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How to Cut Paper Cleanly With Silhouette: 10 Tips for Success!

Vinyl gets a lot of attention around here, but paper crafts are still hugely popular and some of the most amazing creations cut with the Silhouette machines are with paper.

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Paper can get a bad rap sometimes because it's not the easiest material to cut cleanly with Silhouette. It can shred, it can tear, it can get stuck to the mat. Today I'm sharing 10 tricks to help you get better paper cuts with your Silhouette.

10 Tips for Cutting Paper with Silhouette

Once you're armed with these tips for cutting paper you'll be able to tackle all kinds of Silhouette paper craft projects - including all 23 cut-friendly paper designs in So Fontsy's Paper Craft Bundle.  

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#1. Start with a High Quality Paper

Not all paper is created equally. Construction paper, for example, is extremely hard to cut cleanly with Silhouette because of how fibrous it is. High quality card stock and patterned paper will give you the best chance at having a clean cut on your Silhouette paper projects.

Best Paper for Silhouette Recommendations:

  • For a card base or larger paper cuts - 110 cardstock stock with default Silhouette material settings for either Coverstock or Textured Card Stock
  • Boxes - Silhouette-brand chipboard; Use "Chipboard" material settings
  • Glitter Cardstock: Best Creations; Use "Glitter Cardstock" material settings 
  • Intricate & Delicate Paper Cuts - 65lb card stock (I used the Darice Core'dinations 65lb cardstock here)
  • Patterned Paper: Recollections brand

#2. Use a Sharp Blade

Sharp scissors cut paper more cleanly so why wouldn't the same go for a Silhouette blade? Use a new, sharp blade to cut your paper projects for the best results. It's also a good idea to remove the blade between each cut and blow out any dust and paper fibers that might be on the blade.  

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 #3. Use a Light Hold Silhouette Cutting Mat

A Silhouette cutting mat that's too sticky can make your paper curl and/or tear while the paper design is being removed.

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Instead, use a cutting mat that's not longer at it's full adhesive strength or use a Light Hold Silhouette Cutting Mat which isn't as sticky and therefore allows paper to be more easily removed cleanly.

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After cutting, peel the mat away from the paper, as opposed to the paper off the mat. This will help prevent the paper from curling.

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 #4. Remove Any Scraps from the Mat

Remove any paper scraps or other lint from the cutting mat before placing your paper on the mat. Even the smallest piece of scrap under the paper an prevent the blade from cutting through the paper resulting in a bad cut. Use the Silhouette spatula or scraper to clean your mat of scraps.


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 #5. Cut from the Back

The back of the paper often gets a slightly cleaner cut, so flip your paper over and mirror your design to cut from the back.

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 #6. Turn on Line Segment Overcut

Use the Line Segment Overcut feature when cutting paper to get cleaner corners. This feature is turned on in the Send panel and the overcut distance can be adjusted - although the default distance is typically fine.  

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When turned on, instead of the blade turning at the corner the blade will instead cut past the corner, lift up, and then set back down in the direction of the next side. Cutting corners this way prevents the blade from rotating while down in the paper which can cause corners to tear and lift.

 #7. Slow the Cut Speed

Slowing down the cut speed, from the Send panel, helps prevent the blade from dragging intricate pieces with it while cutting. It also helps make sure corners are cut cleanly.

When the speed is too high you can easily ruin your paper cuts.

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 #8. Do a Double Cut (2 Passes)

A double cut means the blade will pass over the design twice. This is helpful with paper because any areas that are not completely cut through on the first pass have a second chance of being cut giving you a better chance of getting a clean cut.

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 #9. Test Cut

As with any material, it's always a good idea to do a test cut. A test cut uses the current cut settings to cut a small triangle within a square at the top left corner of your material.  When the test cut is complete, try to weed out the square. If it weeds cleanly and easily and leaves the corners of your triangle sharp, that means your cut settings should work well for your design.

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 #10. Check Your Cut Before Removing the Mat

After cutting your paper design with your Silhouette machine, leave the cutting mat under the rollers while checking the cut. Use a sharp pair of tweezers or a hook to carefully remove a small piece of the design to ensure you got a good cut. If the paper does not easily remove or the cut quality is not as good as you'd like it, send the design to cut again - without removing or repositioning the mat.


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Now that you know how to cut paper cleanly with Silhouette CAMEO and Portrait you can stop avoiding paper projects! Grab the Paper Crafting Bundle from our sister site So Fontsy to get started! Hurry though, it's only around for a limited time.

https://sofontsy.com/product/paper-crafting-bundle/

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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