How To Use A Silhouette Cameo: Silhouette Sketch Pens

Silhouette sketch pens are a really fun way to use your Silhouette Cameo or Portrait to draw instead of cut! They come in tons of different colors (even metallics and glitter!), and they’re incredibly easy to use. If you’ve ever pulled out your cutting blade to change the blade depth, and then reinstalled it into the machine, you can use sketch pens!

If you’re new to your Silhouette cutting machine, this “How To Use A Silhouette Cameo” series is perfect for you! Today we’re covering how to use Silhouette sketch pens, so pull up a chair and learn more about this awesome crafting product!

How to use Silhouette Sketch Pens

Silhouette sketch pens are perfect for getting a hand-drawn look. They’re great for making invitations, cards, place cards, or even just a few sketches to hang up as wall art. Plus, once the sketch pens are done sketching you can put the regular cutting blade back in place to cut out your design in a fun shape!

How To Use A Silhouette Cameo: Silhouette Sketch Pens

Here’s what you need:

How to use Silhouette sketch pens

The first step is to get your design set up, just like you normally would, in the Silhouette Studio software. Anything that your Cameo or Portrait can cut out with its regular blade, it can draw instead if you switch out the blade for a sketch pen. So pull up a design in your Studio software and let’s get started!

Open the Cut Settings window once you have your design loaded. You should see thick red lines covering all of the lines of your design.

How To Use Silhouette Sketch Pens

By default, all lines in your project are set to “Cut” so that the machine knows to cut those lines. But with sketch pens, the pen will be drawing instead of cutting. Anything that is set to “Cut” will instead be drawn with your sketch pens. In this example, I didn’t want to draw the outside border, so I selected it and changed the Cut Style to “No Cut”.

How To Use Silhouette Sketch Pens

Then, because I wanted each line of text to be drawn in a different color, I also selected all but the first line of text and changed their Cut Styles to “No Cut” as well.

Now the only thing with a thick red line on top of it should be the piece of your design that you want drawn (or, if you want to use multiple colors in your design, the thick red line should only show on whichever piece you want to draw first.)

Scroll further down in your Cut Settings window on the right until you find the Material Type section; choose Silhouette Sketch Pen. It should do this next piece automatically for you, but in the next section down, make sure it changes the Blade Type to Sketch Pen and shows a little image of a sketch pen.

How To Use Silhouette Sketch Pens

Now it’s time to tell your Silhouette machine to draw!

How to load a sketch pen into your Silhouette cutting machine

First, lift the lid of your machine and remove the cutting blade by turning the small blue knob to the left and lifting the blade out of the housing. Then choose the sketch pen color you want to use, pull the lid off of the pen, and place it, point down, into the housing.

Do you see where the pen gets thicker in the photo below? Make sure you push the pen all the way down into the holder so that the fattest part of the pen is hitting the top of the holder and the pen can’t go any further in. If you don’t get the pen all the way in, it won’t quite reach the paper and your Silhouette will draw on air instead of on your paper!

How To Use Silhouette Sketch Pens

Once your pen is loaded, place your paper onto your cutting mat, pressing down firmly all over, and load the cutting mat into the machine.

Go back to your computer and click Send To Silhouette at the bottom of the Cut Settings window, or click on the Send To Silhouette icon in the bar at the top, then click Start, and your machine should start to draw out your design!

How To Use Silhouette Sketch Pens

Once the machine is done drawing, don’t unload your paper yet! If you want to continue drawing using a different color, or if you want to cut out your design once it’s finished drawing, leave the cutting mat exactly where it is and move on to the next steps of the tutorial!

If all you wanted was a single drawing in one color with no cuts, you’re done! You can tell the machine to unload and then pull your design off the cutting mat.

How to use Silhouette sketch pens with multiple colors

If you want your design to have multiple colors, don’t unload the cutting mat once the first color has finished! Leave it exactly where it is and go back to your computer to get the second piece of the design set up.

In the Cut Settings window, select the piece of the design that was just drawn, and change the Cut Style to “No Cut”; you don’t want to draw that piece a second time! Then select the next piece of the design that you want drawn, and change the Cut Style to “Cut”. Be very careful not to reposition your design on the screen as you do this, or your lines will be slightly off!

How To Use Silhouette Sketch Pens

Make sure everything else is still set to “No Cut”. Then remove the first sketch pen from the holder and put the new sketch pen in, following the same instructions above.

Click Send To Silhouette again to tell the machine to start drawing the second piece of the design.

Repeat these steps for each new pen color until your whole design has been drawn.

Once the machine is done drawing with the last sketch pen, don’t unload your paper yet! If you want to cut out your design, leave the cutting mat exactly where it is and move on to the next step of the tutorial!

If all you wanted was a single drawing in multiple colors with no cuts, you’re done! You can tell the machine to unload and then pull your design off the cutting mat.

How to cut out a sketched design

The last step is to cut out your beautiful sketch!

In the Cut Settings window, make sure all of the pieces that you have already drawn are set to “No Cut”. Select the outside border that you want to cut, and change the Cut Style to “Cut”. Then select the appropriate Material Type; I used heavy cardstock for this project, so I selected “Coverstock” from the Material Type menu.

How To Use Silhouette Sketch Pens

Scroll down in the Cut Settings window; once you select a new Material Type the software should automatically change the Blade Type back to Silhouette Ratchet Blade for you. Look at the recommended settings, and adjust your blade depth accordingly.

Then, following the same instructions as before, remove the sketch pen from the holder and put the cutting blade back in.

Click Send To Silhouette to tell your machine to start cutting!

How to use Silhouette Sketch Pens

This time, once the machine is done cutting, unload your cutting mat and remove your design.

And you’re finished! You now have a fun sketch in multiple colors!

How to use Silhouette Sketch Pens

Want to share this tutorial with your friends? Just click any of the share buttons off to the left to share to Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, etc.!

Shop this project:

If you like the sketchy fonts I used in this project, you can find them here:

Sketch pens are really great for making cards; check out these Thank You cards I made with my Cameo!

DIY Thank You Cards with Silhouette Sketch Pens

If you want to see more Silhouette tutorials, check out my Silhouette project gallery to see every project I’ve ever done with my Silhouette!

This project is part of this month’s Silhouette Challenge! Want to see some other great project ideas you can make using your Silhouette cutting machine? Check these out!

A Gift for the Bride-to-Be Silhouette Challenge: My Favorite Things My Favorite Things Keepsake Box Printable Tattoos for Crafters & DIYers Super Hero Backpacks Geometric Two Tone Shirt Refashion Instagram Paper Album Reasons I Love Daddy Ctrl Alt Del Pillows Outside Decor: DIY Pallet Board Sign Yo-Ho It's a Pirate Party How To Use Silhouette Sketch Pens Combining My Favorite Things, Baking and Crafting - July Silhouette Challenge Pride & Prejudice Subway Style Art Favorite Silhouette Challenge Just umm, Let it Go Temporary My Little Pony Tattoos Mike Holmes Baby Onesie Monogram It: A Memo Board Makeover Super Room Redo The Best Summer Ever Freebie and Tutorial Summertime Toes Crafty Girls Hair Accessories Holder Watercolor Wall Art Ice Cream Cone T-Shirt Sun Fun Shirt Family Wall Art: Scrabble Edition Serving Tray Upcycle Making Custom Rhinestone Designs Etched Glass Coasters Church Nursery Wall Quote

1. Just a Girl and Her Blog // 2. The Frill of Life // 3. A Time For Seasons // 4. The Thinking Closet // 5. Ginger Snap Crafts // 6. Grey Luster Girl // 7. Simply Kelly Designs // 8. Home At Eight // 9. Please Excuse My Craftermath… // 10. My Paper Craze // 11. Mama Sonshine // 12. Practically Functional // 13. Adventures in All Things Food // 14. Two Purple Couches // 15. Dragonfly & Lily Pads // 16. Sowdering About // 17. Cutesy Crafts // 18. My Mom Made That // 19. Pitter and Glink // 20. Pineapples And Pinecones // 21. Dream a Little Bigger // 22. McCall Manor // 23. TitiCrafty // 24. unOriginal Mom // 25. Persia Lou // 26. Lil Mrs Tori // 27. Home. Made. Interest. // 28. Sandpaper and Glue // 29. Silhouette School // 30. Creative Ramblings // 31. My Favorite Finds

Signature

Jessi Wohlwend

I believe that anyone can do crafts and DIY projects, regardless of skill or experience. I love sharing simple craft ideas, step by step DIY project tutorials, cleaning hacks, and other tips and tricks all with one goal in mind: giving you the tools you need to “do it yourself”, complete fun projects, and make awesome things!

You May Also Like

Reader Interactions

  1. Patricia D. says

    6 years ago

    I have been addressing envelopes for the past 2 days, with no problems until now. Tonight it seems my Silhouette Cameo does not want to let my sketch pen touch the upper left corner of the envelope and just seems to draw “air”. I’ve made sure the pen is securely down (it will address the center/recipient name on the envelope), I’ve made sure the pen is not out of ink/clogged, I even turned my cut mat around and used a NEW one and same problem – The pen does not make contact with the upper left corner. I tried to calibrate and same issue. All I have been doing to my design is changing the recipient text info and it hasn’t given me a problem until now.

    I sent a message to Support – but I’m looking for answers online because I need to finish this before Friday to mail out these wedding invitations. 🙁 Any insight at all would be much appreciated.

    Thank you in advance!

    • Jessi Wohlwend says

      6 years ago

      Oh no, that stinks! Sorry for the late reply; I hope you found a solution in the meantime. It may seem silly but sometimes I feel like my machine just gets “overloaded” when I’m doing a bunch of work with it, and sometimes what fixes it is to just turn it off, unplug it from the computer, save your design in Studio and completely shut the Studio software down. Then reopen it, plug the machine back in, turn it on, and try again. I wish I knew a sure-fire way to fix it, but this is my best guess for when really weird things happen; stuff like that has happened a few times to me and unplugging the machine and then starting again has always fixed it.

  2. Holly says

    6 years ago

    Thank you for your very detailed explanation of how to use the sketch pens! I am very curious though to find out if there is some way to fill in all the fonts (and/or drawings) with color, rather than it just sketching the out line, as it would with the cut. Any guidance would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!!

    • Jessi Wohlwend says

      6 years ago

      Unfortunately there isn’t a good way to make sketch pens fill in the outline of text or a drawing. The best I’ve been able to do is find a “sketch” font that has the outline of the letter plus some scribble lines filling the outline in, like the ones I used above. The sketch pens follow all those scribble lines so you see the scribbles in your final project.

  3. Robin V says

    6 years ago

    oops typo above sorry….Would you mind sharing the name of the fonts used? Thanks!!!

    • Jessi Wohlwend says

      6 years ago

      The names of the fonts and links to download them are listed at the end of the post!

      • Robin says

        6 years ago

        Dang I did not scroll down far enough or did not pay attention. Thanks a bunch!!!

  4. Robin V says

    6 years ago

    You you mind sharing the fonts used in your project. A couple of them I could find very useful. The tutorial was very nice. I love using sketch pens and have found the best price at Walmart.com

  5. Mariana Miller says

    7 years ago

    Thank you! Thank you!

    Ive been using the sketch pens for my save the date and the writing was looking horrible, I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong until I found your post. I checked “no cut” and its perfect now!

    Thank you!!!!

  6. Tawnya says

    7 years ago

    I have a question, i have when i use my pens that sometimes the ink doesnt come out and i have spots where there is no ink and suppose to be how do i fix that

    • Jessi Wohlwend says

      7 years ago

      I haven’t ever had that problem, but just like any pen, these ones probably dry up a little bit every once in a while. Maybe try drawing freehand with the pens on a piece of scrap paper to get the ink flowing again. And you can always turn on the Double Cut setting; it will use up the ink a little faster, but it will make the pens go over every line twice, so it should fill it all in!

  7. Shonah says

    7 years ago

    Thanks for posting this! The sketch letters look so good!! I used the sketch pens for a while, but was never super happy with the result. I would rather print and cut instead of sketch the item.

    http://partnparcelstudio.com/

  8. Aleesha says

    7 years ago

    Help!! I’m so frustrated. I’ve been trying to figure out why whenever I use my sketch pens, the pen goes back to starting point after each word, creating a huge line across my text. I’ve tried changing the settings to “feed” instead of “return to origin” and that doesnt work. Why is it doing this!?!

    • Jessi Wohlwend says

      7 years ago

      I haven’t ever had this happen to me before, but it looks like someone else had a similar problem and left their solution in the comments below. Her name is Ashley and she says her solution is to “weld” the designs before telling it to draw. Scroll down and check out her comment and give that a try, and I really hope it works for you!

      • Aleesha says

        7 years ago

        totally worked!! Thank you!

  9. Debbie says

    7 years ago

    excellent tutorial!! Works wonders 🙂
    1 question, after I done about 2 designs and completed them, it won’t sketch anymore, there are no sketch pen marks. All the material & settings were not changed, but it’s coming out blank. Does the pen run out of ink quick?
    Thanks
    Debbie

    • Jessi Wohlwend says

      7 years ago

      I haven’t had any of my pens run out of ink yet, and I use them a lot! I wonder why yours aren’t working after a while… It could just be that the pen gets stopped up and needs a break; ball point pens do this too, after writing with them for a while sometimes they need a little moisture or something to get the ink flowing again.

      • Debbie says

        7 years ago

        Thank you Jessi, love your site, it really has got me flying 🙂

  10. Suesan says

    7 years ago

    Great tutorial. Another way to draw or cut multiple colors is to use the Advanced Cut Setting features. You can use the Fill Color window to fill each word with the color you want to sketch. Then in the Advanced setting under Cut Mode, click on the Fill Color tab and toggle which color you want to sketch. You don’t need to move the image or mess with turning the cut settings on and off. This is also great for cutting multiple colors on an image. You can stack the pieces of the design over top of each other to see how the image will look when put together. There’s no need to move them back out again, as it will cut the image by color when using the Advanced Mode setting.

  11. Val says

    7 years ago

    Thank you SO much! You de-mystified how to do a multi-step sketch/cut and I can’t thank you enough!!

  12. James says

    7 years ago

    Thanks for a great tutorial, I’m definitely going to be getting those fonts and it looks like it would be worth upgrading to the premium Silhouette Studio for this type of thing.
    My girlfriend got me some of these pens for Christmas but when I try to use them they just seem to skip and not draw properly like a cheap ballpoint pen. I’m using the recommended settings for sketch pens on 160gsm paper. Any Ideas what might be causing this?

    • Jessi Wohlwend says

      7 years ago

      Sometimes that happens to me when I haven’t used the pens in a while, they get a little dry perhaps. You can try drawing with the pens in your hand on a piece of scrap paper first, just to make sure the ink is flowing. And you can also try setting the machine to do a Double Cut. It will draw over each area twice, which will use up your ink a little faster, but it should fill in any gaps from the first run!

  13. Kathy says

    7 years ago

    Instead of having to change from no cut to cut each time, you can do this:
    In Line Color, color each object the desired color. Then, in Cut Settings:
    under Cut Conditions select the Advanced option instead of Standard. This will open up another box that displays each of the colors used in your design. Select Cut Order=Line Color, then right click on each color chip and select Add Pause.
    After you send to Silh, it will stop after each color to allow you to change pen color. After changing pen color, click on Resume

    Hope this makes sense.

  14. JM says

    7 years ago

    Is there a water-resistant / fade-resistant pen for the Cameo?

    • Jessi Wohlwend says

      7 years ago

      I don’t believe there is a Silhouette brand pen like that, but Silhouette does make a pen holder that allows you use any regular pen in place of a Silhouette brand sketch pen. So if you find a water restistant or fade resistant pen that you like, you can use it in your Silhouette!

  15. Alicia says

    8 years ago

    I tried using the sketch pens and cut afterward, not touching the mat at all between the two processes. The blade did not cut in alignment with the sketched words. Any other tips? Thank you!

    • Jessi Wohlwend says

      8 years ago

      Bummer! Did anything get moved in the software itself? I have accidentally moved the design in the software while trying to click on it to tell it “ok cut this piece and don’t draw this piece this second time around”. But if nothing moved in the software and you didn’t unload the mat between the two steps I don’t know what to tell you! The only other suggestion I have is that sometimes my Cameo just gets weird and needs to be restarted, so I turn the machine off, close the software, and sometimes even have to restart my computer before it lines things up correctly. I hope you get it figured out, so sorry I wasn’t more help!

  16. Ashley says

    8 years ago

    I tried my sketch pens for the first time last night and although the concept is so great and the design would be adorable!…I keep getting a strange marking that drags all the way up to the top left corner after certain letters are sketched onto my paper. Any idea why, or how to make it stop? I am trying to finish a little project I am making for my sons class. Thanks!

    • Jessi Wohlwend says

      8 years ago

      I’ve never had that happen to me, but I’ve heard it happen for other people. Does it seem like the pen isn’t lifting up when it moves to a different area of the design, or back to the “home” spot? My best recommendation is to unplug the machine from your computer and restart both the computer and the Silhouette, then plug them back in and try again. Sometimes it just gets a little messed up and needs a restart. I’ll ask around and let you know if I find out anything else!

      • Ashley says

        8 years ago

        I wanted to respond back to you with the solution I found…just in case one of your other readers ever has this issue. I selected my wording, right-clicked, and chose “weld” and that seemed to do the trick of stopping it from returning to the corner after certain parts of the sketch, causing the streaks across my page. Thank you for your help, and hopefully this will help someone else in the future!

        • Jessi Wohlwend says

          8 years ago

          Glad you got it working, and thanks for letting us know!

        • Jayme says

          7 years ago

          YES! Thank you! I’m having that problem tonight. It’s nice to see I’m not alone! :o) Thanks for the solution!

        • Ryan says

          7 years ago

          God Bless you Ashley. Silhouette support is unresponsive and I was able to find your solution through the miracle of Google. You saved my project! Thanks!

        • Aleesha says

          7 years ago

          yaaaaaaaaaaaaay! Not sure why this worked but it did! thanks

        • Willetta says

          7 years ago

          THANK YOU! totally helped me – so appreciate that you reported back with the easy solution 🙂

        • Sara says

          6 years ago

          You are a life saver Ashley, thank you so much for posting the solution!! I was just about to go crazy after two hours searching and trying how to finally make these diagonal lines go away! Merci and greetings from France 🙂

  17. Jackie Allum says

    8 years ago

    For some reason the black guides on the bar always seem to smudge the pens on the drawing about 3/4 of the way down the page. Do you have any idea how to stop this happening apart from pausing the machine every few strokes? I have it on the lowest speed but it’s still happening 🙁

    • Jessi Wohlwend says

      8 years ago

      Do you mean the little black donut rollers on the metal bar that clamps the paper down in place? It’s never happened to me before, so I don’t know what to tell you! Maybe try sliding the black things out further so they won’t roll over your design?

  18. Ashley says

    8 years ago

    How do you get sketch pens to
    Fill in the font? It looks like it’s done on the “how” and “pens”part I believe.

    • Jessi Wohlwend says

      8 years ago

      It’s actually the font I used Ashley! If you look at the bottom of the post there are links to the fonts I used; some of them are specifically “sketch” fonts which have an outline and some sketched fill lines as well. The pens will draw anything that you see on the computer, so if you tell it to draw something in Arial, it will just look normal. If you tell it draw a sketch font it will “fill in” the letters, or even draw dingbats!

  19. Kim says

    8 years ago

    One way I get around some of those steps is to print the registration marks on the paper. If you choose “show registration marks” and then print it, BEFORE doing any design, then the silhouette can “read” those registration marks to ensure it is printing just where you want it. Don’t forget if you DO move any designs, use Ctrl+z! That is the quick undo tool. So you won’t have to guess if you have things just where they were before.

    • Jessi Wohlwend says

      8 years ago

      Interesting! I’ve only ever used registration marks for print and cut, not for just lining up a regular sketch pens job! Makes sense though that the machine can read registration marks to know where to print or cut. And as long as your design doesn’t take up the whole page, you can always cut the registration marks out later!

  20. Priscilla says

    8 years ago

    Hi Jess,

    Thank you for the tutorial on how to use the sketch pens. How do you get the machine to make the shadow on the font you used and how do you get it to fill in or was that done by hand?

    • Jessi Wohlwend says

      8 years ago

      Priscilla, those are just the fonts I used! The one font had a shadow on it, so the Silhouette drew the shadow, and the other had a sorta sketchy “filling”, so the Silhouette filled it in. Whatever your font looks like, the Silhouette will draw it! The three fonts I used are called Orange Juice, Sketch Block, and Lemonade; if you want to download them (they’re free!) there’s a link near the bottom of the tutorial.

  21. Rebecca says

    8 years ago

    Have you ever had a problem where the cut design cuts off-center from your drawing? I was sure to keep the paper loaded and not change anything on the design but it cut through my sketch when I changed from the pen to the blade. Has anyone else come across this issue? Any thoughts in what is wrong? Thanks!

    • Jessi Wohlwend says

      8 years ago

      Bummer! It hasn’t ever happened to me, but if you didn’t unload the paper at all, the only thing I can think of is something accidentally moved in the software when it got clicked on or something. Or maybe there was still a piece of the design set to “Cut” that shouldn’t have been? Wish I had a better answer for you!

  22. Karen Marie Kedzuch says

    8 years ago

    Jessi,
    Your tutorial is quite detailed. It makes me want to use the sketch pens I bought a year ago right away now. I was slightly intimidated by them. I see now that was silly.
    Thanks for teaching me,
    Karen Marie

    • Jessi Wohlwend says

      8 years ago

      Good luck with them! They’re definitely not as hard to use as they look!

  23. Alisha Landreth says

    8 years ago

    I cannot wait to finally get some sketch pens! I have had the pen holder for years and really enjoy using it, but the pens add more color and fun! Thanks for the tutorial. Very awesome!

  24. keri @ shaken together says

    8 years ago

    Jessi – thanks for breaking this down! I haven’t used the sketch pens yet, but I love all the tips and pointers!

  25. Carrie says

    8 years ago

    I love it! I use my pen holder all the time! I do love the sketch pens, but they run out so quick, so I use InkJoy or Sharpies in my pen holder. But the writing function is my favorite!

  26. Bethany says

    8 years ago

    This is such a great, informative post! Thanks!

  27. Randi Sowders says

    8 years ago

    I love sketch pens!! Love love love! And I love this tutorial on how to use them!! Great job!!

Load more comments

Leave a Comment or Review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *