Now that you have created a stencil frame for your stencils, let’s design a striped background stencil using the drawing tool to insert a rectangle. You can use this stencil for creating a striped pattern on cookies or you can cut two striped stencils, lay one on top of the other in the opposite direction, and make a gingham pattern on your cookie.
These directions are made using Silhouette Studio V4. I decided I may as well show you the latest version. The tool bars for Silhouette Studio V3 are a little different, but not much. Stencils may seem like a lot of steps, but once you practice these steps a few times, it will be easy for you. I can do it with my eyes closed now! There are a lot of pictures in the blog posts so that you can see what my computer screen looks like in the stencil making process. As I post more tutorials, I will be less descriptive because you will have learned the software and the tools and won’t need as many details about every step.
There are many ways to complete the steps that I show you. I show the way that works best for me. As you begin to make more stencils, you will find the way that works best for you. There are lots of shortcuts that I use. If you can learn them and make them a habit, it does make designing much faster! When you click on some tools, you can see the shortcut icon listed to the right of it or here is a link to a chart–Silhouette Studio Shortcuts
**This technique works for any shape that you want to turn into a background stencil. Try inserting other shapes from the toolbar(like circles for polka dots), use Design Store images, or upload your own shapes to make background stencils. Here is a tutorial that I wrote for Silhouette School blog using a circle and a triangle to make a balloon background stencil. There is also FREE file at the bottom of this blog post to try out your skills.
Open the stencil frame that you already created OR open a New File and make a new stencil frame.
If you open the stencil frame you already created, be sure to click File> Save As and name the file “Stripes”. If you click >Save at this point, you will overwrite the stencil frame file. If this happens, it is not a big deal because now you know how to design a stencil frame and you can create another one.
Insert a rectangle from the drawing tool bar on the left. Your cursor will turn into a + sign. Click and drag until you get the size of rectangle that you want. You can also change the size of the rectangle in the tool bar at the top to the left of the lock icon(I forgot to point an arrow to it.)
Select the rectangle and go to Object>Replicate>Column of Four. You can choose to Duplicate or Replicate here as many times as you want. Just do it until you have the number of stripes you think you’ll need. You can always add more or delete some if you want less.
Begin to select and drag the stripes leaving a small space between. Arrange them how you would like them to look in the stencil frame.
They don’t have to be exact, just spaced apart. We will Align them in the next step.
Select all of the rectangles by clicking on each one while holding the shift key down or clicking and dragging over them. Go to Object>Align >Align Center.
They should all be centered and still selected. Now go to Object>Align >Space Vertically to evenly space them apart. I had one too many stripes. They would not all fit in the frame, so I moved it off to the side to use later.
To group the stripes so that they will move together, make sure they are all selected. Go to Object>Group.
To perfectly center the stripes in the stencil frame, drag the stripes over the stencil frame. Select the stencil frame and the stripes by holding down the shift key and clicking on them or just click and drag over both of them. Go to Object>Align>Align Center. You can then adjust the position by selecting only the stripes and using the arrow keys on the keyboard to move them a little bit at a time. The tab at the top makes the stripes set higher in the stencil, so I adjust mine a little lower using the down arrow on my keyboard. **I had one stripe that didn’t fit, so before grouping them, I moved it off to the side for later.
Once you get the stripes where you want them, group the stripes and the stencil frame. Make sure they are both selected. Go to Object>Group. Now if you need to move the stencil around on the screen, everything will move at the same time instead of moving one in piece at a time.
And…Here is your stencil!!
Cutting the stencil–
The new V4 screen has changed a bit. Here are some screenshots of how it looks.
For V3, click here to see those cut settings screenshots.
Click Send in the upper right hand corner. Under the Material section, select your material. For .007 material, I use Chipboard. Click “Edit Selected Material” in the lower right hand corner to choose your cut settings. Mine are shown in the screenshot below. You can also choose to “Add New Type” and create your own custom stencil material setting.
While still under the Material section, make sure it says Chipboard, Speed 2 Thickness 33, check the Double Pass box, select the blade you are using(I use a premium blade on 7), and uncheck the Line Segment Overcut box. **I chose to click>SAVE in the lower right hand corner because I don’t want to adjust the settings every time I choose Chipboard, but you don’t have to do this.
You will see your cut settings at the bottom of the screen. You can also adjust the settings here each time.
Click the Action tab(or you can click NEXT in the lower right hand corner) and under Tool 1(because that is where I have my blade) select “Cut” from the pulldown menu and also the kind of blade that you are using. You will need to go to the workspace and select the stencil by clicking on it. (Choosing which image to cut is a new feature in V4. In V3, the image had to be dragged off of the mat or it would get cut.) In the center of the screen where you see the words “No Cut”, “Cut”, and “Cut Edge”, click the one in the middle that says “Cut”. Click> NEXT, adjust your blade if needed, and click>SEND.
REMEMBER: After the first cut, click “Start” or “Send” again to send the mat back through without removing the mat between cuts.
**There were a few glitches in my workspace and cutting screens with V4. I think there are still some bugs they are working on at this time, but I love the new look and features.
You can always go back and ungroup any part of your design to make changes or duplicate parts of it. For example, I will sometimes make another stencil using the stencil frame and an image from the stencil that I am working on. I ungroup, duplicate the stencil frame and the image I want. I can also add another image to the workspace and make another stencil and save more than one in a file. For example: a balloon background, a single balloon, and the words Happy Birthday. This way I can save them as a set in one file and choose to cut one or all. I will post more about that later.
When I duplicated the stripes, as in the screenshot above, I had one too many. I moved the extra rectangle off to the side. I resized and duplicated it to make another striped stencil set with two sizes of stripes for a 2 piece stencil. This will allow me to airbrush two different colors of stripes.