Wednesday, July 24, 2013

DIY Specialty Shaped Cards, Silhouette

First, I apologize for the late post.  I was working on my Silhouette Fabric Interfacing pt.2 project, and had a little hold up with my sewing machine.  (Making pillow slip covers--stay tuned!)  So after dealing with sewing machine issues for a few hours, I decided it was time to make some cards instead.

I know that my "Bridal Shower Invites" post a few months back has been fairly popular, especially among Pinterest users. I am glad that so many of you have enjoyed it.  Being inspired by that, I decided people might like to know how to create their own "specialty shaped" cards using their Silhouette and their own shapes of choice.  So here are some detailed instructions:

First, I have examples of two main types of cards:
1.  The "Great" and "Turtle" cards, which are mirrored images of themselves (i.e. the shape of the card is the same, front and back), and--
2. The floral card, in which the front of the card is different than the back.

Both are useful types of cards to know how to make on your own, to design just the type of card you have in mind.  So here we go.

First, the mirrored image type of card.  I will start with the most difficult card--my "Sooo Great" card, or a card made in the shape of a word/text. Don't be turned off by the length of the instructions--I am just being very detailed for any of your who may be new to using any of these features on your Silhouette.

To make this, first select your shape/text.  For a text card (i.e. card in the shape of a word) you will want to select a fairly thick sized font.  After selecting your font and size, type each letter IN IT'S OWN TEXT BOX.  You need to do this so that you can move each letter next to the others so that they overlap. They will need to overlap so that they will all be connected in the final image.

Create each letter in an individual text box, then move them so that each letter overlaps with the one next to it.
Hint: To keep all the letters in line, I typed my first letter, in this case the "G", and then duplicated it. This is done by right clicking on the image and then selecting "duplicate."  This will then duplicate your letter just a little to the direct right of your original letter.  Do this for as many letters as you have, then change them to the correct letters needed (i.e. instead of 5 "G"'s, change the next four to "r" "e" "a" and "t"). Next, click on each letter text box and use your arrows on your keyboard to move the text box to the right or left of your original letter.  Using the keyboard is steady and keeps them in-line, as opposed to using your mousepad.  Do this until you have them spaced correctly so that they just overlap.

Once all letters are in place, group them all into one image.  You do this by selecting an area around all the letters using your arrow and dragging it until it covers all of the letters.  Then hit the "group" icon in the lower lefthand side of your screen in Silhouette Studio.

Next, size your text image to how large you want your card to be when closed (for example, 3" x 4"). Right click on your image and select "Duplicate."  After duplicating your image, right click on the duplicated image and select "flip horizontally" for a card that you wish to open left to right.  Or, select "flip vertically" for a card that you wish to have open top to bottom.  Move your flipped image to the left of the original until there is just a slight overlap between the edges of the two images.  Then group the images together.  Now we're getting to the fun stuff. ;)

After aligning your text images, if you want the lettering traced out so that it will show up on your card, send it through your silhouette now using a sketch pen.  DON'T UNLOAD YOUR PAPER/MAT after it is finished sketching.  After your Silhouette finished a sketch or cut, it moves the blade or pen back to it's original starting place on the edge of the mat.  You want to be sure your mat is aligned in exactly the same place when you send it through to cut out the card, and thus by not unloading it, the Silhouette will use the exact same placements when you send it through to cut. Now for the cutting.

Go to your "cut" menu and select "No Cut" for the entire image.  Then go to your trace window, click "Select Trace Area" and then draw a box around your entire image.  The letters and outline should all turn yellow.  You will now select "Trace Outer Edge."

Normally, at this point you would then click on the image and then be able to pull away an outline of just the outer edge of your image (i.e. not all the lines in the middle).  However, because you want it to cut directly around the text you just sketched, you don't want to move that outline, thus, you want to check and make sure it has done this correctly another way.  Without touching your image, go back to your "cut" window and see which areas are now highlighted in red.  It should just be the outline of your image.  (See second image in the sequence below.) If this is correct.  go ahead and send it through your Silhouette to be cut! :)

You did it!  Now to finish off this card, I colored in the "empty" areas of the letters, added a few stickers and then an exclamation point made using double-sided adhesive (again, just cut it by hand from a scrap) and some glitter!

Note: We now sell a great starter package for Silhouette's double-sided adhesive that includes six sheets of double-sided adhesive, three colors of flocking powder, three colors of fine glitter, a Silhouette Spatula (bonus!), a brush for brushing away extra powder and glitter, step-by-step instructions and ideas booklet, and a card with 10 exclusive shapes for download.  A great starter kit, but also great for just adding to what you may already have.  It's Sooo Great!

Whew.  That seems like a lot.  Quickly, for just a regular mirrored shape card, you have much less to do.  Just find your image, size it, duplicate it, and then flip your duplicated image and place it where you want it. (In the case of the turtle card, I flipped it vertically). Follow the instructions above for how to trace and select just the outer edge, and then use that as your card base. You can also go to the "Modify" window if you are having some trouble getting it to copy just the outer edge and click on "weld shapes."  You will need to be sure that your images aren't yet grouped, and then select each one.  Then you can click on "Weld Shapes" and it will give you just the outline of the now combined images. This is what i had to do for my turtle card, for some reason.  I am not sure why one method worked for one card, but not the other.  I'll let you know when I find out why, though I think it had something to do with how the original design of the turtle shape itself was made.

If you want to do an overlay, like I did in this one, just copy and paste your original sized image (i.e. before you grouped it with anything else) and put it off to the side to be cut out of another colored paper.

A "mirrored image" shape card

 Finally, the floral card, where the front of the card is a different shape than the back of the card.

Front shape of the card is different than the back.
First, I chose the two shaped that I wanted, and sized them. To do this, I first made my rectangle back the size I wanted the card to be when closed.  Then, I positioned my flower image over the top of the rectangle, just how I would want it to look when closed (minus the extra portion up top).  This helped me see where I needed to position the rectangle and flower in proportion to each other when creating one image out of them.  Notice, in the second picture in the sequence below, I placed my rectangle overlapping exactly how much of the flower was sticking out above the card or image in the first photo.  Again, so that when I folding my floral portion over it would fold directly to where I wanted it to.

Then, I used my "trace" window.  I selected an area to be traced (see the third image in the collage below) and then clicked on "Trace Outer Edge."  After this was done, I could pull away an image that was in the shape of just the outer edge of my first image.  (See the fourth image in the collage below.)  This outer edge is now my own personalized, specialty shaped card--made by your's truly.

If you would like a copy of the final "floral" or "great" card images for personal use, email us at  We'll be happy to send the file your way.

Have fun creating your own specialty shaped card files!

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