How to perfectly center signs starts with your design program, such as Silhouette or Cricut, before you ever apply your stencil.
I will show you my tips on how easy this process is!
Before you Start designing
When I am asked to make a personalized sign, I am given the information they want in the design such as names, dates, or quotes, and colors. Plus the size and shape of the sign.
For more details on my process on how to order a sign from me or to see past designs I have done, you can click here.
The key on how to perfectly center your signs starts with the measurements of your sign and using this information in your Silhouette program!
First: Set up your Silhouette page
Once the client decides on the approximate size of their sign I will prep the wood and double check the measurements.
When using real wood, not plywood which is cut to shape, the dimension are approximate. If a client want to order a 10″ x 24 “x 1″ sign made from 1” pine wood. These dimensions are more likely “almost” 10″ x 24″ x “almost” 1″.
When I open up a new file on Silhouette, I will go to the “Page Setup” tab located on the right navigation bar at the top and open this up.
Here in the top area of this pop-up box is where you can size your design space in inches by width and height of your current project.. This is where I will put in my measurement for the wood sign. I do this regardless if it is larger than 12″.
Next, go down to the next section in this pop up box where it says cutting mat. Here I select none. I used a mat in the beginning with Silhouette, but for stenciling signs and making vinyl decals I found I didn’t need it and it made this process so much easier!
The widest Silhouette can cut is up to 12″, however when you’re ready you can piece stencils together and make larger, wider signs!
A blog post is planned in the near future!
So for clarifications sake, this technique for centering stencils for signs are those under 12″ wide.
In case you have a solid white box to work on in Silhouette instead of a grid, you will need to scoot over to the grid box located in this same pop-up.
Go to the bottom of this box where it says “spacing”. Click on that and make sure it says 1.00 inches. Then go to colors and I use black since it will be easier to see on the white background. Once you click on a color you will have a graph that helps me with placement on my design layouts.
You can hit the “X” to remove the pop up box.
Second: My simple secret to getting a perfectly centered sign
Next I go to the left navigation bar to the drawing tools and select the square/rectangle icon.
I outline my grid with this icon with two clicks. Once this is outlined, I go back to the left navigation bar and click on the arrow button at the top, or you will keep making squares and rectangles until you do.
This border is my secret for centering my stencils on my signs.
Now you are ready to get creative with your design for your sign!
When I have my design made and ready to cut. I will cut this border with my design!
Third and Final Step: Cutting Your Stencil Correctly
Remember how we outlined our design area with the red rectangle border to fit our sign?
We now need to change these dimensions a little to allow Silhouette to cut our design with the border. Without making these changes, Silhouette will cut the design only.
For the purpose of this demonstration our sign in this example is approximately 10″ x 24″. In Silhouette, I will then go back to “page set” up and change the dimensions to 12″ x 26″ (I tend to stick with even numbers).
Once the size of the page setup is adjusted to 12″x 26″ to fit this design and border, I go back to my design and highlight both and group them together. I then drag them both to the middle of the cutting area (with the graph) and then go to the “send” button on the top right.
Here we should see the entire design and borders in red. Red are the cut areas and your design is ready to go!
To see a short video tutorial on how I went through each step plus how I laid out my stencil on a piece of painted wood click below!
Now it’s time to load your Silhouette cutter with your material to make your stencil.
Click here so see how I use (and prefer) contact paper for my stencils and transfer tape.
Just to recap, this is my process on getting my designs centered before I put the stencil on a sign. I’m sure there are many other great techniques. This technique keeps it simple for me and doesn’t involve using a ruler or measuring tape to much!
If you find another simple way of getting your signs centered let me know! I’d love to hear about your process!
If you have any questions on the tips I use on how to perfectly center signs with Silhouette, or if there are any other tips you want to learn let me know!
I also have a growing library of free SVG designs when you join my MPD tribe. You can sign up below!
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