How and Why to Use a PixScan Mat

PixScan Mat on Amazon for a great price!

Now let’s walk through a project. One I did recently involved my kids’ hand prints. The hand prints add a few extra steps, but I think we’ll all agree it’s worth it for something so special. This is a little more involved project because I used the PixScan mat, hand prints, and Print and Cut techniques, but just take it one step at a time and you’ll see how easy it is. If you are familiar with Studio, then this will be a very simple and quick process for you.

1. First I traced my kids’ hands on a sheet of paper. I recommend using a marker. Make sure there are no broken lines. I wasn’t thinking about that, so I had some cleanup work to do.

2. Place the paper on the PixScan mat keeping it within the solid borders.

3. Take a photo of the complete mat. Try to take it from as straight on as you can. Surrounding clutter does not affect the image.

FullSizeRender (1).jpg

4. Transfer the photo to your computer and save it. I usually email it to myself and then download it.

5. Open Studio.

6. From the File menu, click Open PixScan Image.

Open PixScan Image.png

In version 3, the PIXSCAN window opens on the right.

window-pixscan

Note that I didn’t photograph the PIXSCAN window with the handprints but did with my other printed images (shown above for your reference).
7. Select Import from File first to expand that section. Then click Import PixScan Image from File. Browse and open your image. Once it’s open in Studio, do not resize.

NOTE: If you took the photo pretty straight on, when the message about Calibration appears, select Continue without Calibration.

8. From your toolbar, select Trace.
icontrace
9. In the TRACE window, click Select Trace Area and using your mouse, click and drag to make a box around the hand prints.

Trace.png

10. In the TRACE window, adjust the High Pass Filter (keep box selected) by sliding the bar to the right or changing the value in the box. You want your lines to be as filled in as possible without distorting the image.

11. Click Trace.

12. Select and drag one set of hand prints to separate them. We’ll be working with the traced image only now.

13. If you have a solid image without any necessary breaks, you can right click on your image and click Release Compound Path. This separates the outside lines and the inside lines. Because it’s hand prints, we want the inside lines because that is truer to size.

14. Move outer set of hand prints to the side. Copy the inside hand prints.

15. Open a new work space.

iconnewdrawing

16. From the toolbar, click Design Page. The DESIGN PAGE SETTINGS window opens.

Window DESIGN PAGE SETTINGS.png

17. In the Width box, enter 8.5. In the Height box, enter 11. Now your work space is the same size as paper that goes through your printer.

18. Select Show Print Border.

19. Right-click and select Paste. Now you can position the hand prints where you’d like them to be cut on the mat.This is the time you’ll also smooth out any rough spots on your hand prints.

20. Then, add your text and/or designs and put it in place.

NOTE: I was making 2 projects using 1 piece of card stock, so the top image and bottom text are from importing a second PixScan image.

mat-printncutitems-in-place

21. Select your hand prints and any text inside of them and click Duplicate found in the lower left of version 3.

iconduplicate

22. Then immediately select Group. Move it to the side and use as reference later if needed.

icongroup

23. Move hand prints only off of the cutting mat.Make sure your printer and card stock are ready.

24. From the File menu, click Print, check settings, and click Print.

25. Put the printed card stock on the PixScan mat. Photograph it, transfer the photo, download it, and upload into Studio. Steps 2 through 7 above excluding #5.

26. Copy your hand prints from your previous work space and paste into the PixScan image you just opened.

27. Right-click to flip your image or click once and click and drag the green circle until your hand prints have been rotated to the appropriate position to match your printed text.

matpixscan-printncutifems-to-cut

28. When everything is just how you want it, click Cut Settings from the toolbar.

iconcutsettings-n-window-cut-settings

29. Select everything except what you plan to cut (hand prints in this example) and then click No Cut in the CUT SETTINGS window. Now only the hand prints should have a thick line around them.

30. In the CUT SETTINGS window, select your Material Type. Card stock is a default setting and works well for me. Then scroll down and select the Double Cut box.

31. Load your PixScan mat into the Cameo.

32. Click Send to Silhouette. When removing your material, if it is paper or card stock, flip the mat upside down and peel the mat off of the card stock to prevent the material from curling.

33. Now the rest of the steps are good old fashion craft skills for the most part. We signed our names on the one hand.

For the middle of the hands, I printed some text on paper, used my straight edge cutter to trim the excess paper, folded the words on paper in an accordion style, and glued the ends to the insides of the hands.

For the other hands, I trimmed the card stock to size and glued it to a clean can (label removed first).

Reflections

Could I have cut the hand prints with scissors? Yes. Could I have written on the them instead? Yes. Could I have printed the text and then traced and cut hand prints? Yes, but that would have been trickier. Is any of that as fun, precise, and pretty? Not when I do it. So, this project was worth a little time and effort to make it look nice.

I hope you enjoyed the tutorial. I’d love to hear from you. Share an idea for a project you’ve made using your Silhouette skills.

 

Thanks for reading!

sara-beth-signature

Be sure to leave your comments below.

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