Images to SVG

Note: Most diecutting software including SCAL, MTC and Silhouette Studio have at least basic tracing functionality so that Inkscape is not usually needed any more. Though it is largely obsolete for diecutters, I am leaving this page up for those who want an alternate method or to learn basic Inkscape skills for other applications…

The question comes up all the time, “How can I make my jpg into an svg?” or something similar to that. You will need a vector editor, with tracing functions, but other than that, the answer depends on what kind of image you are starting with and what kind of svg you want for cutting. There are dozens of Inkscape tutorials on converting bitmap images (jpg, bmp, png, tiff) to svg, so here’s a pictorial index I hope will help you find the right one.

Pick a tutorial to help you trace (vectorize)…

blackapple If your image is a silhouette or one color logo

grayapple If your image is a grayscale/silhouette

appletemp-1 If your image is a line art shape/template

coloringapple If your image is a coloring book style image and you want a paper piecing

juicebox If your image is a color logo and you want a paper piecing

messyapple If your image needs cleaning up

apple_bittenthumb If your image is a photograph and you want a silhouette silhouetteapple

apple_bittenthumb If your image is a photograph and you want a stencil applestencil

apple_bittenthumb If your image is a photograph and you want a paper piecing shinyapple

And after you are done tracing…

If you need to reduce the number of nodes (always a good idea before cutting):

If you need help placing your layered files in SCAL 1:

60 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Penny Duncan  |  June 19, 2009 at 11:28 pm

    FANTASTIC!! You’ve done AN AMAZING JOB on these!!!! Thanks for sharing them!!!

    Reply
  • 2. Angi  |  June 20, 2009 at 7:30 am

    This is really incredible, TFS!

    Reply
  • 3. Nancy Sanders  |  June 20, 2009 at 10:34 am

    thanks so much for putting this all together for us. This will really be helpful!!!!! Nancy Sanders

    Reply
  • 4. Chris  |  June 20, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    This is terrific having everything in one place. I know I will be visiting often for “refresher” courses. Thanks for taking the time to do this.

    Reply
  • 5. ilse  |  June 21, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    GREAT!! this wil help a lot!

    Reply
  • 6. Patty  |  June 22, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    OMG! this is amazing! thank you, thank you, thank you!

    Reply
  • 7. Benjamin  |  June 24, 2009 at 8:26 am

    Thanks for the link. I am happy that you found my tutorials usefull!

    Reply
  • 8. Kathy in Minnesota  |  June 27, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    Wow. Wow. Wow. Thank you for all of this. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    Reply
  • 9. Julie  |  July 8, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    I found you on the cricut forum and had some questions about how you made the monogram kk decal. I have been looking at vinyl cutters and happened upon your name. Would you please email me bc I have some questions? Thanks soooo verymuch!

    Reply
  • 10. Carey  |  July 11, 2009 at 10:36 am

    When exporting letters from inkscape to scal the square is still blank.
    This is what I did.
    Uninstalled and reinstalled
    using vista I made sure both programs are running in XP service pack 2 compatability mode
    Typed in one letter in thick wide font
    viewed in outline mode
    made sure nothing was grouped
    saved in plain svg
    color is black

    in scal I tried to import and only get a blank square

    I’m getting so frustrated…do you have any other suggestions that might work?
    Thank you
    carey

    Reply
    • 11. Kay  |  July 16, 2009 at 6:03 pm

      Select the letter or text block and choose Object>Text to Path before saving. Then it will import properly into SCAL.

      Reply
    • 12. elizabeth  |  February 3, 2011 at 5:53 pm

      i was having the same problem and it was because i was deleting the wrong image in inkscape before saving

      Reply
  • 13. Meanom  |  July 19, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    Thanks for sharing. Making a gift to RMcD’s house, this week as an active TY.

    Reply
  • 14. Natasha  |  July 24, 2009 at 10:51 am

    This is exactly what I’ve been looking for! Thank you soooo much for putting these all in one place.

    Reply
  • 15. font junkie  |  July 27, 2009 at 12:22 am

    Just wanted to say I love your blog and really appreciate all the information you share!!!

    Reply
  • 16. Tisa Clements  |  July 31, 2009 at 9:16 am

    I am a newbie to SCAL and my Cricut so I don’t know if this is a silly question or not. Is there any way to take clip art from your Microsoft Word and convert those images to SVG files to cut? I have InkScape and SCAL but I am not sure what all I can and can’t do. Any advice is greatly appreciated…

    Reply
    • 17. Kay  |  July 31, 2009 at 12:42 pm

      Yes, those MS clip art images are mostly vector wmf files. For plain silhouettes you might be able to use svgfactory to bring them right into scal. For other images, Inkscape will open wmfs and you can then ungroup them and seperate colors, etc. and resave as svg.

      Reply
  • 18. Linda Spellman  |  September 5, 2009 at 8:39 am

    Good morning. I was going to do a quick check of my e-mail this morning and have ended up thoroughly enjoying your web site, I did download the font despite the fact that my virus protection program warned me to leave the site immediately – very unsafe. Do you know why?

    I will add an extra $5 the next time I send a check to Ronald McDonald Charities.
    Thank you!

    Reply
  • 19. Deedee Marschall  |  November 12, 2009 at 6:38 am

    I had given up learning Inkscape. Just seeing the various options explains much of my confusion. I can’t wait to expirement. You are such a blessing. Many return blessings to you.

    Reply
  • 20. Michael Gorges  |  November 18, 2009 at 3:23 am

    Can the Cricut cut unconnected lines to make pop up cards? I tried, (am new at this but seasoned at computer graphics), and Sure cuts a lot , made shapes out of my curved lines.
    Thanks for your help
    Michael Gorges.

    Reply
    • 21. Kay  |  November 18, 2009 at 10:48 pm

      Michael,
      No, SCAL can’t make unconnected lines, but you can put 2 identical lines on top of each other and connect the nodes on both ends to create a closed path. It will cut twice but otherwise is same as “unconnected” line. Hope you see my pop-up font, free in a post from January 09.

      Reply
  • 22. Sharon  |  December 29, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    The scrappydew links appear to be broken.
    Thanks for all your hard work so those of us who don’t have a clue have someplace to go.

    Reply
  • 23. Tamara  |  January 5, 2010 at 10:19 am

    I watched tons of tutorials on inkscape for images to SVG. I love your paint bucket on and you make it look so darn easy, but it never works for me. I have a few pictures I am now trying to do, but the colors are blends of a blue so when I sample the color it only takes a little of that section instead of all of it. Another thing I can’t figure out how you get the pink around your image so you can see it well. HELP!!!!! LOL Any help would be wonderful!!!!

    Thanks,
    Tamara~

    Reply
    • 24. Kay  |  January 5, 2010 at 3:22 pm

      Tamara,
      To get more of the colors with the paint bucket, turn the threshold setting up and/or click and drag across the blue section instead of making a single click.
      You may need to reset your preferences to get the pink line if shift-clicking on the pink swatch isn’t working. Double click on the paint bucket to open its prefs, then set the fill and stroke you want there.

      Reply
  • 25. Tamara  |  January 5, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    Kay, You are wonderful!!!!! That is what I had to do. I got the online going and I can play with the threshold for each color. I can’t thank you enough. I was ready to toss the inkscape program out the window!!! LOL I’m so excited and it’s all because of your help. thank you so very much!!!!!!

    Tamara~

    Reply
  • 26. Lillian Lorenzo  |  January 6, 2010 at 7:38 pm

    Hi! thank you so much for all these tutorials!! I tried to do it and it came out something awful! I am not sure what I did wrong. Perhaps my image is too intricate? I am not sure. I am trying to cut my mom’s logo for her shop but can’t seem to get it right!!!

    Lilly

    Reply
  • 27. Nin  |  January 9, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    Awesome! I’m going to learn some new tricks from you! Thanks so much for sharing!

    Reply
  • 28. Melissa Docking  |  January 10, 2010 at 2:34 am

    Thank you so much for sharing all this information. I am very green to using Inkscape and some of these tutorials and tips make it so much clearer. Will definitely be visiting again and often make donations to Ronald McDonald houses so that won’t be an issue either.

    Reply
  • 29. Linda Bird  |  January 25, 2010 at 11:57 pm

    I cannot figure out how to change my filled image into an SVG. Also, once I have filled in my image with the paint can, how do I “stop” using the paint can? I am totally lost! Thanks for any help you can give me!

    Linda

    Reply
    • 30. Kay  |  January 26, 2010 at 9:35 am

      What program are you using, Linda? In most programs you stop using the paint can or any kind of tool by clicking on another tool such as the selection tool.
      Once you get your image filled, you need to import the image and autotrace it in SCAL2 or MTC, or in Inkscape. The tutorials on this page apply to Inkscape so you would choose the one that matches your image.

      Reply
  • 31. Lyla  |  March 31, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    You really are a light at the end of the tunnel for those of us that are struggling with all of this….THANK FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART!!!

    Reply
  • 32. GrandmaB  |  October 23, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    YOU are amazing! THANK YOU!

    Reply
  • 33. Gill  |  October 30, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    I can’t tell you how pleased I am to have found such a useful resource! Thank you so much for putting all of this information on one page which I shall bookmark immediately and refer to often.

    Sincere thanks.

    Gill

    Reply
  • 34. Melanie  |  November 14, 2010 at 8:39 pm

    Thank you so much for going to ALL the work of finding these tutorials….immensely helpful to this Newbie. I am just learning the ins and outs of svgs etc.
    Thank you as well for the files and info you share here! I will be returning again and again ( I have you Bookmarked now ;) for news and updates.
    Sincerely,
    Melanie Richmond BC Canada

    Reply
  • 35. Jenifer MacFarland  |  January 27, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    WOW! Awesome resource! THANKS!

    Reply
  • 36. Peter de Wit  |  March 14, 2011 at 10:45 am

    Hello.
    I have been watching your excellent Youtube video about using the paintbucket tool in Inkscape to trace a vector outline around an image.
    I have just started to learn Inkscape, and I need to trace an outline, but my design consists of many parts, not just one enclosed shape like in your video.
    I tried grouping,combining, union of the path, but I cant seem to make one outline around the whole design. – it draws around each interior bit of the design.
    Is there a way around this problem, so that I can get a line around the whole design?
    (I want to use the line as a cutting line for a laser cutter).
    Thanks for any advice.

    Regards
    Peter de Wit
    (my website is out of action at the moment- I have another one at peterdewitscafe.co.uk).

    Reply
    • 37. Kay  |  March 14, 2011 at 12:13 pm

      Peter,
      If I’m understanding you correctly, you want to trace the outside perimeter of a design with lots of interior detail. For that I would try the regular tracing procedure (path>trace bitmap) to trace everything, then path>break apart followed by path>union to get rid of the interior detail. This may take several tries and it doesn’t work perfectly on all images, but it works better than the paint bucket when your image has lots of interior detail. Good luck.

      Reply
  • 38. Carmen  |  March 18, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    Hi! I’m an extremely new newbie (like about 5 days). I’ve made a spiral word stamp, but now I’ve drawn an image in inkscape to use as a digital stamp. The problem is, I have a bunny sitting beside an egg and his one foot is under the egg, instead of in front of it. I have already saved it as an SVG, and cannot seem to get his foot in front of the egg any longer. Is it too late, or is there still something I can do? I hope you don’t mind me asking…I’m actually really enjoying this, but don’t want to do anything stupid and lose all the work I’ve put into it. Thanks! Carmen

    Reply
    • 39. Kay  |  March 18, 2011 at 8:03 pm

      Carmen, the great thing about vector drawing (as opposed to photo editing) is that you can almost always get things stacked in a different order, etc. It sounds like either you have put the pieces on spearate layers and need to rearrange the layers in the layers pallette (as opposed to using bring to front, send to back,etc. ) or that you grouped the 2 pieces together and you need to ungroup them before you can change the stacking order.

      Reply
  • 40. vicki  |  March 18, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    It was nice of you to share all of these, Im new to this so I get very confused when trying to make a cut file from an image

    Reply
    • 41. Carmen  |  March 18, 2011 at 8:23 pm

      Okay…so that’s what I need to do. I’m such a newbie! Believe it or not, I’m having issues with my Cricut and SCAL, and my husband restarted my laptop and lost everything. I had saved it as an svg…but for some reason it won’t open. Sigh! No idea what I did wrong. Thanks for you help anyway, I’ll check out the layers and figure out how to manipulate them. :)

      Reply
  • 42. Clare Dempsey  |  November 1, 2011 at 9:26 am

    The link for the Silhouette to SVG has been removed by user (according to YouTube). Can you provide a new link please? Thanks so much!
    Clare cjdempsey9 at msn dot com

    Reply
    • 43. Kay  |  November 1, 2011 at 2:42 pm

      Thank you, I deleted the bad link. Please refer to the remaining video in that category.

      Reply
  • 44. видеоуроки по wordpress  |  January 5, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    Usually I do not learn post on blogs, however I wish to say that this write-up very compelled me to take a look at and do it! Your writing taste has been amazed me. Thanks, very great article.

    Reply
  • 45. Patsy Needham  |  January 6, 2012 at 11:29 am

    I just watched your video using afloat software in cricut craftroom. I loved that and want to do that. But I have a pc, so what software do I use to make a jpeg transparent. Thank you so much.

    Reply
  • 47. Susan  |  March 3, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    Found your site through pinterest and love it! thanks for all the great info on so many things! I’ll be back!

    Reply
  • 48. Andrea  |  July 12, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    I just want to know: What’s a “wordle”?

    Reply
    • 49. Kay  |  July 12, 2012 at 3:09 pm

      Andrea, a wordle is a word collage generated at wordle.net

      Reply
  • 50. Peggy  |  August 25, 2012 at 7:47 am

    Looks like a lot of great information. I look forward to trying some of it out.Thanks for sharing your knowledge. For now, I downloaded the bike fonts but can’t find that in Cricut Design Studio and would appreciate some help. For now, I then saved it to Word.

    Reply
    • 51. Kay  |  August 25, 2012 at 11:52 am

      Peggy,
      Cricut Design Studio can not use computer fonts or SVGs, only Cricut fonts and images from Cricut cartridges that you purchase.

      Reply
  • 52. Peggy  |  August 25, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    Thank you so much. I do have lots of Cricut cartridges, so I’ll use them. Can I use the Bike fonts with SureCutsAlot as I do have that program.

    Reply
    • 53. Kay  |  August 25, 2012 at 8:29 pm

      Yes, you can use the bike font with SCAL! If it’s installed on your computer SCAL should be able to see it.

      Reply
  • 54. Cori  |  September 24, 2012 at 1:55 am

    Thanks so much for all these tut’s I have been popping back and forth to your site for a couple of years now. Whenever i get stuck on how to do something I check the info on here for help :-)

    I was wondering if anyone had tried taking an image from CCR and converting it to an SVG?

    I’m sure PC won’t allow this to happen in their software. I don’t use CCR at the moment myself as I am running SCAL 2 with a Cricut Expression and I’m worried if I go to use CCR that my Expression will need its firmware updated and that will then disable SCAL 2. But there are some images in CCR (only available digitally) that I would love to use. Maybe I’ll just have to buy another Cricut to use in CCR? LOL!

    Reply
  • 55. Product Photography  |  March 30, 2013 at 6:32 am

    Thanks for share your post.

    Reply
  • 56. Mary  |  September 6, 2013 at 10:46 am

    I appreciate your leaving these video links up for viewing

    Reply
  • 57. Archiblog  |  September 7, 2013 at 9:08 am

    You may wish to have a look at this– http://image.online-convert.com/convert-to-svg

    Reply
  • 58. Ale Rivera  |  October 25, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    Wooow this is so helpful! i cant thank you enough! Bless yiou

    Reply
  • 59. Greg Boone (@GregBoone)  |  November 15, 2013 at 5:29 am

    Problems. I don’t see a way to convert a color jpeg to svg which is what my query via Google brought me to this site. Also, clicking on the vid tutorials takes me to advertising pages like cruise lines.

    Reply
    • 60. Kay  |  November 15, 2013 at 9:59 am

      Hi Greg,
      Sorry you are having such a hard time finding what you need. Inkscape can convert a color jpg to SVG pretty easily. Click your image, then Path>Trace Bitmap Then Click the Colors radio button, select the number of Scans (start with the number of colors) and click Update for a Preview, OK to go ahead with the trace. Additional options are in the 3 checkboxes at the bottom and on the Options tab. You’ll have to experiment based on your particular image. SVG is Inkscape’s native format so save the file as svg and you are done. Good luck with your project

      Reply

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