- Always have spare parts. I stock up on cutting mats when I find them on sale, and I make sure to order a new blade as soon as I toss out a dull one.
- Organize my cutting files. This takes a few minutes to put in place, but is well worth the time. When you are in the screen with your cutting files, right click and then create a new folder with a name that reflects the contents, then move that type of file into the folder. Here's what mine looks like:
- Keep a list of fonts. I have a document in my word processor named "silhouette fonts" that's just a list of fonts I know cut out well. That way I don't have to scroll through all of my fonts, trying to find one I like. (Check back on Wednesday for a list of some of our favorite fonts to cut.)
- Cut on multiple papers simultaneously. Usually when I send the cutting mat through my Silhouette, it looks something like this:
- Cut more than I need. Even if I just need a few letters cut, I always add extra tags or shapes in the blank spaces. I don't always know how I'll use the extras, but I think of them as another supply—I just keep them with other embellishments.
- Keep the negative shape for a different layout. The negative shape is the space that's left behind when you use the shape you cut. There are lots of things to use the negative for. Fill it will something: strips of washi tape or ribbon, your journaling or title, or embellishments. Or you can use it as a template. You can spray mist in a pattern, or trace around the shape, or journal inside of it. Or just back it with patterned paper, like this layout by Christa:
- Use the left overs. I love this layout by Valerie:
She used the negative chevron shapes as the main embellishment, backing the spaces with patterned paper, but added extra depth by layering on the positive white shapes.
- Position repeating shapes with purpose. The floral border on this layout
was the negative shape left over after I cut out some blue flowers (which I used on a card I made for a friend.). In the Silhouette software, I positioned the flowers so they were spaced in diagonal lines, thinking I could use the left over strip on a different layout later. (The frame around the title was a negative shape I kept just in case I might use it one day, so I only had to cut out the number 4.)
- Do the opposite—keep the positive shapes when you use the negative one on your layout. For example, I love using the negative shape when I cut a long title, because it's easier to stick down than all those individual letters. But I keep the letters I didn't use, in a little bowl near my other paper scraps. I use them for making eclectic titles. Or if the words work for a card, I'll make one right away with the left over letters and a few of the supplies I didn't use on my layout.