It all starts with 1 design.
And then you never know where it will take you.
Long story short, I volunteered to provide a craft for my son’s 4th grade class. He picked the design and then it just snowballed from there. One project after another.
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Today I’m going to show you how I took this simple Reindeer Gnome design by Lilium Pixel SVG and created a layered cut file from it using a few tools in Silhouette Studio.
The first thing to start with is the design.
This one of the most important things to understand.
All files are created differently. Each designer creates differently. Each designer saves differently. Each design could be made up differently.
I will show you how I worked with this file and the more you do this, you will start to see patterns. The tools and steps I use may need to be done in a different order depending on how the file was created. That will make more sense after we get started and the more you work with files.
This makes it easier to work with Compound Paths.
Compound Paths are one of the hardest design concepts for most users to understand.
The basics of a compound path are each design is made up of pieces. If you make or release a compound path, it will affect how those “pieces” act.
For more in-depth information on Compound Paths check out this post HERE.
They are a great tool to play around with as you will see farther down.
Next, right click and choose Release Compound Path.
This should break the design up into individual pieces.
However, you may also need to right click and choose Ungroup.
This will vary depending on each design. You may need to ungroup more than once or you may need to release compound path more than once.
What you are looking for is all those individual selection boxes around the “pieces” of the design. Each of those gray boxes is a selection box and now means that we can select those individual pieces and work with them.
Click off the design and then click back on 1 piece.
Now, fill each piece with color using the Fill Color Panel or QAT dropdown.
Note: You will need to click exactly on the red cut line for each piece to select it.
Using the Zoom tools at the top of the software can help to make it easier to click the lines.
Any pieces that are the same color can be selected together and then right click and choose Group.
Repeat this step for all the interior parts.
The more you do this, the more comfortable you will become with it, and start to recognize the patterns.
Don’t be afraid to push the buttons and the Undo button is your best friend!
I am very familiar with the keyboard short cut for Undo – Ctrl+Z is one of my most used tools.
Next comes the background color.
Notice if you select the outside edge and fill it with black, it fills in all the little pieces in the area of the hat. So we need to change that.
If you filled the outer edge with color, change it back to transparent or hit Undo.
In order to take out the inner bits of the hat, select the outside edge of the design, hold the Shift key down, select the inside bits of the hat around the reindeer antler, and then right click and choose Make Compound Path.
Now, fill it with color to check that the right pieces were selected for the Compound Path. If not, hit Undo and try again.
Note: when a Compound Path is made or pieces are grouped together, it can reorder how the pieces are stacked on top of each other.
Right click on the black layer and choose Send to Back.
This will send the black layer behind all the other colors.
Adjust the colors as desired to see how it will look.
Now you have a layered file that was created from the original black outline design.
The first project I did was cutting all the pieces from cardstock and creating craft kits for the 4th grade class.
Then I used the same layered file to create a shaped edge card.
I added some Sparkleberry Ink patterned papers to give it a little different look.
Check out all the neat patterns at http://www.sparkleberryink.com and use coupon code SILSECRETS to save 10% on your order.
And then my son asked how big I could make the gnome?
Challenge accepted and we settled on a 36″ tall gnome who he named “Ger-gnomio” that I cut with my Cameo Pro.
For more Cameo Pro tips, check out the header on the blog HERE.
One design turned into 3 different projects. I had no idea when I first started playing with the design that it would turn into several more projects. You never know when that creative bug will hit!
I would love to see what you are creating with your Silhouette software or machines!
Feel free to post photos or questions on my Facebook group at
Silhouette Secrets with EllyMae.
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