Teacher Appreciation Poster – Some Silhouette Basics

Instead of doing teacher appreciation week, as most schools do, Monster’s preschool does teacher appreciation days throughout the year, because we don’t just love our teachers one week of the year!  My very first project on the Silhouette was a poster for his teachers’ door – you can see I didn’t know a whole lot about what the machine was capable of:

Orig

His class is called the Sunshine class, so I had to include a pun!

This time, I’ve learned a lot more about things the Silhouette does, so I’m going to share some of my learnings with you!  It’s still pretty basic, but I’ve found that I’ve used these techniques over and over again.

The first thing I wanted to do was create a phrase for the poster.  I HATE gluing individual letters onto a project – it’s so hard to get them spaced properly, and my lines are never straight!  So, I use a tool on the Silhouette called offset.  It makes bubbles around the letters.  I then cut these in a different (usually fancy) paper, and glue my individual letters to the bubbles – much easier to line up, then I only glue full words to the final project.

To start, you may need to adjust your line spacing so the bubbles don’t overlap.  In the font menu, it’s at the bottom (in the red box below).  If you have trouble seeing any of the images in this tutorial, just click on them to bring them full-screen.

1 Line Spacing

Then, to create the actual offset, go to the offset window by clicking the icon (outlined in red here) in the top right corner.  Then, click Offset, choose your width (0.25 in usually works pretty well for posters), and click Apply.  Bubbles will appear around your words!

2 Offset Window

Be aware that while your text is still one image, each word you made out of bubbles is separate.  So, if you want to move them as a unit, you’ll need to select them all (using Shift, NOT Ctrl), and group them using the button in the bottom left corner.

3 Separate Shapes

Now that you have your words and bubbles the way you want them, it’s time to think about cutting!  Because you are using different papers for letters and bubbles, you won’t want to just cut it all at once.  There are two ways to cut your paper.  The first is to simply move the part you don’t want to cut out of the “printing” frame, like so:

4 One Way to Cut

You can then swap out your words and bubbles, and cut again.

The other way is to use the Cut menu, located in the top right of the screen (in a red box below).  Select the cuts you wish to omit (in this case, the letters), and click No Cut.

5 Cut Style

This will make the lines fade, and they will not cut out when you send the document to the Silhouette.  When you exit the Cut menu, the red lines will return to normal (not as wide and all the same shade of red).  You can then alternate between parts to cut out.

6 Cut Outline

Another way to avoid gluing individual letters onto your project is through clever use of script fonts.  Lauren Script (included with Silhouette Studio) is one of my favorites.  You can find more scripts at fontspace.com – they are free and safe to use – but more on that in another post.

7 Teacher Names

Use the Cut menu again to make the cursive connect the words, but instead of No Cut this time, choose Cut Edge.  Instead of cutting individual letters, it will cut the outline.

8 Cut Edge

Be sure to zoom in on each word, though – as you can see here, the M was going to be separated from the a!

9 Zoom Problem

To fix this issue, use the Ungroup button in the bottom left corner (outlined in red here).  This will separate each letter in your text.  Then, simply move any affected letters around so that they touch!  If you do this with the Cut menu still open, it will be obvious when the problem is fixed.

10 Ungroup Letters

Ta-da!  Remember to regroup all the text if you want it to move as a unit again.  Once you’ve done this, though, you won’t be able to edit the words – they are treated as images rather than text now.

11 Fix to not Cut

So, using these techniques, here is the poster I made for the teachers’ door:

20140314_112310

Still has a sunshine theme!

And in case you like my flower or leaf, here is the Silhouette file to cut your own: Flower and Leaf