Copyright Silhouette School 2016. Powered by Blogger.

Silhouette CAMEO Hack: Self Weeding HTV Designs!

Cutting distressed fonts and designs on HTV can be a real challenge to weed.

silhouette 101, silhouette america blog, self weeding htv, Silhouette Heat Transfer Vinyl, Heat Transfer Vinyl

I recently had this epiphany moment realizing I could actually force the distressed areas to self weed when cutting with my Silhouette machine. And the best part is this works on Mandala designs as well!

This takes a little set up in Silhouette Studio, but it's so worth it to not have to weed out all those distressed areas.

I will tell you this is easiest with a Silhouette CAMEO 3 where you two tool carriages, but it is definitely possible with a single carriage machine as well.

Start by getting your design set up, sized, and mirrored (right click > flip horizontally...or wait select this option in the Send panel)  in the Silhouette Studio work area. I am using this distressed RAD DAD design from So Fontsy's May bundle.

self weeding htv, Silhouette Heat Transfer Vinyl, Heat Transfer Vinyl, HTV vinyl, vinyl heat transfer,

Now release the compound path and ungroup (both found by right clicking) if necessary so you can access the distressed areas separately from the main part of the letter.

self weeding htv, Silhouette Heat Transfer Vinyl, Heat Transfer Vinyl, HTV vinyl, cameo 4

If your design is filled with a solid color before you release the compound path, it will completely fill in after you release it - like this. Don't panic.

self weeding htv, Silhouette Heat Transfer Vinyl, Heat Transfer Vinyl, silhouette studio v4.2, distressed fonts

From the Fill Color tool on the Quick Access Toolbar, change the fill to "Transparent" and the line color to any visible color.

self weeding htv, Silhouette Heat Transfer Vinyl, Heat Transfer Vinyl, cut settings, distressed fonts,

Select all of the distressed areas and group them together.

TIP: The easiest way to get all of the distressed areas selected is to actually select EVERYTHING then hold down Shift and use your mouse to DESELECT the larger areas of the font.  Group what remains selected.
Change the line color of the distressed areas to something other than red. In this case I made all the lines for the distressed areas blue.

self weeding htv, cut settings, Heat Transfer Vinyl, silhouette studio, vinyl heat transfer,

Move to the Send panel. Instead of cutting from the Simple panel, we want to cut by Line Color - this is why we gave the distressed areas a different line color.

self weeding htv, cut by line color, Heat Transfer Vinyl, cut settings, silhouette studio

The red cut lines - or the main part of the letters - will cut with the standard HTV, Smooth cut settings and your choice of blades. (See image above). You can go ahead and place that blade in the red/left tool carriage. 

The blue cut lines on the distressed area will be cut by the tool in the blue/right carriage. This tool (Ratchet blade or Premium blade ideally) will have different cut settings that will cut completely through the HTV and the carrier sheet.  Start by changing the Material Type to something like HTV, Flock. Then adjust the cut settings to Blade 7, Speed 5, Force 33, 2 Passes. Manually adjust that tool and place it in the right carriage.

self weeding htv, Silhouette Heat Transfer Vinyl, Heat Transfer Vinyl, HTV vinyl, cut by line color

Place the HTV on the cutting mat and load the cutting mat into the Silhouette CAMEO.

From the Send Panel send the design to cut. Don't forget, if you have not yet flipped your design, take that option before sending to cut.
This is what it will look like while it's cutting...those areas are already being self-weeded out because they are being cut completely through the HTV and carrier sheet.

self weeding htv, self weeding, Heat Transfer Vinyl, HTV vinyl, cameo 3

Once the cutting is finished, rip up the HTV from the cutting mat - like a bandaid.

The majority of the distressed areas should stay behind on the mat and whatever didn't should easily pop out or use your finger to easily rub off.

self weeding htv, Silhouette Heat Transfer Vinyl, Heat Transfer Vinyl, HTV vinyl, vinyl heat transfer,

Now just weed away the remaining HTV around the main part of the design and you're ready to apply the distressed heat transfer vinyl.

self weeding htv, siser Heat Transfer Vinyl, Heat Transfer Vinyl, HTV vinyl, vinyl heat transfer,

I LOVE using this trick on designs that are time consuming to weed like mandalas!

Now that you know the trick, there's no reason to stay away from distressed fonts and designs like mandalas. 

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. Is there something similar for adhesive vinyl?

  2. WOW! What a game changer, now if I only had a 3 instead of a 2...

    1. If you have a model with only one tool carriage, you enter a break/pause between the two Colors and adjust the Settings, I do it like that all the time.

    2. I just untick the one colour and when the first is finished, untick that and tick the other colour, then send and it will cut that colour. I do this with quite a few colours, no problem. I have a 2. GREAT tip about the weeding Melissa.
      Faith A

  3. Wow!! Thank you! I use a lot of Grunge fonts. This is awesome 👏

  4. So how would you do it with a single blade? Is there a pause function between cuts to change the settings?

    1. Don't remove mat from machine, reset blade and select other colour and resend.

  5. Pretty groovy, Melissa! Sounds so logical. Can't wait to try.

  6. You are awesome in your knowledge, and sharing it!

  7. Love this one! I haven't tried distressed ANYTHING as shy way from the weeding. Thanks,

  8. This looks great, will have to try.

  9. Wow...ok a veteran silhoutte user and this is freakin awesome! Thank u!

  10. Ever tried this on vinyl, cutting without a mat?


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.