When I first started designing cut files I really wasn’t sure if I was even doing it right. My sister needed a custom design for her vinyl business so I gave it a shot. After lots of trial and error, going down rabbit holes on YouTube trying to figure out how to format the design in my program, and finally sending it to her several times to test in her Silhouette Cameo....it actually worked!
I immediately downloaded the free Silhouette Studio software and went crazy trying out new designs, figuring what worked and what didn’t. I then figured it was time to upgrade my old Cricut to one that supported design uploads. I found a local business who was getting rid of a Cricut Explore One....score! Now I was able to figure out what designs worked, what didn’t, and still some trial and error was needed. I then launched my Etsy shop selling cut files (but that story is for another day).
The point is that when I started, I scoured the web for information on the best way to design these. There were bits and pieces of the equation here and there but nothing that took me from the first step to the final cut and nothing that helped with all the headaches in between. Hopefully I can help all of my followers with all the steps and headaches so you don’t have to spend nearly as many hours figuring it out yourself.
This week I videod (Is that a real word? Spellcheck says it is..) the process I use to design my hand-drawn SVG and grunge SVG designs. I sometimes like to use Procreate which is an app on the iPad Pro using the Apple Pencil for my hand-drawn designs. You don’t have to use Procreate to achieve the hand-drawn style, you can use Illustrator and I do sometimes. But I found that I am no good at drawing, which you will see clearly in the video. In Procreate there’s a thing called “Streamline” which definitely helps with this. This method also gives you the natural feeling of drawing with an actual pencil or pen instead of watching what you draw on the computer screen like in Adobe Illustrator.
In the end all of my designs end up in Illustrator regardless, because this is where the magic happens. Any imperfections get corrected here and this is where the design is formatted and becomes a cut file. Watch the video tutorial to see exactly how this is achieved.
In the tutorial you'll learn:
- How I use Procreate to hand-drawn designs
- How to transform the design from a JPG into a vector in Adobe Illustrator
- How to modify that design as a vector using anchors and other tools in AI
- How to apply a previously designed grunge pattern
As with all my posts, emails, videos, pretty much anything I do involves a freebie so if you're wanting to design your own cut files and feel like a grunge pattern would be a nice addition, be sure to grab yours:
The grunge pattern is one that I've designed myself and if you've ever tried to apply a regular grunge patterns to cut files.... let's just say it's a HUGE headache. Instead of tiny little pieces that you need to weed out or pieces that are super difficult to cut, this pattern eliminates both. Granted, any grunge will have more weeding than usual after cutting but this one I have specifically designed so that it comes out in one piece usually. I also made the pieces larger so it helps all around.
**Feel free to use this on your commercial or personal, physical or digital items. Just remember to never re-distribute, transfer or sell this pattern in its original form.**