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Out of all the craft machines I have in my studio, my Silhouette Cameo is my favorite. (You can find the one that I have here.) So when a friend asked if I could make a custom design shirt for her son’s upcoming birthday party, I thought “what a great opportunity to use my Silhouette and show my readers a step by step guide to making a custom design t-shirt.”
Today we’ll start with the basics. I’ll be breaking this down into three different posts to make it easier.
If you have a silhouette and it’s still sitting in the box (I hear this all the time), this is the perfect opportunity to break it out and walk step by step with me to create this fun shirt while learning the basics of your Silhouette software.
Here is a picture of what we’ll be creating
The first thing we are going to do is upload the arrow into Silhouette Studio (we’ll call this SS from here on out). There are so many different places to find SVG designs, but my top 2 are The Hungry JPEG and Etsy. They are great resources for some fun designs and make your project very easy. Just purchase the design and drop it onto your mat in SS.
Important tip: Be very careful when purchasing designs. You need to know which type of license comes with the design – a personal license or a commercial license. A commercial license allows for resale on multiple finished products. I rarely buy anything that doesn’t come with a commercial license. I don’t want to have to keep up with whether or not I have restrictions on anything that I purchase.
Though these two resources (and many others) are available, most of the time I create my own designs by doing a google search for free clip art images and trace the designs.
Important tip: again, just watch where you are getting images and make sure there are no licensing issues or restrictions.
Once you find the image you want, save it to your computer. To open the image in SS, click “file” in the upper-left corner (follow the pink arrow in the pictures below) and then “merge” in the drop down menu.
Important Tip: If you click “open” instead of “merge,” it’ll open your design on a whole new mat.
Since this is a JPG format, we have to turn it into a cut file and this is where the fun begins!
Open the trace window (highlighted in blue on the upper right bar), click “Select Trace Area,” and draw a box around the arrow that you want.
Important Tip: The darker the image, the better the trace, therefore, I chose the arrow on the far right.
Your arrow will be somewhat highlighted in yellow, but in order to get a good trace, we need the entire area to be highlighted. Uncheck “High Pass Filter,” then move the “Threshold” over just until the arrow looks completely highlighted. Now click “Trace and Detach.”
We no longer need the original image, so you can highlight and delete it. Now that the arrow is separated from the original image, we have to trace it again.
Click “Select Trace Area” again, and go through the exact same process as above, but this time, click “trace” instead of trace and detach. When you move the original arrow over, you’ll see the new red arrow. This is your cut file and you no longer need the dark arrow, so you can delete it.
Since we need two arrows facing each other, it’s time to mirror the image, but first, let’s turn the arrow in the correct direction. Open the “rotate” window and turn the arrow in the desired direction.
Next, open the “replicate” window and click on “mirror right.” You will now have two arrows facing each other.
You can be done here, however, I prefer to view my designs in color. It really helps me visualize everything better. So let’s remedy that now. Open the “fill color window” and click on the desired color (make sure that your arrows are highlighted). After you have completed that, open the “line color window” and, again, click on the desired color.
Ta-da! See how easy that was? Save your custom design to get it ready for the next step in this series – adding text. Ready to continue with your project? Learn how to add text in Silhouette Studio here.
If you’re looking for more help with your Silhouette machine, I highly recommend Melissa Viscount’s books (from Silhouette School Blog). She has an array of e-books that walk you step-by-step through the process of creating your own masterpieces! You can find them here.
Do you have a favorite place to purchase SVG designs? Share them in the comments below. Also, be sure to share your creative designs with me on Facebook and Instagram (don’t forget to tag me @footprintsofinspiration #footprintsofinspiration).
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Until next time, my friend…..
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