How to Use Silhouette Studio for Beginners (2022)

I am very happy to welcome you to the amazing world of Silhouette Studio.

The Silhouette Studio software was designed for the Silhouette cutting machines. However, since it’s such robust and versatile software, you don’t even need a Silhouette to make use of it. Plus, it’s free.

How to use Silhouette studio?

Here is a step-by-step guide for beginners on how to use Silhouette studio.

Download Silhouette Studio

Simply go to Silhouette America’s website and click the ‘Software’ button. Select the Mac or PC version, depending upon what you have. Click the download button. The software will download. Click on the downloaded file and install.

Downloading Silhouette studio software

Use page set up menu to set the properties of the mat.

Open the software after it has been downloaded and installed. Let’s start with the Page Setup Menu. I believe it is important for a beginner to learn the page setup menu because this is a physical representation of the material you’ll feed into the machine.

This represents a cutting mat and a 12×12 piece of material. The type of material does not matter at this point. We will just discuss the size. In other words, we can change the size to whatever I want.

There are also some presets for scraps, like 6×6. If you are going to use letter size, you can select the current printer; there are different A-series sizes. Always begin with the size of the page and the size of the material, no matter what size you’re working with.

Choosing whether or not to cut on a mat is the next step. That is important because if you’re not using a mat, then your Cameo will only feed into the top of the material, but if it thinks you are using a mat, it will feed in this extra inch or so.

If you’re going to use the print and cut feature, it’s a good idea to turn on at least your Cut Border, but you may want to turn on your Print Border as well.

Setting up the size of the material from page set up menu

Use grid settings to set up boundary.

Your panel now has icons at the top. Now, let’s switch on and off your Grid Settings. You can also change your division if you come down. 

When you completely turn off the grid, you have a red line around your material and a gray line. You use the red line as your cut boundary and the gray one as your print border.

using grid settings

Open, edit and save files.

Let’s talk about how to open and save files in Silhouette Studio. In the basic version, you will either want to open a .studio or a DXF file; these are already set up and ready for you to use on your machine.

You need the Designer Edition or a higher version to import SVG files.

By clicking on the file option, you can import and open the file. Make sure you unzip downloaded designs first if you have downloaded them.

You can add something to the design by going to the File option and clicking Merge. Additionally, it lets you add a design to your work area,

If you’re using a DXF file, you’ll need to choose your area, and then you can either group it together or make a compound path.

If you want to fill it in, you can also select a color; it does not have to match your vinyl, but it is easier.

Also, you can change the outline color, but none of that will affect how the image will cut or what color the image will cut in. It only matters to you as a person and your visual preferences.

In addition, you can select the file, and Save As, from which you can choose Save to Hard Drive or Save to Library.

Opening editing and saving files

Set up sizing properties

Let’s talk about sizing and how to use shapes to help you.

For example, if you create a T-shirt design, you should measure the design area while wearing your adult, large, unisex shirt.

My design shouldn’t be wider than 11 inches wide.

If you need help with sizing, there are a few guides available. When you’re just getting started, don’t be afraid to put on that shirt and use a little masking or painter’s tape.

Having that tape on the shirt will allow you to remove the shirt and then measure out the area you want to work on.

A measuring tape always comes in handy because you can ensure that your vinyl will not be too big or too small by measuring the blank or the substrate before you cut it.

There’s nothing worse than finishing your cutting and applying and then looking at your finished project and feeling that it’s just not the right size for you.

You can use shapes underdrawing tools.

Take note of the transform panel and explore it. Also, we have a Scale feature that lets us type in the size of our sign or canvas. Say I want an 8×10 canvas. I can simply enter 10 inches by 8 inches.

Now we need to unlock our aspect ratio of 10 inches x 8 inches.

In other words, you can either use handles or type them in. The aspect ratio should be locked. The aspect ratio determines whether you want your shape, size, and proportion to remain the same or not.

I did not want to keep the rectangle proportionate because I wanted to type in my exact dimensions, but I also did not want the design to start looking wonky. I, therefore, relocked the aspect ratio.

Setting up sizing properties

Silhouette cameo features in our top cutting machines for beginners.

Use align feature with adjusting your design.

You have a few alignment features in the transform menu. You can center to page. It will take your entire design center.

Additionally, you have horizontal features. You can center or align left, center, right. Other options include vertical, top, center, bottom.

Using alignment settings

Customize the text

You can type out any text you wish on the left-hand side. If necessary, you can enlarge it.

There is a text style panel on the right toolbar, and you can choose any font on your computer. Additionally, there are glyphs panels. A glyph is an extra letter or flourishes that comes with a font. This feature is exclusive to the designer edition. You only get the preview feature in the basic version.

You can also install new fonts if you want. Just remember that if you install a new font, you will need to restart Silhouette Studio.

You should save what you’re working on, then go into Silhouette Studio, install those fonts, close it, and restart it so that Silhouette Studio can import them.

Editing the text

Use tracing for perfect results.

You should import an image with a black and white contrast. If you can trace the design in black and white, you’ll have the best results, right? Anything with a lot of contrast is ideal.

Make sure to enlarge the image. Trace the area by selecting a trace area and drawing a box around it. It now glows bright yellow, which is wonderful.

The threshold and the scale can be set in a few different ways. They don’t need to be dealt with, but we should be aware they are there. You can change your threshold to change the outcome of your traceable area, and then you can decrease the scale of your design if it has many fine details.

Trace is the only option you should hit. The outer edge of Trace is not the one you want to hit. Trace and Detach are not to be hit. The regular trace is all you need since those other two options can confuse you.

Once we move the design, you will see a red outline, which indicates that the design is now set up as a cut file. Perfect!

Design tracing

Create an Offset

One of Silhouette Studio’s key features is its Offset feature. With an offset, you can create a border around your design. 

In other words, if you are creating a decal and you want to add some depth to it. Often, if you are doing a tumbler or working with a pattern, you can create those offsets to give your design some definition.

Creating the offset

Print and cut

Print and cut mean you can cut around your printable stickers or other items.

To utilize the print and cut feature, you will have to combine a variety of skills you have already mastered. Because we are working with clipart, we need to use the tracing, and we will also use the offset, depending on the look we are going for.

Silhouette Cameo won’t always be 100% accurate. It has an optical lens and has to detect everything, so it’s better to have that Print Bleed on and give yourself that little cushion of time in the future.

You will either need to select the Print icon or go to file and then select the Print option to print. When you click on your Send panel, you’ll be able to cut just like you would anywhere else.

However, I won’t say that print and cutting is easy because sometimes there are extenuating circumstances or your machine refuses to register your registration marks. Therefore, you will need to examine some troubleshooting options and don’t be afraid to try it because you can do so many things with this print and cut feature.

Using print and cut feature

How to upgrade Silhouette Studio?

The free edition of Silhouette Studio includes all the basic features available on the left-hand side.

However, there are several different upgrade versions, the most common being the Designer Edition. The Designer Edition Plus offers some added advantages if you are an embroider and wish to use embroidery files. It’s great for personal use. The Business Edition unlocks all of Silhouette Studio’s features, allowing you to use it to its fullest extent. It’s best if you run a small business.

Once you decide which version of the software you would like to use, you must purchase an upgrade key. After payment, they will give you an Upgrade Key Code.

Once you enter the code, the subscription option mine is greyed out, showing you are a premium member.

How to use Silhouette Studio if I do not have a cutting machine?

Silhouette Studio can be used for more than just cutting if you do not have a Silhouette cutting machine. You can use it to design your files as well. Sublimation is possible with it. You can design planner pages with it. Once you learn the software, you can do so many things.

Leave a Comment