Friday, January 6, 2012

Tutorial: Butterfly Valentine Suckers

A reader asked me how she could use her new Cameo to make these from Skip to My Lou's free printables:
using Sarah Bailey's "Butterfly Valentine" file from the Silhouette store:

She wanted to get text on a path around the butterfly wings, so I've written a couple of tutorials to help. Both use the print and cut feature of the Cameo (or original or SD machine), and both can be done with the basic version of Silhouette Studio.

The first tutorial shows how to convert the PDF into a cuttable Studio file, keeping the writing from the template intact.  The second tutorial shows how to make a butterfly file from the Silhouette Store into a similar project but with a custom message.

Tutorial to make Valentine Butterfly Sucker Holders
Using the free PDF file from Skip to My Lou
Cut with the Silhouette Machine (any model)
Software used: Silhouette Studio (basic or DE) and Photoshop Elements (10 or earlier)

1. Open the PDF file in Photoshop Elements
2. Using the magic wand tool (tolerance=32, anti-alias, contiguous options checked), click on the white background and hit Delete. This should give you a transparent background except for the words and the pink border. The insides of the butterflies can stay white.
3. Use your eraser tool to erase the background words so only the butterflies remain. Crop the excess background away.
PSE butterfly 1
4. Save As a PNG file. I named mine "butterfly valentine white".
5. Go to Edit>Fill Layer. Choose Black, Normal, 100% Opacity, Preserve Transparency.
6. This will fill your butterflies with black so they are easier to trace in Silhouette Studio. Save As a PNG file again, this time naming it "butterfly valentine black" (or something that makes sense to you).
PSE butterfly 2
7. Open Silhouette Studio.
8. Open both the white butterflies and the black butterflies (change the file type to All Files to find them).
9. On the black butterfly document, go to the Trace Window.
10. Choose Select Trace Area, drag your selection around both the butterflies, choose Trace Outer Edge (there's usually no need to adjust the settings when you just need the outer edge of black shapes).
11. Drag the black fill away to reveal the red cut lines.
12. Select the cut lines, copy them (ctrl or cmd C), then go to your white butterflies page. Paste (ctrl or cmd V) and the cut lines should go perfectly on top of the white butterflies.
13. Use your Line Drawing Tool to draw cut lines over the top of the slit marks from the template.
14. Select All, then Group.
15. Go to the Registration Mark window and check the box to Show Reg Marks.
16. Go to the Page window, choose "Letter Size" so you can print from your printer, then move the butterflies to fit within the red cut boundaries, also avoiding the cross-hatch areas. Change the orientation of the page or rotate the shapes if necessary.
17. Go to the Cut Style window (always a necessity when doing a print and cut) to confirm you have bold red lines around the butterfly shapes and for the slit marks. Save now if you haven't already, and save again if you already did so earlier.
ss b tut cut lines
18. Send to Printer (the orientation should match what you've chosen for your Studio document, which it usually does by default). You can print on solid-colored cardstock in various colors. (The white inside the butterflies will not print; remember white=blank for printing.)
19. Go to the Cut window. Place your printed paper on the mat exactly as shown; pay attention to the arrow on the mat and the printed registration marks. What you see on your screen should match your actual mat and paper.
ss b tut send to sil
20. Choose your paper type, then adjust the blade accordingly.
21. Send to Silhouette, skip printing, detect registration marks automatically. If it's successful, then cut!

Tutorial to make Valentine Butterfly Sucker Holders
with Custom Text
Using the cut file "Butterfly Valentine" by Sarah Bailey in the Silhouette Store
Cut with the Silhouette Machine (any model)
Software used: Silhouette Studio (basic or DE)

1. Purchase the "Butterfly Valentine" file from the Silhouette Online Store. (Please note: my example uses my own file I created from welded hearts so it won't look exactly the same as the Silhouette file.)
ss butterfly tut 1
2. Select only the outer edge of the butterfly (not the slits). You probably need to ungroup first.
3. Go to the Offset window, choose Internal Offset, choose "corner" or "rounded" based on your own preference--I chose "corner", and adjust the amount of offset so it looks good.
ss butterfly tut 2
4. Select your Text Tool, then choose a cute font like LD Flutter, Curls MT, Pea Sugar Noodles, or SS Play Font. Choose a small font size, about 10-12 pt. Click down on the page and start typing your message.
5. The text will probably show up in a red outline, so select (highlight) what you've already typed, then go to the Fill Color window (spilling paint bucket icon on top) and choose black, go to the Line Color window (colored lines icon on top) and choose black, then go back to the Text window (letter A icon on top).
6. Type your message followed by a space, then highlight it, copy (ctrl or cmd C), and paste (ctrl or cmd V).
7. Paste multiple times so your phrase repeats over and over.
ss butterfly tut 3
8. While the text is still in "edit" mode (surrounded by a green box), grab the four-pointed arrow and drag the text over to the Internal Offset you created.  It will "snap" to any shape it comes across, turning that shape into a text path instead of a cut line while the text is connected to it.
ss butterfly tut 4
9. Add more text if necessary (or delete extra), add spaces manually with your keyboard spacebar, and/or increase/decrease the font size and font spacing controls to your liking until the path is all filled in and the corners don't have text jumbled up together.
ss butterfly tut 5
10. If you lose your four-pointed arrow by exiting text "edit" mode, just double click on your text again to get it back.
11. If your text won't "snap" to the shape the way you want (i.e. upside down), you can drag that path away temporarily, move your text to it, then drag it all back in place.
12. You can also use the slider (it appears near the four-pointed arrow while on a text path) to reposition where on the path (above/on/below) your text will sit.
13. When it looks good to you, select all the pieces, go to the Align window, choose Centralize. (You may need to group your two slits first so they don't try and move to the same center spot.)
ss butterfly tut 6
14. Go to the Cut Style window, select just the text, and choose No Cut. Your Silhouette will cut anything showing in bold red lines.
15. Select all the parts by dragging a selection box around it all, then group (ctrl or cmd G).
16. Go to the Registration Mark window, check the box to Show Reg Marks.
17. Zoom to Fit to Page (ctrl or cmd 1).
18. With the butterfly selected, Duplicate or copy & paste. You'll probably only get two butterflies per letter-size page.
19. You can choose to print on colored cardstock, or you can fill the butterfly with color and print on white cardstock. To fill the butterfly with color, Ungroup the pieces, select only the outer butterfly shape, go to your Fill Color window, and choose a color. If your words or slits disappear, send the butterfly layer to the back (icon on the bottom with a yellow square behind two grey squares).
ss butterfly tut 7
20. Print. Cut. (See #18-21 in the first tutorial above.)

I know these are a bit lengthy, so I've made these tutorials are available on a PDF to dowload here:  Tutorial for Valentine Butterfly Sucker Holders


  1. OMG it seems so daunting but I really like the end result! Thanks for taking the time to jot down and share the steps with us. I am going to try this one of these days. Seems like a pretty cool trick! ;)

  2. These are so cute, great idea on the text around the wings, thank you for the tutorial.

    Hugs, Lori m

  3. Thank you for this tut. I can't wait to try it.

    One of these days I'm going to get brave and try the photoshop stuff. It seems so complicated.

  4. It just seems daunting because it has so many steps, but those steps are all there to make it easier...really. Photoshop is great, especially if you just start out with the stuff you need like in this tutorial. I'll help if you get stuck!

  5. Hi Kelly,
    I didn't realize you had these wonderful tutorials, I'm going to have to take some time and read through them. Thank you for stopping by my blog and yes I heard silhouette pinned my card, thanks for letting me know though. And I wanted to thank you for all the help you give, I can only imagine how time consuming to must be.
    Hugs, Lisa Barrie

  6. So cute!! Your tutorials are the best!

  7. Super Tute, Kelly! I love the text on that cute path!

  8. This is fabulous! Unfortunately, I don't have Photoshop. Is there any other way to make a PDF file into a cutable file in silhouette studio??

    amykathryn7 {at} gmail {dot} com

  9. Studio won't open PDFs but will open JPGs. You could scan a printout of the PDF and open the JPG created from the scan. Then you can try tracing as described in the first tutorial (starting at step 9). If you collect a lot of PDFs and want to have your Silhouette cut them, you might want to consider getting Photoshop Elements. They have free monthly trials where you could spend a month going through all the PDFs you have and going through this process to make them cut files. If you think you'd like to keep that ability, buy it!

  10. great idea! i've wanted photoshop for a while now but just haven't put the money aside for it, and it seems a bit intimidating! but i will definitely give the trial a shot! the scanning idea is also a great idea, thanks!

  11. Thank you for posting this tutorial! It took me a few tries to get it right, but it finally turned out!