PlanIt! How To: Using a Black Out File to Create Cut Lines

Anyone who has ever even glanced at a Silhouette Portrait machine knows that it is a tricky little device. I’m tech savvy and craft savvy, and it still took me a few hours to cut my first sheet of stickers the day I got it! I love printing and cutting my own stickers and also using printables I’ve bought or have found online and one of the best things to happen to planner printables is the blackout file (also called a PNG cut file). 

Many printable shops and creators create files now so that they are setup easily to use with your Silhouette (my fitness icons and workout boxes have a blackout file included, that’s the file I’m using for this tutorial!). When I first started using printables (well over a year ago), trying to trace intricate shapes or boxes with patterns often ended in frustration and miscuts. Also, many shops hadn’t formatted them to fit within the Silhouette cut borders, so I always had to shrink or shuffle things around. It was a huge hassle. Once shops started including blackout files (and I learned how to use them!) it became so quick and easy! Now on to our tutorial!

How To Use a Blackout File to Create Cut Lines for your Silhouette 

    1. When you first get your printable files, you’ll want to open a new document and then open the black out file first. To open it, go to File > Merge. (You have to choose merge, or it will open it in a different screen.)


    1. Leave the file where it lands. Don’t move it around, it should be lined up right on the page.


    1. Go to your trace feature and highlight the section you want to trace. (You may need to trace in a few sections depending on how the printable is setup.)


    1. The best way to trace blackout files is to turn off the high pass filter. You can adjust using the threshold.


    1. Once everything looks good, click trace outer edge.


    1. Repeat steps 3 & 4 for each section.


    1. Once everything has cut lines, you will want to click on just the image itself.


    1. When just the image is selected, delete it. You should just have your cutlines now!


    1. Next, you’ll open the image you are going to print. You’ll once again go to File > Merge. (You must use merge, this is so important!)


    1. Voila! Your stickers should line up perfectly with your cutlines!


  1. Add your registration marks and print and cut as usual!


You can download the fitness icons and workout boxes here.

What other Silhouette tutorials would you like to see?

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