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Our ScanNCut experts have shared some tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your ScanNCut. Have a great tip of your own? Share it on our social pages!

Getting Started

Determine the Blade Depth
When getting started with your ScanNCut, make sure to start with a lower blade depth than suggested until you get comfortable with your machine.

Test Cutting Recommended
Always create a test cut before cutting out your design. This will help ensure that you have the right depth to proceed without cutting through your mat.

Working with Various Materials
When beginning, start by experimenting with different fabrics, papers and surfaces to get a feel on how ScanNCut works for you and your needs.

Test Cut Journal
Take your experimental fabrics and keep your test cuts or cut designs in a journal or file that you can always have on hand when you go to cut these materials again. Remember to record blade depth, bladed pressure as well as blade speed in order to create your cut perfectly each time.

Selecting the Appropriate Blade
If you are not sure what blade to start with, always be safe and start with the blade in the blue blade holder. This is a standard cut blade. Test and work your way up from there.

Adjusting the Blade Setting
When setting your blade depth to use on your surface, take your blade to the side of your surface and measure the depth of the blade there. This helps to get an idea especially if your blade is not cutting through your material. Measuring your blade to the side of your surface allows you a good starting point for your blade depth and may help to ensure that the blade does not cut through.

Selecting the Appropriate Mat
When getting started, remember that your blue mat will be for thinner materials (tissue paper, vellum, computer paper, cellophane, vinyl, acetate...) and your purple mat will be for more substantial materials (cardstock, patterned paper, glittered cardstock, chipboard, cardboard, leather, wood veneer paper...) For a sturdy and accurate cut of fabric, add the fabric support sheet to your purple mat to help preserve the surface of your mat and also add that extra support for fabric to stick to and cut accurate.

Cutting Fabrics
For cutting fabrics without iron on support, make sure to starch and iron your fabric to a smooth surface. This will ensure that your fabric is even and will supply optimal cutting.
-Vanessa Wilson

Additional Information
For additional information about cutting various materials and surfaces, as well as expert tips and tricks. Make sure to watch our support and project videos.

General Cutting

On-Screen Grid Feature
Use the on-screen grid to help place pieces to be cut when working with scraps of paper.
-May Flaum

Blade Setting Journal
Keep a list of blade settings that work well for your for commonly used papers attached via a sticky note to the back or side of the machine.
-May Flaum

Double Cutting Materials
When you try to cut through thicker mediums (ie: transparencies) and it doesn't cut out all the way, double cutting works great. Just insert your mat back into the machine and then have it cut it out again and it should pop right out.
-Erin Bassett

Using Tape to Secure Materials
When cutting out corrugated papers tape down the edges with blue painters tape or washi tape to make sure it stays in place.
-Erin Bassett

Securing Textured Papers to Mat
When cutting out corrugated paper place it on the mat bumpy side down /smooth side up.
-Erin Bassett

Direct Cutting Fonts
When using direct cut to cut out your own cursive handwriting, it's good to have the letters of each word connect so that you can cut out the entire word instead of individual letters.
-Erin Bassett

Test Cutting
Use the test feature in a lower hand corner of your surface before you proceed with your full cut.
-Liz Hicks

Working with Porous Materials
Use the adhesive fabric support sheet with your standard mat when cutting materials that are porous, this will protect your mat from any fibers that may come off during cutting.
-Liz Hicks

Accurate Cuts

On-Screen Grid Feature
Use the on-screen grid to help you place pieces to be cut when working with scraps of paper.
-May Flaum

Test Cutting Recommended
If I'm using specialty paper or fabric, I always keep scrap paper so I can run through a test version first.
-Kathy Cano-Murillo

Securing Materials to Mat
Use the handle of your spatula to help get rid of any air bubbles between your mat and fabric.
-Liz Hicks

Blade Setting Journal
Keep a list of blade settings that work well for you for commonly used papers attached via a sticky note to the back or side of the machine.
-May Flaum

Removing Wrinkles & Bubbles
Once you place your paper or fabric on the mat, use the spatula to smooth out any bubbles or wrinkles. Simply drag it across the paper in one direction.
-Kathy Cano-Murillo

Securing Fabric to Mat
Use a brayer to firmly adhere paper or fabric to the mat
-Julie Fei-Fan Balzer

Positioning Materials on Mat
Make sure your paper/fabric is lined up evenly on the mat so your cuts will come out perfectly!
-Kathy Cano-Murillo

Background Scan Function
When placing your design on your mat, use the "background scan" icon to scan in your surface. This will place your design exactly where you would like on your surface. This can be used to safely place designs on surfaces that have already been cut from, simply scan your background in and place your design on an area that has not be used… it is that simple!
-Liz Hicks

Test Cut Journal
Create a cut journal as you work. As you test and use various mediums, place a small testing piece of the specific material and document the settings you found to best cut it.
-Kacia Hosmer

Testing Materials
Since I tend to work with a lot of altered materials (painted papers and fabric) I found that it was helpful to test a variety of materials and then create a list of test blade settings and keep this on hand as a "go to" for my different projects.
-Alisa Burke

Test Blade Setting
Always test cut to check blade depth.
-Julie Fei-Fan Balzer

Cutting Delicate Surfaces

Working with Thin Materials
Use a standard blade depth of 2 for tissue paper and cellophane. Always perform a test cut first.
-Liz Hicks

Preserving Your Mat

Loading the Mat
Always use two hands to feed in your mats--being sure both corners are touching the rollers, click the feed button and return your hand to the mat. Feeding the mat evenly will keep jams to a minimum and prevent your mat from bending at the corners.
-Kacia Hosmer

Adjusting the Blade Setting
When testing blade length and pressure for a new material, always begin with the blade at a number smaller than recommended. You can always lengthen your blade, but you will preserve your mats by working the blade length up slowly.
-Kacia Hosmer

Preparing Fabric
When cutting fabrics and quilting pieces, prepare and organize all of your fabrics prior to placing the adhesive support sheet onto your standard mat. Cut as many as you can in one sitting is recommended as allowing dust particles to stick adhesive fabric support sheet will lessen the adhesive.
-Kacia Hosmer

Using Handmade Paper

Preparing Fibrous Paper
When working with fibrous paper such as mulberry paper, coat the back side lightly with a clear-drying adhesive and let dry before using in the machine so the fibers don't get stuck onto your mat and the cuts are clean.
-May Flaum

Securing Fabric to Mat
Use a brayer to firmly adhere paper or fabric to the mat.
-Julie Fei-Fan Balzer

Working with Fabric

Using Starch
Starch and press cotton based fabrics before sticking to the mat for cutting.
-Vanessa Wilson

Securing Fabric to Mat
Use a brayer to firmly adhere paper or fabric to the mat.
-Julie Fei-Fan Balzer

Test Cut Fabrics
When working with thick layers of fabric, play around with the cutting pressure setting on a scrap piece of fabric before adjusting blade deeper until you find the perfect setting.
-Vanessa Wilson

Using Starch
Starch and press cotton based fabrics before sticking to the mat for cutting.
-Vanessa Wilson

Creating Your Own Cut Design

Direct Cutting Fonts
When using direct cut to cut out your own cursive handwriting, it's good to have the letters of each word connect so that you can cut out the entire word instead of individual letters.
-Erin Bassett

Scanning & Cutting Your Own Designs
Use a thick tip pen to create your own artwork for cutting, the thicker the pen, the more pronounced your cut file will be.
-Liz Hicks

Scanning & Cutting Small Items
When scanning a small item {such as a leave, small piece of paper, etc} use a white sheet of paper behind it. It will not only give you a higher contrast, but give you a clean area to crop down and focus on your cut lines.
-Kacia Hosmer

Loading Your Mat

Evenly Feed the Mat
Hold the mat down with a few fingers at the top while you press the load mat button to ensure it rolls in flat and evenly.
-Vanessa Wilson

Positing Materials on Mat
When cutting fabric, make sure the outside edges of your fabric are completely within the sticky area of the mat. Leaving any fabric hanging on the outside edge of the sticky mat grid can cause the fabric to lift off the mat.
-Vanessa Wilson

Evenly Feed the Mat
Always use two hands to feed in your mats--being sure both corners are touching the rollers, click the feed button and return your hand to the mat. Feeding the mat evenly will keep jams to a minimum and prevent your mat from bending at the corners.
-Kacia Hosmer

General Machine Features

Loading the Mat
Hold the mat down with a few fingers at the top while you press the load mat button to ensure it rolls in flat and evenly.
-Vanessa Wilson

Using the Draw Feature
When scanning a drawn image or a smaller image, test the lines by drawing first. By doing this step, you will ensure that the cut line is complete.
-Kacia Hosmer

Saving Scrap Pieces
Don’t throw anything away! Save the negatives from your cuts for use on future projects.
-Julie Fei-Fan Balzer

General Machine Functions

Test Cutting Recommended
Use the test feature in a lower hand corner of your surface before you proceed with your full cut.
-Liz Hicks

Direct Cut Feature
Use the Direct cut "shape" feature to scan in your background and cut special elements from your surface in your favorite shape
-Liz Hicks

Background Scan Feature
When placing your design on your mat, use the "Background Scan" icon to scan in your surface. This will place your cut exactly where you would like on your surface. This can be used to safely place designs on surfaces that have already been cut from, simply scan your background in and place your design on an area that has not be used… it is that simple!
-Liz Hicks

Test Cutting Materials
If I'm using specialty paper or fabric, I always keep scrap paper so I can run through a test version first.
-Kathy Cano-Murillo

Positioning Materials on Mat
Make sure your paper/fabric is lined up evenly on the mat so your cuts will come out perfectly!
-Kathy Cano-Murillo

Organize Accessories
Keep all your attachments together in the box so you don't lose them, make good use of the little pouch!
-Kathy Cano-Murillo

Keep a Test Cut Journal
Create a cut journal as you work. As you test and use various mediums, place a small testing piece of the specific material and document the settings you found to best cut it.
-Kacia Hosmer

Loading the Mat
Always use two hands to feed in your mats--being sure both corners are touching the rollers, click the feed button and return your hand to the mat. Feeding the mat evenly will keep jams to a minimum and prevent your mat from bending at the corners.
-Kacia Hosmer

Saved Data Journal
Keep a file journal. If you have scanned in patterns or cut outs that are similar, but hard to differentiate on the ScanNCut screen, always write down the file name and the description.
-Kacia Hosmer

Adjusting the Blade Setting
When testing blade length and pressure for a new material, always begin with the blade at a number smaller than recommended. You can always lengthen your blade, but you will preserve your mats by working the blade length up slowly.
-Kacia Hosmer

Test Varies Materials
Since I tend to work with a lot of altered materials (painted papers and fabric) I found that it was helpful to test a variety of materials and then create a list of test blade settings and keep this on hand as a "go to" for my different projects.
-Alisa Burke

Built-In Designs
I love that fact that there are pre-loaded letters and designs in the machine and found it really useful to use these simple options but kick it up by using unique materials like hand painted fabric and paper.
-Alisa Burke

On-Screen Grid Feature
Since I like to use scraps and odd sizes of paper and fabric it was essential to make use of the on-screen grid to place those scraps.
-Alisa Burke

Organization

Organize Accessories
Keep all your attachments together in the box so you don't lose them, make good use of the little pouch!
-Kathy Cano-Murillo

USB Storage
Store your custom designs on a memory stick and keep it handy in your craft room.
-Kathy Cano-Murillo

Saved Data Journal
Keep a file journal. If you have scanned in patterns or cut outs that are similar, but hard to differentiate on the ScanNCut screen, always write down the file name and the description.
-Kacia Hosmer

Tips for Scanning

Scanning & Cutting Small Items
When scanning a small item {such as a leave, small piece of paper, etc} use a white sheet of paper behind it. It will not only give you a higher contrast, but give you a clean area to crop down and focus on your cut lines.
-Kacia Hosmer

Specifying Delete Size
When scanning, choose “delete size” and lower the margin numbers for a more accurate scan.
-Julie Fei-Fan Balzer

Tips for Sewing

Preparing Fabric
When cutting fabrics and quilting pieces, prepare and organize all of your fabrics prior to placing the adhesive support sheet onto your standard mat. Cut as many as you can in one sitting is recommended as allowing dust particles to stick adhesive fabric support sheet will lessen the adhesive.
-Kacia Hosmer

Tips for Cutting Fabric

Selecting Appropriate Mat
I found it useful to use the standard mat for thick painted and altered paper.
-Alisa Burke

Stabilizing Fabric
Stabilizing my fabric was a must- I had success with both starching fabric first and/or using a fusible stabilizer. It made the process of cutting fabric go smoothly and eliminated snags and ripping.
-Alisa Burke

Tips for Cutting Uneven Surfaces

Selecting the Appropriate Mat
I found it useful to use the standard mat for thick painted and altered paper.
-Alisa Burke

Blade Maintenance

If you are cutting a lot of paper and/or fabrics at time, you may want to clean out the blade chamber to make sure no paper pieces, threads, or fibers are near the blade. To do this-unscrew the blade holder and take a dry cloth to the inside of the holder and blade area using caution as the blade is sharp.

Securing the Fabric Support Sheet

Make sure the fabric support sheet is flat with no creases. For best results, use a clean or brand new standard mat. This will help to make sure that there is full contact between the mat and the fabric support sheet. Then, position the fabric support sheet, glossy side down on the top of the standard mat. Slowly place the fabric support sheet onto the standard mat working from top to bottom, smoothing out any air bubbles along the way.

Secure Fabric