Hello Planning Mashers!
Have you recently got yourself a Silhouette machine? Are you itching to rock your sticker game? Well Masha is here to help and guide you through the first steps of the process!
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Creating your stickers is a super fun activity and it can be very useful for us planners! If you’re looking to learn how you can create stickers yourself – be sure to check Part 1: How To Make Stickers For Your Bullet Journal, Planner, and more.
In Part 1 we talked about designing stickers without any special equipment, just you and your pen, or iPad, or Canva – whatever tool you feel more comfortable with.
But there is a way to bring your sticker game even further – by using a cutting machine. These will help you cut out your stickers better and of course, do tons of other DIY projects.
There are several machines like that on the market, but I’ll be talking about what I know – Silhouette Cameo 4. I received this machine a few weeks ago and honestly have been loving it so much!
Ok, probably time for me to share an important disclaimer – I’m really a beginner at this myself. But as always, I came to the sticker game prepared. I did my research and my tests on the machine. So even though I’ve been using it for just a few weeks, I stand behind everything I’m talking about here today.
With all that out of the way, let’s dive into the process!
First, of course, a few supplies you’ll need for creating your own stickers.
I prefer this brand because they are of good quality and very affordable. I made so many mistakes and it took so much testing for me to figure things out (non-tech person here btw) that I’d have been devastated if I had used some expensive premium paper!
If you want to go premium – I loved using sticker paper from Silhouette themselves, as well as Avery sticker paper.
Choosing a printer proved to be more tricky. I had to do a lot of research, but I ended up getting an HP Envy 5055. It provides me with a pretty good quality of print without tanking my budget. All in all, it’s a great printer for beginners!
I know Canon printers come very recommended for sticker printing, but if you have a Mac, here’s a fair warning – you might have a lot of limitations with drivers. Ever since Mac updated to Catalina, it just doesn’t work properly with Canon printers.
For extra high quality, you can also check Epson printers, they come highly recommended online and are probably the one I’ll get when I decide to upgrade.
But for the time being, I’m pretty happy with my HP though and if you live in the USA and you’re eligible for their ink replacement program – buying cartridges won’t be that expensive at all!
This is quite an obvious one, but you do need a computer to work with designing your stickers (check part 1), as well as preparing them for your Silhouette machine.
Now that you asked, but I’m using a MacBook Pro 13”, and after a lot of try and errors, I realized that for design and creating work, Apple products are just better suited for me.
As I mentioned before, there are several brands out there, but today we are talking about Silhouette Cameo 4, the one I have.
Finally, to create your stickers and set them ready for print you’ll need Silhouette Studio. You can easily download it from the Silhouette website when you purchase your cutting machine. The instructions on how to find and install software will be in the box.
We will go through the steps below, so don’t worry if you can’t find it.
I know it all sounds so scary and professional, but it’s actually pretty simple once you get a hang of it, and I’m here to help you do just that!
So get extra excited and let’s dive into the process!
Step 1: Design Your Stickers
The first step is, of course, resigning your stickers. I won’t go into detail here – you can just check the part 1 for step by step tutorial.
There are basically several ways to design your own stickers – draw them and then scan, design them digitally (iPad or Photoshop) or use a third party design element in online software like Canva.
The point is that on your first step you should have a document with your stickers.
If you’re planning to use your Silhouette machine though, there are some changes you’ll need to make. You’ll have to save your designs in PNG or JPEG formats instead of PDF. So when you follow Part 1 instructions note that!
Step 2: Open and Setup Silhouette Studio
In case you lost your software installation manual, here are a few simple steps to download it:
- Navigate to silhouetteamerica.com/software.
- Select your operating system from the drop-down menu under Silhouette Studio.
- Click “Download.” Once the software has finished downloading, click to open.
Yup, this software has to be used before you start cutting. I actually was so eager to start creating the first stickers that I went ahead and printed them first.
Big mistake! I had to eventually cut them all manually. With my Silhouette Cameo 4 giving me smug looks from the desk.
For this step, just open your Silhouette Studio software.
Click on “DESIGN” on the top and select a little paper icon on the right. Check that all your settings are correct – you have the cutting mat 12” by 12” and your media size is letter.
Your Silhouette Cameo automatically comes with the cutting mat that size, so don’t worry about that!
Make sure you also always select “show print border” and “show cut border”, because your sticker designs will have to be inside these borders.
Next – choose the “registration mark” tab and click on the “registration marks” section.
This will show you registration marks that will need to be printed for future cutting. That way you know how to position your designs so they don’t go over these lines.
Step 3: Design The Sticker Sheet
Time to upload your sticker designs! I prefer just drag and drop my designs.
Once the design is there, you can move it around and resize it as you wish. I prefer to drop an already organized file, but you can also add designs one by one and organize and resize them.
When you click on the design, it shows you the size and allows you to change it, turn and move around. On the top panel you can also just set the size you want in numbers.
Be careful and make sure that your designs are within printing and cutting borders!
Time for next step…
Step 4: Create Cutting Lines
You want the Silhouette machine to cut out each sticker one by one, so it’s time for the important step – setting the cutting borders.
It takes a few little steps, but it’s really not that complicated.
Start from opening the trace panel (fifth icon on the left) and choosing a select trace area.
After that, select an area with all your stickers. Once you changed the settings to outline, threshold 100%, and trace outer edges.
This will create cut lines right around your stickers. Depending on how it went, you might want to clean up the lines a bit.
Move your stickers to the side, select the cut lines, and click object => release compound path. This will separate cut lines so you can delete the ones you don’t like, like if they offer to cut off a circle inside you number 8 but you want it to stay.
If you want your lines to be cut right around your stickers – you’re done here. Just make sure you move your designs back inside the cutting lines.
Personally though, I prefer having some white space around my stickers.
Select your cutting lines, click “open offset panel” (the fifth icon from the bottom on the left) and click offset.
Now you can see secondary cutting lines and use the offset menu to control how much space you want to have and what kind of corners you prefer. I usually go for rounded corners and distance 0.05 inches.
Are you happy with the result? Well, now delete the cut lines inside and move your stickers back in.
TIP: If you choose to just upload one design and create multiple copies of it inside Silhouette Studio, just do this whole process with this one design before you organize your stickers.
That way, later on, you’ll just need to copy-paste them already with the lines done.
Once you’re happy with the way it looks – time to print!
Step 5: Print the stickers
This is pretty simple, click the printer icon at the top left corner and send your design to printing.
Make sure you select the best quality color printing, so the stickers look bright and the lines for cutting stand out and are easily seen by the Silhouette machine.
Step 6: Upload The Paper To Silhouette
Now that you printed your sticker sheet and are happy with it – time to add it to your Silhouette machine.
To begin with – stick it to your printing mat. Make sure that you added it exactly the same way it looks in Silhouette studio – that way all the marks your Silhouette must read are in the right place.
Next – open your Silhouette Cameo and place the mat inside. Push the up button for the machine to secure the mat.
Make sure that your mat is held from both sides. If needed, you can move the right roller closer to the middle so it surely holds that side of the mat.
To do that, put the little inner handle on the right down, then use a grey lock button on the roller to move it around.
Once you’re done, make sure your mat is secure and held properly.
In case you wonder why I’m so detailed on this – I didn’t secure the mat the first time I tried to print stickers and it went… a little caca.
Step 7: Set Cutting Settings
Before you actually start cutting, you need to check your cutting settings.
Silhouette Cameo 4 comes with an auto blade and these are the settings that worked for me. If you‘re using a different blade you might switch it around accordingly.
Click to “SEND” on the top right corner and you’ll see the settings menu for the blade.
Usually for cutting on my Office Labels sticker paper I have settings like this: blade 2, force 10, speed 8. If I want to cut it out completely, I would recommend these settings: blade 5, force 14, speed 8.
The click tests to make sure your machine is working ok and once it’s confirmed – send it to cutting!
Be sure that Silhouette has enough space in front and behind the machine for the mat to move.
I also like to pull out the feeder tray when I print if I don’t have enough space in front of my Silhouette Cameo, that way it provides extra support for the mat.
A few minutes of crazy scary and loud noises and your stickers are done! Take your cutting mat out and carefully remove the sticker sheet from it.
It can curl a bit after that but don’t worry – put it between some planners and they will get straight in no time.
Getting Digital Stickers
Now that you mastered your Silhouette sticker basics, let me just guide you towards some places where you can get stickers to print.
Ok first of course you can design them yourself. Believe me it’s such fun and it’s a great way to actually get something that you need specifically!
Like for one of my weeklies I printed out stickers with specific dates and in specific fonts, I liked for the theme. The weekly is below, I love how it turned out and it took me just 30 minutes to set it all up!
If you wonder about washi tape, it’s from Simply Gilded aka probably the best washi tape ever!!!!
So yeah, designing your own stickers is useful, fun, and good for your wallet!
However if you’re not really too into the designing part or looking for something quick to start with – there are different places where you can find the stickers!
Masha Plans Resources Vault
Looking for free printable stickers – check our Resources Vault! We have tons of different themed stickers there.
All the stickers in the Resources Vault are in PDF format, so if you want to use them with your Silhouette machine, be sure to change their format to PNG or JPEG first. You can use an online free converter like this one.
To get access to these stickers, you’ll just need to sign up with the form at the end of the post.
Masha Plans Patreon
To give you more fun things and give you one more channel of supporting Masha Plans I opened a Patreon account.
There are tiers with different rewards starting just $1 and you can get tons of cool thighs for your Bullet Journal: weekly spreads, lettering practice sheets, complete printable monthly setups and more!
Among the rewards I also offer a printable sticker sheet every month. As a member you can also vote and give your suggestions on what kind of stickers you’d be interested in. If you join you’ll also get access to all the stickers from the previous months!
Patreon stickers are a PDF file and a PNG file ready for Cricut cutting. If you’re using Silhouette I recommend you to turn PDF file to PNG for that, you’ll be able to get much cleaner cut lines that way.
Or maybe join in and let me know that you also have a Silhouette and I’ll be happy to start providing Silhouette files for Patrons as well!
Finally, you can always buy stickers online, and my favorite place to do that is Etsy.
Etsy is full of small creators with their own unique sticker designs and you can always find there something that you like.
Moreover, there are stickers that already come with a Silhouette file, so you will just need to open them and press send!
I don’t know what your sticker design preferences are, but I thought I’d share here a few that I liked very much from my latest search.
Are you making stickers at home? What other stickers would you like to see in our Resources Vault and Patreon? Let me know in the comments!
Hope this post was interesting if you find it so, please share! If you enjoy my content and want to show your appreciation, please consider supporting me with a cup of coffee.
And always remember! Keep Bullet Journaling and don’t be a Blob!