Distorting Text in SCAL

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SCAL Effects


Make a Patterned Pumpkin in Time for Halloween.

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It’s been a long time since I’ve updated, but I am going to be adding some of tutorials that have been posted on Facebook.

The first one is for a patterned pumpkin. If you learn how to do this, you can apply it many other other creations – how about a patterned Christmas tree?

There are a lot of steps to this and it requires some basic knowledge such as grouping, welding, offsetting and creating compound paths.

There is a link to a PDF at the bottom.

Here Goes:

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Screenshot 2015-09-28 12.02.51

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Fancy pumkin direction

Creating weeding line without having to invest in Silhouette Business or SCAL Pro

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Creating weeding line without having to invest in Silhouette Business or SCAL Pro

Weeding lines can be very useful and make your life much easier, especially when you are working with a lot of text like I did in this. Even so, it can be difficult to make sure that your weeding lines don’t cut through your text if you just draw them in.


This method shows you how to do that.


Open your Studio program (this works basically the same way in SCAL) and create your design.


If you are creating your own text, first weld it; then create a compound path. This makes it easier to work with since it’s now one object.








  1. Draw lines between your text. It doesn’t matter if they overlap your text.
  2. Select each line – its easier if you make them slightly longer than your design. Right click and make them a compound path. If you have a lot of text, move the text off the mat, select all the lines and make a compound path, and move the text back on
  3. Click your design and copy, then paste in front (short cut is CTL or CMD –F).
  4. In this picture, I turned off the fill so you can see it better. You will see the lines get darker after you paste in front.


  1. DON’T deselect anything now, but hold down your SHIFT key and also Select the lines. This groups them. You will see two bounding boxes.


  1. Open your Modify panel and select “Subtract ALL”


  1. That may take a few seconds. After that, click the top layer of your text and delete it. You will be left with this:






Alter the D in the Circle Monogram & a Rant

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If you’ve already purchased an Etsy font, be sure to check out how to use it in this post. HOW TO USE ETSY FONTS

Today’s post is a rant post. I am sick and tired of Etsy sellers who try to pass off someone else’s hard work as their own. This goes double for people who try to sell FREE stuff as their own. I worked for 6 months to create a file of circular monograms (more fisheye than actual circle). I sent it out to more than a dozen testers, accepted feedback and made adjustments. I am now offering it free with certain purchases hoping for more feedback until I put it up for sale.

First part of rant:

Created from scratch looks and cuts better than tracing. Look at the picture below. That is from my Etsy Shop. You can see my original picture without the watermark. What happens when I trace it, and the original SVG. When this was cut, the traced image took almost 2 minutes more to cut because of the nodes. The larger you cut the image, the more exaggerated the differences will be. Cutting like this leads to lifting or tearing of vinyl since the blade is moving so much in such small increments.

Now, lets look at some traces on Etsy that are just not worth your money. These are just the first few that popped up when I did a search on Etsy. There are literally hundreds of these for sale.

The first is from MarkandGraham.com. They provide a monogram app where you email the monogram to yourself. Here is an example of some of their more unique characters that you can get for free.

Now let’s take a look at some “fonts” for sale on Etsy. Do you think this person is better at simple tracing than you are? Probably not.

Now for the real Circle Font by Harold’s Fonts and available on Font Brothers with a sort of convoluted license. $20

Really don’t like some of these letters, but this is a traditional, European style circular font.

Some Etsy sellers sell it as is and some have altered some of the letters to make them more American. Some even have the NERVE to include commercial licenses or charge you extra for a commercial license. Note that if Font Bros. catches you, you’re still in trouble! And, they do periodically scan Etsy. More than one person has posted on the Silhouette groups and Etsy groups that they’ve received Cease and Desist letters.

This person is “cagey.” She’s smart enough not to post the entire alphabet. She will also offer to sell you a “commercial” license for a font she doesn’t even own. You can still be hit up with a lawsuit for using it!

This is one of literally dozens of this particular alphabet being offered. It looks a lot like the Font Bros Circle Font but the ‘d’ is different on the left. This makes it seem like it’s well worth buying at $10. It’s an original so I won’t get in trouble using it. I can prove that because the ‘d’ is different. Right? The shop even puts this in their ad (read the second line and then look at the next picture):

I’ll show you how to do this at the end of this post.

Now onto Vine Monograms

There are 3 basic Vine Monograms that you can find on Etsy that should not be sold. Two are available on Dafont.com for free and the third is another Harold’s Font from Font Bros.

Let’s start with Free Monogram from Dafont. The README file that comes with this download states that it is free to use for any purpose EXCEPT YOU MAY NOT SELL THE FONT FILE IN ANY FORM.

This is long enough for today. I think I’ll do a Part 2 next week. In the meantime, here’s how I did the ‘d’ from the circle font.

My Design Won’t Cut With Studio & Silhouette

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Why won’t my design cut? It says, “cutting, and then, “finished,” and nothing happened. This can be very frustrating. I know this; I speak from experience.Screenshot 2015-07-08 12.44.47

The first thing to check is that your cutting lines are actually on. Do this by going to blade on the top right and checking the settings. It should look like this. The next thing to check is that you’re USB cord is connected at both ends. Screenshot 2015-07-08 12.54.05

After that if it’s still not cutting, chances are you have a problem with off-the-mat objects. You may not even be able to see them. Sometimes they are empty text boxes, but they are still there.

The fact that it says, “cutting,” even when it doesn’t means that your connection it good. Now it’s time to really examine that design of yours and determine where all the elements are.

To do this use CTL-A or CMD-A (Mac) to select the entire design. If your bounding box looks anything like this, you have items off the page that are either grouped of part of a compound path.Screenshot 2015-07-08 12.45.57Simply ungroup them or release the compound path and you should be good to go.

Making an Easy Monogram Frame in Studio Using Fonts

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Look through your Wingding fonts for something that might make a cute element in a monogram frame. For this example, I chose the font Wingdings 2 and the letter A. I made 10 of these at these settings and drew a 7″ circle.

I will be adjusting the number of characters and the size in a bit.

The next step is to drag the font to circle to get it on the path. You want to double click on the characters. You will see a little + sign appear. Click on that plus sign and drag it over to the circle. The text will wrap itself around the perimeter of the circle and you will have something like this:

If you have a large gap fill in a few more characters. The next step will be to bring the characters closer together so that they overlap slightly and can be welded. That is done in the character spacing option under text.

Highlight all the characters by clicking at the beginning (right of the + sign) and dragging around.

Next look at the Text Menu to the right and select the Character Spacing slider. Slide it to the left until you have a slight overlap. Then go back in and fill in more characters. If you are left with a gap, go to the next step. If not, skip that step.

See the arrow pointing to a slight gap. We have to take care of that before we get to welding. There are a few ways to take care of it. You can try to increasing or decreasing the character spacing or increasing the size of the characters. In this case, my spacing is so small that I will take two adjoining letters and just make them a bit larger to complete the overlap. I do this by highlighting them and upping the font size a little at a time.

See how they touch now.

Now you are going to ungroup everything and click on the circle to delete it. You will be left with only the characters.

Select everything and weld.

Screenshot 2015-07-05 18.27.36

Making a Circle Monogram in SCAL-4

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Before yesterday, I kind of knew what the Bulge effect was on SCAL-4. After all, I am a retired teacher and used Word Art in Publisher and MS Word more times than I can count. But, when preparing for my post on comparisons, I took note of all the different options available. This morning I started playing with them to see if I could create a passable circle monogram. Guess what? I could!

So lets begin:

  1. Type your monogram. A bold text seems to work best. I used Arial Black for this one.


  2. With your text selected, go the Effects Menu and select Bulge.


  3. You will have a box pop up with your options. This is where the playing begins. You want to get your text as close to an oval or circle. You will want to select Opposite for top and bottom and make sure that Auto Preview is checked


  4. Now you just play with the settings to get the best looking one. These were my settings for this one. I can see I will have to edit the bottom point of that A, but that’s not a problem


This works with other fonts also. You just have to play around a little. Look for fonts that are Upright and Bold.

With Samantha Bold Upright