How to Make SVG Cut Files for Cricut & Silhouette - Designs By Miss Mandee

How to Make SVG Cut Files for Cricut & Silhouette

I think it’s about time for a new Designs By Miss Mandee tutorial, don’t you? Today’s lesson is one that all my crafty designers are going to love! Find out how to make svg cut files for Cricut and Silhouette.

How to Make SVG Cut Files for Cricut

This is something I’ve been doing almost non-stop ever since I purchased my Cricut Explore Air™. Being able to create your own, unique cut files opens up a whole new world of possibilities! Since this was 98% of the reason I bought a Cricut in the first place (the other 2% being that I’ve just always thought they were awesome), I made sure to learn how to turn my design ideas into svg files; and now I’d like to pass this knowledge on to you!

The main tools you will be using are:

Create Outlines

Type>Create Outlines

Shortcut: ⇧⌘O





Minus Front/Subtract

Window>Pathfinder>Minus Front/Subtract


Compound Path

Object>Compound Path>Make

Shortcut: ⌘8

Now that you know how to make your own amazing svg files, you’re ready to conquer the die cut world! Well, at least most of it. If you’re interested in learning how to design your own print then cut files, be sure to stay tuned! I’ve got another tutorial in the works to teach you just that.

What will you use your newfound design knowledge to create first?

Miss Mandee Signature



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46 Comments on How to Make SVG Cut Files for Cricut & Silhouette

  1. Dave Cearley
    January 10, 2016 at 3:33 pm (2 years ago)

    Mandee I just got around to reading this post today LOL.
    I started my exploration of plotters/cutters when Adobe sent me a link to Kelli Anderson’s work. She tells me she uses a GRAPHTEC CE6000-40 (Craft ROBOPRO) for her extraordinary cutting projects. That led me to paper engineering, pop up books and cards, and pattern making, all while searching for a way to create depth in flat printed photographs. Fascinating stuff.
    The video is a real treat.
    A Cricut or other cutter has tremendous potential in so many areas beyond typical crafting. Thank for the tutorial.

  2. svg files cuts
    January 12, 2016 at 7:54 pm (2 years ago)

    Important information.. svg files cuts Happy myself I uncovered your web site by mistake, and i’m taken aback the key reason why the following accident don’t came to exist ahead of time! I actually saved as a favorite the idea.

  3. Teri@The Freshman Cook
    January 14, 2016 at 5:57 am (2 years ago)

    Love this! I can’t wait to give it a try! Thanks for sharing at Celebrate It!

    • Mandee
      January 14, 2016 at 8:53 am (2 years ago)

      Thanks Teri! Glad you liked it. 🙂

  4. Kathy
    March 28, 2016 at 8:33 pm (1 year ago)

    I have been looking for a 3D svg cut file for an anchor and have been unable to find one. I have a friend who is a US Navy wife. I am trying to help her decorate for navy family events and we thought an anchor would be so cute and appropriate. I am so computer illiterate and not artistic. I was hoping you might be able to create such a file for us, or know someone who could. Thank you in advance for any help in this matter.

    • Mandee
      March 29, 2016 at 8:52 am (1 year ago)

      Hi Kathy! While I do have a few SVG designs available for download on my site, unfortunately, I do not have an anchor shape. You may be able to find one in Cricut Design Space or Silhouette Studio (depending on what machine you have). And, if you still can’t find anything you like, I know you can draw your own design, scan it, and upload it to Design Space.

      • Sharon
        March 31, 2016 at 3:23 pm (1 year ago)

        Mandee, Great job on the tutorial. I have 2 questions. I understand how you fixed the “e'” but did you not do the same for the “h” and “l”s because you didn’t mind that the loops would be missing, or did creating a clipping path fix the other letters? Also on your comment to Kathy you said you can scan a design and upload it to Design Space. Will Design Space create the svg file? I’m considering getting a Cricut and I know Adobe Illustrator, but if it’s possible to simply upload a design rather than creating a separate svg file, I don’t want to put in the extra effort if it’s not necessary. Thanks!

        • Mandee
          April 1, 2016 at 9:34 am (1 year ago)

          Hi Sharon! I’m glad you liked the tutorial, and thanks for your questions. Yes, I didn’t fix the loops on the ‘h’ and the ‘l’s mostly because I wanted to keep the video short, but you can definitely apply the same principle for those one if those negative shapes are important to you. 🙂

          As for your other question about scanning designs. I have yet to try it out myself, but have seen other people do it in tutorials. It seems pretty simple to do. If you know how to use the Image Trace tool in Illustrator, then you can scan you designs and save them as SVG files that way. If you upload it straight to Design Space, it will turn it into an SVG for you, but you’ll have to delete the background I believe. Here is a fairly good explanation on how to do this:

          Hope that helps!

    • Lis
      September 6, 2016 at 11:28 pm (1 year ago)

      I have some vector anchor shapes. I can convert to svg if you still want them.

  5. Taylor Webb
    June 29, 2016 at 1:54 pm (1 year ago)

    Curious to where you got that font!

  6. Melanie Raffield
    July 11, 2016 at 10:29 am (1 year ago)

    I am having trouble creating a pattern in AI and uploading to Cricut. It uploads without issue, but when it is opened it does not cut correctly. Appears to have a solid background with pattern on top. In AI it shows no background. Suggestions?

    • Mandee
      July 12, 2016 at 11:51 am (1 year ago)

      It’s hard to say, but I would check your Illustrator file. Look in the layers panel, and make sure you’ve compressed your design to a compound path. If there are any hidden layers in your Illustrator file, it could cause cutting problems when you import it into Design Space.

  7. Shannon Rice
    July 22, 2016 at 2:59 pm (1 year ago)

    Oh my gosh you are my hero Mandee! I can’t believe I stumbled on your website while looking for a tutorial to do this exact thing. Lol. I was so surprised when your website popped up! Thanks so much for the awesome tutorial! I am don’t use apple, but the principle is the same, and thanks to this, my issue is 100% fixed!

    • Mandee
      July 25, 2016 at 1:24 am (1 year ago)

      Oh my gosh Shannon, no way! I can’t believe one of my “real life” friends stumbled on my blog—this just made my day!! So glad you found my tutorial useful. It was something I had a hard time figuring out at first because there wasn’t much info on the subject, and I’m always happy to share the things I learn. 😀

  8. Cindy
    August 27, 2016 at 7:19 am (1 year ago)

    I am new to this sort of design (and looking forward to learning more!). I want to start creating my own designs. What program did you use to do this? Thanks so much for this awesome tutorial!

    • Mandee
      August 29, 2016 at 11:43 am (1 year ago)

      Hi Cindy! In this tutorial (and all of my video tutorials), I use Adobe Illustrator. Illustrator is the preferred software for graphic designers, and a great tool for making your own cut files. 🙂

  9. Heidi A
    September 6, 2016 at 12:28 pm (1 year ago)

    Hi Mandee! Wonderful Tutorial! Can you tell me how to save an svg with multiple items that can be ungrouped?

    • Mandee
      September 7, 2016 at 1:13 pm (1 year ago)

      Hi Heidi! I hope I understand your question. Ok, so if you want to be able to ungroup your objects in Design Space, all you need to do is save your SVG file with all your objects separated (but make sure they are all on one art-board together). You can group them in Illustrator however you’d like, and then separate them in Design Space later. This is especially useful when creating “Print then Cut” files. I don’t know if it will help you, but here is a tutorial I recently did that shows a little bit about what I mean:

  10. Totercs
    September 12, 2016 at 8:21 pm (1 year ago)

    Hi Miss Mandee, love your video! I stumbled on your website through Pinterest. I also like making my own simple svg files using Illustrator. But I don’t know how to make svg with score lines/dotted lines. (I know how to make dotted lines in Illustrator, but when I save it as svg, it doesn’t translate well when I open it in cricut) Would it be possible that you make a video regarding score lines? Thanks in advanced.

    • Mandee
      September 13, 2016 at 9:14 am (1 year ago)

      Hi there! That’s a great idea! Stay tuned, because I think that will be my next video tutorial. 🙂

  11. Virginia
    September 18, 2016 at 8:50 pm (1 year ago)

    I do not have Illustrator but I do have Photoshop CS6. Is there a way to save an svg file in Photoshop?

    • Mandee
      September 19, 2016 at 9:46 am (1 year ago)

      Hi Virginia! Yes, there is! You need to make sure all your layers are compressed into one layer first. Then you go to File>Export As. Then, Select SVG for the Format in the “File Settings” area, and hit Export. Choose where you want to save it, and voilà! Hope that helps. 🙂

      • Virginia
        September 26, 2016 at 11:49 am (12 months ago)

        By “compressed into one layer” do you mean flattened? Merged? I’m self taught so I want to make sure I understand it correctly. I tried both and I find file>export>paths to illustrater then after that there is a box that just says “documents” and I can cancel or accept. I also tried save as>svg but there is no svg option. I have pdf, png, tiff, etc…but no svg. Am I doing something wrong? I am on a Mac, does that make a difference? Thanks for answering my previous question!!

        • Mandee
          September 28, 2016 at 9:13 am (12 months ago)

          Yes, you’ll need to merge your layers together (basically, you just can’t have more than one layer in your file in order for it to save correctly). There is no difference on a Mac (that’s what I use in fact). In your previous question, you mentioned that you are saving from Photoshop, is that still correct? If so, all you need to do is go to File>Export As>SVG. If you go to “Save As,” you won’t have the option to save as an SVG, you need to make sure to go to “Export.”

          • Virginia
            October 2, 2016 at 10:38 am (12 months ago)

            Ok. That’s exactly what I was doing. I just don’t have an SVG option. I’m not sure why. Strange….

  12. Myritza Rodriguez
    November 21, 2016 at 1:20 pm (10 months ago)

    I am interested in graphic design, if I download monthly subscription for the software does it teach you how to use the software or should I take classes in graphic design. As far as software which do you prefer Photoshop or Illustrator?

    • Mandee
      November 22, 2016 at 1:08 pm (10 months ago)

      Hi Myritza,

      The software itself doesn’t come with tutorials that walk you through it, but there are lots of awesome “how to’s” and tutorials available on YouTube or places like Watching videos like those are a great way to teach yourself the basics. If you are interested in developing your design talents, you can definitely take a class locally. I have a degree in Graphic Design, but there are plenty of awesome designers out there who are self-taught! Essentially it comes down to PRACTICE!

      I use both Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. Photoshop is [mainly] used for editing pictures, and Illustrator (the main program I work in) is the premiere software for graphic design and illustration.

      Hope that helps!


  13. Shylah
    December 4, 2016 at 1:53 pm (10 months ago)

    Hi Mandee! Thank you for the video. Very helpful. I’m trying to understand how to work with .svg files in cricut explore and not have them move from the arrangement I have them in in my file. Is this possible? For instance, I’m trying to import an svg file with the word TWO in it. The lettering moves to different spaces all over the design space mat, if I don’t use cricut fonts – and use an svg file instead. Is there a workaround?

    • Mandee
      December 5, 2016 at 8:59 am (10 months ago)

      Hi Shylah,

      I’m glad you found my video helpful. The key to keeping all your design elements in place when you move your file into Design Space is to make sure you make it a compound path. So, for example, if you have the word “two” (and you’ve already changed the text to Outline), all you need to do is select all the letters and go to Object>Compound Path>Make. If the letters are overlapping at all, you will need to first select them all and go to Pathfinder>Unite/Add before you make it a compound path.

      Turning your word into a compound path will help the Cricut read it as one object as opposed to three separate things it thinks it needs to arrange. Hope that helps!


  14. Karla Izaguirre B
    January 27, 2017 at 9:28 pm (8 months ago)

    Hi, Mandee, this could be a dumb question, for the cricut.
    I use a lot of print and cut designs, but I struggle a lot to get the right
    cut in the already printed image.
    The silhouette has a “scan” and 90% of the time makes an exact cut.
    What would you recommend to do with the cricut?
    Karla B

    • Mandee
      January 30, 2017 at 10:13 am (8 months ago)

      Hi Karla,

      I hope I’m understanding your question: I’ll do my best.

      Since I create all of my cut file images in Adobe Illustrator, I don’t have any experience with scanning and image and then turning it into a cut file in Design Space, but here is a tutorial that I found that might help you out in that department.

      If you are looking to make “Print Then Cut” files in Adobe Illustrator and then uploading them to Design Space, you can check out this tutorial I made recently for some good tips in that department.

      Hopefully one of those helps answer your question!

      Best Regards,


      • Karla Izaguirre B
        January 31, 2017 at 9:37 am (8 months ago)

        Thank you very much!!

  15. Ellen Daigler
    February 20, 2017 at 4:42 pm (7 months ago)

    So this is all done with Illustrator? I’m really confused where I’m suppose to type in create outlines.

    • Mandee
      February 28, 2017 at 11:37 am (7 months ago)

      Hi Ellen! Yes, this is all done in Adobe Illustrator in preparation to import a file into Cricut Design Space/Silhouette Studio. What the instructions mean when they say, “Type>Create Outlines” means that you will click on the Type menu (located at the top of the screen), and select the option Create Outlines from there. Hope that clarifies things for you. 🙂

  16. franklingiroux
    March 2, 2017 at 3:52 am (7 months ago)

    Thanks for sharing this useful post. I am a big fan of digital arts. Your above information will really help me to take my creativity to the next level.

  17. Breinna
    July 31, 2017 at 9:20 am (2 months ago)

    I have been trying for three days now, and with much frustration, NO problem solved. I am coming to you, now.
    I am trying to make print then cut monograms. Like a pineapple with a chevron stripe inside of it with the monogram circle cut out. I am using Illustrator and I’ve become so frustrated at this point that I am about to give up. Can you help me?

    • Mandee
      July 31, 2017 at 10:38 am (2 months ago)

      Hi Breinna! I would recommend checking out these two videos I did about “print then cut” files (Making Print Then Cut Files & Creating and Cutting Out Stickers). Designing for “print then cut” involved different rules than a regular SVG design.

      Also, I am currently working on a whole video series about designing custom cut files, so stay tuned!

  18. Mona
    August 3, 2017 at 7:05 am (2 months ago)

    This is such a great video – thank you! I’ve been using AI on and off (mostly off!) for a number of years, but have only just (like, this week!) started using it for Design Space designs. I created a file and thought I was all smart until I uploaded it into DS and all of the text was missing! So glad I stumbled onto your site – you have a new subscriber in me!

    • Mandee
      August 3, 2017 at 11:24 am (2 months ago)

      Woot woot! So glad I could help you through the SVG design process. It can be tricky to get things perfectly ready for Design Space. Be sure to stay tuned! I’ve been working on a whole cut file design series I hope to unveil soon. 😀

  19. Alexa Skinner
    August 8, 2017 at 10:45 am (2 months ago)

    Hey Mandee! I came across your blog yesterday, and it has really got me curious. You have tons of helpful info! I am a former elementary teacher, now stay at home mom for two sweet boys. I regularly buy personalized/custom things off of Etsy for them, their teachers, our church, etc and nearly every time think to myself I know I could make these things. I intend on getting back into teaching in abot two years when my boys are both in school. Im wanting to invest in a machine to do things for them and for my classroom eventually. Would you recommend a cricut or silhouette? Which do you use? Which is easier to understand for someone who is new to the game?

    • Mandee
      August 8, 2017 at 4:01 pm (2 months ago)

      Hi Alexa! Oh my goodness, I know how you feel! I was super hesitant to buy one because of how pricy they are, but I’m so glad I did! Now I use it all the time (as you can probably tell from my blog, haha). I’ve never used a Silhouette personally, so I can’t really speak for it, but I do love my Cricut! The first day I got it, I took it out of the box, and was cutting my first project within 5 minutes! It’s really user-friendly.

      When I was deciding which one to buy, this blog post really helped me out. It lays out the pros and cons of both quite nicely:

      Hope that helps!

  20. Lisa
    August 10, 2017 at 8:36 am (1 month ago)

    Hi Mandee,
    Thank you for this tutorial! It’s awesome.
    I was wondering why when I save my svg file with a simple work (holiday) with a green fill and then import into cutting program (Canvas) it comes up with an outline for the text?
    I’ve outlined, united and make into a compound path before saving.
    Please help!

    • Mandee
      August 11, 2017 at 11:30 am (1 month ago)

      Hi Lisa! I’m afraid I don’t think I’ll be much help. I don’t have any experience with Canvas for ScanNCut machines unfortunately. I know this process works for Design Space (Cricut), but I can’t really speak to preparing files specifically for Canvas. :/

  21. Kaitlyn Reyes
    August 25, 2017 at 1:36 pm (4 weeks ago)

    Hi Mandee!

    I purchased an SVG file off of etsy that I was hoping I would be able to ungroup on cricut, unfortunately it does not allow me to. Is there any way that I can fix this file in order to allow me to ungroup?

    • Mandee
      August 25, 2017 at 4:05 pm (4 weeks ago)

      Hi Kaitlyn,

      If the artist merged all the layers before exporting it to an SVG (which is what I suspect), then there’s nothing you can do. If they had left the shapes as separate layers when designing it, then you should have been able to ungroup it in Design Space.


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