How to Turn Hand Drawn Illustrations into Cut Files

I’m back again with some more tricks of the trade! For anyone interested in new ways to create cut files from scratch, I’ve got a fun new tutorial just for you. Learn how to turn hand drawn illustrations into cut files using a few simple tools in Adobe Illustrator.

How To Turn Hand Drawn Illustrations Into Cut Files

The main tools you will be using:

Image Trace

Window>Image Trace


Lasso Tool

Tools>Lasso Tool

Shortcut: ⌘Q




If you enjoyed this, be sure to check out the series I did on cut file design basics. I use a Cricut Explore to do my die cut designs, and I absolutely love it!

I love seeing people get excited about creating their own cut file designs! What I especially enjoy about this method is being able to come up with really whimsical, organic shapes fairly simply. Like I mentioned in the video, it can be difficult to get shapes like that when using the pen tool, and sometimes it’s faster to just sketch something out. Of course, if you get a little too crazy—creating hairline strokes, or really jagged edges, then you’re cutting machine might throw a fit. I must say, though, I’ve been impressed with how my Cricut has handled some of my more organic designs in the past!

Enjoy my latest tutorial! Hopefully you were able to learn more about how to turn hand drawn illustrations into cut files, and now you’re ready to make some uniquely amazing creations.

Miss Mandee Signature



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2 Comments on How to Turn Hand Drawn Illustrations into Cut Files

  1. Melissa Kramer
    November 8, 2018 at 5:38 pm (5 years ago)

    I was wondering if you can help me! I have a picture that I want to make into a cut file. It’s off a product someone was selling. The image is a laser engraved image and I contacted the person offering to buy the image from them if it can be made into a cut file and they have never gotten back to me. It is an image of Epcot’s Spaceship Earth with the buildings of the World showcase below it. Any suggestions on how I can make it into a cut file? I don’t know what else to do and you are my last hope. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    • Mandee
      November 9, 2018 at 9:19 am (5 years ago)

      Hi Melissa! If you’re familiar with Illustrator, then you have a couple options. You can either import the image and trace it with the pen tool, following some of the basic principals outlined in my cut file basics video series, or you can draw the image by hand, and use the tools I did in this video to accomplish a similar goal (albeit with looser lines). 🙂


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