How to cut appliqué shapes with a Silhouette Cameo

My first attempt to cut appliqué shapes with my Silhouette Cameo cutter was a disaster! Since that time I have discovered a formula that is working very successfully, so I’d like to share that formula with you.

In a nutshell:

Fabric + Heat N Bond Lite + Blade at #2 = Success

Let’s see it in action.

Cutting appliqué shapes using a mat

Prepare your appliqué fabric by applying Heat N Bond Lite to the back. The key here is to make sure that the bond is really good.

Why Heat N Bond Lite? It melts into the fabric as you are fusing it to the fabric and you don’t need to apply anything else to the fabric you are trying to cut!

Leave the backing paper on and place the fabric on the mat, backing paper down.

For the project I was working on, I had a bunch of smallish shapes to be cut out of different colors of fabric. I arranged the shapes on the 12″ x 12″ cutting mat so that they were aligned with the grid – that way I could position my pieces of fabric on the mat to match up with the grid.

 

Cutting Applique Shapes with the Silhouette Cameo

Cutting Applique Shapes with the Silhouette Cameo

I have found that the best way to make sure the fabric is secure on the mat is to use one of my smaller rotary cutting rulers as a scraper/smoother. If I have a 12″ x 12″ square of fabric to cut, then I will use a 12″ long ruler to help smooth the fabric onto the mat.

Cutting Applique Shapes with the Silhouette Cameo

Cutting Applique Shapes with the Silhouette Cameo

The default blade setting for cutting fabric (thin fabrics) is #3. I have found that this will cut through the fabric and the backing paper – and I don’t necessarily want to cut through the backing paper, so I usually set my blade to #2.

Cutting Applique Shapes with the Silhouette Cameo

Cutting Applique Shapes with the Silhouette Cameo

Each time I start a new cutting session, I make sure that the blade is clean. Did you know that you can remove the little white cap on the end of the blade to make cleaning easy? A fair amount of lint usually builds up – and the cuts will be a lot better if the lint is cleaned away.

Cleaning the Silhouette Cameo blade

Cleaning the Silhouette Cameo blade

This is what a clean blade should look like!

Cleaning the Silhouette Cameo blade

Cleaning the Silhouette Cameo blade

Feed the mat into the Cameo. The white grippers are at the outermost positions on both ends of the roller.

Feeding the mat into the Silhouette Cameo

Feeding the mat into the Silhouette Cameo

Now you are good to cut!

Cutting applique shapes with the Silhouette Cameo

Cutting applique shapes with the Silhouette Cameo

When cutting has completed, remove the mat from the Cameo. Use a spatula tool to lift up each shape. It will lift cleanly off the fusible webbing backing paper (which will be stuck to the mat!). I like to leave the backing paper on and have it stick to the mat rather than removing the backing paper and having the fusible webbing backed fabric stick directly to the mat as when the fabric is stuck to the mat there is always the risk that the fabric will be stretched, especially the edges, when you attempt to remove it from the mat.

Cutting applique shapes with the Silhouette Cameo

Cutting applique shapes with the Silhouette Cameo

There is usually a thread or two that needs to be clipped with a pair of scissors.

Cutting Applique Shapes with the Silhouette Cameo

Cutting Applique Shapes with the Silhouette Cameo

Who can guess what it is I’m going to be making with these shapes? Make sure you stop by next week to find out!

Cutting Applique Shapes with the Silhouette Cameo

Cutting Applique Shapes with the Silhouette Cameo

Cutting appliqué shapes without a mat

If you are cutting a full 12″ x 12″ square of fabric, there is no need to use a mat! Simply apply the fusible webbing to the back of your fabric – and leave the backing paper on. Move the white gripper on the right hand side of the roller in one notch and choose the “Load Media” option on the Cameo.

Cutting Applique Shapes with the Silhouette Cameo without a mat

Cutting Applique Shapes with the Silhouette Cameo without a mat

When you are not using a mat, you want to make sure you are doing a “kiss” cut – i.e. you don’t want to cut through the backing paper! If you have the blade set to #2 when cutting on a mat, set the blade to #1 when cutting without a mat. Make sure you check that the fabric has been cut before unloading it – if it didn’t cut all the way through, you can always do a second cut as long as you haven’t unloaded the fabric from the Cameo.

Cutting Applique Shapes with the Silhouette Cameo without a mat

Cutting Applique Shapes with the Silhouette Cameo without a mat

This is what you should see from the back… the backing paper has been scored, and for the most part it has not been cut all the way through (although there are a couple of areas where it did get cut through).

Cutting Applique Shapes with the Silhouette Cameo without a mat

Cutting Applique Shapes with the Silhouette Cameo without a mat

It’s really easy now to use the spatula tool to lift the appliqué shapes off the backing paper.

Cutting Applique Shapes with the Silhouette Cameo without a mat

Cutting Applique Shapes with the Silhouette Cameo without a mat

The best thing about cutting without a mat is that you don’t have to deal with removing the backing paper from the mat!

Do you remember…

What I showed you last week?

I thought you might like to see the work in progress 🙂

4 each of each block have been stitched and I now need to get them assembled into a finished quilt. I’m excited about this particular project as it has been completely quilted in the hoop. Leave me a comment at the bottom and let me know what you think!

Inspired by Libby by Sarah Vedeler

Inspired by Libby by Sarah Vedeler

This is what I’m also working on this week. Who can answer this question… What is the significance of the grey spools? Leave your answer in a comment below!

AURIfil Thread with Frond Design Studios Fabric

AURIfil Thread with Frond Design Studios Fabric

Until next time… Happy Stitching!

Sarah Vedeler Designs

12 Comments

  1. Absolutely beautiful!! Thanks for the inspiration.

  2. Looks terrific ! I’m going to try that!

  3. The grey spools are 28wt Aurifil cotton thread – wonderful for making those applique edge stitches stand out in the beautiful designs that you create!

  4. Thank you for this tutorial, inspiring, could you tell me if this will also work on a Brother Scan &Cut

  5. the swirls are beautiful and I love that the quilting is done in the hoop. Although I am a longarm quilter, I still love an easy do it. I absolutely love your work. I would love to take a class from you. I live in south florida.

  6. Do you add a mm to the outline when creating the applique in Cameo for fabric?

  7. I have a Cricut Explore Air, will this also work on my machine? I love your designs and I would love to make a quilt made with embroidery squares such as yours.

  8. Pingback: Using Silhouette Studio Designer Edition to cut applique shapes - Machine Embroidered Applique by Sarah Vedeler Designs

  9. Elisabeth Ring

    I have been wondering if I should purchase a cutting machine as I am making many of Sarah’s projects. I have been wondering if it is very difficult to use. Thank you Sarah for these excellent tutorials. Now I will put the cutter on my list of items to purchase.

  10. How does one remove the white top pls?

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