Initial Letter Bookmarks

AKA That time Line Segment Overcut Saved The Day

Initial letter bookmarks are a quick project, if you know how to change the cut settings in Silhouette Studio to deal with tearing.

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.

The basic design for initial bookmarks

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.

Adjusting the letter so the counter doesn't drop out


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.

Silhouette Studio Design Page Settings for personalized bookmarks

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.

A dashed line works as a score in Silhouette Studio

I then set up my cut settings for the paper stock I was using and sent the file to cut.

Cut settings for the initial bookmarks

The result wasn’t exactly what I wanted. My bookmark cut just fine. But Mr. SuzerSpace’s tore out at the corners.

The initial bookmark project needs some fine tuning

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.

The line segment overcut area in Silhouette Studio

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.

Adjusted cut settings for the initial bookmarks

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.

Adjusted paper cut settings in Silhouette Studio fix the initial bookmark

Final Assembly

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 crap of colored paper makes the initial bookmarks cheery

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!

Initial letter bookmarks

Silhouette Studio's Line Segment Overcut Setting made these initial letter bookmarks possible



2 thoughts on “Initial Letter Bookmarks”

  1. What a sweet idea, simple and smart at the same time.
    I quite like the Rob Ryan style papercut letters too where he lets those middles fall out, but it’s not a look that works with every font. I like how you worked round the problem.

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