How to easily convert a PNG or JPG file into a Silhouette cut file

Did you know you can take your own file–PNG, JPG, GIF–and convert it into a Silhouette cut file, so you can use it in a multitude of different projects? It’s true!!  It really is very simple to do, and since I was just working on a project this week using this method, I thought I would share it with you!

You’re going to utilize the trace function, and if you’ve never used it before, it could very well become your new best friend after this tutorial.  Really. It opens up SO many possibilities!!  You’ll also love how easy it is, and definitely something anyone from beginner to advanced can do.

How to Convert a JPG into a Silhouette Cut File

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How to Easily Turn A JPG or PNG File Into a Silhouette Cut File!

Open up your Silhouette Studio Design Edition software, click File > Import > Import to Library . Browse your hard drive to find the image you want to use.  I designed an arrow in Photoshop that I wanted to use in a project, and needed to change it into a cut file first.

How to convert png and jpg files into Silhouette cut files | oldsaltfarm.com

There’s my arrow!

How to convert png and jpg files into Silhouette cut files | oldsaltfarm.com


Find the trace function icon at the top of the page–it’s the yellow one with the blue butterfly in the middle–click it, and it will give you a list of options in your right sidebar.

How to convert png and jpg files into Silhouette cut files | oldsaltfarm.com

Click on “Select Trace Area”, then draw a box around your image, and it will turn yellow. Click on “Trace Outer Edge” if you only want the very outside lines to be cut, or “Trace” if you want everything cut. For example–if you had a pumpkin with stripes, and you only wanted the outline of the pumpkin and not the stripes, you would select the outer edge option. If you wanted the pumpkin and the stripes, you would select trace. I chose the outer edge option here, because of all the inner arrow details I didn’t want.

How to convert png and jpg files into Silhouette cut files | oldsaltfarm.com

You can see that there is a red outline around the black arrow. Click on the black part, and it will move–you can separate the two from each other.

How to convert png and jpg files into Silhouette cut files | oldsaltfarm.com


Once you’ve separated them, delete the black image–you don’t need it any more!

How to convert png and jpg files into Silhouette cut files | oldsaltfarm.com

Now, let’s say that I selected “trace”, because there were details that I wanted, but I didn’t want ALL of them. You can see in this image if I chose “trace”, so that all the inside bits and pieces are showing. If you want to remove some of the details, it’s easy to do!  Click on your image, then go up to the top an select Object > Release Compound Path.  Then you can click and delete little “bits” you don’t want.

How to convert png and jpg files into Silhouette cut files | oldsaltfarm.com
How to convert png and jpg files into Silhouette cut files | oldsaltfarm.com


Once you’re finished, use your mouse to select all of your desired image parts, then click on Object > Make Compound Path. It’s once again a complete image! Make sure you save it as a studio file, so you’ll always have it in your library! They will show up under “My Own Designs”, and you can see here that both my original PNG file and the cut file are there.

How to convert png and jpg files into Silhouette cut files | oldsaltfarm.com

Now I’ve got a super cute arrow, ready to go anytime I need it! For even more Silhouette tutorials and projects, head to my Silhouette collection!  And head to the Silhouette website to check out all of their awesome machines, software, and more!!!

My friend Kelly has some many great Silhouette tutorials…she’s a really great resources for just about any question! 

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