How to Create a Reusable Stencil with your Silhouette Cameo

Want to create reusable stencils with your Silhouette Cameo? Let me show you how to create an acetate stencil from a digital cut file by!  Then let me show you how to use your stencil into a beautiful card.

Recently the folks over at asked me to create a card with a product they just launched on October 1, 2019.  Digital Cut Files!  I was given the file for free and was given creative freedom to play!  I decided to use the cut file to create an acetate stencil so I could reuse it many times over. Then I used the stencil to blend distressed inks over the card front. Let me show you how you can create a acetate stencil on your Silhouette Cameo.

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For this card I used the Digital Cut File ( Floral Sampler Pack for Cards) from  You can actually download this file for FREE until October 7th, 2019.


Supply List

Watch the Video


Prepare the cut file to use

You can purchase cut files (ask SVG files) from a variety of sources.  The one used in this tutorial is from  It is the Floral Card Front from their World Card Making Day collection. It's free for download until October 7th, 2019.  So hop on over there and grab your copy now!

Other places I like to get SVG is  They even have a section dedicated to crafters.

I only have Silhouette Studio Basic Edition and am not able to import a SVG directly into Silhouette Studio.  I believe if I had the Designer version of Silhouette Studio, then it would be no problem.  I don't design much in SS, so I didn't see the need for the added expense.

So because of this, I have to do a work around. I'll show you below what I do to import the SVG file ready for cutting.

If you have the Basic Edition of SS, then you will need to convert the SVG file to a DXF file format.  DXF is like a generic cut file format.

I do this by bringing the svg file into Adobe Illustrator, which is a design program in the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite.

If you don't have Adobe CC, then google “SVG to DXF convert tools”.  You should be able to find a free software to convert your files.  I use many of Adobe's products so I just chose to do this way.

Once Ai has launched, then I open the SVG cut file by going to where the file has been saved on my computer.

Then I will export the image into a DXF file type.  The path to do this is:

File > Export > Export As…

See the pics below:

Once you have the image converted into a DXF you can now open it in SS Basic Edition. Remember if you have SS Designer, you wont have to do the above step.  Just open it directly in SS Designer.

When you are in SS, navigate to where you saved the DXF file and open it.  This may take a minute or two since the file has tons of bits and pieces.  Just give it time and it will open up.

When it loads into SS, the design image will be too large for a regular A2 size card.  So you need to select the entire design and group it together.  You can do this by dragging your cursor over the entire image and either going to Object > Group or right click then scroll to Group.

Now we need to transform or scale the entire image to the height of 5.25″.  Once you have the entire image (that has been grouped together), click on the transform panel and choose the tab that shows the straight line.  This is the scale sub panel.  Making sure the entire image is selected, click on the “lock” icon to the right of the width and height fields.  Make sure the lock is closed or enabled.  This will force the entire image to scale proportionately.  Then enter 5.25″ in the height field and click apply.

Now that your image is reduced to fit the size of an A2 card, you will want to place it on the mat.  I like to rotate mine so that I am not wasting the media.  So in this case I am going to rotate the image 90 clockwise, by going to Object > Rotate > Rotate 90 Clockwise.


Setup Your Test Cut

Silhouette has a test cut setting in the Send panel, but it is just a straight line square with a triangle inside of the square.  I found sometimes settings that may cut the square, might not actually cut your intricate designs.  So I suggest cutting a small portion of your design to do the actual test cut.

I like to place my design towards the lower part of my media mat because if I do not unload the mat and leave it attached to the machine, I am able to lift the end of the paper or in this case, acetate to see how the cut did.  And if it did not cut all the way, I can lay it back down on the cameo mat and run the job again.  The machine will cut in the exact same spot because you did not unload the media mat.

As you can see below, I just used a scrap piece of acetate to do the test.

Settings for the Test

I like to use the Deep Cut Blade when cutting hard material like acetate.  I tried using the Premium Cut Blade, but at the highest (deepest) setting I was unable to get a clean cut.

For the test, I set the blade to 19, force to 33, speed to 3, and pass to 3.

After the test was completed, I realized that there was not enough adhesive down on the mat to keep the acetate firmly in place.  So for the final cut, I sprayed some Pixie Spray down to give it some light tack.  I also changed the settings a bit.

The final settings were blade 17, force 30, speed 2, and pass 2.  This resulted a clean cut with not to much damage to the mat.


Considerations in the Final Cut

After the test cut, I realized that I probably should not cut the outline of the stencil at the same time as the entire design.  The reason for this is because if the outline is cut clean and lifts up for any reason and moves, then the entire job will be ruined. And because if the outline is not cut, I can lift the acetate sheet to check the cuts and clean out any loose pieces while the media mat is still connected to the machine.  Then if I need to run it again, I can and the machine will cut in the exact spot it is supposed to.

So I decides to split it up into 2 cuts.  One for the interior design and then one for the outline.  To do this, I needed to tell SS not to cut the outline.  In the Design panel, select the design and “ungroup” it.


Then go back into the Send panel. Click on the outline to select it.  Then click on “No Cut”.  If you have done it correctly, you should see what will be cut in blue and the outline will be grayed out.

Once the interior design has been cut.  Lift up the acetate sheet (DO NOT UNLOAD THE MEDIA MAT), and clean out any loose pieces of acetate.  I did this with a vinyl scrapper tool and my embossing stylus.

Once all of the pieces are cleaned up.  Lay the acetate sheet back down on the media mat.  It should lay down in the same spot it was before.

Prep for the 2nd cut

Now we need to cut just the outline of the stencil design.  Select the entire design and click on “No Cut”.

Then go back and click on the outline by itself.  And click on “Cut”.  If you have done it correctly, then you should see the outline in blue and the interior cuts grayed out.  Hit send and run the cut job again.  The stencil should lift right up. And now you are ready to start making cards with your stencil.


Creating the card project

Spray the Pixie Spray on the back side of your stencil. This allows the stencil to remain in place on your paper as you blend ink over it.

Place the stencil on your cardstock. In this case, I used the Neenah Classic Crest.  And tape the stencil and paper down to a surface.  I love iCraft purple tape because it does not pull on the cardstock.  The Tim Holtz Glass Media Mat is also great to use for crafting surfaces.

Once the paper is secure on the mat, then begin to blend your distress oxide inks onto the paper.  I like to put some of the ink down on the glass mat.  This allows me to control the amount of ink that goes on the blending brush, and it helps me to eliminate cross contamination of inks on the pads.

The colors I used in order were:

Next its time to mat the card front.  I decided to use My Favorite Things A2 Rectangle STAX Die-Namics to cut a perfect rectangle.  I like using frame dies such as this because sometimes when I use a paper trimmer, I don't get exactly straight lines and the OCD in me just can't take it sometimes.

I used the Gina K Designs Connect glue to adhere the card front to the black panel.  I like GKD Connect glue because it allows me to reposition the card front just where I want it. You can check out my blog post where I did a review of the Connect Glue.

I used Hero Arts Pitch Black cardstock to put behind the card front, then used GKD Blue Lagoon as the final panel.

Then to finish off the card, I placed black dots, using the Nuvo Crystal Drops in Ebony Black, in random areas on the card. Make sure, once you finish this step, to put the card somewhere safe.  I often place it on my craft table and end up touching the crystal drops before they have dried and hardened…. messing up the card. UGH!

Final Project

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