How to Turn a Picture into an SVG for the Cricut

13 comments
Cricut How To, SVG

This is a tutorial for how to turn a picture into a vinyl decal within Cricut Design Space.

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.

how to turn a picture into a cut file for cricut

How to turn a picture into a cut file for the Cricut

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.

How to Export Your Cricut Designs

Did you spend an afternoon designing the perfect card that you just want to share with your fellow Cricut crafting friends?

And then you realize Cricut doesn’t actually let you export any of the designs you make in the app.

Well, I have a small hack I share with all my people. I’ve included this quick tutorial in my resource library.

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    There are many other options that require no graphics editing skills.

    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)

    how to turn a picture into a cut file for cricut

    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…

    How to turn a photo into a cut file in Design Space

    Step 1: Convert photo to SVG in Cricut Canvas Upload

    how to turn a picture into a vinyl decal cricut

    Step 2: How to turn a photo into a SVG using Cricut Advanced Options

    For this project, select “complex”.

    Then select the “Advanced Options” on the following screen.

    how to turn a picture into a vinyl decal cricut

    Step 3: How to turn an image into a cut file using Cricut Select & Erase

    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.

    how to turn a picture into a svg for cricut

    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!

    how to turn a picture into a svg for cricut

    Interested in more Free Cricut Projects?

    Interested in making your own SVGs?

    Learn how to use Inkscape and Adobe Illustrator with my ebook series Crafty Designs.

    Related Articles:

    The Most Profitable Cricut Projects to Sell

    How to turn handwriting into cut files

    29 Beginners Cricut Projects with Free Templates

    how to turn a picture into a cut file for cricut
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    13 thoughts on “How to Turn a Picture into an SVG for the Cricut”

    1. Tami says:

      THANK YOU!! YOU MADE THAT SUPER EASY!!

      • Tammy Burris says:

        Do you have any idea how to do it for for silhouette?
        Thanks,
        Tammy B

        • Great question! It’s on my to do to explore the Silhouette design studio but haven’t had a chance yet. Sorry I can’t be of much help right now :-/

    2. JEANETTE SUE HIEMSTRA says:

      Can you engrave your photos??

      • You could but I don’t think that would durn out all that well. The engraving tool will just draw lines so it’s like just drawing the photo in small slivers and patches.

    3. Mary says:

      This was wonderful. I read your tips then tried it myself I think i did okay for my first time.

    4. Pat Ferryman says:

      Im not a stupid person but this baffles me. I scanned in the shape for a quilt pattern (I have to cut 96 pieces) I clicked on the buttons all of them and the eraser thing did not come up. when it did finally I tried to erase all the back ground stuff around the piece was only partially successful now I can’t get the eraser to come up again.
      I am so frustrated does anyone know how to help me see what it is Im not seeing.
      Pat

      • Are you doing this in Cricut Design Space? If so, I don’t think CDS has the ability to do that level of vectorization and editing. I would recommend just buying a premade SVG file.

    5. Andrea says:

      so I made something IN cricut design space using shapes and cutting for what I needed. How do I download it FROM cricut as an svg? is this possible?

      • Hi there, unfortunately, Cricut doesn’t let you export their files. You would need to use an external tool for that. I use vectormagic.com all the time but it is a paid service.

    6. Michele Buhr says:

      Can you do this on a cricut joy?

      • Hi there, the interface for the Cricut Joy is pretty much the same in Cricut Design Space perspective. There are obvious size and material limitation but not design ones. There is a dedicated Cricut Joy app and no, you cannot do this type of conversion on that app. There is so little you can do on the dedicated Cricut Joy app, you might as well just download and use the full Cricut Design Space app. Hope that helps

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