This set out as an easy, quick craft.
Mr. SuzerSpace and I like to read.
So we need bookmarks! And of course they need to be personalized.
In my favorite font.
And that’s where things got a little complicated. Fortunately, by knowing a few tricks for cutting settings, I was able to get this one back on track pretty quickly.
In Adobe Illustrator
I set up a quick cut file in Adobe Illustrator. I designed it so it would be double thick – a score down the center would let me fold up the two halves and the cutout initial would be highlighted by a small piece of colored paper.
When you set up an item to fold like this, you want the back panel to be slightly narrower and slightly shorter than the front so they line up nicely when finished. I colored the stroke that is going to become the scoreline red so I can see it easier.
Right away, I had a problem. The inside of the “P” is going to drop out when this is cut. That part is called the “counter” and it’s tricky to deal with when stenciling or cutting. The easiest solution is to modify the artwork slightly so it doesn’t completely connect with the closest cutline.
I exported my file as a DXF, since the basic version of Silhouette Studio® doesn’t support SVG files, but it does work with DXF files.
In Silhouette Studio
In Silhouette Studio I set up my Design Page settings for an 8.5 x 11 piece of paper, using the standard Silhouette Cameo mat. And then merged in the DXF file.
I selected the red stroke (actually both will select at the same time because they are the same color, they came in as a compound path). In the Line Settings window I chose a dashed line. When it cuts, this will serve as my score line.
I then set up my cut settings for the paper stock I was using and sent the file to cut.
The result wasn’t exactly what I wanted. My bookmark cut just fine. But Mr. SuzerSpace’s tore out at the corners.
Luckily, I know how to fix this. Down in the bottom right corner of the cut settings window is an area labeled Line Segment Overcut. By default, this is off. But clicking the box turns it on and opens a new section for specifying how much overcut you want.
This all sounds scary and mathy. But it’s really easy. Normally, the Silhouette Cameo blade cuts exactly on the path you specify. But if you have a tight corner, sometimes it tears as it turns. Line Segment Overcut tells the blade to cut past the sharp corners and then pick up, change direction and then go back to the corner and start cutting again. You specify the amount to overcut.
Because I didn’t take my bookmarks off the mat when I saw the problem, in Silhouette Studio I can just move the artwork for one that tore down to another section of the page. Turning it 90 degrees lets it fit on that original sheet. I’ve also found that sometimes turning an item will help with the tearing (it has to do with the paper grain).
In the cut settings window I selected the first set of art and changed it to “No Cut”. And then I selected the new cut files and changed the cut settings. I slowed the speed down, changed the blade setting to not be as deep, and turned that all important Line Segment Overcut to on with a .1 mm setting.
And then I sent that to cut. The results kind of speak for themselves. The left is the original. The right is the adjusted cut.
Finishing these up was simple. I dug out some scrap pieces of colored paper (you do save all those little pieces, right?), and used a glue stick to adhere them to the inside back of the bookmark across from the initial cutout part.
A glue stick was all I needed to stick the two halves together. I weighted them down with a heavy book to keep them from warping while they dried.
And now, we have personalized bookmarks!