Siser North America
12900 Hall Rd. Suite 270
Sterling Heights, MI 48313

Contact Info

Phone: 866.301.9409

Fax: 440.550.8008

How To Use The Silhouette Studio Test Cut to Find Your Ideal Cut Settings

If you own a Silhouette Cameo 1, 2, or 3 you probably know that you posses a very powerful machine that can cut all kinds of materials. Basically the crafting door is wide open and waiting for you to get creative. Whether you craft for business or pleasure, heat transfer vinyl is a useful material. Customizing textiles with logos, names, and images is simple with HTV. All you need is your Silhouette Cameo, Siser HTV, and either a home iron or heat press. A home iron is great for general crafting, but if you want to start selling your items we definitely recommend investing in a heat press.

Meet your Silhouette's new best friends: HTV! Siser heat transfer vinyl is compatible with the Silhouette Cameo 1, 2, and 3. It's easy to use, but its even easier after this post explains the beginner basics for finding your perfect cut settings!

But before you make anything it’s best familiarize yourself with HTV and how to use it (that’s where this post comes in!) instead of wasting a whole roll of vinyl. The best way to reduce wasted material is to test and adjust your cut settings for every HTV type you use (ie. EasyWeed, Glitter, Brick, etc.) It’s also beneficial to do a test cut even when you may be using the same material, but a different color. There can be minor variations from color to color that can effect your cut settings. Knowing how to test cut and identify a good cut is invaluable! So let’s get started!

Place The HTV Glossy Side Down and Matte Side Up

The shiny side of the material has the clear carrier. The carrier holds the adhesive needed to heat apply the heat transfer vinyl to a textile. The carrier side goes face down because we need it to stay intact for heat application. 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.

Place Siser HTV carrier side down on the Silhouette cutting mat

Align and Load The Mat

Line up the edge of the HTV with the blue line on the left side. Your mat should now have an equal margin on either side of the pinch rollers. It’s very important that the mat is fed straight into the machine. Press the mat up against the roller bar while pressing “Load” on the touch screen. If you’re working with the Cameo 1 or 2 you’ll select “Load Mat” unless you want to cut the HTV without the mat. Cutting HTV without the mat can be done and is helpful when you want to cut a design larger than the 12″ mat. Check out this post if you want to cut HTV without the mat.

Press the mat against the rollers and select load mat

While pressing the mat against the rollers select “Load” on the Cameo 3.

Align the edge of the HTV with the blue guideline

Lining up the edge of the material with the blue guideline.







Use The Test Cut Function in Silhouette Studio

Conveniently, Silhouette Studio has a test cut feature. To find this tool you’ll have to go to the Cut Settings editing window and select Heat Transfer (Smooth, Flocked, or Glitter depending on what you’re working with.) Double click the material type and the Editing drop down menu will open so you can change the Blade, Speed, and Thickness settings. Below those settings is Test Cut. The Cameo 3 is equipped with a dual carriage so if you’re planning on using both blades you’ll need to test cut each of them.

Cut Settings window with test cut function

Unload the Mat

After the test cut is completed unload the mat.

How to unload the cutting mat from the Silhouette Cameo 3

Unload the cutting mat from the Cameo 3 by selecting “Unload.”

Weed The Test Cut and Inspect It

The Silhouette Cameo will cut a triangle shape inside of a square as the test cut. Weed the triangle first. If the material rips instead of separating easily then the cut settings were too low. Adjust the thickness first. If you reach the highest thickness and the material is still not cut deep enough then it’s time to bring your blade out further.

This test cut is bad because it didn't cut far enough into the HTV

One side of the triangle is still attached to the square. This is a bad test cut.

A good test cut will have visible score marks from the blade. The lines should be complete and connecting at all corners. However, if you run your finger on the glossy side of the carrier you should not be able to feel the cut marks through the carrier. If you can feel the cut lines through the carrier then you’re getting dangerously close to puncturing it. If you cut through the carrier reduce your blade depth and/or thickness.

No cut lines on the left compared to cut lines on the right

The first test cut on the left has no cut lines. The second test cut on the right has visible cut marks.

The cut settings were too high and cut through the carrier

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



Adjust the Ratchet Blade

The Silhouette Cameo 3 is the only Silhouette machine that uses the auto blade. This tool eliminates the need to manually adjust the blade depth. However since the Cameo 3 is equipped with a dual carriage you can still use the ratchet blades. The older versions of the Cameo also use a ratchet blade.

To adjust the blade remove it from the carriage (pull the plastic tab on the Cameo 3. The Cameo 1 and 2 have a twisting lock). Then fit the blade into the adjustment socket. Align the white arrow on the socket with the red dash on the blade holder and twist until you’ve reached your desired blade depth.

Pull tab to unlock the ratchet blade   The red dash indicates the blade length
Align the white arrow with the red dash to adjust blade depth

Keep in mind that a well used blade will require higher cut settings than a fresh new blade. Many Silhouette users dedicate certain blades to certain materials. Your HTV blade will stay sharper longer if it’s not also cutting through other materials like fabric and cardstock.

You’re now ready to take on HTV projects with your Silhouette Cameo 1, 2, or 3! If you’d like to know more about the basics of HTV check out this post.

By | 2017-02-27T12:51:30+00:00 January 4th, 2017|Informational|0 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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