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How to Print and Cut with CAMEO 4 Like a Pro When You're a Newbie!

Silhouette Print and Cut is one of the most popular - but intimidating - ways to use the Silhouette cutting machines. 

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It's possible to print and cut on all Silhouette machines, including the Silhouette CAMEO 4, CAMEO 4 Plus, and CAMEO 4 Pro. This beginner Silhouette print and cut tutorial will walk you through all the steps.

Silhouette CAMEO 4 Print and Cut for Beginners

No matter the machine or the Silhouette software version, the basics of print and cut remain the same:

  • Create your own, convert, or open a Silhouette print and cut file
  • Adjust the Page Setup for Printer
  • Add Registration Marks 
  • Print on your home computer
  • Cut the print and cut design with your Silhouette CAMEO 4 

Finding Print and Cut Files for Silhouette CAMEO

Since it can be difficult for a beginner to know what a Silhouette print and cut file looks like, I'm providing you with a free Silhouette design to download. This way we're all working on the same Silhouette cut file and it will be easier to follow this 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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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 Software for Print and Cut

Now that your design is 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, expand the Media Size dropdown menu and select "Printer". This will adjust the size of the cutting area on your virtual cutting mat in Silhouette Studio to match the printing sizing of your printer. 

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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 Border" and "Show Cut Border."  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. Select "On". 
This will add three 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 is not touching the hashed area or outside the safe print or cut zones. 

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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 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. A print preview will appear and if your design looks good, you can click "Print". 

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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.  

Tip: Try to have the top edge and left side of the paper just slightly cover the edge of the grid on the cutting mat. Sometimes the machine tries to read the grid lines rather than the registration marks. 

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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 the Up / Load arrow on the CAMEO 4 control panel. 

If you are using the CAMEO 4 AutoBlade make sure it's seated correctly in the left carriage 1. If you're using the ratchet blade with the CAMEO 4, 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.

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

The Silhouette CAMEO 4 machine will first use its red light to find the registration marks and then begin cutting.
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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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. Hi. Why do you select printer instead of letter in media size section? I've always thought you needed to enter the media size. Maybe that's why I have some troubles with print and cut?

    1. If you are printing something to cut, it works better to first select your printer and media/print settings without printing. I usually act like I'm going to print by clicking print, then it goes to the print preview and I click print again, then I click my printer in the options menu (I have more than one) and click the printer and change the settings there for paper type and size and border or borderless options and all my print settings. Then I apply those settings and instead of clicking print (since I'm not ready yet) I click cancel to go back to my design area. Then I choose the media size as printer. If you print borderless or with a border on your printer, the print border automatically adjusts on your design area.

  2. Mine still cuts off with the registration marks and definitely skips using the auto blade so half the design is cut and the other isn't. I'm using Jetpro soft for darks printable tshirt transfer on the cameo 4 plus. Is there any cheat sheet anywhere for cut settings

  3. Thank you so much for this tutorial. It really helped me accomplish my print and cut design! This tut was very easy to understand and the steps were broken down wonderfully!

  4. "Here's how you learn to print and cut, use or buy our stuff it's already done for you. No need to be creative we have also done that for you". i suppose this is helpful if you want to only make their stuff. not helpful at all when you need to learn how to set up the cut lines, trace line, off set ... glad there is still time to cancel my membership before getting charged.

    1. Hi Jenn, This is a beginner tutorial that focused on the process of printing and cutting. It strips out all the rest including creating cut lines intentionally to focus the learning on the process. I have hundreds of other blog posts on more advanced printing and cutting once the "newbie" understands the concepts and has mastered the fundamentals. In addition, this is a free blog so there's no membership.


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