This is the spot to discuss these machines

Silhouette or Cricut

and share links to awesome cut files and things.

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I am not an expert. I know how to use my silhouette for basic cutting. I have never tried to use the markers or cut any other materials. Wait, no, I have cut Vellum and I suggest not too terribly sticky mats - use an old one but press it onto the mat well so it won't lift.

I do have a cricut but its very old and I always forget how to use it. I would like to eventually get the new Cricut so that it will replace both of my machines but I already own so many silhouette files. The biggest issue with the silhouette is that they don't have Disney.

I have an old silhouette(not a cameo) and I have a cricut, I'm like you Susan I just use my silhouette for basic cutting and fonts that I've added. I live my cricut for the Disney cartridges, so I guess I use them both for different things.

If you don't have anything like a Silhouette or Cricut....and you don't have files you've already purchased and were going to buy your very first digital die cut machine...what would you buy?  

Also, do Susan's cut files work for all machines?  My primary thought is to get one so I can do the cut files on here.  ;-)

I have a Cricut but it mostly just sits gathering dust. The last time I used it my letters didn't even cut all the way through. I still hang onto it though because my friend and I are turning all the Disney cut files into Silhouette ones using the trace feature. We have all but 2 cartridges done.

I use my Silhouette all the time. I use it to design layouts and figure out paper sizes. I use it for cutting alphabets, titles, and embellishments. I also have played with the silhouette pens, vinyl, and the trace feature. I upgraded to the Designer Edition so I can use SVGs. I've also created coordinating dies to go with stamps I have so I don't have to buy the dies. I have also played with the PicScan mat to fussy cut out images from patterned papers. If you guys would be interested I would be willing to do some tutorials. I would love to do videos but I have to say I have no clue how to do them but I can do written ones if you guys are interested.I'd be willing to learn how to make videos if anyone has a good tutorial. :)

I've got another machine which I use for all cut files, svg files , it also scans so you can scan in printed images and cut them out. It also means you can cut your dies out scan them in and resize them to what ever size you want.
you can cut almost any material and draw with it, there's added embossing tools that you can get extra for it too. You can get them now with wi fi ,so you can send your image straight to it from iPad,PC to cut. I find it so easy to use, but have to admit I still don't use it to its full potential.
The machine is a "brother scan n cut" it's been on the market for about 3 years I think,it was launched at CHA in Anaheim.
I don't scrapbook that much so by default my Silhouette doesn't get much use these days.

I started with the original 8.5x11 Silhouette and then upgraded to the original Cameo.

I like cutting vinyl to personalize tumblers for parties, cutting heat transfer vinyl for cute t-shirts.

I really like using the software to figure out placement and scale of titles. You can draw a box for your photos and then add your title and play around with size and color right on the screen.
I should add that I definitely recommend having at least one extra mat and one extra blade on hand.
Because when the stores are closed THAT is when your blade will chew up all the paper or your mat just won't stick anymore. LOL
Haha, very true Christi! Hobby lobby is the place for the coupon on silhouette supplies and of course they are closed Sunday to annoy me.
Michelle that sounds cool!

Wendy if you get a new machine, the new cricut can cut it too but I don't know enough about it.

Janeen - I need more info. I have several Disney carts but don't have a clue how to go about taking them to my silhouette. I may need you to email me a brief description of that. I would love any tutorial you would be willing to share. Speaking of that, remember how you can only use like 3 images in a thread? Now you can add a lot more with the new site

I will have to look on YouTube to get a better idea of what all these machines do.  I really am clueless.  I've only just started getting the larger die cuts.  I love those!  I also like how low tech they are.  

Did you guys know that there is a 120 page user's guide on the Silhouette software? It's a great go-to for learning the basics of each button.

To find it, open your Silhouette Software. At the top left, you will see all the basic commands (file, etc.). Open the help drop-down menu and choose User's Manual. This will open the user's manual in Adobe Reader, which is super nice. From there you can save it by going to file, save as. You can even print it if you want to . I love that it opens up outside the program so that I can reference it while I am in the program.

Some of my favorite tools (with the manual page for reference and so you can see what the buttons look like):

- Text to Path - Allows you to create a curved title using any font (page 37)

- Grouping - Linking a group of images together. This allows you to change the properties of each grouped item together such as changing the size of all the images so they stay proportional. I also find this helpful when moving an image from mat to mat (page 41-42)

- Ungrouping - Allows you to seperate the image into different pieces and only use only part of an image to cut out (page 41-42

- Compound Path - When you draw a circle on top of a square, the program recognizes it as a circle drawn on top of a square. But what if you want to have the circle cut out of the square? This is done by making the image a compound image. This step is almost always needed to weld more complex shapes. If it is not welding together like you want, try making it a compound path. (page 43-44)

- Welding and other Modify options - these are great if you want to start making your own shapes or alter shapes. Just read through all the descriptions to see what they do. And don't forget to play! (pages 58-60)

- Offset - This allows you to create an outline of an image or font to create a shadow. It is also how you would create a "nested" shape like you would buy for a traditional die-cut machine. You can do an internal or external offset and you can change the size and the corners of the offset image. I use this a lot to cut fonts that are otherwise super tricky. I find that by offsetting by about 0.020 or 0.030 I still get the font style I want but it cuts way easier. Just make sure you make your image a compound path before you use this tool if you want the holes left in the middle of your letters. (page 61)

-Trace - The information in the guide is very basic. Basically whatever turns yellow in the "trace area box" will trace when you hit the button. I normally just play with all the toggles until all the area I want to be traced is yellow or really close to it. Then hit trace. (page 62)

I hope this helps with some of the more "tricky" tools for the Silhouette and if you guys have any questions I can definitely help. :)

I also have an awesome shortcut page that lists the symbols and keyboard shortcuts. It is the last page of the user's manual I referenced above. I printed that page out and keep it near my computer for reference.

omgosh, thank you Janeen!!! That is so very helpful. yesterday Nancy who was not supposed to be out of bed, walked to her PC to show me on her screen via facetime, how to outline a font.

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