A Test Cut Tutorial and Free ScanNCut Canvas .fcm File

Have you been dreaming of using your Brother ScanNCut to create awesome projects like this Team Valor hat? Or maybe your want to put  names and numbers on t-shirts? These projects can be simple with the right tools. If you’re new to your machine or new to heat transfer vinyl you may have scoffed at my last statement. HTV can seem daunting, but is super simple once you have a basic understanding. I promise you’ll be hooked! Check out The Basics if you’re not already familiar.

Now that you have a basic understanding of HTV you can get to the fun part- cutting it out! This is the fun part for me because I get to sit back and relax 😉 But I can’t just load a piece of vinyl in and let the blade go at it, I need to adjust my settings first. Each material and sometimes even each color of every material will require different cut settings. So how do you find the right cut settings for each material? By doing a test cut! A test cut will show you if the material isn’t cut enough, is cut too much, or is cut just right! Here’s how you can find the best test cut settings for your heat transfer vinyls.

Place The HTV Carrier Side Down On The Mat 

The shiny side of the material is the clear carrier. The carrier holds the heat transfer vinyl pieces in place so they’re always properly aligned. The carrier side goes face down because we need it to stay intact for heat application, so we cut through the duller adhesive side of the material. During heat application the carrier side will be face up. This is why you must always mirror your image and text in your designs before cutting.

Placing purple EasyWeed carrier side down on cutting mat

Use The Test Cut Function

After you’ve loaded the mat into the Brother ScanNCut, select “Test” at the top. Then you can choose from a variety of shapes to test cut. The circle and square are good choices. Next, resize your shape. I like to size my test cuts to about a half inch or smaller.

Adjust test cut shape height

Select "Test" for test cut function






You’ll have to go through a few menus, selecting “Set”, “OK”, “Cut” when prompted and finally choosing the flashing “Start/Stop” button to cut out your shape.

Weed It Out And Check It Out

Weed out the cut shape and peel back the corner of the vinyl to inspect the cut lines. Look for the circle to be complete and smooth all the way around. The square’s corners should all be sharply connected with no gaps in the lines.

Weeding a circle from purple EasyWeedInspecting test shape cuts on the carrier

If you can’t see any cut lines then you probably already knew it was a bad cut from the weeding process. Select a higher number for your Cut Pressure and try another Test Cut. If the pressure is at it’s highest setting already and you still don’t see cut lines, bring your blade out further. While we do want to be able to see cut lines from the blade we don’t want the blade to cut too deep. If you feel the smooth side of the carrier and can feel the cut marks then you’ve cut too deep. If you can actually separate the carrier from the sheet then it’s time to try a lower setting.

An example of a bad test cut because the settings are too low.

I can’t see any cut marks, and I struggled to weed away the shape. This is a bad test cut

An example of a bad test cut because the settings are too high.

The carrier is cut through. This is a bad test cut.










While the built in test cut function is handy, I figured out how to make it even simpler! To make it super easy for you to cut the circle and square at the same time I created a cut file with the two shapes nested. This way you can do one test cut that will let you look for all the attributes of a good cut mentioned above. Click here to download the ScanNCut Canvas compatible test cut file.

Inspecting a test cut made with the free test cut file

Once you’ve downloaded the file you can either upload it in ScanNCut Canvas by selecting “Import SVG” or you can save it to a flash drive and upload it directly to your machine. I prefer the latter because after importing the test cut file you can save it directly to your Brother ScanNCut for future use! To import a file from your flash drive to your Brother ScanNCut plug your USB into the side of the machine and select “Saved Data.” Choose the center option to connect to your flash drive. Once connected you can locate the file and save it to your machine.

Select the center option to access flash drive filesSelect "Saved Data" to access saved files






Now you have the knowledge and the tools to start creating awesome projects with your Brother ScanNCut and Siser HTV! If you’d like some inspiration for designing your next project check out this post: Offsets: What Are They and How To Make Them. If you’re having fun creating, but are having trouble with the application process check out this post: The Only Way to Handle Pressure is to Apply It.

If you have any questions about this post feel free to leave them in the comments!
Lily Campau

 This step by step tutorial is perfect for beginners. If you're new to your Brother ScanNCut machine or heat transfer vinyl then this is the blog post for you! Learn how to cut iron on vinyl the best way possible. Plus a free cut file!
By | 2017-05-11T08:41:28+00:00 September 23rd, 2016|Informational|2 Comments

About the Author:

Lily is Siser's go-to crafter. Her ideas and abilities to incorporate HTV into her projects is inspiring. While relatively new to Heat Transfer Vinyl, Lily has embraced the methods and materials and delivers creative content week after week!


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