Tips for Silhouette Charms

Silhouette charms are custom laser cut pieces made from your black and white designs – they could be hand drawn, digitally drawn… anything! Follow the tips below for best results.

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Draw With a Thick Black Marker

Use a marker that is at least 2mm. This will ensure you don’t draw parts that are too thin! Pieces thinner than 2mm are not recommended – they may be too fragile and break when handled.

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Draw on Bleedproof Paper

Bleedproof paper will give your marker drawings nice, crisp edge lines that will laser cut smoothly. Bleedproof paper can be purchased from most art supply stores.

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Draw to Size

Use the Custom Charms Size Guide to pick the size you would like your charms to be. Lay a piece of Bleedproof paper over the Custom Charms Size Guide and draw within the box at the size of your choice.

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Draw, Draw, Draw!

A good technique for designing is to draw the same thing 3 times with slight variations, then choose your favourite. Sometimes it takes a few warm up attempts to get your brain to communicate to your hand!

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Trace Your Own Drawings

Have a drawing that’s almost ‘right’? Lay another piece of Bleedproof paper over your drawing and trace it again to make any adjustments.

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Completely Erase Unwanted Marks

The goal is to make your drawing look as much like a black and white digital silhouette as possible. Remove any marks (like pencil lines) with an eraser or white out to have a tidy silhouette with smooth edges.

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Where Will a Hole Fit?

If your laser cut charms will need to hang (such as they will become earrings), make sure there is space for a hanging hole – plus some space around the hole so that it fits!

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How Will it Hang?

For hanging designs, consider the balance of your design. Will it hang how you envision? Do you need to modify the hole placement to have it hang differently?

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Indicate Hole Location

Draw an arrow AROUND (not touching) your design to indicate where the hole will be. Vector Etch will add a 2mm hole/s in digitally; you do not need to draw in hanging holes.

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No Room For a Hanging Hole?

We can add a ‘loop’ instead! ‘Loops’ are added 6mm circles with a 2mm hole. They’re are a great option for creating hanging designs from thin shapes!

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Material Samples

Not sure what material to use? Order some Sample Material Swatches. Typically, plainer materials (like solid acrylic) look best for more complex shapes (e.g. snowflakes); fancier materials (like chunky glitter) look best for simpler shapes (e.g. circles).

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Sample Cuts

Not 100% sure on your design, or just want to see a sample first? You can order a sample (one piece) custom silhouette charm via the listing here, then order a bulk pack when you are ready.

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Turn Around

Allow 5 – 10 business days for your order to be processed. Rush orders are not available. For more information, see Turn Around and Shipping/Local Pick Up.

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More For Less

Bulk discounts apply automatically when you order multiple packs of the same design, in the same material. Refer to the Custom Silhouette Charms listings for more information.

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Want it Cheaper?

If you can create a vector file, silhouette charms can be quoted based on your file (set-up to our vector file guides). With this service, you’ll do all of the file set-up to get our best priced and fastest turn around service.

Additional Information

  • You will not receive a proof as we will laser cut your silhouette exactly as it appears in the digital file that you upload, scaled (proportionally) to the size ordered.
  • We accept any digital file types (.psd, .png, .pdf, etc) but a .JPG is preferred.
  • Your artwork must be at least the size of the product that you are ordering, or larger. We can generally always scale an image down, but images don’t always scale up clearly. Images should be at least 300dpi and preferably in .jpg format.
  • Silhouette charms are for cutout shapes only – they do not include any etching details.
  • You will only receive the shape indicated in black in your silhouette (laser cut in your material of choice). Off-cuts and internal cutouts aren’t included.
  • We’ll laser cut your artwork exactly how it is uploaded i.e. we do not offer any graphic design services to change or modify your design (with the exception of adding a hole, loop, or reflecting the design).
  • If your design is detailed, or it has been created physically larger than the product size that you’re ordering, it’s a good idea to print it out at the size that it will actually be and see how it looks. It’s difficult to gauge how images on a screen will look when they’re engraved/laser cut and printing your design out on your home printer is by far the best test to get an idea of how it will look. We are not responsible for ensuring that your design does not contain parts that are too fine.
  • Make sure that parts of the design aren’t too thin; thin shapes may break when handled. We recommend a minimum width of 2mm. We are not responsible for ensuring that your design does not contain parts that are too thin.

Files That Won't Work

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We can’t work with images that are smaller than the charm size ordered e.g. a 30mm artwork can’t be used for 50mm charms.

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We can’t work with images that are less than 300dpi. They will be too low resolution and the edges will be jagged as the result of the fuzzy pixels.

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We can’t work with most images found online. Most artworks online are only 72dpi (we require atleast 300dpi) and are not necessarily Copyright free.

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We can’t work with artworks that are not a silhouette, such as a line drawing with a thick line width. It’s not clear where we should make the cut lines e.g. cutting on the outside of the line in the Jolly charm above (bottom left) would create a much different silhouette to cutting on the inside of the lines (bottom right).

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We can’t make sure that silhouettes for layered designs fit together. If you’re interested in making layered or multiple piece items, you will need to order using a vector file (set-up as per our Set-Up Guides for Quote by File.

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We can’t work with a silhouette that isn’t joined together. Your silhouette must be one complete shape (otherwise it would qualify as multiple silhouette charms).

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We don’t recommend using designs that are too detailed, such as the material width is less than 2mm, as they may be too fragile and break when handled.

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We can’t work with artworks that have a background as we do not offer graphic design services to remove the background from the silhouette.

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We can’t work with artworks that have an undefined or textured outline as it’s unclear where to add the cut lines.

Need Help?

If any of the guides or instructions here aren't accessible to you, you may consider hiring a graphic designer to help you finalise (or create) the design for your project.

We list a number of designers and resources via our Resources page.