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Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Trace and cut for beginners

Ok so you have bought a Silhouette & you are wanting a specific design & you can't find what you are wanting in the Silhouette store OR like me you just want to know how to get the most out of your machine after all that's what it's designed to do right?

Well here are some basic step by step instructions on "HOW TO TRACE"...

First off you Google an image that you are wanting, in this instance I went to google and typed "Valentine png" in the search bar, I then clicked on "IMAGES" but that give you a whole bunch of coloured images which the Silhouette can trace but to start with I always prefer to find black & white line drawings as it is usually alot easier.  So once you have clicked on "IMAGES" then click on tools & then on "TYPE", you will notice a drop down menu opens up, then click on "LINE DRAWING".

You will then end up with the images below.

I chose the 6th picture for this example, being the black heart with the flourishes/swirls in it.  Click on the image and save it.  (If an image has a watermark, it means you need to purchase the image, alternatively look for something else that is free)

Now open the saved image in your Silhouette software & click on the icon on the top right hand side that has a yellow square with a blue butterfly in it.

Now you will see the TRACE window open up on the right hand side as per the image below.  Click on the top line that is hightlighted in blue in the picture that says "SELECT TRACE AREA", now you will move your mouse over the "Heart" image & you will notice the pointer of your mouse is a "+" sign.  
Now starting in the top left hand corner drag & highlight the entire image of the heart until it is covered with a lowlighted square/rectangle, once you are sure you have covered the entire area release the square/rectangle you just dragged over the image. 

Once you release the image it will have this yellow line around the image, but when tracing it is ideal to rather get a complete yellow image of the black area, so on the right hand side where the "TRACE" window is, you will notice that the "HIGH PASS FILTER" is ticked, so in this instance you need to "UNTICK" the High pass filter.

Once you have unticked the High pass filter you will notice that the image changes yellow.  Some areas look a bit rough, and you can try use the "THRESHOLD" slider & adjust that slightly, but in this instance, I am pretty happy just as it is.

Now click on the "TRACE" button that is highlighed on the right hand side.

Once you have clicked on the Trace button you will be left with the heart & a fine red line around the image.  If you now click on the black heart and drag it off into the grey area, you will notice a red trace of the heart being left behind, that is now a cut line and you can go ahead and size it to the size you want & send to the Silhoutte machine to cut it out.

I trust you enjoyed this tutorial on how to trace, until next time have fun.  I would love to see what you have designed so feel free to share it with me.



  1. Thanks so much for this easy to understand tutorial. I will be back to scour your blog for more hints and help.

    1. It's my pleasure, glad you finding it helpful.

  2. This was the first this I did with my machine... and must say it's the most used function that I use... love trace, so simple.

    1. Me to Cathy, love tracing it opens up a whole new world.

  3. Thanks Liane. Is my blade blunt? Not all the lines have cut through clean. I cut the heart on white board and so can't take a picture. What blade would be best to get now for my Silhouette SD? I also see you're using another Silhouette as you're cutting mat and paper are much bigger than mine, 12x12. I'm a bit of an amateur with this machine and don't want to sound stupid, but what would I be able to use the heart cut for with the smaller paper/board? Perhaps I should just try some of the smaller cuts.

    1. Hi Mary, I am so sorry about my very late response. I only saw this question this morning. Firstly there can be alot of reasons why your blade isn't cutting through, if you go read this post maybe that can help you:

      As far as I know the silhouette SD machine can only use the original blade with the different coloured caps. I haven't tried the new blades as I don't have an SD machine to test it on but I can try find out.

      I am using the Silhouette Cameo 3 with is the latest Silhouette machine out on the market so the mat is 12 x 12 with regards to what you can use the heart cut for, that is totally upto you. Cards, Silhouette pages, Crafts etc. You can size it to any size you want by making it smaller or bigger to suite your project. Hope this answers your questions. Once again I am so sorry for the delay in responding. xoxo