Let’s Explore v4 – Registration Marks

Welcome back! Today we are talking something that I love to do – Print & Cut.

We have explored Tab 1 – Page Setting and Tab 2 – Grid setting the last two weeks and now it’s time to talk Tab 3 – Registration Marks. On the Page Setting Panel, the 3rd tab over is your Registration marks tab and you only use these when doing a Print and Cut project.

Registration Marks

First you will need to set your page size. If you have a printer that will only print Letter Size, then you need to change your Page Size to “Current Printer” (check out the Page Settings post on changing Page Size). This will adjust your page size down to the exact area that you can print. Turn your Orientation to the Portrait Orientation and it also helps to check the box next to ‘Show Print border’ and ‘Show Cut Border’.

Page Setup page size copy

Now, we are ready to click on the 3rd tab on the Page Setup Panel.

Registration Marks tab copy

I first want to start out with a warning. While you can change a lot of the options on the Print and Cut, I highly recommend that you try cutting at the Default settings first and get to know the Print and Cut features before you go changing too many things.
I have great success with just the default settings and find I don’t have to change them, even though it is possible.

  1. Style – Under Style you have 3 options: Off, Type 1 & Type 2. Almost all users will choose the Type 1 option. Type 2 is only used for the Original or SD machines which are rare, they do still exist and are still going strong, but only a few users.
    Choose Type 1 – Cameo, Portrait, Curio.Style copy
  2. Length & Thickness – You can change the length and thickness of the Registration marks. Below I have shown 2 examples of changing the measurements and you can see the marks in the bottom left & top right change. 

  3. Inset – Here you can change the placement of the Registration marks. The higher the number, the closer it moves to the Center of your page.Inset
  4. Advanced Options – If you click on this, it will open up more options for you to change the Inset dimensions.
    Advanced copy
  5. Restore Defaults – This is probably my favorite. This will reset anything you have changed to the Defaults of the original Print and Cut. Length at 0.787 in, Thickness at 0.50 in and Inset at 0.625 in. So if you get a wild hair to change things, you can always go back to basics and click on ‘Restore Defaults’ to change it back.
  6. Default vs Inverted – This will change the direction of where the Print and Cut is placed on your mat. Notice the direction of the arrow on the cutting mat, Inverted places it on the opposite corner of the mat & moves the registration marks on the page.

  7. Enable Barcode on this Design – This adds a barcode to the side of your page and it stores all of the cut settings data in the bar code that the Cameo 3 will read.
    This is a Business Edition upgrade feature only.Barcode copy
  8. Add Barcode file to the following Cloud account – Check this and the information will be saved to your Cloud account.
  9. Email address – this is the cloud account email address that the file will be saved to when you print it.

Some tips for Print and Cut: 

  • Start with the default settings and print the file from there first.
  • The design cannot be in any of the cross hatched areas of the Print and Cut screen. This is the area that the Optical scanner needs to read on the paper and if the design is in that area, then you may get a registration error.
  • You only need the Registration marks on if you are doing a true Print and Cut project, by printing first through your printer and then cutting the image with your Cameo.
  • The ‘M’ key on the keyboard toggles the Registration marks on and off. You can turn them on very easily without realizing it.

So let’s check out my example. This is a design I purchased from the Silhouette store called Wine Themed Planner Stickers by Sandi Idleman Design #205613.

I can tell right away that if I sent this to print there will be issues.

PNC Example copy

I opened the file and know that I have to turn my registration marks on.
As you can see the alignment is off. There are areas of the design that are in the cross-hatched areas of my print and cut and the entire design is a bit too large for my print and cut area. So I will need to Select All and resize everything.

Final PNC

I have some Silhouette Clear Sticker paper so I’m going to load that in my printer and then click on the Printer icon in the top left tool bar.

Printer icon copy

Here is my printed page.

PNC page

And I am ready to place my design on my mat and click on the Send tab. When you place your printed image on the cutting mat, you want to make sure that you place it in the exact same location that you have it on your Design screen, in the top left corner.
Choose Sticker paper – Clear in my Cut settings & double check that all my cut lines are how I want them. And then load my mat, do a test cut to make sure my settings are correct and then click Send.


And it cut beautifully!

Sticker final

Now I have some wine sticker for my planner.

Have you used the Print and Cut feature?
Tell me what you have used it for below in the comments.

Hope you enjoyed today’s overview of the Page Settings – Registration Marks tab!

Check out my Silhouette Instructions and Events tab for more information on Personalize Silhouette Instruction.


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**This post may contain affiliate links. What that means is that I may receive compensation if you purchase through the links I have provided. The price you pay for the product or service is not higher but I may get compensated for sharing.


Let’s Explore v4 – Setup Panel – Tab 2

Welcome back to my new series “Let’s Explore v4”!
If you are just joining me you can check out my first post of the series HERE – about Tab 1 of the Page Setup Panel.

Today I am going to be going through the features of Tab 2 on the Page Setup Panel in Silhouette Studio v4.
This panel is located on the right side of your v4 software at the very top.

Page Setup Tab 2 copy

This panel is about your Grid spacing. Do you want your Grid to show? Do you want your designs or fonts to ‘Snap to grid’? What increments do you want your grid to show at? What color do you want your grid?

So let’s jump in and go through each option that is available to you. It is all a matter of personal preference and once you understand what each feature does, then you can decide what you want to use.

Diagram Page Setup Tab2-2 copy

  1. Show Grid – This option allows you to turn the Grid lines on or off on your Design mat. These grid lines can be useful when you are designing and spacing out objects.Show Grid copy
  2. Snap to Grid – If you have this option checked then your design will jump from grid line to grid line. If you un-check this option you have more control over moving your design in smaller increments.
  3. Show Guides – By checking this option, you can pull “Guides” down from the top ruler or over from the right side ruler. If you click on the ruler, either on the top or right side and hold down and drag, it will drag a “guide” line out and you can place it where you’d like on your design mat. This is another tool used to line up designs or for example make sure you have a design in a square. These “guide” lines do not cut and they do not save to your file. Rulers are an upgrade feature, therefore this is an option only for those who have the Designer Edition upgrade or higher.Guides copy
  4. Snap to Guides – This works the same way as the ‘Snap to Grid’ feature does. If you have it checked and have placed guides on your Design mat, when you move your design, it will snap to the guide lines you have placed.
  5. Ruler – You can turn the rulers that are along the top & right side on & off by selecting this. Rulers are an upgrade feature available in the Designer Edition upgrade or higher.
  6. Crosshairs – This will toggle a cross-hair pointer at the end of your mouse pointer on your screen. If you look closely, you can see the lines running horizontally & vertically from the red square.Cross hairs_copy
  7. Square vs Isometric – You can choose whether your grid lines show up in a square pattern or for further design purposes, you can change them to an Isometric pattern. Below on the left, I have Square chosen and on the right I have chosen the Isometric. 

  8. Spacing – This is used to change the spacing of your grid lines to the increment you want. You can change the spacing by using the slider bar left or right, highlight & type a new number or by the arrow keys to the right of the number.
  9. Divisions – You can choose the number of divisions that your grid spacing is divided into. Below you will see I have my grid spacing set at 2″ for both photos, but the photo on the left I have my Divisions set for 5 and on the right my Divisions are set at 10. 

  10. Color – You can change the color that your grid lines show on the screen. There are several colors pre-selected to choose from or you can select a custom color from the color box.Color

These are the features of the Page Setup Panel – Tab 2. Most of these features are used for designing purposes within the software and you will find each user develops their own preferences for what they see on their screen.

I like to have my mat revealed 100%, while another user may not like that look at all. Now, you know what each feature is and what it does, so you can decide how you like your design mat to look when you are using the software.

I did mention that a few of the features are upgrade features. This means that in order for them to appear on your screen you would need a software upgrade. There are 3 steps of upgrades – Designer Edition, Designers Edition+, and Business Edition. You can find out what features are unlocked with each software upgrade by viewing the chart HERE at the Silhouette America website.
If you would like to purchase an upgrade to your software, I recommend buying through an authorized Silhouette retailer such as Swing Design. After your purchase, you are sent a instant code and can enter the code and activate your upgrade immediately.
Click HERE to be directed to the Swing Design site.

I hope you have enjoyed learning more about the Silhouette Studio v4 software today.

I have made a video of everything covered in the series today.
Check it out here:


The design used in today’s video is called Drink Your Wine We Have Crafts to Do by Lori Whitlock and can be found HERE.

Check out my Silhouette Instructions and Events tab for more information on Personalize Silhouette Instruction.


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**This post may contain affiliate links. What that means is that I may receive compensation if you purchase through the links I have provided. The price you pay for the product or service is not higher but I may get compensated for sharing.

Let’s Explore v4 – Page Setup Panel

Today I’m kicking off a new series called “Let’s Explore v4”. Each week I will highlight a new Panel available in Silhouette Studio v4 and explain a bit about that panel.

One of my goals as a TJC Licensed Silhouette Instructor is to not “reinvent the wheel”. There are lots of great posts, tutorials and videos that are a wealth of information and if you are on my Silhouette Secrets+ Facebook Page or Group, you will see that I share information from other colleagues and industry leader who I think you may benefit from. You will see me post links to their pages, share their information and link them up in my blog posts. Why? I am not in competition with them, we can all learn from multiple sources and what I’ve found is there is always something new to learn with the Silhouette Studio software & the Silhouette machines.

Now on to the fun stuff!
I am using Silhouette Software v4.1.201, this information can be found under the Help>About in the software. If you are using an older software version, then my screen will look very different than yours and some of the options may not be available to you. If you’d like to upgrade your software to the latest version, you can find the upgrade HERE on the Silhouette America site, v4.1.206 is the most recent and it will work for these tutorials.
You do not want to choose the Beta version unless you know the software very well and are able to spot a bug or two that may be in the program and report that back to Silhouette.

Page Setup Panel

The Page Setup Panel is located on the right side at the top of your Panel bar. Click on it and the Panel will pop up. Now with v4, you can move your panels around – this is called Floating Panels. If you grab the Blue area where it says Page Setup, you can move that panel around and drop it where you like.
These Panels will stay open if you do move them on your screen, so it is a nice feature instead of having to keep clicking on the Panel icons on the right side.

Page Setup copy

If your Panel is not letting you grab and move it, check out the Preferences under Edit > Preferences. Under Defaults, change the Panel mode to ‘Flexible Panel Mode’.

Preferences - Flexible Panel mode copy

Now let’s break down the first tab in the Page Setup Panel.

LEv4-Page Setup copy

  1. Page Size – Here you can select the Automatic (machine) size and it will default to whichever machine you have plugged in to your computer or the last recognized connection. Click on the drop down arrow and you have many selections to choose from including a Current Printer option, if you have one connected.
  2. Width & Height – You can make the page size any size from 12″ wide to 10′ long.
    If I choose to change my Page size to 10″ x 12″, notice how it adjusts the white page or the red cut border (if Show Cut Border is checked).
    Something to note, if you have your page size set and your design is outside of that page size, it will not cut outside of the Page border.Custom page size
  3. Orientation – this will flip your page either vertical or horizontal on your mat.
  4. Cutting Mat – The Silhouette Cameo can cut any material that has a backing, such as vinyl & HTV without a mat. It can cut materials up to 10 feet long and this is how you accomplish that. You can tell the software you are cutting with ‘None’ or you can choose a 12″ x 12″ or 12″ x 24″ mat or several other options for other machines.
    Below you will notice that my Cut border is the full dimension of my mat. I have my Preferences set to ‘Cut to Edge of mat’. It does not always cut to the very edge, but it comes close. When you choose to cut with a mat, you are telling the software that it needs to feed that mat in to a certain location before it can begin cutting. It should only be cutting on the grid area of your mat. If it happens to cut higher than that, go check if you have it set to cut without a mat.Mat-Cut Border
    Now in the photo below, I have chosen Cutting Mat ‘None’ and I want to point out a few differences. You will see that the Cut border (red line) starts immediately at the top of the page. If your design is right at the top of the design mat, when you load your vinyl, it will begin cutting exactly where you have placed it on your screen.
    Also note, the Cut border on the left & right side. You lose about 1/4″ of cuttable space on both sides of your vinyl when you cut with no mat. This is the allowance that the machine needs to grip the vinyl in the machine. And you will see the Cut border end approximately 1″ from the back end of the page size, this is again cuttable space that is lost so the machine can hold that vinyl in the machine to finish the cut.No Mat - cut borderWhile you can cut without a mat, I personally prefer to use my mat any time that my material will fit on it. It provides stability and there is less that can go wrong, such as your vinyl sliding.Now, if you do decide to cut without a mat, I would strongly suggest investing in a roll feeder. I just used this for a large cut job and it worked beautifully and I did not have to babysit it as much as without.
    Here is what that looks like:Roll Feeder
    You can find the Silhouette roll feeder HERE.
  5. Reveal – This one is a favorite of mine. At 0% your design mat shows a white space that equals your page size. As you slide the bar up it starts to reveal the grid lines of the mat underneath that are the exact match to your Silhouette cutting mat. At 100%, it shows your entire cutting mat grid area and this is how I prefer to use my software most of the time.
  6. Rotate – this rotates the orientation of your mat on the screen. It is for visual purposes only and does not actually rotate your design or the way the mat is fed into the Cameo.
    Notice the photo on the left, it is at 0 degrees – the arrow is facing up. The arrow is the direction you load your Silhouette mat into the machine, it matches the arrow on the physical Silhouette mat. I have placed a design from the Silhouette store (Design #181402) on my mat, so you can see how it changes.
    Now, look at the photo on the right, I have changed the Rotate to 270 degrees and the arrow is now pointed to the left. This option rotates your entire mat and anything on your mat, but it does not change where your design will cut on your mat. It will still cut in the top left corner because you are loading the mat into the Cameo with the arrow pointing in.
  7. Show Print Border – If you check the box next to it, a gray box will appear on your screen. This is the Print Border for the current printer you have connected to your computer. It shows you the maximum border that you can put a design at to be able to print it on a material.
    Show Print Border
  8. Show Cut Border – This is another feature that I always have checked. As you can see in the photo above, I have the Show Cut Border feature checked and it shows a red line around what my maximum cut border is. I have it set to Letter size paper, so it is showing me it will cut to and 8.5″ x 11″ space. If I change my Paper size to 12″ x 12″, it will expand to the full 12″ x 12″ and outline my grid on my mat, as seen in several photos above.

I encourage you to check out each of these features in the Page Setup Panel and as you click on them, you will see things change on your screen. If you have an understanding of how these features work, you can spot and fix a problem when you notice something is not right.

I hope you have enjoyed the first session of “Let’s Explore v4.”

I am EllyMae with Silhouette Secrets+ and my goal as a TJC Licensed Silhouette Instructor is to teach the Silhouette Studio software. Once you know how to do things in the software, you have the skills to create any design for a project that you want.

Check out my Silhouette Instructions and Events tab for more information on Personalize Silhouette Instruction.

Have fun Exploring your Silhouette Software v4!


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**This post may contain affiliate links. What that means is that I may receive compensation if you purchase through the links I have provided. The price you pay for the product or service is not higher but I may get compensated for sharing.

Goodbye 2017!!

Today I took down the ornaments on our Christmas tree and as I was packing away some of the ones my children had made in school, I had a thought to use a file I purchased in the Silhouette Design store called an ornament box. So as soon as the rest of the ornaments were packed up, I headed into the Studio to create these boxes.

Now, I will say these were probably designed with the idea of using them as a gift box and not to be used as a secure storage container.
However, for my purpose I think they will be great…..

Scalloped ornament box

Above is the Scallop Ornament box by Samantha Walker.

Now, what did I do….. I moved my design up a bit on my page & then go to my Send tab panel and select my Cut settings. That’s it – so simple!!!

Scalloped ornament box-cut settings

I chose Textured cardstock as my material (I cut almost all cardstock on this setting with great results), set my blade depth and click Test Cut.
Yes, Test Cut!…. this cuts a small square with a triangle out of the center of it and let me tell you, it will save you so much material!!! If it doesn’t cut correctly, you can make adjustments to your settings or blade depth before you cut the entire design.


After you have cut your design out, flip your mat over and peel your mat away from your material. This is a good practice to get in to for many reasons. I find that it helps my paper not to curl as bad and it also helps keep the adhesive on the mat longer. If you pull your paper or vinyl off the mat, it can bring up some of that adhesive with it.

Cutting comparison copy

On my second box, shown on the left, I noticed that my blade was not getting a crisp cut. Normally, I would recut this, but since I’m cutting for the purpose of my own storage box, I left it. However, I knew exactly how to fix it. A new cutting mat! Yes, as easy as that. The mat I was using with the one on the left (green) was well used and even though it felt sticky enough, if that cardstock moves even just a little bit, it can make your blade tear the cardstock.
So when I went to cut my 3rd box, I pulled out a new mat and look at the difference on the right side (red). I changed nothing else, except using a new mat and it made such a better crisp cut. If you are having cutting issues and your mat is well used, even if you think it’s sticky enough, just try it – get a new mat out and see what the difference is.
I do de-stick my mat a bit when I first open it by applying it to a clean cotton t-shirt a time or two before I stick my cardstock down on it.

If you are looking for a new mat or other Silhouette supplies, check out the prices at Swing Design – I always price check there first and they usually have the best prices.
Plus, free shipping on orders over $35.


Above are all the pieces of this box….. 3 – yes 3! And do you know what is even better? There is only 1 tab that needs to be glued together. It’s so simple and a great project for a beginner.


I am a big fan of this liquid adhesive called Liquid Glass for any 3-D project. It is made by a company called Close to My Heart who is a papercraft & stamping company. I find just a little amount of the glue goes a long way and then I hold it together for the count of 10 and it’s stuck pretty good.
You can find it HERE on my website.


Now, I purchased both the Scalloped box and the Snowflake box and here are my completed boxes cut with the same double sided paper.
I used the Beary Christmas paper from the Close to My Heart Holiday Expressions catalog. This expired tonight at midnight, so grab it quick – available while supplies last!

Ornament box altered -cut settings

And then I needed a 3rd box, so I decided to ungroup the original design, draw a rectangle that was the same dimensions as the snowflake and put that in for my 3rd box. This could be done with any shape that you would like to use.
You can mix and match designs to your liking, but do keep in mind that it is the original creators file that you have used as your base.

And there you have it….. 1 cut, 1 tab glued and fold the box together. So simple!

There is a big sale going on in the Silhouette Design store right now, so pop on other there to grab this and so many others for 50% off.

IMG_1381_wm copy

I hope you enjoy your last evening in 2017 and I look forward to bringing you lots of new things in 2018!



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ctmh-logo-nobox-clove-ic**This post may contain affiliate links. What that means is that I may receive compensation if you purchase through the links I have provided. The price you pay for the product or service is not higher but I may get compensated for sharing.

3D Lantern

As we are all thinking of packing away that Christmas decor, I thought I would share a
3-D project I made to add to my Christmas decor this year.
I love working with paper crafts and 3-D items.

This 3-D Nativity Scene Lantern is from the Silhouette design store and right now is the big end of the year SALE!
So even though Christmas is over, it’s a great time to grab this design and more.
Sale Silhouette

And if you want to save even more on designs, they are also having a 20% off SALE on the Subscription to the store….
I love my subscription and being able to go shop each month.
Do I need it, no probably not, but I sure enjoy it.

SS Subscription Sale

I have to say this file was pretty easy to work with.
When you first open this or any layered design up, it may look a bit intimidating but I promise the more you play with them, the easier it becomes to turn it into a masterpiece.

Nativity Lantern copy

This design has 2 colors – the black for the entire 3-D box and the vellum papers for the “glass” of the lantern, so very easy to cut. First, you right click on the entire design and ungroup. This will separate all your pieces of the lantern out and you can move them around. Then, I will select the like items and group them back together. In this design, I grouped the bottom 3 rectangles back together because they will all be cut from the vellum.  Then I move my other parts around on my 12 x 12 design mat to get as many to fit in the space as I can. In this case, you can move the circle hangers to the middle of your cutout, as shown below, to get a little more use out of your cardstock or position where ever you want on the mat. It is really a personal preference how much you move them around to cut. I like to get as much on one page as possible to send it through the Cameo one time.

Nativity Lantern 2 copy

I then choose the Textured Cardstock setting and Send to cut on my Cameo. After it’s cut, I flip my mat over and peel it away from the cardstock. This helps with the paper not curling as much, keeps the adhesive on your mat and helps it release a bit better. Your Silhouette cutting mat is very flexible and can be rolled back quite a ways. That doesn’t mean they won’t crack, because they can – yep I’ve done that… but it’s was an old mat too…. so it had a lot of miles on it.

In the Silhouette Studio, I move the pieces I’ve cut off my Design mat and then move the other pieces on to the mat to cut them. Or you can copy and paste the designs that are off the Design mat to a new Design mat and cut that way. Either way works and I use both methods depending on what I’m cutting.

Now comes the assembly. These are all scored where you need to fold and then you glue into place. I use a liquid glue called Liquid Glass by Close to My Heart for most of my 3-D projects. You place a small amount along the length of where you are gluing and then I hold for 10 seconds. As long as you didn’t use too much glue, it has a pretty good hold after that 10 seconds. And then you want to allow the entire project to dry completely before using. You work you way around the design until it is all assembled together.

The designer, Jennifer Rush, has also included a link to assembly instructions in the description of the design. You can find those instructions HERE as well.

And now, here are a couple images of the finished project….


There are so many cool projects and so little time to make them.

I encourage you to take a design for a spin. Try it out, play and learn as you go.

Now, these neat decorations will get packed away in a shoe box for safe keeping when the Christmas decor comes down this week.

I hope you enjoyed this project! Let me know what you have created below in the comments.


Signature line copy

Butcher print painted sign

I do not usually get in to the painted sign projects, but I needed a bit of kitchen decor and thought I would make one.
You may be asking…. “Well, why doesn’t she paint signs?”

Well, I know I can do it and my hubby has a shop full of woodworking tools. But, honestly, it takes too long for me…. I like to slap a vinyl decal on something & call it good. That is what works for me.

I found the images I wanted to try and at the time I downloaded them, they were FREE printables. The freebie has expired but you can still find the printable for sale here at The Mountain View Cottage’s blog.
I do want to note that these files are for personal use only and using them to sell items you make is illegal. The designer has provided the free printable files for personal use only and I ask that you keep that in mind when using. You can find out more information on Personal Use vs Commercial Use licenses on Cutting For Business‘ blog, which is a great resource.

Now on to how I did it.
First, I pulled the printable file in to the Silhouette Studio program. It was a PDF file and in order to open that file type you need to have the Designer Edition Upgrade or higher of the Studio program. When I opened the PDF, I chose the option to import “As an image”.

Next, was to trace my images. Since these were black printable files, they traced really nicely. I am using Silhouette Studio v4.1.201 and chose the Trace Panel on the right side of the Studio.

  Trace Panel copy

Then you choose “Select Trace Area” and draw a rectangle around your object. Your object will then turn yellow and you want it to be as solid yellow where ever you want it to trace.  For some objects, you may need to play with the settings in the Trace Panel to get the highest level possible for a good trace. I then clicked on the Trace option at the bottom of the Trace Panel.

Trace options copy

There are 3 Trace options at the bottom and the one I use the most is the top trace button that has the inner & outer butterfly shape. It will trace around the areas that have yellow on them, inside and outside of the object.

Once I had all of my objects traced, I then click on them to Select and use the Fill Color Panel to fill them all with color. This helps to visualize your design and makes it easier to move them around the software. I then measured my board and decided how big I wanted to make the design.


I decide to give it a go cutting my vinyl without a mat. This is one of the perks of using a Silhouette machine, you do not have to use a mat if you are cutting a material that has a backing attached, such as adhesive vinyl or HTV.
One thing to note when you are cutting without a mat is that you cannot cut as wide as you can with a mat. If you look at my photo above you can make out my red cut border around the edge of the white area, this is the software telling me it will not cut outside of that range.
If you have a piece of 12″ vinyl, then it will take about 1/2″ of cutting area off of each side. You will also notice that it starts the cutting area on the edge of the vinyl on the left where the arrow is, this means it will start cutting almost immediately on your vinyl if that is where your image is. This differs from using a mat because the machine has to account for the edges around the grid area on the mat.
So it makes a big difference if you tell the software you are cutting with or without a mat. You will also notice the Cut border on the right side of the design ends about an inch before my page size ends. This is the software telling me that it will stop cutting before it reaches the end of my material because the machine needs the space to grip the material & keep it in the machine.

Now, I will tell you that I highly recommend using a mat when you can for several reasons. The mat provides support for your material and gives it a solid surface to use when cutting. It also helps to hold your vinyl in place and there is less of a chance that it will move around and ruin your cut. However, the Silhouette does give you the ability to cut without a mat and it is a great feature, especially if you are cutting a lot of decals at once or one long decal. This ability to cut up to 10′ long sets it apart from other cutting machines.

On my Cameo 3, I needed to move my right roller in to the left just a bit to grip the vinyl. To do this, you unlock your roller and move it and then make sure to lock it back in place. The lock on the roller is very hard to see and is right next to the white roller, you twist to lock it back in. If you do not, then your vinyl will slide all over the place.
You then line your vinyl up with the blue line & arrows on the left side and press load.
After it cut, I then weeded out the parts of my design that would be my stencil and applied transfer paper.


I painted my board with Black Chalkboard paint from my stash and let it dry a full 24 hours…. again, this is why I say I don’t paint boards often….. time involved.. watching paint dry.
While it dried, I gathered my supplies and worked on other projects.


I then applied my stencil using the hinged method, so I could get it as straight as I possibly could and not have it shift during application since it was so large.


After I applied my stencil, it occurred to me that using black vinyl as a stencil on a black board was probably not the best idea. But, you go with it at this point.
I then added a border of painters tape around the edges of my vinyl and board, so I would not accidentally paint an area I didn’t want to.


I then sponged on my DecoArt Chalky Finish white paint. And let it dry for a couple hours. I had read a lot of posts that said to peel your stencil off while it was still wet, so I just kept coming back to check on it. You don’t want to do it while it’s too wet or it will smear and if you wait too long, then the vinyl could peel up more paint than you want.


Now, after removing my big piece of stencil, came the task of weeding out all the little pieces inside of each animal……


After I finished weeding out the inner pieces of vinyl, I let the entire piece dry for a good 48 hours. Once dry, I took a white piece of chalk and turned it sideways and “seasoned” the entire board to make it look more realistic.


And here is my finished kitchen decor board… well, almost finished. It still needs a frame, which will require more time.


The supplies I used for this project are:

Silhouette Studio Designer Edition software
Cameo 3 cutting machine
Oracal vinyl
Transfer paper
a board from my husband’s woodshop
Craftsmart Black chalkboard paint from craft store
DecoArt White Americana Decor Chalky Finish in white from craft store
White Chalk

I am happy with how this sign turned out for my kitchen. The end result was exactly what I wanted, but it was no simple, quick project.

While I know that painting wood signs is not my preferred method…… I still encourage you to try a project out at least once.
I may not paint a new sign every week, but I may have a few more in my future.


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**This post may contain affiliate links. What that means is that I may receive compensation if you purchase through the links I have provided. The price you pay for the product or service is not higher but I may get compensated for sharing.

Sparkly Unicorn

September happens to be my Mom’s birthday month and I wanted to make her a special card.

I found this Unicorn Hug Gift Card holder from the Silhouette Design store that I had acquired at some time and I thought it would be perfect. I had purchased a couple pairs of earrings from Mags Bonham at our TJC Curio Intensive Retreat last weekend and thought I could slip them inside the gift card pocket.


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I created this card using the following supplies:
Unicorn Hug Gift Card Holder by Jennifer Rush from the Silhouette Design Store
CTMH Cardstock – White & Pixie
CTMH Pink Glitter Cardstock – retired (but they have other new colors)
CTMH Dual Action Glue Pen Z553
CTMH Stamp sets: Birthday Sparkles (B1537) and Happy Heart (A1192)
CTMH Bitty Sparkles Z1263
CTMH Archival Black Ink, Bashful Ink, Raspberry Ink, Blossom Ink
CTMH Clear Shimmer Brush Z3293
**All CTMH products can be found on my website HERE

This was a very simple card to cut & put together. You can read more of the instructions on how to put it together on the designer, Jennifer Rush’s blog HERE.

This is definitely a card that I could create again!


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For more information on Terri Johnson Creates (TJC) events, be sure to sign up for notifications from her website HERE.


Happy September!

Whew! What a month, it has been a busy one. Still trying to find that balance between creating crafty projects and getting them up on the blog and then you throw a Curio conference (more on that later) in there… time just gets away….. and I’m back….
I have my monthly card kit ready to order and want to put it up here before something else grabs my attention.

I created this using the Falling for You Paper pack and the Falling for You Cardmaking stamp set.

Falling For You collage

It has gotten cooler here and seems like Fall is upon us, so this was a fun set to put together.

There are 2 options to order this kit – with or without the Thin Cuts:
– $30 includes the stamp set only
– $44 includes the Stamp set & Thin Cut bundle
**Thin cuts can only be purchased in the bundle & not sold alone.


Please let me know by September 20th if you would like to order this kit.
Card Club members will receive their kits automatically, no need to order again. Please let me know if you would like more information on becoming a Card Club Member!!!

When you receive my monthly card kit, you get:
– Instructions to create 4 different card designs featuring Close to My Heart product
– Supplies to create 1 each of the 4 designs
– Supply list to re-create each design
– Stamp set (and thin cuts by choice) used to create monthly kit
– Flat rate priority shipping
Invoices will be sent to your email from Square.com.
*CTMH consultants are welcome to purchase the monthly card kit instructions as well. Cost is $10.00 and a digital copy of the instructions will be emailed to you, no physical product will be sent.

I hope you have a chance to get crafty sometime this weekend.

Please let me know by September 20th if you would like to order a card kit!


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Love this No Worries paper

Just popping in to show you a card I created using several of the current products.

I am in love with this No Worries paper and feel a bit like hoarding it since it retires at the end of August. Who else is hoarding it?

It always seems like the beach/vacation paper packs are the most popular.


To create this card I used:
CTMH No Worries Paper Pack
CTMH No Worries Cardmaking Thin Cuts
CTMH Shells & Stars stamp set
CTMH Thank You stamp set
CTMH Burlap Ribbon
CTMH Archival Black ink
CTMH Desert Sand card stock
CTMH Desert Sand ink
CTMH Colonial White card base & envelope

No Worries card collage

The No Worries paper pack & card making stamp set & thin cuts bundle both expire on August 31st, so grab it them now for all your beach photos!


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Silhouette vs Cricut

That is the question and here is my answer…..

I see and hear this asked all the time and it’s been on my to do list to give you my recommendation.

Now please realize that this post is all my own opinion, no one has paid me to do it and I don’t get anything as reimbursement for this post. I am speaking only as a cutting machine user for many years. There are many, many posts out there comparing the two machines and you can read until your eyes cross, but only you can make the choice on which one is for you. I have many friends who are Cricut users and I have many other friends who are die-hard Silhouette users, like me.

Did you catch those few little words…. I have many friends who are from both sides. No matter what machine you use, you can still be friends. I promise!

Some people have a better time with a certain machine than others. All I can tell you is from my own experience.

So a bit of background on me, the owner behind Silhouette Secrets+. I purchased my very first machine many, many moons ago. It was the original Cricut machine, or commonly called the baby Cricut. It can cut 6″x 12″ and was perfect for a new beginner scrapbooker as myself. I thought it was great that I wouldn’t have to purchase letter stickers anymore for my layouts. I actually used this machine so much that I burned it up… literally, it started smoking & shorted out – it had a good life though & was well used. I then purchased a Cricut Create machine and had also purchased the Design Studio (the original Design Studio – an offline, on your computer software program), which I became very proficient at using and could do a lot in…. however, I felt the software was very limited and was frustrated that it just wouldn’t do as I wanted. I still kept on with it, because I am just that way. If I needed a bigger machine, I would borrow a friends and just kept plugging away with my cartridges.

The friend I borrowed the Expression from had once told me that I should really check out this new machine called a Silhouette and she could see me doing great things with it. I looked it up & at that time just couldn’t afford spending that much on my hobby as a Stay at Home mom. (ever wish you could go back and choose another path – I would have bought a Silhouette machine sooner – lol and she wouldn’t be able to tell me I told you so)

Now fast-forward a few years, we’ve moved to California, I’ve purchased my own Cricut Expression and I win a Silhouette Portrait in a digital scrapbooking contest. Let me tell you, I was over the moon. I fell in love at first use. And I immediately told my husband that this small Portrait wasn’t enough, I needed the bigger Cameo machine. And I did, I turned around and bought it, it was a must have.

That was 5 years ago. There was hardly a bit of information out there on how to use it, how to do this or that in the program. If it was out there, I found it & studied it. I played, I learned, I created…. I played more, I learned more and I created more….. I still love it.

Now, there is lots & lots of information on how to use your machine & how to make projects with your machine… Sometimes I feel there is too much, but that’s a post for another day.

Now we’ve moved to Virginia and I’ve had the opportunity to add several things to my resume. I’ve been able to attend a hands on retreat with Terri Johnson & was able to attend to the first ever TJC Licensing event. I felt that since I was now teaching people how to use their machines, as a Terri Johnson Licensed Instructor, that I should also be able to speak a bit on the other machine out there…. so I purchased a Cricut Air. And let me tell you, for months I regretted it…. actually being honest… I still do. It was money I could have spent on supplies to create with….. but, I’m here to tell you why I think that.

So here are my Pros and Cons on the Cricut Explore Air.



  • the Bluetooth connected quickly, very quickly – I learned the hard way that my computer was not equipped with a Bluetooth, so I did have to purchase a Dongle to get it to connect.
  • it is much quieter when it’s cutting
  • the purchased cut file I used worked beautifully
  • Close to My Heart has Exclusive Cricut cartridges and they are AMAZING! Over 700 images on one cartridge. Now that is a great value!!!


  • the cut file I used was 12 pages and it had no color designations by paper, so I had to eyeball it and get my papers in order to cut them
  • the software to design & create your own designs is more difficult, it’s not just like other basic programs that you can use shortcuts and copy & paste, etc.
  • it is only accessible online – did you get that? You have to have a high speed internet connection at all times to use the program. That means if you are at a retreat & the wifi is slow…. you won’t be able to use your Cricut machine. Hope you packed other stuff 🙂
  • It will use up your data – something to keep in mind if you are limited to a certain amount of data each month, especially with the latest release of the DS3 software, it uses even more data than before
  • they are doing away with physical cartridges, so you will have to access everything online through their software
  • you can only save your designs to the Cricut program and if they are lost, they could be gone forever
  • the Cricut freebies are only good for a limited time, then you have to purchase the file to use it – many don’t realize this until they try to cut something a week after it was a freebie
  • I found it odd that after you’ve loaded the paper & clicked Go in the software, you then have to push Go on the machine itself…. I mean, really what is the point of the Bluetooth connection if you have to be within arms reach to get the machine to start cutting by pushing the button?

and now the Pros and Cons to the Silhouette machines:



  • I can save my designs where ever I want them – my external hard drive is my safe place… but the point is… it’s my design, I can save it outside of the program – always remember to back up your files to an outside source as well
  • there is a weekly freebie from the Silhouette store & I get to keep it in my Silhouette library forever, it’s FREE and it’s mine – they don’t take it away or make me pay for it – once I’ve downloaded it, it’s mine
  • the software is very much like other software programs – Ctrl + C is copy & Ctrl +v is paste, hold down the Alt button and move an image and it copies it…. so many of the same software things I’m used to are the same in this program
  • I can create my own designs within the program and they are mine.
  • I can work OFFLINE – this is a BIG one for me. I can work anywhere I want that has electricity. If I plan to not have any internet access, I can plan ahead and download any designs that I might think I want. Or I can just work with what I have in my library, my external hard drive, or anything I can create. I love not being tied to the internet access because we all know that it can be unpredictable.
  • You can upgrade your software to unlock additional features within the program – while some would disagree with me that it’s a pro, this is how I think of it. The Basic software is free to download for anyone. It is designed so you can cut any design within the Silhouette Design store easily. However, if you want to use an outside file such as an .svg file type, you would need to upgrade the software to allow it to open it. Much like an upgrade in a vehicle…. for it to do fancier stuff, you need to pay a fee for that.
  • I only need to be connected to the internet if I want to download a design. I can work completely offline if I’d like to.


  • it is louder than the Cricut – but it’s a machine, it’s moving & working – I’m ok with that
  • the Bluetooth is still unreliable – I just find it’s much more efficient to plug it into my computer. While the idea of the Bluetooth is a nice feature, I can work around that.

So you are probably asking me “Why do you still have the Cricut? If you don’t like it, why keep it?”

Well there are a couple reasons:

  1. I tried to resell it. I couldn’t sell it for anything close to what I had invested in it. I didn’t even have one person interested.
  2. I am a Close to My Heart consultant as well as a TJC Silhouette Instructor – remember me saying you can have friends on both sides – well, I love the fact that CTMH has Cricut cuts that match the stamp sets… I don’t like to fussy cut around images and this is great. Their Cricut exclusive cartridges have over 700 images on them and I use those when I create with my Close to My Heart products and in my monthly card kits. (shhh don’t tell anyone…. I use my Silhouette too)
  3. What is 1 more cutting machine? I’m sure I don’t win the prize but I know you might ask or be curious….. I own…..
    – an original Cricut (in craft heaven), a Cricut Create, an Expression, an Explore Air, a Silhouette Cameo 1, a Silhouette Cameo 3 and just recently (still in the box) a Silhouette Curio. So is 6 cutting machines too many? I guess that is up for each person to decide. Each one does serve a purpose and have some life left in them… I have 3 kids and someday I’ll let them use my older Cricuts when they have a project they need complete themselves.

Now, remember when I said I have Cricut friends and I have Silhouette friends….
well we can all still be crafty friends!!!
Tell me – which one are you? Team Cricut or Team Silhouette?

Whether you are Team Cricut or Team Silhouette, I encourage you to get that machine out and play with it. Create with it, cut with it, make projects with it. Learn one thing and then move on to the next. If you don’t like it, maybe you need to switch sides. You are investing in a machine & it should work for you. Have fun with your machine!!!

Again, please remember this is my own personal views on the machine as an owner & crafter for many years. I am sure that I didn’t mention several pros & cons of the machines & I’m sure that I will think of something as soon as I click on publish. If you think of one, just comment below – I would love to hear your thoughts.

I hope this post helps anyone who is wondering about the differences in the machines. Like I said before, each person is different and will have their reasons why they like a machine. If it works for you & you are using it, that is what matters.

Now, go enjoy your machine!

Get Crafty!

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**Want to find out more on Terri Johnson retreats, Licensing events or find a Licensed Instructor near you, check out her blog HERE!
**Want to find out more on the CTMH Exclusive Cricut Cartridges with over 700 images on them – click HERE!