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Holiday decor with Silhouette

This year has definitely been an interesting one. I haven’t really felt like pulling all of the Christmas decorations out, but still wanted to do something.

While cruising on Pinterest one night, I saw this and thought it would be perfect for a bit different look on our buffet in our dining area this year.

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This is a Christmas village that is constructed out of black cardstock and the window inserts on printable vellum. So it was fairly easy to put together.
The file can be found HERE – on the Adventure in a Box website.
I purchased the full file so I was able to get right to the project instead of creating my own images.

Now, they hand cut all of the files, but I’m not much up for that. Since you can open PDF files in the Silhouette software directly with the Designer Edition upgrade or higher, you can bring it right into the Silhouette software to set up to cut for you.

Let’s take a look at how that is done.

Make sure you are using the PDF file for this design. I used the png images for the silhouette parts and it was not the same size as the PDF file silhouettes, so they were a little bit big for the cutouts of the houses.

First, like I said above, you will need at least the Designer Edition upgrade or higher to open the pdf file.

Download the file, save it to a safe place, and then unzip/extract the file.
Next, in the top left corner of the software choose File > Open in the Silhouette software and choose the PDF file.

When you open a PDF file, it will give you a couple of options. I always try the
Import as vector” first because in some cases, depending on how the file was created, it may open up with cut lines already done. The only way to know is to open as a vector and click on the Send tab to see if the cut lines are there.

If the PDF file has more than 1 page to it, you will want to choose which page to open first.

In this case, the first 3 pages are instructions, so we don’t need those at the moment. They can be handy for assembly if you need them. I chose Page 4 and then click on Import in the bottom right corner to open the file.

Now, use the Basic Trace, increase the threshold until it turns as smooth of yellow on the black as possible.

Now click Trace and then move the original design away. Since the original design does not have “score” lines to fold the building on for it to stand up, I added those in myself.

Using the Line Drawing tool on the left side, hold the Shift key down and draw a line that almost touches from one end to the next. I didn’t want the score line to cut edge to edge, so I made the line a little bit smaller.
Next, on the Line Style Panel on the right side, change the Style of the line to a dashed line. This will act like a score line and not be fully cut through and the cardstock can easily be folded on this line. Adjust the line between the outer cut lines as needed.

Select the entire design and the score lines and then right click and choose Group, so the entire design moves as one piece. Using the Transform Panel – Rotate Tab, rotate the design 90 degrees on the page.

Fill it with color to see what it will look like when cut. Now, save the design.

You will do this for all of the pages with the house designs.
Then I cut each out of black cardstock.

Next, we will open the next page of the PDF file for the silhouettes in the windows. Using File > Open once again, choose the PDF file, then page 5, and choose open as a vector.

This is how it will open up.

Next, using the Draw Rectangle tool on the left side, draw a rectangle around each of these window images. We do not need all of the black grid lines to print, only the images.
Make sure to give yourself some clearance around the images so there is area to add glue to.

Now, select the entire design and drawn rectangles.
You can either hit Ctrl+A to select all on the page or left click and hold the mouse button down and drag it across the entire design touching each object you want to select.
Then open the Modify Panel on the right side and choose Crop.

Now, let’s use the Transform Panel – Rotate Tab to turn the designs to work with a little bit easier.

Now, save this file.

I then opened up all of the silhouette files and cropped the images down. Then copied and pasted them all onto one design mat. And then we can set this file up as a Print and Cut project. I would suggest saving each Print and Cut page as a new design, just in case you have to go back and recut the pieces for some reason.

For tips on setting up a Print and Cut projects, check out this Print and Cut Basics post HERE.
I recommend printing using all of the defaults for the print and cut, for the best results.

Once you have the page setup with the registration marks, print each page on printable vellum. I used this I found on Amazon HERE.
I printed using the photo quality for matte paper. Printing at photo quality allows the ink to be laid down on the paper at a slower rate and allows it to dry better when working with specialty papers.

The first 2 pages I cut with had no issues what so ever and then the 3rd page would not cut correctly. I ended up printing it 5 times, just trying it over and over.
When I should have done this little trick in the first place.
Place white paper underneath the registration marks in each corner. This allows the optical eye a better chance at picking up only the registration marks printed and not other interference. Make sure the white paper is cut large enough that it would be the same size as the cross-hatched area for best results.

Keep in mind that the Silhouette optical eye is just a laser that turns on when you have registration marks on your page. This laser eye is looking for black marks on the page. However, it’s just a laser eye, it will pick up any black marks on the page. This includes the Silhouette grid lines if the paper is translucent or clear. This is also why the cross-hatched area around the registration marks is so important! And why, for the best results you should not have your design or cut lines in the cross-hatched area. As I said, it worked for the first 2 pages, but it didn’t like that 3rd page.

And that little trick was all it took for it to pick up the registration marks and cut accurately. Again, this is only something that might need to be added if the paper you are using is translucent or clear.

Once it’s all cut out of the black paper and the printable vellum, I used a bit of Scrapbook tape runner adhesive to glue it to the backside of the black cardstock, folded the score lines, and set it up.

I added some tea lights behind the designs to let it shine through and I have a new piece of holiday décor in our dining room.

Supplies used:
Christmas Village file – Adventure in a Box
Black Cardstock
Printable Vellum
Scrapbook Adhesive tape runner

Whether you create the same file, design your own silhouette images to fit in the Christmas Village, or follow the same techniques as I used above for another project; I hope you will share that on my Facebook group here
Silhouette Secrets with EllyMae.
If you have questions feel free to post below or on the Facebook group too!

Save this for future reference by pinning the image below.


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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.

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