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DIY Stencils for your Silhouette Cameo or Cricuit – Use ANY design!

Have you ever tried to make your own stencils with your cutting machine? If you have, you know that your design options are limited. No fancy fonts, only stencil fonts. You can’t have any designs that have inner details, or they will not be connected to your finished stencil. Unless you want to hand position each and every element, you have to be very careful in creating or selecting your stencil design.

THE RULE FOR STENCILS

In summary, there can be no inner shapes or details in your finished stencil. If you are having trouble understanding this, think about the letter “O”. If you cut out a stencil for the “O” there will be an outer circle and an inner circle. The inner circle will simply fall out. This is why every stencil font has at least one, usually two connections to the middle of the “O”.

 

 

For example, the following is an excellent stencil design. It will cut out easily with no inner parts left to fall out.

 

 

 

 

 

On the other hand, this design is not so good:

 

Then, what if you really want to stencil a more complex image on your card? How can you create more detailed and intricate stencils? You need a stencil that looks impossible, and you need it now! Luckily for you, now you can.

A Stencil Solution

While I am sure I am not the only person to do this, it was a light bulb moment for me. Reflecting on it, I have seen videos of spray paint artists using a series of stencils to make awesome composite pictures. This method is very similar. The idea is to use two stencils instead of one so that you can have details that you can’t get with just one stencil.

Just a note on stencils in general. If you want to make one car with an image like the tools above, you are probably better off just cutting it out of card stock without any hassle converting it to a stencil. However, if you want to put the image on a bunch of things you may want to use a stencil. That way you only have to cut and weed your image once (or twice for these two part stencils) instead of over and over again.

As I outline my solution, I will illustrate with the letter “O” as a simplified case to demonstrate how it works.

My Method

    1. First, open up your image in your editing software. Typically, I open mine in Adobe Illustrator. If you don’t have access to this, Silhouette Studio, Inkscape, or Cricuit Design Space should work just fine. Here, I will illustrate with Silhouette Studio.
    2. Create a thin rectangle in a contrasting color to your design and place it over your image.
    3. Select both your design and the rectangle.
    4. Copy and paste the two objects. Keep them in the same relative position.
    5. Open the modify panel (or the tools to modify paths if you are working with another software). Working on just the first copy with both the “O” and the rectangle selected, Click “Subtract”.
    6. Now, select just the rectangle on the second copy of your design. Be careful not to move it out of place.
    7. Open the offset Panel. We need to enlarge it just slightly to ensure a little wiggle room in our finished stencil. Create an offset. This is something you will have to judge for yourself. I used a distance of .05 inches and square corners.
    8. Select both rectangles and weld them together. You should now have a rectangle that is just slightly bigger than the original one.
    9. Select both the rectangle and the copy of the “O”, which should still be in the same relative position. Using the Modify Panel, click “Intersect”. NOTE: If, like me, you have the whole thing disappear when you click “Intersect”, it is likely that one or both of your images are not paths. Select them, click “Object -> Convert To Path” and then try the previous step again. If you got it right, it should look something like this:
    10. Select these pieces, right click, and hit “Make Compound path”. Do this to the original pieces of the “O” as well. Here are your two paths now:
    11. Change the color and overlap them if you want to see what the finished stencil will look like.
    12. Cut your finished pieces out on separate stencils. Then use one stencil followed by the other to create an “O” with no lines through it!

    Going Further

    While the “O” was a very simple case, this method can be expanded to more complicated images. In theory, it could even have many more than two stencils to make the finished image, although I have not tried it.

    Here is an example of a turkey that I have made into a two part stencil using an extrapolation of the method I outlined above. The key is creating enough rectangles to overlap any inner parts, there should be no islands in your finished stencils!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Stencil Time

    I have just a few parting remarks about stencils for you. First, there are stencil materials to consider. Both Silhouette and Cricuit make “stencil” blanks and rolls. I have not tried them because I haven’t found their materials to be high quality in the past. Freezer paper (usually found near foil and wax paper) does work fairly well as a stencil for fabric. You can iron it lightly to get the waxy side to adhere, but you have to be careful not to get the stencil too wet with paint or it will bleed through.

    However, my favorite and economical stencil material is simply overhead transparency paper. It is thin and flexible and can be reused as long as you are careful. If needed, I spray the back with a light adhesive spray to adhere it to my project. You will want to play around with your cut settings, but once you get them set it cuts really well.

     

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Give Thanks SVG Hand Lettered Freebie!

Thanksgiving is coming! What better way to celebrate than to give thanks with a nice free hand lettered SVG file!? Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday as gratitude can significantly improve your satisfaction and happiness levels! The more you appreciate what you have, the happier you will be. So, give thanks!

Personally, I have tons to be thankful for! Beautiful girls, wonderful husband, the opportunity to live in Colorado near my family again. I am sure it can be harder if you are going through a difficult time or situation in your life right now, but try to think of something, even something very small, to give thanks for. It could be the sun on your face, the warm cup of coffee, a smile on your child’s face, or even just a warm blanket. Give thanks.

So, without further ado, here is the freebie.

 


 

I think this file would look great on a sign, a plaque, or on a dishtowel! Sorry, I haven’t had time to try it out yet, but here is a mock up for you all the same:

 

 

And if you want to obey the command to “Give Thanks” directly, here is another free svg file you may want to check out. Make a nice thank you card and put it in the mail today. You will brighten someone’s day using these free svg files, I am sure of it!

 

Thank You Sentiment – Free Cutting File SVG Download

 

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Bin Labels HTV DIY – Organize your life!

Move Complete!

Have you moved lately? Well, we just moved from Michigan to Colorado! It is lots and lots of work. And requires a lot of good organization. All of which is made better by these adorable bin labels!


If you missed me, that is where I have been. Packing. Unpacking. Packing. Unpacking. Repeat.

Having grown up in Colorado, I am happy to be back and near family again.

Unfortunately, since Colorado is so awesome and everyone else wants to be here too, housing prices are much steeper here. Not just a little steeper. I’m talking 7 or 8 times steeper! For example, coming from our lovely 6 bedroom house on 4 acres in Michigan, we will have trouble finding a condo for the same price!

 

Getting Organized with Bin Labels

Downsizing was actually some amount of fun, until we got to our apartment and realized that getting rid of half our stuff wasn’t enough! So, that is what I have been doing the past month or so. Organizing. Getting rid of stuff. Organizing is the fun part though.

Knowing this, you can see where this project came from. It was born of necessity and the desire to have my children put their toys away so that I can preserve my sanity in our new 2 bedroom living space! Thus, the idea for our new bin labels was born. Well, it was actually in my head for quite a while. It was going to be one of my finishing touches on the playroom I was working on in Michigan. Take a look at how awesome it was!

Playroom in Michigan

Alas, it was time to move on. Hopefully someone else will move in and enjoy the fun colors and the animal alphabet that I left on the wall!

Do you also have seemingly hundreds of toys underfoot? Are you constantly frustrated with different types and sets of toys getting jumbled into one big mess? Do your kids need help knowing where everything ought to go? Then you need some of these bins and these adorable bin labels!

Take Stock of Your Items

First, you need to take stock of what you are trying to organize. For me, this meant categorizing the toys in my girls’ room and putting them in different bins. Undoubtedly, they have too many toys. However, once in bins and labeled with these cute bin labels, it looks much more manageable. Also, remember to try to match the number of categories to the number of bins you have available.

Here are the bin label categories I came up with for the toys we have:

  • DOCTOR
  • DRESS UP
  • CALICO CRITTERS
  • PLAYMOBIL
  • BOOKS ON TAPE
  • LEGO
  • MUSIC
  • CARS
  • DOLLS
  • BLOCKS
  • LITTLE PEOPLE
  • DISHES
  • FOOD
  • TOOLS

In addition, I added each of my daughter’s names so that they could have a bin of their own. Next, I looked for a simple, cute design for each category. The idea was to have a cohesive looking set of images that helped my not yet literate daughters identify each bin on their own.

Most of the images I found doing a quick google image search. Some I had to work more on to get what I wanted. The font I used is called “Mail Ray Stuff”. I really like how the images turned out. I am especially fond of the cute baby on the “LITTLE PEOPLE” bin.

 

Create your Bin Labels

Feel free to use my labels and images for your own personal use. However, I do not recommend using them for commercial uses as I am not positive on the copyrights of each one.

 

REMEMBER TO CUT THESE OUT IN REVERSE ON YOUR HTV!

 

 


 

REMEMBER TO CUT THESE OUT IN REVERSE ON YOUR HTV!

 

Quality Materials

Since this was my very first Heat Transfer Vinyl project, I wanted to use the good stuff. And, from what I hear, Siser Easy Weed is where it is at. I found a roll at my local Michaels and it was on a great sale to boot! All in all, I was very impressed by the stuff. Also, it is actually much easier to weed than Oracle vinyl that I am used to working with.

So, back to the project.

Decide how large you want things and cut it out! This is on you. Then cut out each label and weed out the extra. Your image is reversed, right?

Finally, the fun part – ironing the bin labels on and seeing the results. I followed the directions on the packaging of my HTV and used a grill mat to place over the images while ironing.

Results – Bin material matters too!

If you look at my results, you can see that some of my bins turned out spectacular. Unfortunately, some have nice imprints of the iron. This was largely due to the bins themselves. My nice large fabric IKEA ones look great. No iron imprints, just clean and crisp.

 

 

My cheap polyester bins which came from who knows where, did not hold up well. Since I didn’t want to buy new bins, I just went with it. They still work. Some are just much prettier than others!

 

 

 

 

Now, sit back and admire your work. Wait, scratch that. Go get to organizing!

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Fourth of July – free name card SVG

Can you believe that June is almost gone? It has gone by very quickly for our family!

Fourth of July

Well, here I am always thinking about the next holiday and what SVG files I should create. Feeling patriotic? Great! I have just the thing for you. These little name cards would be great for labeling food at your great big 4th of July party!

4th of July Dip Name Card

Do you have any family recipes that only come out on the 4th of July? Our family has one that we like to call the “Fourth of July Dip”. Really, it is just a delicious 7-layer dip that covers a huge serving platter. I’m sure that the recipe is no secret. However, the dip is delicious and is rarely seen in our family except on the 4th of July.

4th of July Name Cards

So, what do you think of these cute little cards? I am partial to them. Since I like my projects to be as simple as possible, these cards only have 3 pieces – one for each color.

 

Free 4th of July SVG file download

And now, of course, the download. Please enjoy! As always, this is for your personal use only and I love to see pictures if you end up using it!

Note that the download will give you an SVG file which you can import into your software and ungroup to get each color separately.


 

 

Also, be sure to check out my fun STARS SVG file. Let me know how this one cuts if you try it out!

Stars

Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful Fourth of July!

 

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Father’s Day Cardmaking with your cutting Machine!

Well, Father’s Day is almost upon us again! Time goes by so fast it is hard to keep up with things!

Previous Father’s Day Card

Take a look at the card I made a couple years ago. My dad was always fixing my toys, working on a project, or just being a handy man. He even built me doll bunk beds one year!

So, this is the card I made for him several years ago.

 

Father's Day Card

Now, I made a new version! Complete with a the bones of the template in case you want to make your own with a different Father’s Day theme.

Father’s Day Fishing

While I do not fish and no one I know fishes, these fishing images were just too cute. Plus, Father’s Day makes me think of dads and fishing!

So, for all of you with fishermen in your lives, this card overlay svg file is for you. I haven’t had time to test cut it out, so let me know if you run into any snags.

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day Template

Well, what about your non-fisherman father?

I have you covered! If you can think of a hobby or theme that he likes, put it on his Father’s Day Card! Just download the empty template and start loading it up with files relating to your theme.

Go ahead, go crazy! Just find anything you can that is adorable and relates to your theme. Size it, spin it, and put in place. That is all there is to it.

As a tip, just make sure that your images touch the inner and outer borders and then “union” the paths. Look up tutorials on this if you don’t know how to, or let me know if you really get stuck.

 

Happy Father's Day Template


Happy Father's Day Template

 

Happy Father’s Day to all the great Father’s out there!

And… be sure to check out my other SVG freebies!

 

 

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Hand Lettered Art on a Watercolor Background – Free Hand Lettered SVG file too!

DIY Hand Lettered Art Project

Welcome to my website and today’s journey through my hand lettered artwork project! Have you tried hand lettering? With all the amazing hand lettering on Pinterest and Instagram, I just couldn’t stay away. Such pretty lettering ought to be admired by imitation, in my opinion! 

Well, my hand lettering led to water brush pens and watercolors, which led in turn to watercolor doodles. Then, I saw this on Instagram. Watercolor hexagons! Perfect, I thought, I can usually make patterns and I love playing with the colors. Of course, I didn’t attempt the project free-handed, like the lady I saw as my inspiration. We’ll save that for a later date.

Instead, I drew nice little evenly spaced guidelines for myself. I used the materials listed below. These are Amazon affiliate links, but buy wherever you like! I generally buy new supplies at the craft stores with coupons. I love coupons.

Very, very relaxing, at least for me! Try to leave a little border between the hexagons. I found that it helped to put a dot where each corner ought to go and then connect the dots. You can also add a little extra color to the hexagon while it is still wet to get some fun variation!

Adding a Hand Lettered Word, Saying, or Sentiment

I don’t know if it is a craze right now or not, but hand lettering is highly addicting! For my piece of craft room artwork, I thought “Create” would be an apt word to add. I used my Pentel water brush again to letter this on another piece of watercolor paper with the plan to cut it out and put it on top of my hexagon masterpiece.

create watercolor

As a sidenote, I have also been playing with brush markers for hand lettering practice. Take a look at my Instagram feed if you want to see what I have been up to in my spare time.  Here are the pens I have been playing with (there are many more that I want to try as well!):

Hand Lettering Tools I have been playing with lately

 

After it dried, I cut the watercolor paper down a bit and stuck it on my PixScan mat for my Silhouette Cameo to cut out.

create watercolor on pixscan mat

After several tries, it finally registered and cut. While it went through and cut smoothly, it was off a bit. I took it off and played around with it a bit on top of the hexagons.

create watercolor

It would have been okay, but I didn’t really like the look of it on top of the hexagons anyhow. So, I scrapped it, and kept just the outline.

When in doubt, use Glitter!

Glitter to the rescue! I found this lovely piece of VERY THICK glitter paper in a nice dark gray. It looked like it would go well, so I set about to cut out my lettering. Does anyone know if this particular glitter cardstock is thicker than normal?

 

I have not previously cut out glitter cardstock. Looking in the materials list on my silhouette, I found and choose the “glitter cardstock” settings. After running the file through the cutter, I pulled it out. Sadly, it was not cut all the way through.glitter in my blade

So, I stuck it back in the Silhouette Cameo for another double-cut run through. Took it out, and it was still not cut through. This time I checked my blade to find it filled with glitter.

finally it cut through!

After cleaning it out, I upped the blade depth a bit and stuck it back in. Almost this time! Cleaned out the blade again. Fourth time was a charm and it looked great!

create cut in glitter cardstock

Persistence paid off and I was very thankful that it stayed aligned despite its many trips in and out of the machine. I then did a quick offset and cut a second one out of another piece of white cardstock. Isn’t it pretty?

Look at how pretty it looks on top of the hexagons! I am thrilled that the 4 times through the Silhouette Cameo paid off. Just in case you didn’t put this together, that is 8 cutting passes since it was set to double cut!

Now, it just needed a little extra depth. For this, I turn once again to my large supply of cork scraps. Use anything with a bit of thickness, I just have a lot of cork scraps lying around from making coasters!

In fact, if you need some coasters, please head over to my Etsy shop and take a look. I welcome custom orders if there is something in particular you are looking for!

Etsy Shop: API reponse should be HTTP 200
API Error Description: Expected int value for 'limit' (got 'string').

Also, check out the other pictures I made for my playroom using this same technique.

Except, this time, I just sprayed the cork on both sides with spray adhesive. That seemed to do the trick nicely! Also, I didn’t get any photos of this, but I adhered the glitter cardstock to the offset white cardstock cut.

Almost Done! Now just position your lovely hand lettering on your lovely hand painted background

Beautiful! All set to frame.

A nice little glamour shot of my framed artwork next to my Silhouette Cameo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

And, if you were waiting for this, I’m sorry for the long post. Here is the FREE HAND LETTERED CUTTING FILE! Just click the link below and the free SVG file should download.

 

 

 

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Mother’s Day Card Making with the Silhouette Cameo

Happy Mothers Day

Mother’s Day!

Hello to all you of you mothers out there! This image of a mother and baby is beautiful, don’t you think. I really want to make it into a cutting file, of course, but haven’t captured it well enough in my attempts yet. I will share my results though if I do succeed!

Good news if you create your own cards – there is still time to get that Mother’s Day card out of your head and onto the paper for your own mother. Especially if she lives nearby!

Also, though a bit more somber, I wanted to acknowledge all the bereaved mothers out there too. There are many women who are mothers, but do not have a child to hold. This day may hold its own meaning for them as well. Please think of them this week and don’t be afraid to say something to acknowledge them and their pain. At least, this is what I have learned from an article I read recently shared by a friend who knows this pain!

Hand Lettered

On a lighter note, here is the pretty little watercolor lettering page I started this process with. Just recently I have started playing with watercolors. I just started, so don’t judge too harshly, but I am having a lot of fun! And, I am also having fun with hand lettering.

More particularly, I have discovered the water brush pen! It is a pen. It is a brush. It is full of water. Awesome.

If you want to play with one, these are the two I have currently. I think I like the Pentel one better, but I’m not sure.

  1. Pentel Medium Brush Pen 
  2. Ranger Ink Water Brush Pen Fine Detail
  3. A lot of other ones online look great, but I just got the ones I could find in the craft stores immediately. No patience here!

Simply moisten some water color ink, dip your water brush pen in and have fun.

Mom Mother Mother’s Day on the Screen

Next, I traced my lettering in Adobe Illustrator. In the past, I have used Inkscape forthis and it works well too (and is free!). There are plenty of tutorials on this around, but I may add my own at some point as well. Here is what I ended up with in Silhouette Studio at the end of the day.

Once I cut it out, I realized that the “HAPPY” and “DAY” parts of my lettering were too tiny for me to hassle with. So, I opted to just hand-letter those words in on my final cards.

Mother’s Day Card Construction Time!

Then, construct your card. Many of you, I’m sure, have more card making experience than I. However, a few layers, a little texture from my embossing folders, and these sentiments made for a pretty nice looking card.

I also cut out a few of the butterflies that came with the Silhouette Cameo (I think).

Thought I wanted this in silver, but I changed my mind. Sharpie to the rescue!
Thought I wanted this in silver, but I changed my mind. Sharpie to the rescue!

Here is my finished product and the cutting file for the sentiments too!

I made two cards. One for me to send, and one for my husband. Who knows if my mother-in-law would get one otherwise? Plus, she loves butterflies.

 

Mothers Day Card on Green

 

Mothers Day Card on Purple

If you need ideas for the card base, take a look at this card. She makes absolutely gorgeous free cutting files! Or, take a look at the pretty floral cards I made a while back. You will need to scroll to the end of this post.

And, what you might have been waiting for all along, the promised Mother’s Day cutting file!



 

And, what would a post be without a nice little picture for Pinterest?

 

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Mommy Duck and Ducklings Card


Ducklings! 

A mommy duck and ducklings just screams Spring! I am so glad that Spring has arrived and the flowers and birds have come to stay a while.

We had a little yellow duckling once. Sadly, it was a part of our failed run with guinea hens and a duck. Apparently, we have a hungry m
ink nearby good enough to weasel in almost anywhere.

Find the FREE SVG File in THIS POST

Happily, this little SVG cutting file is much more cheerful in nature. The bow, the ducklings, the flowers, it is hard to pass up.

 

Pretty Little Cards

Well, I have finally gotten around to actually cutting out this little file from a while back. Take a look at the original post for this cut file if you would like the free svg file download.

ducklings cutout

You can see the cute little results. You can also see my first experiment with watercolor for a background. While it looks nice enough, I think I have significant room for improvement!

two duckling cutouts

Sentiment?

As of today, they are ready to go on cards but haven’t been assembled yet.

ducklings in hand

 

What sentiment would you attach to these? Is there something nice and springy? Or perhaps a simple “hello”? I may try to incorporate it into a Mother’s Day card.

Thanks for stopping by. Have a wonderful Spring!

~Kristin

 

Ducklings

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DIY Pillowcases!

DIY Pillowcase Fun

This DIY Pillowcase project was relatively simple and a great project for the licensed fabrics that we ended up with on our last outing to the craft store. Do you bring your husband along when you go to the craft store? Well, I end up bringing him because we are often out of town together when I have the opportunity to go.

Shopping with the whole Family

What happens when you bring your whole family to the craft store? This happens:

craft store receipt

As you can see, we ended up with lot of licensed character fabrics. While the Star Wars fabric is still waiting to be made into pillows for the man cave, the girls’ Dory and Frozen fabrics made it into these cute DIY pillowcases. (Do you like my awesome table? It is a giant 4 foot by 8 foot piece of melamine board!)

Since I am a beginner at sewing, I followed this lovely tutorial on My Childhood Treasures Blog. While she said it only took her about 10 minutes for each pillow once the fabric was cut, mine took at least 30 minutes each. So, your timing may vary depending on your ability, but mine still came out quite adorable.

how to make a pillowcase
Tutorial at My Childhood Treasures

In this DIY pillowcase, the cuff is sewn on all at once while the body of the pillowcase is rolled up inside. Although envisioning how all the layers work is a little tricky, the sewing itself was straightforward. For my first ever pillow cases, I was very pleased with how they turned out.

Cutting the Fabric

Also, I used my new rotary cutting tools for this DIY pillowcase project. While I got them to cut squares from my rolls of cork, they made cutting the fabric out for this project super simple! If you give a girl several 60% off coupons, she will use them. So, while I recommend you get them with coupons from one of your local craft stores, here are the tools I used on Amazon. Actually, looking at the current prices on Amazon, I see that they really aren’t that much more than getting them 60% off at the craft store. While I love the craft stores, I do feel like they mark things up significantly!!

What do you think? Do you have different methods? How about customizing them with names or applique? For a long time now I have wanted to use the Silhouette Cameo for doing applique. However, I am intimidated by the sewing half!

My adorable girls enjoying the results. No hesitation here…

Story: “If you bring your family to the craft store, they will want to buy some fabric.”

Moral of the Story: “Don’t bring your family unless you are prepared to make pillows.”

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How to Make Custom Silhouette Cut Outs

Do you love a custom silhouette as much as I do? I recently made some artwork for my girls’ playroom and received a lot of questions on how I did it. This article won’t go into too much depth as the process varies remarkably depending on the photo that you start with.

DIY Custom Silhouette from Photo

A crisp, clean silhouetted photo with nothing in the background will be much easier to create a custom silhouette cutting file from than one that has a lot going on.
Silhouette Cutout DIY FROM Photo to Frame kabramkrafts.com

 

First, take a look at the two photographs that I started with. In the first one, I caught an adorable moment of my husband and daughters holding hands. In the other, I have a mostly silhouetted view of my girls running through a tunnel at a playground.


custom silhouette image of father and daughterscustom silhouette of girls in tunnel
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can you guess which one was easier to convert into a custom silhouette svg cutting file? Yep, the one on the right. While the second image is already well on its way to being a silhouette in its own right, the image of the three holding hands has a lot going on in the background. When there is a lot in the background, you aren’t going to be able to trace the image to get a nice crisp outline. So, this is the first thing you need to resolve if you want to get a nice svg cutting file from your photo.

First Step: Edit your image in some variety of Photo Software

While I just signed up for a subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud and am having a great time with it, the cost may be prohibitive for some. If you don’t have a go to image editing software, I highly recommend GIMP. It is a free software and can do quite a lot – almost as much as Photoshop if you know how to work it.

As I mentioned before, it is hard to give explicit directions for this step as it can vary so much between images. However, the goal is always the same. You need to make your image into a black and white image with lots of contrast and you need to remove as much of the background noise and distraction as you can.

image edited for contrast with father and daughtersimage edited for contrast of girls in tunnel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is what my images looked like after I had played around with them for a while and cleaned them up as best as I could. Because the one with my two girls in the tunnel was a cleaner image to start with, it was already starting to look like a cutting file. On the left, however, the image with the three holding hands still needed a lot of work.

Second Step: Trace the Image

There are several ways to approach this next step. You can use the built in trace function in Silhouette Studio, however I typically prefer to use Inkscape. Here is a demonstration of using the trace function in Silhouette Studio to produce your custom silhouette image. As you can see, the result is quite messy and would require quite a lot of processing to make it as nice as my final draft.gif of silhouette studio trace function

Now, here is a different way to generate your custom silhouette using Inkscape. Inkscape is a free software available for download and is quite versatile. Notice how the resulting custom silhouette trace is much cleaner. This means there will be a whole lot less cleaning up by hand to do and it will take a lot less time. Remember, your time is valuable! In addition, I have also found Inkscape to be much more responsive and kind to me when I edit cutting files node by node.

 

gif of inkscape trace bitmap function

If you look closely in the GIF above, you will see that the “Trace Bitmap” function has lots of options. Take your time and play around with these features. For my image, the “Brightness Steps” option seemed to work the best. I then separated the layers it gave me and picked the best one. I didn’t take the time to go into detail regarding this feature, but there are lots of tutorials on it already if you poke around. Here is one that I found. And, another good site if you want to learn more about Inkscape.

Adobe Illustrator also works with SVG files and will probably be something I play around with more in the future. In the meantime, please enjoy these GIF images and feel free to ask me any more detailed questions you may have regarding the process.

Third Step: Clean it Up

While this step is the most tedious, it is also very crucial to getting a nice clean cut. Basically, you need to go into your traced cutting file and do a few things. Let me see if I can list them out.

  1. Delete nodes that you don’t want (you can see there were a lot of cluttered points on my images above).
  2. Connect the paths where the trace didn’t get it quite right. For me, I needed to reconnect the girls’ ponytails to their heads!
  3. Alter any shapes that seem a bit off if you desire.

With some practice and a LOT of patience, you can end up with a file that looks something like this one:

Custom Silhouette of My Girls

Click to download FREE SVG file.custom silhouette svg of girls in tunnel

Fourth Step: Cut it Out

Finally, we get to the fun part! Now that you have your file all ready to go, open it up in Silhouette Studio. I have the designer edition and can open SVG files directly. If you do not, you can save your file as a DXF from Inkscape and import it from there. cutting out the final custom silhouette imageAs a caution, I do warn that I have personally had struggles with this method and recommend you read my experience with it before you invest too much time into trying to cut out your files.

The file with the custom silhouette of my two girls that I show above I ended up separating into two cuts. My other file, wibackground image cut outth them holding hands, only took one cut.

Since their playroom is all decked out in pink and green, I used a pretty pink 12″ x 12″ cardstock I had on hand. While this playroom has been a long time in process, it just keeps getting more exciting (in my humble opinion, of course). Feel free to check it out.

For the two layer cut, I cut the tunnel background into the pink layer and cut the girls out of the white cardstock. On the other cut I just used the pink as a solid background.

Once you get your images cut out to your liking, weed them and get them looking just right. Take a minute to sit back and admire them! If you made it this far, congratulations! I know this is a long tedious process, but you can get such fabulous custom silhouette results!

 

Fifth Step: Frame It!

Don’t let your beautiful silhouette just sit there on your craft table. Get it off the table and into a frame! I promise, this part is really no so hard. You will need:

  • A frame large enough for your cutout. Some I found on Amazon.
  • A decorative background paper.
  • Something to add dimension behind the cutout. I used scraps of Cork that I had on hand.
  • Adhesive I used a tape roller from the scrapbooking section of the craft store.

Decide where you want your background. Mine was slightly smaller than the frame, but larger than the mat. In order to ensure it wouldn’t slip around, I adhered it centered to the example insert they always have in the frame. Next, add your cork (or something with similar dimension) to the back of your custom silhouette cutout. Then, adhere it to the background. Center your art in the frame and close it up. It is really that simple.

Father and Daughters finally in their frame!
Father and Daughters finally in their frame!

 

My sweet little girls all settled in their frame.
My sweet little girls all settled in their frame.

Well, I suppose that is all I have for today. Have you made any custom silhouette artwork? I would love to see it! Oh, and please excuse the quantity of social media images that follow, I really can’t put down my new CC apps!

 

 

 

 

Custom Silhouette Cutout DIY from photo to frame kabramkrafts.comCustom Silhouette Cutout DIY from photo to frame kabramkrafts.comCustom Silhouette Cutout DIY from photo to frame kabramkrafts.com