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ScanNCut Tips & Tricks

Brother's 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 Brother's social pages!

General Cutting
Use the on-screen grid to help place pieces to be cut when working with scraps of paper.
-May Flaum

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

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

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

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

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

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

When cutting materials that are porous, use the fabric support sheet so that you can protect your mat from any fibers that may come off during cutting.
-Liz Hicks

Accurate Cuts
Use the on-screen grid to help you place pieces to be cut when working with scraps of paper.
-May Flaum

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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--being sure both corners are touching the rollers, click the feed button and return your hand to the mat. Keep the mat even while feeding it in will keep jams to a minimum.
-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 you will preserve your mats by working the blade length up slowly.
-Kacia Hosmer

When cutting fabrics and quilting pieces, prepare and organize all of your fabrics prior to preparing your standard mat with the additional contact sheet. Cut as many as you can in one sitting--allowing dust particles to stick to the contact paper will lessen the adhesive.
-Kacia Hosmer

Using Handmade 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

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

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

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

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

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

Creating Your Own Cut Design
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

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 {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
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

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--being sure both corners are touching the rollers, click the feed button and return your hand to the mat. Keep the mat even while feeding it in to keep jams to a minimum.
-Kacia Hosmer

General Machine Features
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

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

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

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

Use the Direct cut “shape” feature to scan in your background and cut special elements from your surface in your favorite shape.
-Liz Hicks

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

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

Make sure your paper/fabric is lined up 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 mediums, place a small testing piece of the specific material and document the settings you found to best cut it.
-Kacia Hosmer

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. Keep the mat even while feeding it in to keep jams to a minimum.
-Kacia Hosmer

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

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

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

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

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
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 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
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

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 organize all of your fabrics prior to preparing your purple mat with the additional contact sheet. Cut as many as you can in one sitting--allowing dust particles to stick to the contact paper will lessen the adhesive.
-Kacia Hosmer

Tips for Cutting Fabric
I found it useful to use the standard mat for thick painted and altered paper. The low tack mats were not strong enough to hold my hand painted papers.
-Alisa Burke

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
I found it useful to use the standard mat for thick painted and altered paper. The low tack mats was not strong enough to hold my hand painted papers.
-Alisa Burke

 


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