For now, I have lots of travertine stone coasters stocked in my new etsy shop. However, I plan to add more items as soon as I can write them up. Please take a look and admire the wondrous beauty that is travertine tile! Lemonade, sadly, not included.
These coasters look nice sitting on the table, on the shelf, or in the kitchen. Simply take a look at my etsy store for all your coaster needs. Plus, they are made from natural travertine tile and will protect your furniture well.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Delete nodes that you don’t want (you can see there were a lot of cluttered points on my images above).
Connect the paths where the trace didn’t get it quite right. For me, I needed to reconnect the girls’ ponytails to their heads!
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.
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. As 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, with 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:
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.
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!
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:
Fall is upon us. Of all the seasons, summer always feels like it disappears the most quickly. I think fall leaves and colors are one of my favorite things about the fall. Hence, I thought I would make some leaf file cutouts.
I haven’t yet tried these out, but think they will be pretty for a fall note-card or perhaps a leaf mobile. Hope you like them and enjoy this transitional time from summer to fall!
CLICK FOR FREE SVG DOWNLOAD
PS – I apologize for the dearth of posts this summer. It has been a whirlwind, but I hope to get settled into a good routine as we enter fall.
I frequently use the freely available program Inkscape to alter and create new cutting files. It can handle more than Silhouette Studio and can also output a DXF file, which is a file format that Silhouette Studio can open and use.
Before and After
You can download Inkscape HERE (as of April 2016).
Normally, I would use Inkscape’s handy “Trace Bitmap” feature. This is located under Path->Trace Bitmap. It has lots of options which you can play around with for your image if you like, but I could tell that I wasn’t going to get what I wanted from this particular image.
The Trace Bitmap Function Doesn’t work as well on images with busy backgrounds!
The problem was that my image has a lot going on in the background and is hard to separate out from the foreground.
I’m guessing that there are some Photoshop gurus out there who could probably separate the background and foreground of this image and then use Inkscape’s Trace function. However, I am not one of those gurus and I don’t own Photoshop! Sad, I know. Alternatively, I could have tried to mess around with the image in GIMP (a fairly nice free alternative to Photoshop) – but I wasn’t up for that seemingly overwhelming task. Sometimes the dumb but straight forward way can be quicker anyhow!
Covered in Paths
Now, this method takes some patience, but you can get exactly the image you want and don’t have to hassle with photo editing. The basic idea is to use several circular paths to bend and form into the shape we need. If you have not played around with path nodes before, this may look confusing, but once you start, it is not too difficult.
Now for the tutorial. Begin by opening your image up in Inkscape, then do the following:
Draw a circle using the shape tool shown below and place it over part of your image.
Change to the arrow tool, click your circle, and select Path->Object to Path. This will ensure that your circle is a path and not just a shape.
Now, go ahead and copy this circle and paste it several times on your image. I needed about 7 blobs (which started as circles) to cover my image. You may need more or less depending on the size and shape of your image.
Now for the fun part! Click on the node tool (Arrow 1 in the image below). Then, click on your shape to start conforming it to your image. If you look closely at Arrow 2 in the image below, you will see a node highlighted in red. If you click a node, you can move it around.
Drag the nodes to spots along the edges of your image. Once the node is on the edge of your image, move the little round “whiskers” (I don’t know what these are really called). These bend the edges of your circle and allow you to match the contour of your image. There are also tools for change the node type from a rounded one to a pointy one (right above Arrow 1). Also, keep in mind you can remove nodes by selecting one and hitting delete and you can add nodes by double clicking where you want one.
Once you have your image covered in OVERLAPING paths, select all the paths (but not the image itself) and click Path -> UNION. This will combine all of your shapes into one, and if you did a good job matching the contours and filling all the space, you should have the image you wanted! You can see our bunny Geronimo loved being turned into a cutting file.
Here is the resulting file that I created. Feel free to download it and use it for your own creations.
Spring is approaching and I am thrilled. The sound of the birds chirping, and even the geese coming to nest by our pond is making me anxious for spring, gardening, and playing outside. Sadly, I know that I can’t count winter out yet.
Through the winter I have been slowly plodding away at making our basement playroom a colorful retreat. I think it is turning out lovely. While I still have a number of projects to fully complete the room, it is already a room we love playing in.
Functionally, the storage bins are fantastic. They hold TONS more than I imagined and it is great to have an easy cleanup routine. Our girls also love having a table and chairs near their play kitchen. They set up their animals to eat little meals. Also, don’t forget to add adult seating! The bench was a great addition to the room, and I love the green chevron pattern.
Painting some of our existing furniture with the leftover room paint has also been great. I painted the top of our train table to get rid of the harsh green in the room. I also painted a little wooden bench that I found at the thrift store. One last painting project is not yet complete – a kids desk that will be stocked with supplies and markers on the wall above.
We have waaaaay too many stuffed animals, but my husband and daughters are very attached to them, so I put up a hanging storage from IKEA for them. Note that I had to hang it from a diagonal bar as I wanted to ensure that I hit a stud when I installed it, and of course there was not one anywhere nearby! It is very secure now though, so if any young child should decide to play Tarzan, at worst it will break the mesh and bring stuffed animals crashing down around them.
The alphabet border is one that I compiled myself and cut out with my Silhouette machine in vinyl.
I really like how it turned out, though it took me a while to get it up on the wall in an orderly fashion.
With no door on the closet, it was easy to envision a reading nook. It is coming together nicely, with wavy mirrors in the back, bookshelves on the walls, and a nice string of lights. I still have to add a curtain and some floor cushions. The storage up high is also useful for keeping some things out of reach for supervised only play.
Overall, I LOVE the way it looks so far, and am excited to complete my last few projects and reveal the final product. I also hope to give more details on some of the projects I have completed for the room, but let me know if you have any specific questions as I would be happy to share what I did.
Have a great day and enjoy the warmer weather while it lasts!
Valentine’s Day is almost here. I love to celebrate holidays and occasions, but honestly, I haven’t had much energy for preparing such things as of late. Still, I wanted to at least make a nice card for my husband with my Silhouette Cameo cutting machine. After all, I love designing files for it, so perhaps I should use them once in a while.
This card uses a couple of Valentine’s Day SVG cutting files I posted previously:
My card is fairly basic. I used a piece of white cardstock for the base and then added the heart overlay on the front, and the sentiment inside. I used a thin paper with red roses printed on it. There are, I’m sure, many of you ladies who would be able to make a much much more elegant card from these files, but this is what I was able to do while my two baby girls were running around!
Give it a whirl, it doesn’t take too long. Be sure to write a loving note and seal it with a kiss. Ha! I didn’t even put mine in an envelope. My husband probably won’t even notice anyhow. Hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day.
I love to see your creations – feel free to leave a photo or link so I can take a look at what you come up with too!
Hope everyone is enjoying the cooler weather and getting in some quality outdoor time before the weather turns colder. I have been having fun drawing new designs.
This is a design I drew by hand and then edited in inkscape. Part of its charm is that it is not perfectly symmetric. I envision it on a card or a wall, or perhaps on a background. Let me know what you make with it, I love seeing other people’s projects!
As always, these are free for personal use only. Thanks!
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.
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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