How to make your own shapes on the Silhouette SD

How to make your own custom shapes on the Silhouette SD using InkScape and the Silhouette Studio Software

I’ve really been wanting to figure this out for a little while so I did some research and found out how to do it! I found this tutorial that guided me. I liked the tutorial so I’m going to follow that pretty closely to show you how I did it!

1.  You will need to download InkScape which you can get for free here.

2.  Next you will find an image that you want to use for your shape. I typically “google” what I’m looking for and click on images and make sure you look for a “medium” or “large” photo.  I do this so that if you want to cut a larger image, you can enlarge it without compromising the quality of the image.  Make sense?

Save the image on your computer. I usually save temporary files to my Desktop and delete them when I’m done using it.

**See on the left you can select to search only “medium” or “large” photos.

For this project, I was looking for a University at Buffalo logo to make a decal for my husband’s laptop case. 🙂

3.  Next, open up InkScape.

4. Open your file that you saved on your computer. Again, I always save it to my desktop so that I can remember where it is. I’ll forget if I don’t do this. Believe me!
Go to File > Open.

It should open like so…

5. Select your image. Make sure it has the black arrows showing. This means your image is selected.

6. With your image selected, go to Path > Trace Bitmap

7. You should see your image in the box to the right. If not, click on the Update button in the bottom right corner of the window.  You may want to play around a little with your settings to make sure the image looks good and clear.  I selected “Brightness cutoff” and it worked very well. Some images will be easier than others!

 **If your Trace Bitmap window does not close automatically, you may need to manually “X” out of it. (or click the red dot “close” button if you’re using a Mac, like me.)

8.  Your image should open like this.  Your new image should be a black and white version of your original image.

9. Save your image. File > Save As.

Make sure the “Append filename extension automatically” button is checked and name your image and save it as a Desktop Cutting Plotter or .dxf file. (Again, I always save things like this temporarily to my desktop.)

10. Click OK.

11. Open your Silhouette Studio software.

12. Go to File > Import to my Library
 13. Locate your image where ever you saved it and click OK.

14. Rename your image (if you want) and you can add keywords and descriptions of your image here. Under category, I select “regular cut”.  Click OK.

15. Go to My Library > My Own Designs.

16. Then you’re done! You have your Silhouette image ready to cut and you are now ready to create!  I’m ordering colored vinyl for my husband’s laptop decal. If you guys want, I can show you a tutorial on how to apply vinyl designs as well! Let me know if you’re interested in that.

So that’s it! Did you hear about the Silhouette Cameo coming out?? It cuts 12″ vinyl instead of just 9″.  It’s running $299.99 right now on their website. I am completely content with my original Silhouette SD but it would be nice to upgrade someday 😉

I LOOOOVEEEEEE my Silhouette!!

PS. Silhouette America is NOT compensating me talking about their products, although maybe they should be 😉 jk jk!  I really do love it so much! It is so fun to try out all of their products and I LOVE that I can make my own vinyl designs!

Like these ones! <3  Don't worry, if you don't have a Silhouette, you probably closed out of this post a long time ago you can order these from my Etsy shop or send me an email! classyclutter4 (at) gmail (dot) com.

 Well friends, that’s it for today! Thanks for stopping by! We really love ya! 🙂


  • Reply
    August 6, 2011 at 6:26 am

    That was a great tutorial! Thankyou! I have wondered for so long how to do that! Now I know!
    Thanks again

  • Reply
    August 12, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    Thank you for this! I so need some lessons in Silhouette. Every time I make my own designs instead of cutting around the outline the machine starts cutting every little line. I’ll be following you and watching for more handy tips~

  • Reply
    November 17, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    Thank you so much for this tutorial, Mallory! I just stumbled upon your blog and I think it is wonderful. I’m a new silhouette user and I’ve been wondering how to do this. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!


  • Reply
    January 3, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    Hey I was just wondering if you have Designer Studio for Silhouette? I have that and use the trace feature there continually. Is the Inkscape a better product to use or does it basically do the same thing? Thanks!!!
    email: laveniaclark@bellsouth.net

  • Reply
    May 24, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    New Silhouette user here! Thanks for the tutorial, I was needing some help, lol! Great blog. Looking forward to reading more and learning more.

  • Reply
    Britnae Sanelli
    January 24, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    I just got a silhouette for Christmas and am in love! I was hoping to find something about making my own designs, and voila, here it is! Do you think you can use your own software (i.e. Adobe photoshop illustrator, or indesign) instead of inkscape? I just know I am running low on storage on my computer. I am totally going to link back to your post on my own blog. Thanks! Britnae@makeado.com

  • Reply
    Robin from highpointcircle.blogspot
    March 20, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    WOW! I am new to silhouette, but I have the old SD–I just didn’t use it for two years! I know, I know. But now, I’m just loving it! This is extremely helpful and I’m your newest fan! Thank you very much!

  • Reply
    April 6, 2013 at 4:27 am

    I went step by step and got everything done up to step 14, but when I go to my library, I can’t find the image there! I have no idea what I’m doing wrong, but I’ll definitely keep trying.

  • Reply
    Lisa Olson
    May 21, 2014 at 10:25 am

    SO helpful. Just got a Silhouette for Mother’s Day – installed it on my Mac and needed some help from there! Your pictures and instructions are exactly what I needed to get going! Thanks so much!

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