Note: This technique will work to add an offset to any object, not just text.
Sometimes a font is just too thin to cut properly. Thickening it, even a little, can make the difference between a pulled up mess on your mat and a perfectly clean cut. Here’s how to add an offset to thicken a font.
For this tutorial, I’m using Silhouette Studio Designer Edition v3.3.638 (V3) and v4.0.837, but the Basic Edition of the software will work just fine.
STEP ONE: Open Silhouette Studio. Using the ‘Text’ tool type in the words you want. Select the font and fill colour, and change the line color to none. For this example, I’m going to thicken BAD JOKES and Tap Dancing.
In Silhouette Studio V3: Select both text boxes (hold the shift key down to select them both at the same time), and click on the ‘Open the Offset Window’ icon (A) in the top toolbar. Then click on ‘Offset’ (B).
In Silhouette Studio V4: Select both text boxes, (hold the shift key down to select them both at the same time), and click on the ‘Open the Offset Panel’ icon (F) in the right side toolbar. Then click on ‘Offset’ (H).
Shortcut: Instead of (F), the ‘Offset Selected Shape’ icon (G) in the live toolbar at the top will a take you to the Offset Panel with ‘Offset’ (H) already selected.
In both V3 & V4: The two text boxes will be join into one selection and red lines will pop around all the letters, like this:
The red lines are what an offset would look like using the default distance number of 0.125. This is way more of an offset than is needed to thicken the font, but because I haven’t clicked ‘Apply’ yet, is completely changeable. In fact, do that now…replace the ‘Distance’ number. To do that…
In V3: Replace the ‘Distance’ number (C) with 0.004. For this font, I left things at the default ‘Round’ (D), but go ahead and try ‘Corner’ and select it if you prefer it. Then click ‘Apply’ (E).
In V4: Replace the ‘Distance’ number (K) with 0.004. For this font, I left things at the default ‘Round’ (L), but go ahead and try ‘Corner’ and select it if you prefer it. Then click ‘Apply’ (M).
Note: in V4.0.837 the ‘Apply’ button doesn’t work, so click your return key instead. This bug should be fixed in subsequent versions.
In both V3 & V4: The red lines are the offset (each individual letter is selected in V3), the black is the original text.
STEP TWO: Select anywhere in BAD JOKES and drag out the original black text and move it underneath. Repeat for Tap Dancing.
The offsets are made of individual letters, so if you try and move them, you’ll end up moving one letter at a time. To move them as a group, group them together (draw a selection box around the red BAD JOKES so all the letters are selected. then right-click, select ‘Group’). Do the same for the red ‘Tap Dancing’ letters.
STEP THREE: To see what the new lettering would look like when cut, fill with color (I like to use black when designing) and change the line color to none. I’ve done several offsets so you can see the difference.
The size of the offset depends on how thin the font is to start with and the effect you want. My font-thickening offsets range from 0.004 to 0.025. Most of the time 0.004 or slightly larger is sufficient. I rarely go above 0.012. I usually start with a 0.004 offset (any smaller and there’s not enough of a difference to have an affect on the cuttability) and do several, as above, and then choose the one that fits the design best.
And now you know how to add an offset to thicken a font! If I’ve missed anything or you have a question about any of this, leave me a comment and I’ll answer ASAP.
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