I love the new Silhouette Cameo® 4 and its ability to cut more materials than ever before! Leather was at the top of my list, so I’ve created a tutorial for you to cut a leather earbud holder with the 3 mm Kraft Blade for Cameo 4.
- Silhouette Cameo® 4
- Silhouette Studio® (Standard Edition)
- Silhouette Cutting Mat – Strong Tack mat or extra sticky standard mat
- 3mm Kraft Blade for Cameo 4 (Coming in November)
- Snap fastener
- Leather punch
- Design ID #118442
Step One: Create Your Design
1. In Silhouette Studio®, open the Hearts design (Design ID #118442). Ungroup the shapes. Keep the medium-sized heart but delete the others. It’s already the right size at about 2.6 inches in width and height.
Tip: If you try another design for this project, I suggest going through the design steps and then cutting it with paper first to see if the size will work before committing the cut to your nice leather.
2. Rotate the heart 45 degrees by holding Shift while dragging the green rotate handle.
3. Make a mirror copy to the left by using the Replicate Panel.
4. Nudge one heart over the other with your arrow keys to overlap them and remove any sharp corner at the base.
5. Weld the two shapes together using the Quick-access Toolbar or the right-click menu.
6. Check to make sure your Page Setup Panel settings match your leather size, and position the design within the cutting area.
7. Press your leather smooth-side down onto your sticky mat. I do it this way because the smooth side sticks better and there is less debris left behind on the mat.
Tip: Use a brayer or some other rolling tool (I use an empty vinyl cardboard tube) to press the leather down firmly against the mat.
Step Two: Cut Design
1. Twist to adjust your 3mm Kraft blade to 5 for the first cut, and then insert and lock it in carriage 2 (right side).
Note: Leather comes in different weights and thicknesses, so this will be a little trial and error. My leather was colored cowhide, about 1 mm thick (~2.5 oz.).
The Kraft blade in carriage 2 has plenty of force, but I find it’s still helpful to cut with a series of cuts. Have you ever cut into a big cardboard box and found you have more control by cutting lightly first (scoring), and then following along in the same channel several times until you cut all the way through? It’s the same concept.
2. In the Send Panel, make sure your machine is connected and ready, then expand the tool/carriage 2 settings by clicking on the small arrow.
3. Select your heart design and choose Cut. (In the Simple tab, the bold line should turn blue.) This tells the machine to cut your design using the tool in carriage 2.
4. Create a custom material. We are going to ignore the indicated blade setting as we cut the same design in several passes, manually adjusting the blade each time we send it. A low force and slow speed tends to work best.
- Click the Material drop-down arrow and choose “Add New Material Type.”
- Double-click to rename it something identifiable like “Red Leather.”
- Adjust the drop-down box for material category to “Fabric.”
- Click the + icon and add an action for “CAMEO4 Tool 2.”
- Set Blade depth to 1, Force to 10, Speed 3, Passes 1, and leave the other options in their default settings.
- Click Save, then use the X at the top to exit the advanced material settings.
5. Now choose the custom material you just created from the Material drop-down menu. The tool should show Kraft Blade, the action should show Cut, and all the other settings should match what you just input above.
6. As I mentioned, we are going to cut the leather in 3–4 passes, starting with a shallow score cut and then the cuts get deeper with subsequent passes. You will leave the mat loaded; simply remove the Kraft Blade and adjust it to a higher setting, replace the blade, lock it in carriage 2, and press SEND again.
- The first time you send it to your Cameo 4, manually adjust the blade to 5.
- The second time you send it, manually adjust the blade to 8. (Remember not to unload the mat in between.)
- Subsequent passes can be set deeper still, until the leather is cut all the way through. I adjusted my blade to 11 for the third pass.
- A fourth pass may not be necessary; check to see if it cut through without removing the mat. I sent my fourth pass through at blade depth 11 again. That’s deep enough to cut completely through this 1 mm leather.
Step Three: Install a Fastener
1. You can use whatever type of fastener you feel comfortable with. I punched a hole through both layers of the heart corner and installed a snap.
2. Toss in a set of earbuds, and you’re done!
I’m looking forward to trying a lot more leather with my 3mm Kraft Blade in my Cameo 4. This is all so new and will be a little bit of trial and error for different thick materials, but the possibilities are exciting!
What do you want to cut next?