advanced Silhouette Cameo Print and Cut tutorial that walks you through making any file a print and cut file here.

Setting up Silhouette Studio V4 for Print and Cut

Now that you have your design in the work space you'll need to change the page size to match the size of the paper you are going to print on.

Open the Page Setup tool from along the right sidebar.  In the panel, change the Page Size to "Current Printer". This will adjust the size of the cutting area on your virtual cutting mat in Silhouette Studio.

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Further down that same panel, make sure you have the orientation set to portrait rather than landscape.

At the bottom of the panel, check the boxes for "Show Print Area" and "Show Cut Area."  This will put two borders on your work space indicating the safe print and cut areas.  Anything outside these areas - including the print and cut registration marks which we'll add in the next step - will either not print or not cut.

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Now we need to add registration marks. These marks tell the Silhouette CAMEO machine where to cut around the printed design.

From the same Page Setup panel click the third tab to open the Registration Mark panel. From the drop down menu click "Type 1".  This adds 3 markings plus some hashed areas to your design area in Silhouette Studio.  The Silhouette Studio keyboard shortcut to turn on registration marks is "M" on the keyboard if you prefer keyboard shortcuts. 

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With the registration marks on, the print and cut borders on, and the page size set to match your printer, move your design inside all of those marks so that it safely prints and cuts.

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Because this is a Silhouette print and cut design file specifically, it's been set up with just one cut line around outer edge with all interior lines set to "No Cut." You'll see what I mean as we work through the Send panel.  

Open the Send panel from along the top bar. For this beginner tutorial let's stick in the Simple move.

Select the material you'll be cutting - this is likely coverstock, cardstock, or some type of sticker paper. But don't forget, once you get the hang of addicted to Silhouette print and cut you can use this same process with printable vinyl, printable heat transfer, temporary tattoos - all with your Silhouette CAMEO or Portrait machine! 

Make sure you only the outside line is set to cut by selecting the design and clicking "Cut Edge."  If any other cut lines are on, select them and click "No Cut". 

The recommended cut settings will be listed along the bottom after you have selected a material.

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Now you're ready to print!   From here on out do not move anything in the design space in Silhouette Studio!

How to Print from Silhouette Studio for Print and Cut

Make sure the paper you are printing on is in your printer.  I get asked all the time what the best printer for Silhouette CAMEO is so you can check out my printer recommendations here

It's easy to print from Silhouette Studio...simply go to the File menu > Print or click the Print tool button from along the top tool bar.

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This will open up a pop up box for your printer settings.  When you click "Print" whatever is within the printer border in Silhouette Studio will print. 
TIP: If your printer is not printing anything, but instead spitting out blank pieces of paper when you print from Silhouette Studio, it's likely due to lines not having a line weight. You can check out this tutorial on why you can't print from Silhouette Studio here.
You'll notice not only has the design printed, but so have the registration marks. This is what tells the Silhouette machine where to cut!

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Remove the printed sheet from the printer and place it on your Silhouette cutting mat.

Putting the 'Cut' in Silhouette CAMEO Print and Cut

Load the cutting mat, with the material on it, into your Silhouette CAMEO or Portrait by placing the mat's top edge gently along the rollers.  The left edge of the mat should line up with the lines/arrows on the machine as well. Gently hold the mat in place, while you click "Load" on the CAMEO 3 control panel.  (The option is "Load Mat" on the Silhouette CAMEO 2 or the up arrow on the CAMEO 1.)

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If you are using the CAMEO 3 AutoBlade make sure it's seated correctly in the left/red carriage. If you're using the ratchet blade with the CAMEO 3 or any of the other machines, manually adjust it to the recommend blade depth based on the material you selected, using the built in ratchet on the front of the machine.

Go back into Silhouette Studio and from the Send panel > Send tab click "Send."

The Cameo machine will first use its red light to find the registration marks and then begin cutting.
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If you get a Print and Cut registration error this troubleshooting tutorial should help you fix it - it could be something as simply as turning on another light.
When the cutting is complete you can remove the cutting mat from the Silhouette machine.

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Isn't it amazing how the Silhouette machine cuts so accurately and precisely around the edge of your print and cut design!

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Thanks for coming to class today at Silhouette School.  If you like what you see, I'd love for you to pin it!

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!

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  1. This was amazing! I got my Silhouette Cameo 3 yesterday and was a bit perplexed of how people could get such colorful designs out of their cameos. Your class helped me so much and I am so excited to get to learn more! Thank you so much!



  2. Your tutorials are beyond awesome. Thank you so much

  3. Great tutorial, thanks. What I need to know now is how do I turn my own vector image into a file suitable for print and cut? I tried saving as an svg in illustrator but I can't seem to open that file type in the silhouette studio.

  4. I hate to admit this, BUT I own one of the 'old Cameo models' and have never done print and cuts - I was always afraid of them. WELL...this is a game changer in using my Cameo!!! Why was I afraid? Look out ink on my printer! lol Once again, I should have trusted Silhouette School all along! Thanks a million, Melissa!

  5. Love, I just did the sample cut. I am now on to printable vinyl for an order. Thank you soo much for this easy to understand tutorial

  6. wow! I find this amazing .... I have a really, really, really old Silhouette (QuicKutz Silhouette)... and this works!!!!! I am totally, totally amazed ... thank you so much.... very much appreciate your tutorial on this!

  7. Thank you so very much! I could not figure out how to delete the cut lines I did not want and you made my day by clearing that up. I have subscribed to you, wish I had come here first as I became very frustrated. You are very detailed in your tutorials and I thank you again.

  8. I was hoping this would work :( I've struggled with print and cut from day one. I've followed every tutorial and troubleshooting tip and still no joy. The problem is the machine always reads the edge of the paper at the bottom of the page and not the registration mark no matter what i do, it's always the same. Anyone have any ideas???


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