Guest Blogger Melissa Viscount from Silhouette School

Hi! I’m so excited that Lori has allowed me to take over her blog today! My name is Melissa Viscount and I am the blogger behind Silhouette School and the author of The Ultimate Silhouette Guide ebook/book series.  I love teaching crafters how to use the Silhouette CAMEO, Portrait, Curio and Mint machine! Lori has so graciously allowed me to share a few of my tips and tricks for cutting paper cleanly with you today!

Paper crafts are hugely popular with Silhouette CAMEO and Portrait users – the problem is paper can be a bit tricky to cut with the Silhouette cutting machines.

Getting a clean cut on paper starts with having the right Silhouette cutting mat. A new mat or gently used mat can be overly sticky which can spell disaster for paper cuts.  A mat that’s too sticky will keep the paper in place while cutting, but it will likely create a mess and a headache while trying to remove the paper from the cutting mat after the cut.  The paper may curl as you try to release it from the cutting mat – or worse – separate leaving a thin layer of paper on the mat.

To avoid this common problem while cutting paper with the die cutter, de-sticky the Silhouette cutting mat by blotting it with a clean cotton pillow case or t-shirt before placing the paper on it.  This will keep the mat clean, while gently taking away some of the stickiness of the mat.

Another option is to cut paper using the Silhouette Light Tack cutting mat. This cutting mat is specially designed for cutting paper with Silhouette CAMEO or Portrait. It’s not nearly as sticky as the regular cutting mat making it perfect for paper – which doesn’t need quite as much stick as vinyl or other materials to stay in place while cutting.

The next thing you want to do to get a better paper cut with your Silhouette machine, is make sure you are using the Line Segment Overcut feature in Silhouette Studio.

You can find the Line Segement Overcut option at the bottom of the Cut Settings window in Silhouette Studio. Use the scroll bar after you select the material type, to scroll down and you’ll see it.

After selecting “ON” in the Line Segment Overcut area, adjust the distance of the overcut.  Adjusting to 0.1 mm and 0.1 mm is usually plenty.

The way overcut works is instead of the blade staying down in the paper and turning at hard corners and angles like it would at each corner of this square…

….it instead overcuts the corner by a small distance (0.1), then lifts up out of the paper to make a new connecting cut.

The overcuts will NOT appear in Silhouette
Studio.  I have drawn them in here so you can more easily understand.

Think of it cutting a corner like an X rather than a V.  That slight overcut is small enough that it isn’t noticeable to see on the paper once cut, but it makes a huge difference in preventing the paper from being torn up, chewed and pulled while cutting.

Look at the difference in how the Silhouette CAMEO blade cut this small triangle on nearly-impossible-to-cut-cleanly construction paper!  Both triangles were cut with the same exact cut settings – except the Segment Line Overcut was turned on for the triangle on the right.

Finally, consider a double cut when cutting paper with Silhouette CAMEO. A double cut is often the difference between a soft ‘furry’ edge and a clean, sharp cut. Imagine cutting with a dull blade vs a super sharp blade.

You can find the box to turn on the Double Cut in the Cut Settings window. After you select the material type, use the scroll bar on the right side of the window to scroll down and check the box.

Of course, before you commit to any or all of these tricks for cutting paper, you will want to be sure to use the test cut option to ensure the settings you are using will provide the best quality cut. If you skip the test cut, you risk wasting a whole lot of materials, as well as time.

Thanks again to Lori for allowing me to share a few Silhouette CAMEO tips and tricks with you today! Be sure to get schooled on all things Silhouette related at Silhouette School blog! You can also find Silhouette School on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest!

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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by K S

show hide 17 comments

Denise Grant - October 29, 2016 - 11:35 pm

I am still operating on the original software that came with my machine plus SS Designer edition. I have never upgraded the software. Is this why I can’t find this feature in my cut setting window?

Arlene McClung - September 24, 2016 - 11:49 pm

Thanks for the tips. I am sure I will be happier with cleaner cuts.

Sue R - July 8, 2016 - 3:32 am

My top tip for taking paper or card off a very sticky mat is to turn it over (paper side down) on the table and peel your mat off the card. The paper is less likely to curl

Annie Solomon - July 5, 2016 - 5:28 pm

I can’t believe I’ve been struggling with my machine for over a year and never knew any of this. Why, oh why doesn’t Silhouette provide this information? In any case, thank you SO much for these simple tips. I’ll never cut paper again without doing them.

Lindsay Ettlinger - July 5, 2016 - 3:57 pm

Thank you so much Melissa! This is the main reason my Cameo sits on my desk and is hardly used! Looking forward to trying your tips!

Cathie Vaughn - July 5, 2016 - 3:51 pm

Melissa; I have cut plenty on vinyl, and some paper…..not as much as I should. I’ve never had big success with a lot of those cute cards in the Silhouette Store with all the pretty cutouts in them. I tried several days ago to make cards…after many attempts I gave up and wdnt with store-bought!!! Your article has given me new hope I can tackle these cards. I didn’t even know what that overcut function button meant!! Can’t wait to try this tips!!! Thank You soooo MUCH!

Maryann - July 5, 2016 - 3:39 pm

I tried this with a butterfly box with lid using card stock and I still am having trouble trying to cut this out. Very hard to weed out the little cuts. Is there any suggestion on what I can do?

Christine Combs - July 5, 2016 - 3:23 pm

Just wanted to say Thanks to Melissa, the line segment info is invaluable. I had been wishing to use vinyl to make greeting cards, just because it was easier to cut. I have fought with cutting paper/card stock forever. This WORKS!

karen D - July 5, 2016 - 12:14 pm

–Thank you so very, very much. I learned something I had no idea was even there! Thanks for sharing.

karen D - July 5, 2016 - 12:13 pm

–Thank you sooooooo very much! You are the best! Thank you for sharing….

Kathy - July 5, 2016 - 9:49 am

Great tips Melissa. Thanks so much.

Michelle Nettles - July 5, 2016 - 8:44 am

Thank you for sharing this info!! I have cut a lot of paper for making party decorations & had a lot of similar cutting problems. Looking forward to trying these tips when I make decorations for my parents 50th wedding anniversary!! :)

ANNE B - July 5, 2016 - 7:25 am

These tips make the difference between letting a Silhouette sit taking up valuable
crafting real estate (table space) and
using it. The end results look professional and solvingproblems and designing are a lot more fun

Tina C - July 5, 2016 - 5:27 am

Thanks Melissa for the info will be giving that a try today :) I follow your blog and enjoy all the tips you provide :)

Jane - July 4, 2016 - 8:18 am

Wow, thank you so much. I have owned a Portrait for some years and yesterday upgraded to a Cameo, just had a play with the overcut technique for the first time and it is brilliant. Love Jane x

K Russell - July 4, 2016 - 7:57 am

Ever since you told us how to do the overcut technique I have used it and am a VERY HAPPY CRAFTER now!!!! Thank you so much!

Debbie S - July 4, 2016 - 6:12 am

Thanks Melissa! I follow you at Silhouette School and love your blog too. This is a REALLY helpful strategy that I will be using! I only noticed the double cut feature, which I sometimes use, but didn’t know about the overcut feature. THANKS!!

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