I love monograms and personalizing just about any surface I can find….every electronic gadget I own has been marked, including my Silhouette Cameo machine with this and this, and I have plans to make about a dozen or so more vinyl decals to slap my monogram or name on other things….but life keeps getting in the way and time seems to just vanish…..*sigh*
Anyway….. Here I’ll walk you through the steps to add a monogram (or any name/word for that matter) to any shape in Silhouette Studio!
By adding a monogram, I don’t mean just cutting OUT the letters themselves….that’s super easy, right? You just put the monogram on your shape, set your cut lines, then cut! No, no, no. I mean attaching your monogram to your shape then cutting out the area AROUND your monogram, so your monogram looks like it’s just floating away inside your shape. All the negative space is gone. Make sense? Don’t worry, it will. Just keep reading!
How To Add A Monogram Or Word To Any Shape In Silhouette Studio
Like I mentioned, this method can work for adding any monogram, name, word, or even a shape to the inside of any shape. I’ll be explaining it here for use with a single letter monogram, but get crazy with it. Now on with the tutorial!
#1: Make Your Monogram
Choose Your Font: The first step is to obviously choose a font and make your monogram. To make mine, I used my Text tool and made a text box with my last initial in the Vine Monogram font.
Draw a Circle Around Your Monogram: Next, I used my Circle tool to create a circle that surrounded my letter. I made sure it was touching my letter on all four “corners” by nudging this corner in here and pulling that corner out some there until all four swirls had at least a small portion overlapping with the circle. This overlapping is very important for a future step because this is what will connect my letter to my shape.
If you’re using a three-lettered monogram or have a long/tall word, you’ll probably want to use an oval instead of a perfect circle. Just play around with the shape until you get something you’re happy with….there are no rules with designing! You also don’t have to use a circle or oval at all….any other shape would work as well, just make sure it’s overlapping in some areas with your letter/word.
TIP: To create a perfect circle, hold down the shift key while dragging your Circle tool.
#2: Arrange Your Monogram So It Is In Front of Your Circle
Next, we need to connect the circle and letter into one piece by getting rid of the sections of the letter that are on the outside of the circle and then connecting their lines. Simple welding won’t work (been there, tried that!)….we need to combine the two images into a compound path. Compound paths always confuse me and I usually do several rounds of trial-and-error to figure it out, but slowly but surely, they’re starting to make more sense to me!
Bring Letter To Front: Start by selecting your letter and then either right-click or go to Object –> Arrange –> Bring to Front and arrange the images so the letter is on top (or in front) of your circle.
Subtract: Next, make sure you have BOTH your letter AND circle selected, then go to Modify –> Subtract. This is what will chop off the extra portions of the letter that are outside of the circle (and not cause your letter to disappear into thin air which is what would happen if you just tried to weld….go ahead, try it. Poof! See what I mean?).
See how those little chunks have now disappeared? That’s what we want! Imagine that all that space outside of the circle is the inside of my shape (in this case, Alabama territory)….I just successfully made the ‘B’ part of it. My monogram and my shape are now one solid piece….almost that is.
Delete Any Extra Cut Line “Holes”: I noticed after subtracting that I had a tiny little portion of my letter that was hanging around. I didn’t want that hole to be cut, so I just selected then deleted it. You may or may not need to do the same for your monogram….it’s just something to watch out for.
Make a Compound Path: Now that we had our correct monogram shape, it needs to be converted into a compound path. Like I mentioned earlier, compound paths confuse the living daylights out of me (why can’t I just weld?!), but basically, this tells Silhouette Studio that the circle is now the outside boundary of the letter and makes the two pieces into one….the circle is now a part of the letter. Clear as mud? Good.
To do this, just select everything (see how the letter is now divided into different components?) and then go to Object –> Make Compound Path.
#3: Add Your Shape
Multiple Methods: Next comes adding your shape. I obviously needed the shape of Alabama for this project, and there are several different ways you can get a state’s (or any shape’s) image into Silhouette Studio. You can use an actual cut file (such as one from Silhouette’s online store), find an image online and trace it, or use my personal favorite method: a dingbat font.
You May Need To Edit Points First: Depending on your state/shape, you may need to release its compound path and/or edit points first to remove any parts you don’t want cut. For example, I needed to remove the tiny island near Alabama’s southwestern shoreline, so I just released the compound path then deleted those points….sorry Dauphin Island!
#4: Make the Monogram & Shape a Compound Path
The design phase of this project is almost complete now. Wahoo! I just needed to make my state and monogram one piece….so that means another compound path.
First, I resized my shape and placed my monogram into the position where I wanted it to be cut out of Alabama. Then, I once again needed to create a compound path, so I just selected both my monogram and state and then went to Object –> Make Compound Path again.
Optional: Like I mentioned earlier, compound paths tend to confuse me, so I like to double check myself to make sure I completed the appropriate steps and everything looks right. I usually use the Fill Color tool and fill in my image with a color (plus, this acts as a mock up of my final design so I can get a clearer picture in my head of what the final product will look like). If the color fills correctly, we have success!
Then I’ll go and check my cut lines. If those red lines are where they’re supposed to be, a happy cut is about to happen.
All that’s left is to load up your machine and cut out your creation. See, that wasn’t so hard, was it?
TADA!! My custom monogram state sign is complete, thanks to a cereal box and a little gold craft paint. If you’d like to see the cutting and painting process that I used, check out this tutorial. I also shared it over at Silhouette School…..it’s my first guest post!
How to Make a Burlap Wreath
I also have a step-by-step tutorial for making this burlap wreath if you’d like to see the process from start to finish. It’s super quick and easy!
You could also of course use a different medium and cut out your design in vinyl, heat transfer vinyl, paper, fabric, chipboard….whatever your creative heart desires!
Here’s another three-lettered monogram version that I did (also in a cereal box). I’m going to cut this out in vinyl soon and make the cutest little decal!:
And here are a few more examples I made using different shapes from the Silhouette library. I played around using words, ovals/rectangles instead of a circle, and even added a shape inside a shape. There are so many ways to use this method and create cute little designs.
And we all know there are many roads that lead to Rome, so I’m sure there are other ways out there that would give you the same result. This is just the method that I’ve found that works for me. Hopefully it helps you too!
Thanks so much for stopping by!