Silhouette Trace & Offset Tutorial

Buttons and Bows Multi Occasion Card
with Free Digital Paper & Print and Cut Files

While looking for the perfect bow image to use for a card design, I stumbled upon a treasure chest of free images and free digital papers to use for scrapbooking and card making at the About.com web site. Did I mention that they’re FREE?

For this card making project and tutorial, you’ll need to download the “Paesaggio-Green-Bow” image from the Digital Scrapbooking section at About.com. To make the card pictured above, you’ll also need to download the “Paesaggio-Brown-Button” image.

Please read the TERMS OF USE regarding the bow and button images here: http://graphicssoft.about.com/library/nosearch/bl_darleenaraujo_termsofuse.htm.

This tutorial will show you how to print and cut the bow image with the green border and horizontal “ribbon” pictured on the card above. You can then follow the same steps to print and cut the brown buttons that are used in the corners of the card.

1. Go to File > Open and open your bow image.
2. Click on the bow image to select it, and go to Object > Transform > Scale Options… to open the Scale window on the right. Use the up/down arrows to the left of the “Apply” button to specify a percentage (26% has been used for this tutorial) and click “Apply.”
3. Go to File > Page Setup and choose Letter. Place the file about 2 inches from top and side of virtual mat.
4. Go to Object > Trace to open the Trace window on right. Click “Select Trace Area” and use your mouse to draw a rectangle around the bow. The bow should look like what is shown in the image below.
5. Check the box next to “High Pass Filter” and use your mouse to move the arrow all the way to the right. The number in the box will go to 25.00, but you can use the small up/down arrows to the right of the box to take the number all the way up to about 200.
The bow should look something like what is shown below.
6. Since you can still see some gray area within the bow, you must now use the “Threshold” filter until you see all of the gray disappear and you are left with a solid yellow area.
If you move the filter too far, yellow will start to appear at the edges of your trace area. You do not want any yellow appearing anywhere outside the bow, and you might have to nudge the various filter options to get your trace area to where it is only showing solid yellow within the bow.
7. Once you are sure that you have the solid yellow area within the bow you can click on “Trace Outer Edge” in the “Apply Trace Method” box.
You should now see the red outline appear around the bow.
Option: You can now drag your mouse around the bow and outline to select them and go to Edit > Copy and Edit > Paste to copy and paste another bow and outline. You can use the Scale option to make larger or samller versions of the bow and outline and arrange them on your virtual mat for your print and cut.
8. Go to File > Registration Mark Settings to open the Registration Marks window on right. Click on the box next to “Show Reg Marks” and the registration marks will be placed onto your virtual cutting mat. If necessary, select your bow(s) and outline(s) to make certain that they do not overlap into the area of the virtual cutting mat which contains the diagonal grid (the Silhouette will not cut anything that is within this diagonal grid area).
9. Save your file by choosing File > Save as… and name your file with the .studio extension (green-bow.studio, for example).
If you want to print and cut the bow only at this point, skip to step 15. The next few steps will show you how to add a border and horizontal band to the bow before printing and cutting.
10. Using your mouse, drag the bow image a bit to the left or right so that the red cut outline can be clicked easily. Click on the red trace area to select, and go to Object > Offset to open the Offset window on the right. Click on Offset and you will see another red outline appear around the original cut line. The Offset Distance can be adjusted, but I am leaving the offset distance at .25 for this tutorial. Click “Apply” (from below the “Offset Distance” scale).
11. Click on the Paint Bucket tool from the menu at the top of the Silhouette Studio software screen to open the Fill Color menu on the right, and choose a color to fill the shape area. I used the eye dropper tool to select a green color from within the bow image. You should now have something that looks like the image below.
12. Open the Cut Style window by clicking on the scissors tool in the upper menu (next to the letter “A”). Click on “Cut Edge” so that the Silhouette will cut around this edge. Go to Object > Arrange > Send to Back. Click on the inner bow shape and delete it by using the delete key on your keyboard.
13. Drag the bow image back into the center of the colored outline shape. Use the “Draw a Rectangle” tool from the tools menu on the left and fill it with the same color you used to fill the outer bow. Choose Object > Arrange > Send to Back. Drag the bow image and outer bow shape to where you would like it to be placed in relation to the rectangle behind. Hold down the shift key on your keyboard and click on the rectangle and the outer bow shape so they are both selected. Choose Object > Modify > Weld to weld the shapes.
14. Save your file again by choosing File > Save.
15. Print the bow image by going to File > Print.
16. Place the printed page onto the upper left corner of your Silhouette cutting mat. Go to File > Send to Silhouette to open the Print Image window on the right. Click on “Click here to skip printing.”
17. Follow the instructions for loading your cutting mat into the Silhouette and click “Continue.”
18. Next, you will be asked if you want to detect registration marks before cutting. Choose “Detect automatically.” Your Silhouette will detect the registration marks and, when successful, the software will display a message telling you that the detection was successful.
19. Click the Cut button and the Silhouette will cut your paper.
If you have image editing software, such as Adobe Photoshop, you can use it to change the bow color. The alternate bow(s) can be opened in the Silhouette software and copied onto your virtual cutting mat. You can copy the outer bow and change colors.

To make the card pictured above, you’ll need to download the “circles-brown-teal” digital paper from the free digital papers page and the “buttons-and-bows-card” print and cut files below. Print out a copy of the “circles-brown-teal” digital paper and cut using the “inset-card-with-cut” file (a studio file is included for Silhouette Studio users, and an svg file is included for Sure Cuts A Lot users).

Next, download the “Paesaggio-Brown-Button” image from the About.com web site and add 4 copies to your virtual cutting mat. I’ve added some bleed around the buttons (using the “Offset” and “No Cut” options) to ensure that there aren’t any white edges around the button images after they’re cut. You can print and cut the buttons by themselves or you can go back to your bow file and copy and paste a copy onto your virtual mat. Advanced users can open the “sentiments-print” and “sentiments-cut” files and include them on the virtual mat as well (as pictured in the right side image below).

“inset-card-with-cut” file (left)
“buttons-and-bows-card” print and cut files (right)

Please note that the buttons and bow images are not included in the download. You must download those images from the links found at the top of this page.

After you have printed and cut all of your pieces (the patterned inset piece, buttons, bow, sentiments), you can choose which one of the sentiments you’d like to use, and assemble onto an 8-1/2″ x 11″ piece of cardstock which has been scored in the center.

Please pay attention to the shadows on the buttons when you place them on the card, and make sure that all shadows are facing the same direction.

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