Silhouette, Silhouette Projects

Subtracting Text for HTV in Silhouette Studio v4

These designs have been a big hit for Mother’s Day and we will walk through how to created one.


First click on the Text Tool on the left side of the Silhouette Software. Click on the design mat & type out the words. Click off of the words to deselect it and then click back on the text once to select it. Fill the text with color to make it easier to see & work with. Click on the Text Style Panel on the right side.

Text Style copy

Now, click on a Font Style Name, the text will change to that font style. You can then either click on each font, use the text search bar if you know what you are looking for or use the arrow keys to scroll through the text list and as you do the words will change to each font – this is my favorite method if I don’t know what font I want.

Text Style Panel copy

For Mom, I chose a font called Gulana – I chose this one by just scrolling through my font list and seeing what I liked best. Now, resize it how you like it.

Next using the same text tools, type out your second layer.

Names text.JPG

I used the font MF I Love Glitter by Misti Fonts in this example. The swirl hearts are called Glyphs and are special characters within the font that you can add. Check out this post for more on the Glyphs feature HERE.

Since this font overlaps make sure to weld the letters together before you cut.

Now position your name design over the top of the Mom design and align it how you want it.

Mom aligned

We are going to Subtract the top layer (names) from the bottom layer (Mom).

First, I’d suggest creating an offset. When you are using HTV and pressing individual layers, the HTV can shrink as it’s applied with heat. To help with that we will create an offset, so we don’t have unwanted gaps in our design.

First, make a copy of your design and pull it off to the side in the holding area of the design space. Any time you are working with text, it’s a good idea to make a copy and pull the original off, just in case you need to go back. Once you edit text, it is no longer text and is now treated as a vector image – so the text is no longer editable.

Next, select your name text and click on the Offset Panel on the right side of Silhouette Studio v4.

Offset copy

Then next to the Distance highlight the numbers and type in 0.040, then click on Apply or hit Enter. The Distance of the offset will vary depending on the design you are using. Enter some larger or smaller offsets and see what you like – the Undo button will be your best friend.

The offset option gives you an outline around your text. It can also be used to make text thicker when you are using a very fine line font.

Offset zoom

Once you Apply the offset, it will weld any parts that are overlapping. Parts of the design that are not overlapping (like dots of an i) will not be welded together, so you will need to group the offset before you move it, so it all moves as one.

Now move your original text off of the Mom design.


To create this design, we are going to use the Mom and the offset of our name text.

Select both Mom and the offset and under the Modify Panel, choose Subtract.

Mom knock out copy

This will Subtract the top layer (offset) from the bottom layer (Mom) and any pieces that are not connected will now be individual. I would group these together before anything gets moved.

Offset group copy

The Group option can be found in the QAT (Quick Access Toolbar) at the top of the software, right click and choose Group or under the Object menu at the top left of the software.

Now, we can move our original text back on top of our Mom design.


You can see when we zoom in that we have created a gap in our layering. This is done with the purpose of allowing for the shrinkage of the HTV and not getting unwanted gaps in our design.

Knockout zoom

Do you have to do an offset before you use the Subtract option? No, but it can save some frustration when the HTV does shrink.

Now, you are ready to set it up to cut out the material.

I used this awesome Sparkleberry Vaca HTV by Sparkleberry Ink on the Mom design. This is a patterned vinyl and you do not have to mirror or flip your image when you cut their patterned vinyl.

For the name text, I am using Siser Easyweed HTV in Hibiscus from Swing Design. Since this is regular HTV, I will flip (mirror) the text prior to cutting.

Flip name text copy

Next, prepare your materials. Cut them down to the size you need or place each one on the mat individually, however you like to cut.

Click on the Send tab in the top right corner. Select your Material. Heat Transfer – Smooth is what I used for both the pieces I cut.

Send tab copy

Once your mat is loaded, I always suggest doing a Test Cut before cutting the full design. This can save you a lot of frustration in the long run.

Click on the Send button at the bottom and once it’s cut you can weed your designs.

Layer & press the designs on your t-shirt or tote bag and you have a custom made design.


Subtracting text

What will you create with this technique today?

Enjoy !

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Looking for more in-depth, step-by-step classes, check out all of my online Silhouette classes on my Teachable site HERE.

SS Logo snip it

**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.

8 thoughts on “Subtracting Text for HTV in Silhouette Studio v4”

  1. So I made this design for myself! Loved learning about the subtract. I will really use the tip of putting a shape around a design to just trace one area that was in the previous lesson. Thanks again!


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