How to Create Hand-Lettered Silhouette Cut Files. Make custom cut files in just a few easy steps using your hand lettering and Silhouette Studio.
Did you know it’s actually really easy to create your own hand-lettered Silhouette cut files you can use with your machine? It is and today I’m going to show you how!
Ok, let’s get started!
What You’ll Need to Make Custom Silhouette Cut Files
- Basic Lettering Supplies. Traditional supplies or iPad Lettering supplies.
- Camera or Phone. You’ll only need this if you did traditional on paper lettering.
- Silhouette Studio. I use the Designer Edition but the standard version will work just a well. Among its many other upgraded features, the Designer version allows you to open SVGs.
Creating the Hand-Lettering
You can do this on paper or on your iPad. I’ve included basic directions for each method below.
- Start by sketching out a phrase or illustration in pencil.
- Trace over it with a black marker. Allow to dry and erase out your pencil lines.
- Snap a bright, clear picture of your lettering with your camera or phone. I use my iPhone.
- Right on my phone, I crop the photo close to my lettering and turn the photo black and white (using the “edit photo” function on my phone). Usually, I increase the brightness and black point to get the background bright white and the text/illustration nice and black. This step is helpful for the tracing step we’ll do soon in Silhouette Studio.
On Your iPad
- Create your lettering in the program of your choice. Procreate is the only lettering app I use for iPad Lettering (along with my Apple Pencil) so I’ll be using Procreate for these instructions.
- To keep today’s tutorial simple, design everything in black. For cut file designs, I don’t usually add color until I move to Adobe Illustrator for SVG creation and creating a promo image.
- As shown in the screenshot below, uncheck the background layer so it is transparent.
- On the top left of your screen, click “Gallery” to go to the main screen in Procreate, swipe left on your file and select “Share” and choose to export as a PNG format.
Now that our lettering/illustration is complete, we’re going to move to our computer, so AirDrop, Dropbox, or email the PNG file or photo to yourself. Open your computer and save the PNG or photo to your desktop.
Creating the Silhouette Cut File
First, open Silhouette Studio.
- Within Silhouette Studio, go to File>Open and locate the photo of your sketch (or the PNG from your iPad) on your desktop. Open the image.
- Re-size your design to fit the mat, if needed.
- Open the Trace window in Silhouette Studio (shown below).
The following steps are shown on the screenshot BELOW the steps.
- Click Select Trace Area (step 1) and select your drawing/lettering (step 2).
- Play around with the hi-pass filter to get your drawing/lettering all yellow (step 3).
- Click Trace (step 4).
Now you can delete your image, leaving just the red outlined cut file behind.
Optional: If you notice any wonky lines and want to do some editing on the cut file follow these steps:
- Select the cut file. Go to Object>Release Compound Path. Now, you can use the tool panel along the left side of Silhouette Studio to delete stray points or do point editing you’d like to do.
- Once your editing is complete, select all and go to Object>Group.
Finally, it’s time to save your custom cut file!
- To save your creation to Silhouette Studio, go to File>Save As>Save to Library.
- If you plan to share the cut file with a friend or as a freebie on your blog, chose Save to Hard Drive instead of Save to Library.
And there you have it! Your custom cut file is ready to use. 🙂 Put it on a DIY Coffee Mug, wood sign, tote bag, t-shirt or anything you’d like.
I hope you found this tutorial on how to create custom Silhouette cut files in just a few easy steps using your hand lettering and Silhouette Studio helpful.
More Mermaid Vibes!
- You can snag this design over in the Silhouette Design Store here.
- Grab my Mermaid Vibes trio of Free Coloring Pages here.