Did you know that it was National Tile Day? Neither did I, until I was browsing around for inspiration. Apparently, today is the very first annual celebration of this newly designated National Tile Day. Tiles! Well, I really love tiles. In fact, making tile coasters is something that I have been doing for a while. Using travertine tiles and some cork, they can really come out quite beautifully. Just recently, I made a set for each of the households in our family for Christmas using vinyl and my Silhouette Cameo. Take a look:
While you can order these in bulk or pick them up at the hardware store, here is an Amazon link to tiles similar to the ones I used.
Anyhow, I thought I would find some beautiful images of tiles and make some new stencil svg cutting files. And so, I did just that. Here is the image I found for inspiration and tracing the free svg stencils.
Aren’t these tile gorgeous? While I have linked the picture to the photo’s origin, if you would like to instead use the free svg stencil files that I have made, just hang on. In due time, I will most definitely be making some new tile coasters with these designs. Color choice is going to be difficult though! Whenever I enact this fabulous plan, I will be sharing it here with you.
Here are the free SVG and PNG file downloads. Enjoy, and happy national tile day!
First, lets drive straight to the point. While the Silhouette Studio Designer Edition of the Silhouette software has lots of extra features, the feature that was most alluring to me was the support for the SVG file type.
What does SVG mean? Well, I can tell you! Scalable Vector Graphics, or SVG files are fabulous and awesome in so many ways. Basically, instead of recording pixels of a picture, this format saves points and directions. The combination of a point and a directions is called a vector (sorry for the technical jargon, but I was a mathematics major!). So, this format saves a bunch of vectors instead of pixels.
And, why would we care about this? Because it makes the files SCALABLE. That means that you can make them any size you like and every detail will be the same. Unlike a jpg file, which has a set resolution, SVG files do not lose anything when you make them gigantic. Click the image if you want to read more about these awesome files.
Firstly, we care because there are millions of free and cheap SVG files out there for us to use. Free files are awesome.
Secondly, we care because it is easy to make and save our own files in the SVG format. I use Inkscape, a free software, to create and edit files. Inkscape is free and has tons of features. While it can save in DXF and other formats, it defaults to saving in SVG format because this seems to be the predominant file type for vector graphics.
Thirdly, we care because the basic edition of Silhouette Studio is horrible at importing files! Having tried to get away with the free version for years, I can truly say that it is terrible when trying to import DXF files. It can do it, but the results are never pretty.
Why I chose not to buy Designer Edition for several years.
Considering all its fun features, why would I still refuse to purchase it? I went without it for at least 3 years with my Silhouette Cameo. Obviously, I didn’t want to shell out the $50 for it. Feeling as though my technical savvy should allow me a way out, I stubbornly refused to buy Silhouette Studio Designer Edition.
Can you avoid buying DE and still make your own files? Yes.
Can you avoid buying DE and still get a lot out of your machine? Yes.
Can you avoid buying DE and still be efficient? No, not really.
Workarounds exist for almost anything you would want to do which requires DE. The main task that I needed to achieve was using SVG files that I found online with my Silhouette Cameo. For this purpose, I learned how to use Inkscape to edit SVG files and export them as DXF files, a file type that the basic edition of Silhouette Studio IS able to import. This method worked for me. I felt as though I had gotten around buying the Silhouette Studio Designer Edition and didn’t have any need for it. Why bother getting it when I could simply open the files I needed in Inkscape and then save them as DXF? Well, now I know why.
My Tipping Point
What finally tipped me over the edge was working and struggling with a file I needed to cut out. Opening this particular file in Inkscape, it looked very nice. There weren’t very many points. It was a nice clean file. Now, all I needed was to cut it out. Saving it as a DXF file is easy in Inkscape. There are a few different options, but nothing too bad. I saved it and opened it in Silhouette Studio. The software cringed, and spun, and stuttered.
Finally, it opened and had my shape with what appeared to be millions of points. Trying to work with it, I told the software to simplify the shape. It obligingly rearranged the points for me. Still millions of points in the file. I thought I would just ignore this and cut it out. Wrong. However the DXF format or the Silhouette software had mangled my file cause it to be a gigantic file size that kept getting lost when I tried sending it to cut.
Frustrated, I started looking for deals on DE. Finding a pretty good deal, I took the plunge and got a code to upgrade. I upgraded the software – it didn’t even need to download anything. Those sneaky people, I thought, they include everything in the original download but it is sitting there locked away! Well, I tried it out anyway.
Returning to the saga of my cut file, I pulled the original SVG file open easily in my shiny new Silhouette Studio Designer Edition software. It looked just as simple and beautiful as it had in Inkscape. Crossing my fingers, I sent it to the machine and it cut it out within seconds. Clean, simple, easy. Everything I had wanted. Why, I thought, had I wasted so much time with my workarounds?
Silhouette Designer Edition Features
Features abound in the Silhouette Studio Designer Edition. Take a look at this article on the Silhouette School Blog if you want a more in depth look at some of these features.
Sketch Pen Options
Eraser Tool Options
Select By Color or Line Color
Ruler and Grid Improvements
Nesting objects (for optimizing your materials)
Transfer Properties from one object to another
Easily fill shapes with photos
Import SVG files
These are the most notable changes you will see when you upgrade. One notable feature that is still missing from the software is the ability EXPORT SVG files. Having researched this a little, it seems that it was a feature in previous iterations of the Designer Edition software but has been removed. Presumably, they want people to keep their files in their own proprietary format. This is disappointing to me.
However, I am still glad that I purchased it. Once you have made an investment in the machine, it is worth the small percentage of that investment to also invest in the Designer Edition of the software. As of today, I am seeing it on Amazon for as low as $25 and I know there are other sales and deals on it from time to time as well.
Unexpected benefits of Design Edition
Unexpectedly, once I unlocked the Designer Edition, the whole software package seemed to run more quickly and smoothly. While I don’t know if this is intentional or just a byproduct of the way they designed the unlocking mechanism, it is a bonus. I truly feel like the Designer Edition is what should be included with the machine and since it isn’t, you should just chalk it up to part of the cost of the machine. Basically, I recommend pretending that it did come with the machine!
For me, the improvements to the program’s performance were most notable when editing the nodes of a path. Previously, when I tried to edit nodes in Silhouette Studio my machine churned and protested and it was incredibly, painfully slow. Now, it will comply with my desires. This alone has saved me a lot of time. In addition, the ability to import SVG files cleanly gives my files fewer nodes and the cut out swiftly.
Problems with DXF import
Additionally, I was never satisfied with using the DXF format for importing my files to Silhouette Studio. Inkscape is capable of outputting files in this format, and while it works, it doesn’t work well. Somehow, during the process of the conversion, seemingly millions of new points are added. Let me show you a comparison.
Above is a file I designed in Inkscape. You can download it here if you are interested. While the image on the left may have a few unnecessary nodes, it has a manageable number of nodes. On the right is what Silhouette Studio gave me when I imported the DXF version. The number of nodes is so high you can’t even see them distinctly. When sending these files to cut out on your machine, each node is communicated to your machine. Now, you should be able to see why the SVG version is so superior. It will take a fraction of the time to send it over and cut it out. In terms of time savings, the benefits were immediately obvious.
Why I stopped providing free DXF files
As you can see, the DXF files were simply not doing the job. They were unwieldy and a time sink. Finally, I decided to give up on them. Not wanting others to lose time or have trouble with one of these files, I have also removed them from this site. In the unlikely case that you should want the DXF version of one of my files, please download the SVG and Inkscape. You can then open the SVG file and convert it in Inkscape. However, your results will likely be similar to mine.
After all these considerations, I am very glad I finally got the Silhouette Studio Designer Edition. Probably, I should have gotten it sooner. If you use free SVG files from online or create your own, it is well worth the time savings you will reap. Your time is valuable and don’t forget it!
Initially, I was very negative about Hello Kitty. I’m not sure why, but I think it has to do with my knee-jerk negative reaction toward anything popular. However, I have come to terms with the fact that my 1 and 3-year-old little girls are all about Hello Kitty. They love it. My one-year-old will say “kitty cat” repeatedly whenever she glimpses something with the Hello Kitty brand on it. Yep, branded characters work.
Well, enough of that. My girls love Hello Kitty, so we made a Hello Kitty dress together. I happened upon a very nice 4T dress at the thrift store. I love thrift stores. It is 100% cotton, long sleeved for winter, pink, and only $2. Oh, and it has pockets. Dresses with pockets are the best thing ever. It was a great deal, and it made the perfect base for this project. Since I knew the item didn’t cost me much, it allowed me to go forward without fear of ruining something valuable.
If you have a cutting machine like the Silhouette Cameo and you don’t have freezer paper, you are missing out on some great projects. I don’t have the latest version of the machine, but it is still going strong. You can buy freezer paper in most grocery stores. It should be near the other rolls of waxed paper, parchment paper, etc. It has a paper side, and a glossy plastic coated side. The reason it is so neat for crafting is that the plastic melts slightly when heated and makes a temporary bond with fabric. That is to say, you can use your iron to make your stencils stay put! If you can’t find it at your grocery store or prefer to buy online, Amazon sells it here.
Next, I searched for an appropriately simple little image for the dress. This is the one I found.
Once you find the image you want to use, open it up in Silhouette Studio or in Inkscape. I actually did this in both programs, because even with the Designer Edition of Silhouette Studio, it won’t let me export SVG files. Boo! But it does let you open them…
Anyhow, once you open the image, you need to trace it. Here are the two variations I use most often. There are tutorials on both of these if you search the web, but feel free to ask in the comments if you need help with this.
Once your image is traced, you should have a cutting file like the one above. It looks the same as the image, but it is made of lines that scale and is a file your machine can cut out.
And finally, how to actually use your stencil and create your image! These are roughly the steps I took.
Prepare your image for cutting (described above).
Cut a piece of freezer paper down to the size of your cutting mat. I placed mine with the coated side upward. If your mat is especially sticky, you may want to place it the opposite way. The important thing here is that your design will be right side up when the coated side of the paper is placed on the fabric. If your image has text (like mine) this is especially important. Hopefully you will not have to cut yours out twice like I did to get it right!
Cut out your design and carefully remove it from the mat.
Place the pieces of the design that you DON’T want painted onto your fabric. They will keep the paint off these spots and help form the design. Iron them in place with a medium hot iron, it only took a few seconds for me. Also, it may help to do one piece at a time. If you have text, don’t forget the insides of letters like ‘o’.
Once your design is in place, make sure all the edges that you don’t want painted are covered and place it in a good spot for painting. I used a big box and several plastic bags for this.
Paint! My knowledge of fabric paint is fairly limited. However, I spotted these fabric spray paints on sale at the craft store and thought I would try them out. They seem to have worked fairly well if you account for my impatience between coats. I knew I ought to follow the directions of using light coats and waiting 5 minutes between them. I knew it, but I didn’t follow it. I think this is the main culprit for the slight seepage of paint I got around Hello Kitty’s bow.
Once paint is dry (or at least mostly dry!), peel away the freezer paper and admire. The paint I used said it would be ready to use in 30 minutes, but not safe to wash for at least 72 hours.
Here is the final result, and my cute little model. She loves it, of course.
Looking good, just a minor blur by the bow – my impatience is at fault.
Have fun making cute clothes! If you want to make a cute valentine’s item, check out some of my Valentine’s Day cutting files. I think they would probably make cute shirts!
February is almost upon us. Looking through all the ideas I have found on cutting files to make, I stumbled upon this lovely little kirigami card. Now, I don’t know where it comes from originally, so it would be wise not to use it commercially. However, this is where I found the image that I based this file on.
EDIT (2/11/19): I have found the original author of this file, Maria Victoria Garrido, and she has kindly given me permission to keep this post up. Her site is full of very beautiful work and many files that can be adapted for cutting in SVG format. However, her files are for PERSONAL use only. Please be aware and don’t use them for commercial purposes.
If you cut this out, the pattern above is very useful for scoring the fold lines in the correct places.
I love how detailed the little hearts are. You could definitely use the heart cut outs for other applications, including your own pretty Valentine’s Day card. I cut out the file twice in two different colors so that I could mix and match them. They came out lovely in my opinion.
Tacky or not, I gave one to my husband and informed him that he could write a nice message on it for me for Valentine’s Day. How’s that for an over the top hint?
For assembly, you do have to be somewhat delicate so as not to break things as you bend them into place. I used a ruler and hard pointed tip to score the lines where it was supposed to bend. If you are so inclined, you could definitely add them to the cut file and score them with your machine. I don’t have the dual carriage Silhouette and didn’t feel like running it through twice.
You definitely DO want to score this before you attempt to fold it. It is a bit difficult to bend into place even if you score it. I found it useful to weave something small like a knitting needle back and forth through the letters to get them to bend in the correct direction.
And now, the file.
Here are the hearts that attach it. One note, if the paper you cut it out on has a front and a back, you will want to flip a copy of the heart so that you have one facing each direction. I didn’t do this, and have a card with two hearts facing the same way. Oops!
Also check out my other Valentine’s Day cutting files:
Finally! I got around to actually using one of the many wonderful files you can find out there. I found a delightful Christmas Present Tag cutting file and thought it would be nice to have a few on hand to label our gifts.
I found this lovely file over at the Lia Griffith Blog. She has it up for free in both PDF and SVG formats. I don’t have the Designer Edition of Silhouette Studio, so I opened it up in Inkscape and saved it as a DXF file. Then, I opened that file in Silhouette Studio and cut a couple sheets of them out. They did take a loooong time to cut, even after I set it to full speed, but I wasn’t in a hurry and I think it was worth it.
Here are the results. I am happy with the way they turned out, but I know I haven’t gotten my photography skills up to par enough to make them look as good as in the original post! I think the snowman I made the other day would look cute next to one of these little tags on a package too. Check him out if you haven’t!
This has been a long time in the making and I am really excited to share it with everyone. It has been a while since my last post with our new baby and a lot of fun summer activities getting in the way. At any rate, I have been plodding away a letter at a time making this file for use in our wonderful playroom (another incomplete project in itself).
My vision is to use these files in different colors of vinyl either in a big row around the room or a cluster. I made a concerted effort to keep each animal one solid piece so that there won’t be any smaller vinyl pieces to mess with. The animals themselves were either made from scratch by me or modified from free clipart I found online. Please let me know if you think I have made an error and modified a file that truly belongs to someone else – I make an effort to keep to freely available clipart for my modifications.
Use this file for personal use only, please. This file is free for now, although it may at some point be listed in my (future) etsy shop. Please download and enjoy!
I am always looking for a good sentiment to cut out or print on my cards and creations. This is a nice “Thank You” sentiment that I think will be a good one to cut out for the front of a basic card. I’m sure it would also look nice in a more elaborate card, but you probably won’t see one from me for a while.
The original file was a free clipart file I found online. I made a few basic edits and changes and converted it to an SVG.
Well, I know it seems far off yet, but I’m sure Easter will be upon us before we know it. Perhaps because I am hoping for warmer weather and nice spring days, I decided to make some Easter egg cutting files.
I would love to see how you use these in your projects this year!
Valentine’s Day must have my creative juices flowing. I made another cutting file for everyone. I put it in a square with the intention of making a card front overlay. With the sentiment I posted yesterday, the components of a beautiful and simple card are in place. Perhaps my husband will be seeing this one cut out in a couple weeks!
The downloads are for svg and dxf files. Let me know if there are other formats that would be useful for you, and I can do my best to accommodate.
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Welcome! Kabram Krafts is now selling premium SVG files at kabramkrafts.com as well as on Etsy. Dismiss