Wow! How You Can Trace ANY Graphic To Use In Your Silhouette Vinyl Cutter

Want a cool vinyl design but think you don’t have the time or skills to create one? THIS is cool! You don’t need to be a designer to use Silhouette Studio and you don’t even need to buy pre-made graphics. Because Silhouette studio will let you easily trace high contrast photos (like .jpg or .png) you can find TONS of graphics for it for free! Even if they are just clip art or pictures…they are easy to import into Silhouette Design Studio and will cut accurately!

(If you are feeling artistic, you can design with text and shapes right in Silhouette studio as well. But for today, we are just going to be lazy and play on the internet instead! :))

How to trace a design in Silhouette Studio

Find a design you like and copy the design to your computer.*

Designs that are black and white will trace the best. Also, high contrast letter art and vector illustrations will work well too. Or, trace your own drawing! You can find lots of great free clip art sites. A good one I’ve used over the years is Free Images (used to be


Open Silhouette Studio and set up a new document.

Silhouette Studio Tutorial_0000_sihouette - open new document

Drag the image into your design window and go to ‘Select Trace Area.’ This is a monogram in a font I didn’t have installed in Silhouette Studio yet, so I saved a JPEG (.jpg) graphic of it from a different program.

Silhouette Studio Tutorial_0002_Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 2.59.20 PM

Move the high pass filter slider back and forth until you feel confident it is mostly selected in yellow. Then hit the first selection, under “Apply Trace Method” –  “Trace”

Silhouette Studio Tutorial_0003_silhouette - select trace area to trace graphic

You will see a red outline appear — this is where the machine will cut.

Silhouette Studio Tutorial_0005_Silhouette - traced outline where machine will cut

At this point, I like to remove the original graphic and look closely at the outlines – just drag the graphic out of the way and to the side. If something looks weird, you can adjust it by Welding it in Silhouette Studio or simply trace it again, using different slider options in the high pass and low pass filters. This one looks fine.

Silhouette Studio Tutorial_0006_Silhouette - you can remove the original graphic and just keep the cut lines

Now get ready to cut! Adjust your cut settings for the material you are using. Here I am just using Expressions Vinyl Permanent Series 51 – I have found the Silhouette brand vinyl preset works fine for that type of vinyl. So that is how I set my machine.

Silhouette Studio Tutorial_0008_Silhouette - choose correct cut settings by material

When your settings look correct, go ahead and send it to your vinyl cutting machine! The little machine icon on the upper right hand side is “Send To Silhouette.” Make sure your machine is flipped on, load the vinyl, and get ready to cut!

*Don’t forget — if this is something you are planning to sell, DO check to make sure you can do so under copyright laws in your country! Likewise, respect the artists! Even if you are not selling it, if you plan to create something that is heavily inspired by someone else’s work and share it on social media or otherwise, credit them please! 🙂