Originally published February 2020 – republished May 2022
I have jumped into cutting crepe paper on the Cameo 4 since the November 2019 All Things Silhouette Conference and the release of the new Cameo 4 machine.
And I have to say it’s addicting.
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Today, I want to share my top 5 “secrets” to cutting crepe paper flowers on the new Cameo 4 with the rotary blade.
5 “Secrets” to cutting crepe paper on the Cameo 4
Secret #1 – Use a good sticky cutting mat!
Because of the stretch in crepe paper you want to make sure it is good & secure on the cutting mat. I use a new cutting mat that I designate for crepe paper, smooth it on straight with my hand, and then use a brayer to roll across it to make sure it is good and secure to the cutting mat. You want to try to get it as smooth as possible without stretching the crepe paper. Any bumps or folds in the crepe paper will cause uneven cuts. If the paper moves while cutting it will either not connect the cuts or it will bunch the crepe paper up.
Won’t it stick too much to the cutting mat and tear?
No, so far I have not had this issue. If you are careful when removing the crepe paper after the cut, I have had no issues with it being too sticky. I do de-stick my mat after I first open it by applying it to my clean t-shirt or a clean cotton towel.
Secret #2 – Pick designs that will work well.
The rotary blade is just like a hand-held rotary blade. It is not designed for intricate cuts. Think about if you enlarged the design, could you cut it with a hand-held rotary blade?
Single petal designs or broad petal & leaf designs are what I find that works well. Designs with lots of inner curves may not cut as well.
Here are 10 flower designs I found in the Silhouette Design Store that would work with the Cameo 4 and rotary blade:
3D Flower (6) by Amy Robinson – Design #75970
3D Large Flower with Petals (2) by Alaa’ K – Design #196852
Anenome 3D – by The Bleu Dahlia – Design #271113
Giant Sunflower by Amanda McGee –Design #300726
Icelandic Poppy 3D by The Bleu Dahlia – Design #216825
Hellebore Double Petal by The Bleu Dahlia – Design #216816
Oriental Lily 3D by The Bleu Dahlia – Design #217974
Starburst Flower – Big by Echo Park – Design #193696
Peony Flower – Small by Echo Park – Design #193711
Water Lily 3D – by The Bleu Dahlia – Design #271114
(See the bottom of this post for project photos of some of these designs)
Now, these files are originally designed for cutting paper flowers, so here is how I modified it for crepe paper. Each of these petals has a cut up the center to make it easier for paper assembly, however, with crepe paper that is not necessary. First, I scaled the design down to the size I wanted. Then, I right clicked and chose ungroup. Each design will vary in how it was created, so you may need to ungroup again to get the individual cut lines, or right click and release compound path. Once they are all separate pieces, I deleted the middle cut line in the petals.
So it is one outer cut line to make the petal design. Then follow the instructions for the number of each petal that needs cut. Move the text instructions off the mat prior to cutting.
Note that a few of these designs mentioned are for giant flowers. You can still use them by scaling them down to what you need for the project you are completing. Now, you can cut out of cardstock, frosted paper, or crepe paper.
One design and so many options – from small projects to large projects.
On these flower designs you will notice the parts for the stamen have lots of cut lines. One of the tips I picked up from watching the videos on the Lia Griffith site is to just cut a strip of crepe paper the same size that it shows in the software (or close) and then use your scissors really quick to make those fringed edges. Crepe paper is more fragile than cardstock & the Cameo 4 rotary blade is not designed for intricate cuts, so it would just shred trying to cut out the fringe.
But, I think this brings up a few good points! First, flowers are all unique and it doesn’t have to be a perfectly cut edge because not every single petal on a flower is exactly the same in nature. And next, sometimes we may over-complicate things by wanting the machine to cut a rectangle shape out vs just grabbing a paper trimmer and cutting a section of crepe paper to 1″ x 4″.
Although if I was cutting a bunch of them I would set up the Cameo to cut the rectangles out, but since it was just a couple flowers, the paper trimmer worked great.
And what about the leaves?
I found several petal sets in the Silhouette Design Store that can either be used for flower petals or leaves. There are so many possibilities when you mix and match these together.
Secret #3 – Watch where the hooks and loops are.
When you go to the Send tab and turn on the Tool 2 – Rotary blade, you will see “hooks” and “loops” appear on the screen around the design.
These are part of the Smart Cut technology in the Silhouette software that determines how the blade will have to turn to rotate the rotary blade. The Smart Cut technology places hooks and loops where it determines is best to complete the cut of the design on the screen. These hooks and loops only show on the Send tab and are not parts that can be moved. However, you will notice that the hooks and loops will change depending on where the design is on the cutting mat, what the design shape is, and how many pieces are set to cut on the cutting mat.
Makes sure that there are no hooks and loops inside the design that is being cut and that each piece of the design has adequate space between the next piece.
Why the hooks & loops?
Think of using a hand-held rotary blade. It does not make sharp corners. You have to lift it and either turn the material or the direction that you are cutting to start a new direction.
If you wanted to cut this design in the photo above with a hand held rotary blade, you would not cut it all in one pass without lifting the blade up. You would have to make multiple cuts to change direction. The blue lines show an example of the motion you might use with a hand held rotary blade in order to cut this shape.
It is the same with the Cameo 4 Rotary blade. It has to lift, touch down to rotate the blade to the new direction & then start the next cut line.
You may have never noticed this before, but the regular Silhouette blades do the exact same thing at the beginning of the cut. Watch your Silhouette machine the next time you are cutting a material. The first move the housing does is move to the left side of the cutting mat and tap down once to get the swivel blade in the correct position.
Did you see the tape right at the beginning of the cut on the left edge of the mat? This orientates the blade tip to the correct location to begin the cut.
The big difference here is that the regular Silhouette cutting blades are a smaller, sharper angle, so it only has to do this at the beginning of the cut versus the Rotary blade that is a broader blade that can’t turn as sharp.
Secret #4 – Don’t fill the page with the design.
As tempting as it might be to go “all in”. Start with cutting 1 petal. Don’t fill the page with the entire file to be cut on the first try.
If that cuts well, then duplicate the image, move it next to the first piece, turn the cut lines off on the 1st design, and then send it to cut. This way you still know where the first design cut on your material.
2 tips here:
1 – Make sure that the design is selected to turn the cut lines on or off. Select the design by clicking on it and you will see a gray selection box around it. If there is nothing selected on the design mat, there is nothing to tell it to No Cut or Cut.
2 – Make sure that once the design is selected that you turn the cut lines Off under Tool 1 before turning the cut lines On on Tool 2.
Otherwise, you are telling the machine to complete the Action with both tools.
Secrets #5 – Just do it!
In my recent interview with Lia Griffith (found HERE) she said,
“When you are making a crepe paper flower, it is really hard to make an ugly crepe paper flower. It’s really hard…. I mean you can…. but, it’s really hard.
Every crepe paper flower is a beautiful crepe paper flower. “
Just like any other project – Just get started!
Just a warning though – It’s addictive! Lia said the same in her interview and I have been saying it since I started really working with it in December. The more I play with the it, the more ideas I have, and the greater the urge to just start cutting.
And….. as Terri’s grandson says, “But wait, there’s more……“
Watch this video on Lia Griffith’s YouTube channel
It is a great place to start for beginners as it is packed with information on crepe paper, tips on cutting, how to assemble the flowers, and how to arrange your creations. It has 21 different flower files and instructions that are perfect for a beginner to get started.
Do you have to buy the book to cut crepe paper?
No, but I’d highly recommend it!
Crepe paper is all new to me and I am soaking up as many tips as I can. I think anyone can do this with the right tools and resources. I found that in Lia Griffith Crepe Paper book and on her website at LiaGriffith.com.
Find my full tutorial on cutting crepe paper with your Cameo 4 and rotary blade here
Cutting Crepe Paper on the Cameo 4.
While I can share my “secrets” for cutting crepe paper on the Cameo 4 with the rotary blade, I am not an expert on what to do after it’s cut. I just followed the tips & directions I found on the Lia Griffith website and in her book.
To learn more about Lia Griffith find my full interview with HERE.
Lia is an energizing person and I hope that you feel that as you read through her answers about her journey, tips for beginners, flower favorites, and experiences in the interview.
Here are a few of the crepe paper flowers I have had fun creating.
Top left – Design #75970 – 3D Flower, top middle – Design #27113 – Anenome, top right – Design #271114 – Water Lily
Bottom left – Satsuma branch on LiaGriffith.com, bottom middle – Design #217974 – Oriental Lily, bottom right – Design #216816 – Hellebore
Lia Griffith Crepe Paper Rose Flower Kit all cut on the Cameo 4 with the rotary blade
Can you cut the crepe paper on older Silhouette models?
No, not easily because of how the crepe paper is made. The regular Silhouette blades just drag and tear across the crepe paper. But, the rotary blade made for the Cameo 4 machine, rolls across the material when it cuts and works beautifully for this.
I hope that you will get started cutting this new material with your Cameo 4!
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