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About Tips & Tricks FAQs FAQs FAQs FAQs
Introducing Scan N Cut


Our ScanNCut experts have shared some tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your ScanNCut. If you have a great tip of your own, please share it on our social pages.

Getting Started

Until you get comfortable with ScanNCut, be sure to start with a lower blade depth than suggested.

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

If you cut through your mat, use a piece of duct tape on the back to help keep it together.

Start by experimenting with different fabrics, papers and surfaces to get a feel of how ScanNCut works for you and your needs.

Put your experimental fabrics, test cuts or cut designs in a journal or file that you can keep handy for when you want to cut these materials again. Record blade depth, blade pressure and blade speed to create your cut perfectly each time.

If you're not sure which blade to start with, play safe with the one in the blue blade holder. This is a standard cut blade. Test and work your way up from there.

When setting your blade depth, measure the depth of the blade to the side of your surface. This is especially helpful if your blade is not cutting through your material. It gives you a good starting point for your blade depth and can help ensure the blade does not cut through.

Remember that your blue mat is for thinner materials (tissue paper, vellum, computer paper, cellophane, vinyl, acetate) and the purple mat is for more substantial materials (cardstock, patterned paper, glittered cardstock, chipboard, cardboard, leather, wood-veneer paper). For sturdy and accurate fabric cutting, add the fabric support sheet to your purple mat. This protects the surface of your mat and adds extra support for fabric to stick to and for cutting accuracy.

For cutting fabrics without iron-on support, starch and iron your fabric on a smooth surface. This ensures your fabric is even and gives optimal cutting.

For more information about cutting different materials and surfaces, plus expert tips and tricks, be sure to watch our support and project videos.

General Cutting

When working with scraps of paper, use the on-screen grid to help place the pieces you want to cut.
- May Flaum

Put a sticky note on your machine listing the blade settings that work well for your commonly used papers.
- May Flaum

When you're struggling to cut all the way through thicker media such as transparencies, try double-cutting. Just insert your mat back into the machine so it cuts it out again. It should pop right out.
- Erin Bassett

When cutting out corrugated papers, keep it in place with blue painters' tape down the edges.
- Erin Bassett

When cutting out corrugated paper, place it on the mat bumpy side down/smooth side up.
- Erin Bassett

When using direct cut on your own cursive handwriting, connect the letters of each word. That way, you can cut out the entire word instead of individual letters.
- Erin Bassett

Use the test feature in a lower corner of your surface before you go for the full cut.
- Liz Hicks

When cutting porous materials, use the fabric support sheet to protect your mat from fibres that come off during cutting.
- Liz Hicks

Accurate Cuts

When working with scraps of paper, use the on-screen grid to help place the pieces you want to cut.
- May Flaum

When using specialty paper or fabric, always keep scrap paper so you can run a test version first.
- Kathy Cano-Murillo

Get rid of air bubbles or wrinkles between your mat and the fabric with the handle of your spatula. Simply drag it across the paper in one direction.
- Liz Hicks and Kathy Cano-Murillo

Put a sticky note on your machine listing the blade settings that work well for your commonly used papers.
- May Flaum

To stick paper or fabric to the mat firmly, use a brayer.
- Julie Fei-Fan Balzer

Line up paper/fabric evenly on the mat so your cuts will come out perfectly.
- Kathy Cano-Murillo

When placing your design on your mat, scan in your surface with the 'background scan' icon. This places your design exactly where you want it. You can also safely place designs on surfaces that have already been cut from – just scan your background in and place your design on an unused area. It's simple!
- Liz Hicks

Create a cut journal as you work. As you test and use various media, keep a small test piece of the specific material and make a note of the settings that cut it best.
- Kacia Hosmer

If you work with a lot of altered materials, test a variety of materials and then create a list of test blade settings. Keep this handy as a 'go to' for various projects.
- Alisa Burke

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

Cutting Delicate Surfaces

Use a standard blade depth of 2 for tissue paper and cellophane.
- Liz Hicks

Preserving Your Mat

Always use two hands to feed in your mats. Making sure both corners are touching the rollers, click the feed button and return your hand to the mat. To minimise jams, keep the mat even while feeding it in.
- Kacia Hosmer

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 working up slowly will preserve your mats.
- Kacia Hosmer

When cutting fabrics and quilting pieces, prepare and organise all your fabrics before preparing your standard mat with the additional contact sheet. Cut as many as you can in one sitting, as dust particles sticking to the contact paper will affect the adhesive.
- Kacia Hosmer

Using Handmade Paper

When working with fibrous paper such as mulberry paper, lightly coat the back side with a clear-drying adhesive. Let it dry before using in the machine so the fibres don't get stuck on your mat and the cuts are clean.
- May Flaum

To stick the paper or fabric to the mat firmly, use a brayer.
- Julie Fei-Fan Balzer

Working With Fabric

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

To stick the paper or fabric to the mat firmly, use a brayer.
- Julie Fei-Fan Balzer

With thick layers of fabric, test the cutting-pressure setting on a scrap piece of fabric until you find the perfect setting.
- Vanessa Wilson

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

Creating Your Own Cut Design

When using direct cut on your own cursive handwriting, connect the letters of each word. That way, you can cut out the entire word instead of individual letters.
- Erin Bassett

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

When scanning a small item, use a white sheet of paper behind it. This will give you a higher contrast and a clean area to crop down and focus on your cut lines.
- Kacia Hosmer

General Machine Features

Hold the mat down at the top with your fingers while you press the load mat button. This will ensure it rolls in flat and evenly.
- Vanessa Wilson

When scanning a drawn or similar image, test the lines by drawing first. This ensures that the cut line is complete.
- Kacia Hosmer

Never throw anything away. Save the negatives from your cuts for future projects.
- Julie Fei-Fan Balzer

General Machine Functions

Use the test feature in a lower corner of your surface before you go for the full cut.
- Liz Hicks

Use the direct-cut 'shape' feature to scan in your background and cut special elements from your surface in your favourite shape.
- Liz Hicks

When placing your design on your mat, scan in your surface with the 'background scan' icon. This places your design exactly where you want it. You can also safely place designs on surfaces that have already been cut from – just scan your background in and place your design on an unused area. It's simple!
- Liz Hicks

When using specialty paper or fabric, always keep scrap paper so you can run a test version first.
- Kathy Cano-Murillo

Line up your paper/fabric evenly on the mat so your cuts will come out perfectly.
- Kathy Cano-Murillo

Keep all your attachments together in the box so you don't lose them. Make good use of the little pouch.
- Kathy Cano-Murillo

Create a cut journal as you work. As you test and use various media, keep a small test piece of the specific material and make a note of the settings that cut it best.
- Kacia Hosmer

Always use two hands to feed in your mats. Making sure both corners are touching the rollers, click the feed button and return your hand to the mat. To minimise jams, keep the mat even while feeding it in.
- Kacia Hosmer

Keep a file journal. If you have scanned-in patterns or cutouts that are hard to tell apart on the ScanNCut screen, always write down the file name and the description.
- Kacia Hosmer

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 working up slowly will preserve your mats.
- Kacia Hosmer

If you work with a lot of altered materials, test a variety of materials and then create a list of test blade settings. Keep this handy as a 'go to' for various projects.
- Alisa Burke

Having pre-loaded letters and designs in the machine makes for some really useful and simple options. But you can 'kick it up' by using unique materials like hand-painted fabric and paper.
- Alisa Burke

Use the on-screen grid to place your scraps and odd sizes of paper and fabric.
- Alisa Burke

Loading Your Mat

Hold the mat down at the top with your fingers while you press the load mat button. This will ensure it rolls in flat and evenly.
- Vanessa Wilson

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

Always use two hands to feed in your mats. Making sure both corners are touching the rollers, click the feed button and return your hand to the mat. To minimise jams, keep the mat even while feeding it in.
- Kacia Hosmer

Organisation

Keep all your attachments together in the box so you don't lose them. Make good use of the little pouch.
- Kathy Cano-Murillo

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

Keep a file journal. If you have scanned-in patterns or cutouts that are hard to tell apart on the ScanNCut screen, always write down the file name and the description.
- Kacia Hosmer

Tips for cutting fabric

Use the standard mat for thick-painted and altered paper. The low-tack mats aren't strong enough to hold hand-painted papers.
- Alisa Burke

Stabilise your fabric – starch it and/or use a fusible stabiliser first. This makes the cutting process go smoothly and eliminates snags and ripping.
- Alisa Burke

Tips For Cutting Uneven Surfaces

Use the standard mat for thick-painted and altered paper. The low-tack mats aren't strong enough to hold hand-painted papers.
- Alisa Burke

Tips For Scanning

When scanning a small item, use a white sheet of paper behind it. This will give you a higher contrast and a clean area to crop down and focus on your cut lines.
- Kacia Hosmer

When scanning, choose 'delete size' and lower the margin numbers for a more accurate scan.
- Julie Fei-Fan Balzer

Tips For Sewing

When cutting fabrics and quilting pieces, prepare and organise all your fabrics before preparing your standard mat with the additional contact sheet. Cut as many as you can in one sitting, as dust particles sticking to the contact paper will affect the adhesive.
- Kacia Hosmer