Today we’re going to take a look at how to change the thickness of fonts when using them with die-cut machines like those in the Silhouette range.
I’ve created this handy guide which you can use while you watch the tutorial here, so that you can really tailor your crafting projects to make the die-cutting process just that little bit easier.
When you’re using fonts in crafting, and especially when you’re cutting vinyl, for example, you can find that the finer, thinner parts of the font can be really tricky to cut cleanly.
Fonts like Bright Light from the Celebration bundle at svgbundle.net and some other cursive writing fonts tend to be very thin in certain parts of their text, but the good news is that you can overcome this in programs like Silhouette Studio, and Cricut Design Space.
This tutorial, using the Silhouette Design Studio, will walk you through exactly how to make your fonts a little bit thicker, so you can then cut them out with ease on your electronic die cutting machines.
You will need the following-
- Silhouette Design Studio
- Different fonts. I will be using Briliants Typeface, Bright Light and LuduKudu from Fontbundles.net
- Media to cut your fonts (e.g. vinyl or thin cardstock)
Editing Fonts in Silhouette Design Studio
1) Open up your Silhouette design studio. The first thing you need to do is to type some text. So just go to your text icon, and then type out what you want to print and cut – I’ve chosen something simple like “Happy birthday”. Once you have your text written up, you can then centre it.
2) And now you need to decide on your chosen font. For the purposes of this tutorial, I’m using the Brilliants typeface, which is quite a fine, thin font as you can see.
3) Fill in the font outline so you get a clear picture of what you’re working with.
You can see when you zoom in to certain parts of this font, that if you were cutting this on vinyl, it would be very hard to cut cleanly, because it’s so thin, and it would very likely rip.
So, what can you do to make your font a little bit fatter to solve this tricky problem? Well, the first thing you can do is use the offset tool, but there are a couple of things you need to do before using this.
4) Select your text and then select the offset icon. You’ll notice that the default is offset distance 2mm offset, which is a little large for this exercise, so go to the box which shows the offset distance measurement and bring it down (this part is a little ‘trial and error’) until the offset outline is just a little bigger than the actual text, but not so big that it will lose the definition and style of the font.
5) As you can see even a 7mm offset makes a big difference to the thickness of your text. Once you are happy with the thickness, select apply.
6) It is good to fill the offset outline with a new colour (shown here in red) so you can check the offset is correct. If it is not, you can use the undo option to go back and adjust your offset.
7) You can then remove the original text and cut the new thicker text from your media.
Offset Function in Silhouette Design Studio
The offset function also works well with cursive fonts. The font below is Bright Light, which has some fiddly fine and thin parts and is pretty tricky to cut at this thickness. We can use the offset function to make the font slightly thicker and ensure that it cuts cleanly.
1) Type your text and centre, as before.
2) Fill in the outline so you can see what you’re doing.
3) Select your text and then select the offset icon.
4) Adjust the offset distance – for this font, around 9mm looks right but don’t be afraid to play with it a little. Once you’re happy, press ‘APPLY’.
5) Fill the offset outline with a new colour (shown here in red) so you can check the offset is correct. If it’s not quite right, simply re-adjust the offset distance.
6) You can then remove the original text and cut the new thicker text from your media.
Reducing Font Weight in Silhouette Design Studio
Of course, sometimes text can be too fat and ‘blocky’ and you might want to shave a little weight from the edges, so let’s have a go at reducing your font weight a little. For this exercise, I’m using LuduKudu, which is quite a heavy, chunky font, and would cut better if it were a shade less bulky. To make a font thinner is a similar method. I am using LuduKudu font from Fontbundles.net.
1) We start in exactly the same way: Type the text you want to print and cut. For this exercise, DON’T fill it in, because it’s easier to see the offset distance when the outline is clear.
2) Click ‘Open Window Offset’ and select internal offset, (the default measurement is 1mm) which essentially does the opposite to the previous examples – It actually produces the lines inside the text instead of outside the text.
3) Increase the size of offset, bring the new offset lines INSIDE the existing lines (I increased the internal offset distance to 2mm in this exercise).
4) When you’re happy with the size, press ‘APPLY’ and then fill it so you can see the difference. Then select and move the original sized text out of the way (filled with black in this example) and you’ll be left with a thinner, less blocky text that is ready to cut!
As a final note, it’s useful to remember also that another great use for the offset function is to create shadows, so you can layer text to create dimension.
The offset function is a great tool in the Silhouette software, and a quick easy fix when you want to change font weights to fit your needs. Making a thinner font thicker is great for lean cuts and to make a font thinner is great if you would like to either print the text or use a pen in the silhouette machine.