Who doesn’t want a vinyl decal of their dog? This tutorial for turning your PNG and JPG photos into SVG cut files will show you how!
I don’t actually have a dog but if I was to get a dog, I’d get this super cute beagle in this photo.
In the meantime, I will just have a decal of him.
This is a quick tutorial on how to turn any photo into a cut file WITHOUT ADDITIONAL SOFTWARE in Design Space.
This applies to wedding photos, your dog, your cat, grandma and a raccoon if that is what pleases you.
I see a lot of tutorials out there on how to make SVGs with different software. People seem to gloss over the fact that it is possible to just convert your bitmap image into cut files within the Cricut Design Space app.
What is an SVG file and why does it matter?
First, let me provide a little technical primer on different file formats.
SVG stands for Scalable Vector Graphic. It is a type of vector image format. A vector image format is different than a bitmap image because it contains directional information (paths) as opposed to pixel information (dots).
The bitmap images you see on the web, that your camera takes, that your printer uses, typically use common bitmap formats like PNG, BMP, or JPEG. Your Cricut, doesn’t know what to do with information that comes in little dots. The Cricut blade needs direction, literally.
Cricut knows the inconvenience of having to only use SVG file or turn bitmap images into SVG files. You might wonder why can’t they just do this for you?
Well, it is actually technically really difficult to transform a bunch of dots into lines. You can just “connect the dots” in any random way.
It takes a lot of math to do this and even Adobe Illustrator (probably the most popular vector image editor) is not great at this.
Cricut Design Space has minimal vectorization functionality. But there is functionality there to convert PNGs to SVGs. They just cloak it in all sorts of terrible what they probably consider consumer level terminology so both the technical and non-technical people have no idea what is actually happening.
I use a software called Vector Magic to do all my conversions. It takes at most 30 seconds to do anything on this platform. It is best in class for converting bitmap images to vector files.
I did this in about 10 seconds. (and no, I’m not making an affiliate cut from promoting them)
However, I do understand the need to just deal with one piece of software.
Thank you for indulging me in my technical rant. Let’s get back on topic…
Step by Step Tutorial on how to turn a photo into a cut file in Design Space
Step 1: Upload your image
Step 2: Categorize the photo
For this project, select “complex”.
Then select the “Advanced Options” on the following screen.
Step 3: Altering the vectorized areas
Each photo will require different setting so you will have to play with the flowing steps to get the image to you preferences.
First we want to vectorize the image. There are a few different ways to control this in Design Space. In this current step, it is easiest to control the number of cut paths by how many colors you want to simplify the original photo down to. The original photo contains many many different colors (lots of different shades). I see 3 main colors in this image. I like to start with 3x the numbre of main colors I see. This gives about 3 variations on each other to make sure cute beagle here maintains some “resolution” so we can continue to see his cuteness. In this example, I start with Reduce colors = 9. (I ended up using 8.)
The next step is to “erase” part of the image. Use the “erase” wand in the upper left corner.
I usually start by just removing the color that is closes with the background.
I then remove chunks but leave an outline so the essence of the beagle is intact. If I don’t like a particular move, I can always “redo” in the upper right hand corner.
Step 5: Cut Image
When I am satisfied with this part, I hit Continue.
Then I “Save as Cut Image”
That’s it! Cute beagle decal is all yours!
Just getting started with the Cricut?
If all of this seems overwhelming, check out my quick reference ebook Cracking the Cricut. I provide a comprehensive overview of Cricut Design Space for all devices: