Using the PixScan Mat with the Silhouette Cameo for fussy cutting fabric

What is PixScan?

This is what the Silhouette America website has to say about PixScan™:

PixScan™ technology allows you to cut precisely around any printed image or position cut lines in a specific location on your material using a camera or scanner. PixScan™ is perfect for digitizing a stamp collection or turning a hand-drawn sketch into a cut job.”

In my mind, PixScan™ is perfect for fussy cutting fabric – creating appliqué shapes that use a very specific part of a fabric’s design or pattern. As it happens, some of the fabrics in my Transformation fabric line are perfect for fussy cutting – they create the most gorgeous kaleidoscopes, especially when combined with the designs from Better Than A Paper Plate.

Better Than A Paper Plate by Sarah Vedeler Designs

Better Than A Paper Plate by Sarah Vedeler Designs

Here’s how to use the PixScan™ mat with your Silhouette Cameo cutting machine to fussy cut fabric!

Step 1: Calibrate your camera

You only need to do this the first time you use the PixScan™ mat.

  • Click on the PixScan™ button.
    .     Silhouette Cameo PixScan button
  • In the panel that opens up on the right side of the Silhouette window, click on the arrow by Import from File.
    .     Silhouette Cameo PixScan
  • Now click on the arrow by Camera Calibration.
    .     Silhouette Cameo PixScan
  • Click Show Calibration Test Card
    .     Silhouette Cameo PixScan
  • The calibration test card will now be showing on your screen. File -> Print.
    .     Silhouette Cameo PixScan
  • Now take a photo of the calibration test card using your phone or camera. There are a few guidelines you need to follow:
    • Don’t zoom.
    • Make sure lighting is even.
    • Place the calibration test card on a flat surface.
    • Make sure your camera or phone is parallel and in line with the calibration test card.
    • Only the calibration dots should be showing in the image. Move closer to the test card instead of zooming to fill the camera screen.
    • The photo should be clear and crisp.
  • Finally you’re ready to import the photo of the calibration test card. Click on the + under Camera Calibration. Then select the photo you took of the test card and click open.
    .     Silhouette Cameo PixScan
  • Now you will see an entry for your camera or phone. You can use this entry whenever you use this camera or phone with the PixScan™ mat.
    .     Silhouette Cameo PixScan

Step 2: Import the image from your camera

You will need a PixScan™ mat and your fabric to be fussy cut, backed with Heat N Bond lite if you will be using the fabric as appliqué shapes.

  • Place the fabric to be cut on the PixScan™ mat so that it is entirely contained within the black cut border.
  • Take a photo of the PixScan™ mat, following these guidelines:
    • Don’t zoom.
    • Make sure lighting is even.
    • Place the mat on a flat surface.
    • The entire mat should be clearly visible in the image
  • There isn’t any need to do any editing to the photo.
    .     Silhouette Cameo PixScan
  • Click on the PixScan™ button and then click on the arrow by Import from File. Click Import PixScan Image from File.
    .     Silhouette Cameo PixScan
  • Select your photo of the PixScan™ mat and click Open. It may take a couple of minutes for the image to load.
    .     Silhouette Cameo PixScan

Step 3: Add the shapes to cut

Now comes the fun part!

  • Open an SVG file or Studio file that contains the shape(s) you want to cut.
  • Copy the shape(s) and paste it onto the PixScan™ mat image.
    .     Silhouette Cameo PixScan
  • I filled the shape with blue to make it easier to see.
  • In the Grid Settings panel, uncheck Snap to Grid and Snap to Guides. This will make it much easier to place your shapes exactly where you want them. Unchecking Show Grid will also make it easier to place your shapes.
    .     Silhouette Cameo PixScan
  • Copy and paste your shape(s) and position them where you want them to be cut on the fabric. The Replicate panel has some fun options for creating arrays of shapes.
    .     Silhouette Cameo PixScan

Step 4: Cut the shapes

It’s time to cut!

  • Load the PixScan™ mat into your Silhouette Cameo cutting machine. The fabric should still be in place on the mat.
  • In the Cut Settings panel, select the shapes you want to cut. I prefer to use the Advanced options and select shapes by line color or fill. Be sure to select the correct material to cut – in this case Fabric (Thin fabrics like cotton prints)
    .     Silhouette Cameo PixScan
  • Click on Send to Silhouette. The machine will “read” the cutting mat before cutting.
    .     Silhouette Cameo PixScan

This is what was left on my cutting mat after removing the unwanted background fabric. How cool is this? And so much easier than fussy cutting any other way!

Fussy cutting with the PixScan mat


  1. Bonita Schreiber

    Thank you! I have no clue about what I am doing with my new Silhouette Cameo. This will truly help and any other tips you can give me would appreciated. Thanks, Boni

  2. I love this. Turned out beautiful. I am so glad to hear your daughter is doing better.
    Carol Wilson

  3. Thank you. I just purchased a Silhouete Cameo and was wondering how to do that.


    Thanks so much! Can’t wait to give this a try.

  5. A great tutorial Sarah! Can’t wait to try this!

  6. Thank you so much for this instruction. I can’t wait to try it. I am loving my Silhouette. I’m glad to hear that Heather is improving. I’ll keep your family in our prayers.

  7. That would have been great when we did those blocks for better than a paper plate. Less template films ? Love the tutorial!

  8. So glad to here Heather is doing better. I will continue to pray for all of you.

  9. Thanks Sarah. I didn’t know how to calibrate my camera. This was very helpful!
    We have been praying for Heather…and will continue.

  10. Thank you for sharing this great adf important tutorial.
    I am so glad to hear about heathers recovery

  11. have the Brother cut and scan. Is it possible to do the same on this one?

  12. Thank you so much for all your teaching,of course I’m on level minus 10 but I love all your embroidery designs. Congratulations in your new house,how big is your sewing room? So glad your daughter is doing well,please keep posting her progress. God bless.

  13. Patricia McConnell

    Thanks for this tutorial and all the others you do.
    So glad to hear about Heather’s recovery and to hear your exciting new home news. Best.

  14. Is it possible to do this on a brother equivalent machine

  15. Sarah ~ Great information. Any chance you can post a PDF for these types of posts. We’ll be able to save it easier and use for referral later. Thanks. God Bless to you and your family. Glad your daughter is doing better.

  16. Hi there. I noticed that Silhouette Studio (I have the highest version) has a “Save As” with multiple choices of embroidery formats. I was hoping to go from Cameo to Embroidery (instead of the easier Embroidery to Cameo). When I save as any of the embroidery files, it opens pretty jumbled in my embroidery software. Even if I could save as as .svg (which is no longer an option with the Silhouette software), I would be able to easily use my embroidery software for the applique. Fussy cutting fabric with the PixScan Mat and then being able to create an applique…

  17. Love you clear explanation of PixScan process. Thank you. So happy to learn of Heather’s progress.

  18. Just purchased the Silhouette and your tutorials are wonderful! Thanks a million for sharing – you don’t know how helpful this has been. My friends have the Cameo as well and we’ll be getting together to share info – your info will be on the top of the list!

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