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Trick to Layering Vinyl (Without Registration Marks)

I'm a big fan of using registration marks when layering vinyl, but sometimes you just gotta live a little and forego the registration marks in the name of saving vinyl.

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Silhouette School contributor Kate from Houseful of Handmade is here today to share a little trick that will leave you with perfect layered vinyl without the registration marks!

I fell in love with this pumpkin truck design in the Silhouette Design Store and knew I wanted to turn it into a fun sign for fall. However, when I opened up the design, there are lots of elements layered on top of each other. I knew it would be impossible to perfectly line up all the different layers, unless I used this easy trick for making designs easier to layer.

Open up your design in Silhouette Studio. I like to place the different elements where they will be on the final design so I can easily see how things are suppose to line up. Immediately I knew the pumpkin stem and leaves would be a huge problem. The two cut files are the exact same size and I know I cannot perfectly line up all the scrolls and leaves.

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So I used the Offset tool to make the leaves a bit larger. The offset tool is different from scaling. It will move the outer line out a defined amount. When you first open the tool, the default is set to 0.125 in. (you can see how large it is on the picture below). Change the offset amount by changing the distance with the arrows or by typing in the amount you want and pressing enter. Do not hit apply until you are happy with the amount of offset you have.

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Now you will have 2 designs: the original and the new offset design. Delete the original. However, I noticed that the offset on the leaves made the design connect in some places. Which is not the look I wanted.

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Instead I decided to do an Internal Offset on the pumpkin design to make the design a tiny bit smaller. So I selected the Offset tool and then Internal Offset. Then I changed the distance to 0.015 in and pressed apply. Then deleted the original.

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Now when I place the leaves over the pumpkin, there is a tiny bit of overlap. This will make it so when layering the cut material you have some wiggle room around the design to line it up.

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I added an External Offset to the rest of the overlapping elements (the windows, tires, and wheel wells). Then I was ready to cut and layer my design. I cut my design out of Oracal 651 vinyl and used Oracal clear transfer tape to easily transfer the vinyl to the wood.

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You can see how easy it was to get a clean overlap of my vinyl on my sign.

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And the wheel wells were able to cover up any gaps between the tires and the truck. Now the design looks seamless and professional!

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If you want to see the complete sign and how I made it, click here for the wood pumpkin sign tutorial. And don't forget to check out all my DIY Crafts tutorials on Houseful of Handmade.

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. I love your tutorials but with them being pink in color they are very hard to see or cannot be seen at all. I could not see this one at all. Is there another way to view these.

  2. I am glad to have this tutorial, but there are a bunch of steps that are left out. I am still a novice and these types of files have always intimidated me. I need a few more details and need to see a few more of the steps. For example, what did you do for the offset of the tires, etc. I am assuming that you cut the pumpkin out in orange, than lay the green leaves on top of it after it is cut out. I know my questions may be elementary, but that is what I need in my tutorials--especially when I am learning a new trick.

    I also agree that I wish you could make the screen shots larger. They can be hard to see what is on the screen.


  3. I can see how off-setting the tires, window and bumpers makes sense. But why would you cut the leaves and stem in orange then layer the green on top of that? I would have used the knife or divide feature to remove the stem and leaves from the pumpkin. Then place the stem/leaves layer where you want it on the now stemless pumpkin. (To make it easier to see: color each layer appropriately and slide the transparent bar towards to the right so they are see through). Then double click on the pumpkin to get the points, and individually adjust any that cross the stem/leaves layer so they are slightly overlapped. Much simpler in my opinion.


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