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This print & cut project is similar to the football garland I made for the Super Bowl in that it is double sided and hangs vertically.
To start, I searched the Internet as I always do for an image of a Black Capped Chickadee.
In Adobe Illustrator
I placed the clipart on a layer in Adobe Illustrator, and then traced the basic shapes using the pen tool. I colored it to match the image.
I then selected the main body portion and using Path > Offset Path I generated a path for my cutline. I changed the color of that stroke to red and moved it to a separate layer. I added circles at the top and bottom for hanging loops. Generally I make these about .375″, and you need to be careful about where you place them or the birds will hang crooked.
A smaller (.25″) circle centered inside the outer circles will actually become the loop for the string. I use the Pathfinder palette’s Combine function to weld the outer loops to the bird body, one at a time.
I exported the cutlines by themselves (turn off the bird image layer) as a DXF file, and the bird by itself (turn off the cutline layer) as a PNG. This allows me to bring them into the standard version of Silhouette Studio.
In Silhouette Studio
I like to set up my Design Page settings first so I know how much room I have to work with, and to make sure I don’t make mistakes when I send the file to cut.
Since this is going to be a print & cut project, I’ve set up my page as 8.5 x 11, and I’ve turned the registration marks on.
I merged in my cutline file and my bird image file and made sure they centered to each other. Then I grouped them, and duplicated that group two more times so I had three on a sheet.
I then sent the file to print using the printer icon in the left corner. Double check your settings to make sure you are printing at 100% – the print & cut magic will fail if the size is not correct.
To get the printouts double sided, I flipped the sheets over and put them back in the tray, and then printed again, using the mirror function in my printer software. You’ll have to test to see which way the sheets need to go in your particular printer. And the birds needs to line up very close to each other back to front or the cutting will be off.
I printed several sheets. Once they were printed, I placed a sheet on the Silhouette Cameo mat, being sure to have the little square registration mark in the upper left corner. Take care to not try and cut the mirrored side – you’ll know it’s wrong because that square will be in the other corner) Also be sure the sheet is really straight on the mat, because that will also cause the print & cut to not work correctly.
Back in Silhouette Studio I set up my cut settings for the paper stock I had printed on. And I sent the file to cut.
I weeded the sheet, and repeated the process until I had more than enough birds for my project.
I used silver thread to loop each bird to the next. I like it because it’s hard to see when it’s all hung up. I hate it because it’s hard to see while tying the knots 🙂 .
For this garland, I’ve done three strands – two each of three, and one of four.
I trimmed the bottom loop off the very last bird in each strand.
To give this project a little more dimension, I decided to used a dried day lily stem as my hanger. I also made decorative knots using twine at the top for each strand. This looks nicer than just loops, and it keeps the bird strands from slipping around and causing the whole thing to hang crooked.
Once it was completely assembled, it was perfect to hang on the wall in my living room.
Interested in making your own Black Cap Chickadee Garland? Click the image below to download the files I made. They are SVG and Studio 3 files, and they are for personal use only, please.
If you make something with them, I’d love to see it – tag me in your Instagram photo!