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™ 600, 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 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 on the cutting mat because we need it to stay intact for heat application. So the duller, adhesive side of the material is the side that gets cut. 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 cutting mat up 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 silhouette cutting mat with blue line

Place the mat so that it just touches the blue guide line.

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

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 Send window and select Heat Transfer (Smooth, Flocked, or Glitter depending on what you’re working with.) After selecting the material type, you can adjust the Blade, Speed, and Force settings if necessary. If you find yourself consistently changing these settings to our recommendations, know that you have the option to save those settings and label them “EasyWeed” for example.

If your machine only has one tool holder then you’re ready to select “Test.” However, the Cameo 3 is equipped with a dual carriage, so if want to use both blades select the drop down arrow next to the blue circle. Now you can make setting adjustments like you did with Tool 1. To test cut your second blade, select the blue circle next to “Test” and use the arrows in the software or on the touch screen to move the blade to a new area and select “Test” to cut.

how to test cut in Silhouette Studio

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. Increase only the Force until you can weed the triangle easily. If you reach the highest Force 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 Force.

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 |2018-03-22T08:45:59+00:00January 4th, 2017|Informational|35 Comments

About the Author:

Lily is Siser's go-to crafter. Her ideas and abilities to incorporate HTV into her projects is inspiring. Well versed in Heat Transfer Vinyl, Lily embraces the methods and materials to deliver creative content week after week!

35 Comments

  1. Mica Casey May 10, 2017 at 4:31 pm - Reply

    Help- I have a Cameo 3 with an auto blade. I have it set to 1 for depth and 1 for thickness and it is still cutting through the protective plastic material. I can’t lower is any more and I am using siser easy weed vinyl

    • Lily May 11, 2017 at 9:15 am - Reply

      Hi Mica, make sure within your Silhouette Studio cut settings that the “Auto Blade” is selected from the drop down menu. If ratchet blade is selected the Auto Blade will not automatically adjust. Additionally, remember to place the shiny carrier side face down on the mat and the duller side face up. If you’re still experiencing issues, you can email me directly at lily.campau@siserna.com

      • Christine April 13, 2018 at 11:49 am - Reply

        Hi, can someone assist me.

        I am trying to get familiar with the Silhouette Cameo 3 and can’t seem to get the Siser EasyWeed Heat Transfer Vinyl to cut my design. Please advise what my settings should be? Urgently need this remedy. Thanks.

        • Keith April 13, 2018 at 3:26 pm - Reply

          Hi Christine, You can find all of our cutter settings on each product page of the site. I’ve copied the Silhouette Cameo setting here for you.
          • Blade: Standard, 3
          • Material: Heat Transfer, Smooth
          • Speed: 8
          • Force: 6

    • Courtney January 24, 2018 at 2:32 pm - Reply

      I am having the opposite problem.
      My blade is set at 10 and I have worked my way up to the maximum force of 33 and it still will not cut all the way through the HTV.
      I don’t have this problem making stickers (I use Oracle 651)

      • Lily January 25, 2018 at 9:24 am - Reply

        Courtney, I’d suggest cleaning your blade or perhaps trying a fresh blade. Unless you’re working with Brick™ a blade setting of 10 should not be necessary. Our recommended cut settings for each HTV can be found on the product pages of our website. If a new blade and our cut settings don’t solve the issue, please email me directly at Lily.Campau@SiserNA.com and I’d be happy to help troubleshoot further.

  2. Cassey August 8, 2017 at 5:02 pm - Reply

    Mine does the same thing. My carrier vinyl is face down like it should be.

    • Lily August 9, 2017 at 12:34 pm - Reply

      Hi Cassey! Make sure the Auto Blade is selected in Silhouette Studio to ensure it auto adjusts. If you have an older blade, it may be best to use that one until your brand new Auto Blade gets slightly worn. Additionally, if you’re cutting through make sure to use a cutting mat to protect the cutting strip on your machine.

  3. Anissa August 15, 2017 at 12:25 am - Reply

    I figured it out! (Cameo 3) After much frustrated experimentation! After taking the auto blade out and manually changing the blade depth, I noticed that the software was always set at three and (even though I don’t have a rachet blade, the little hints on the send page said put the ratchet to 3. I changed the blade depth to 5 in the material editing page (thickness 8, speed 5, tracking enhanced on), and I GOT A CUT that wasn’t too thin or too thick! Before this minor tweak, I was trying the slowest (1), thickest (33) setting with no mat and not getting a deep enough cut, then using the mat, and setting it to the lightest cut (1) and a faster speed, it was cutting the carrier.

    Sooooooooooo……………. The Auto Blade isn’t THAT auto. You must tell it via the software (the little image of the numbers on a dial) to change the depth.
    Deep exhale… Just in time, I was running out of it!!

    ~AJRose

  4. dj September 10, 2017 at 11:57 pm - Reply

    Can the auto blade cut heat transfer brick vinyl?

    • Lily September 11, 2017 at 9:29 am - Reply

      You sure can! You’ll need to set the AutoBlade to Blade: 10, Speed: 4, Thickness:20. However, these settings will vary especially if your blade is brand new or well worn.

  5. Stephanie September 20, 2017 at 12:13 am - Reply

    I cannot get a good cut on my Cameo 3 on Glitter HTV it either cuts through or doesn’t cut at all. When I adjust setting on software sometimes the marker on actual blade goes to 0? What am I doing wrong!!!!????

    • Lily September 20, 2017 at 11:11 am - Reply

      Hi Stephanie, I’m sorry to hear you’re experiencing issues with the Cameo 3! May I suggest trying the same settings in the software with the ratchet blade instead of the AutoBlade? If it’s the AutoBlade causing the problem, you may need to update the cutter’s firmware as well as the software. If you’re still experiencing issues, please email me directly at lily.campau@siserna.com with photos of your cut settings, and I will personally help trouble shoot this 🙂

  6. Dee October 5, 2017 at 12:04 pm - Reply

    Hi Lily,

    I have a cameo 2 and I just updated my version to 4.1. I am having trouble cutting HTV, it either doesn’t cut or it cuts all the way through. Before the upgrade I had my setting at speed 5 thickness 11 and blade 2 for my HTV and thickness 27 for my glitter, it worked fine. With this new upgrade (i hate it) I can’t figure out what setting to use. What material setting do i use for HTV? HTV glitter? HTV flock, indoor and outdoor Vinyl? Please help a frustrated silhouette 2 user out!

    Thank you

    • Lily October 17, 2017 at 11:29 am - Reply

      Dee, any material setting on the Silhouette can be adjusted to different Thicknesses, Speeds, and Blade depths, so even if you’re using the HTV Flock setting, it can be adjusted to the settings for Glitter HTV. Our recommended cut settings for Glitter heat transfer vinyl can be found here. However, if your blade is new you may need to scale back the cut settings where if your blade is older or more used then you may need to increase the settings. A test cut will help to judge your settings before cutting the full design. If you’re still having trouble after these tips, please email me directly at Lily.Campau@SiserNA.com for further troubleshooting.

  7. Kitty Hadawi October 11, 2017 at 12:00 am - Reply

    I’m using a Silhouette Cameo with a Rachet blade but it cuts right through the Siser Easyweed HTV. The sample corner works fine, but when I cut the words it cuts it all. Tried setting the blade down a notch and it didn’t cut enough. Any idea what I can do to correct this issue. Managed to ruin a whole roll already.

    Thank you

    • Lily October 17, 2017 at 10:08 am - Reply

      Hi Kitty, sorry to hear you’re having trouble cutting EasyWeed® HTV! If the blade isn’t cutting through at the lower setting you mentioned, try lowering the Thickness setting and bringing the blade to a higher setting. Our recommended cut settings for EasyWeed® heat transfer vinyl can be found here, but they may need to be adjusted if you’re working with a new, sharp blade or an older, dull blade. If you’re still experiencing issues, please email me directly at Lily.Campau@SiserNA.com with any photos of your cut HTV so I can help troubleshoot further.

  8. Jennifer Myers October 11, 2017 at 6:14 pm - Reply

    Hello I have a question. Do I need transfer tape once I have cut the image out. Because I got a roll of htv there is no sort of back at all. All tutorials I have seen so far seem to have a white backing which ours does not. So I am missing that part. Also if I am making an image that’s is 2 inches by 6 I can cut the vinyl to that size and put it on my mat. And when using this brand I want my shiny side down because we mirror the image. Correct?

    • Lily October 17, 2017 at 10:13 am - Reply

      Jennifer, Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV) does not require a transfer tape because the material comes on a clear carrier that functions as a built in application tape. Our new Pressure Sensitive Vinyl (PSV), however, comes on a paper backing and requires a transfer tape for adhesion to hard goods. Some HTV has a white backing to block dyes from the t-shirt from seeping through the HTV color and protects the HTV’s vibrancy, but not all colors require the white backing, so don’t worry if it’s not present. You’re correct though, a 2″ x 6″ image is fine to cut on your mat, and HTV always goes shiny side down so you must cut the image in reverse (mirror it.)

  9. Quon Taylor October 28, 2017 at 12:41 am - Reply

    I have a Cameo3 and I am totally lost. I have Silhouette Studio the updated version and I cant get a good test cut or anything! I am using Siser EasyWeed with the autoblade. Its brand new. Is there anyway you can do a video from start to finish because the new software only has the blade, speed, force and pass.

    • Lily October 31, 2017 at 8:43 am - Reply

      Oh no, I’m sorry to hear that, Quon! We have plans for future videos on this subject, so keep an eye on our Youtube channel. For the time being, just know that the “Thickness” setting in older versions of Silhouette Studio is the same as the “Force” setting in V.4. So, for example, our recommended settings for EasyWeed® are Blade: 3, Speed: 8, Thickness/Force: 6. However, with a brand new blade you will likely have to lower these settings in order to not cut through the carrier sheet. If you are still having trouble, please feel free to contact me directly at Lily.Campau@SiserNA.com.

  10. hope November 2, 2017 at 11:31 am - Reply

    Im trying to cut sissor heat transfer vinyl on silhouette curio and it keepa cutting right through I have thickness at 1 my blade is at 1, what am I doing wrong?

    • Lily November 2, 2017 at 3:04 pm - Reply

      Hi Hope, if you’re using a brand new, sharp blade you may need to try an older one. Additionally, make sure to use a cutting mat, and leave the clear carrier sheet on during cutting and heat applying. If you’re still experiencing issues, please send photos and email me directly at Lily.Campau@SiserNA.com.

  11. Leigh November 22, 2017 at 5:15 pm - Reply

    Hi Lily, I have wasted so much time & vinyl since the update to Silhouette Designer 4.1. Everything I did cut through the material & mat. I contacted Silhouette Support & they wanted me to make a video & send to them. Seriously I can’t that. So I have been on mission without their help. I used the EasyWeed settings above & was perfect! Now for glitter etc. That auto blade (NOT)works sometimes. The Heat Transfer Vinyl Smooth on Silhouette cuts through everything. I will be back for more settings to cut your other products. Thanks very much!

    • Lily November 27, 2017 at 10:06 am - Reply

      Hi Leigh, sorry you’ve been having so many troubles! I’m glad you found some help here. Our recommended cut settings for each HTV are listed on their product page of the website as well as the Siser App. It sounds like you may be using a new, sharp blade though so a test cut will help you know if you need to raise or lower your settings. Keep in mind with the Auto Blade as well, that it does not sense the thickness of the material and adjust accordingly. You still must indicate in Silhouette Studio the cut settings as well as the tool being used (just like when using a ratchet blade.) Hope this helps! Please let me know if you have any further questions 🙂

  12. Siev Senghou December 12, 2017 at 11:48 pm - Reply

    Do you think we can connect all these 3 machines “Silhouette Cameo 1, 2, 3” to only one laptop and using all of them at the same? If you know, please share me.

    • Lily December 13, 2017 at 8:23 am - Reply

      Hi! It’s possible to run multiple Silhouette machines at one time, however it requires the Business Edition of Silhouette Studio.

  13. Donna December 16, 2017 at 9:01 pm - Reply

    Which side faces up when cutting Siser glitter HTV with Silhouette Cameo?

    • Lily December 19, 2017 at 4:51 pm - Reply

      Hi Donna! The dull, adhesive is face up while cutting Glitter. The sparkly side with the clear carrier should be face down on your cutting mat.

  14. Eric J December 27, 2017 at 12:55 am - Reply

    Hi im using the Cameo 3 and the design comes out perfect but when I try to take the excess vinyl off it seems like the cut just doesn’t go through the vinyl enough to cut it completely need help adjusting the settings correctly in order to get the cut im looking for.

    Ps set vinyl adjustments at HTV smooth and nothing thank you.

    Using Siser HTV

    unable to find thickness settings

    • Lily December 27, 2017 at 8:42 am - Reply

      Hi Eric! HTV Smooth is a good starting point for EasyWeed® type products. The Siser recommended cut settings vary slightly and can be found on each product pages of http://www.SiserNA.com. You may want to test them out. Otherwise, it sounds like you need to increase the Thickness or Force as it’s now called in Silhouette Studio Version 4 and higher. “Thickness” was a left over typo since the update. Sorry for the confusion!

  15. Debbie Dewey January 9, 2018 at 11:33 am - Reply

    I have a cameo 3 business edition, 4.1. with the autoblade. Everytime I try siser htv is cuts through to the mat I have waisted a ton of vinyl and mats. I am trying to make a special shirt for my granddaughters birthday and am running out of time. Please tell me what the correct blade settings should be so I can compare them to the “presets” as well as the settings I have tried. Please help.

    • Lily January 10, 2018 at 9:23 am - Reply

      Hi Debbie, I’m so sorry you’re having troubles! I’d love to help you out, but I’ll need a bit more information first. Can you please tell me what kind of Siser® HTV you’re using and what cut settings you’ve tried? We have our recommended cut settings for each material listed on their product page of the Siser website, http://www.SiserNA.com. However, these are just a starting point and can be adjusted based on the age and wear of your blade as well as the intricacy of your cut file. If these tips don’t solve the issues, please contact me directly at lily.campau@siserna.com and I’ll be happy to help you sort this out.

  16. Christine March 16, 2018 at 1:02 pm - Reply

    Do you have to use a cutting mat?

    • Lily March 19, 2018 at 8:28 am - Reply

      Good question, Christine! No, you do not have to use a cutting mat as long as the piece of HTV can fit evenly under the pinch rollers. This blog post explains how to adjust the settings in Silhouette Studio to cut without the mat.

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