How to cut a PNG file with Silhouette Studio Free Software

How to cut a PNG file with Silhouette Studio Free Software

You can’t cut straight from a PNG File using your Silhouette Cameo or Curio machine. However, using the TRACE feature in the Silhouette Studio software it is possible to create a cut file!

PNG, SVG, DXF….huh?

For sublimation, you’ll be looking for a high resolution PNG file. For cutting vinyl or htv you can use SVG, EPS, DXF, for example.

When you purchase a digital download file (such as these HERE), you’ll notice the file comes in various formats. Common file types include SVG, PNG, EPS, and DXF.

The files I create, use and sell are mostly made available in PNG and SVG file format.

The files you use will depend on the software/machine you are using. It will also depend on the end result you are hoping to achieve.

Silhouette Studio – Free Version

I use a Silhouette Curio cutting machine, which runs off the Silhouette Studio software. As I’m mostly a hobbyist, I am yet to pay for the upgraded software. However, because I’m running with the free software I do run into problems when purchasing and opening different file types.

The free software is unable to open SVG or EPS files, and I find issues opening most DXF files also. DXF files either don’t open correctly, crash the software, or simply don’t open at all.

Because I can’t use the SVG/EPS files, and can’t rely on the DXF files opening correctly, my go to file type is PNG.

Silhouette Studio will open PNG files. You’ll open PNG files when printing with registration marks for Print and Cut. However, opening a PNG File does not automatically create cut lines – this step you need to do manually.

Luckily, with the use of Silhouette Studio’s trace tool cutting from a PNG file is EASY!!



Let’s do it!

NOTE: I’m using the free version of Silhouette Studio. Your screen may appear slightly different if you have a different version.

  • Open your Silhouette Studio software and complete your Page Setup for your machine/cutting mat.
  • Click File – Open. Select your PNG File.
  • Your PNG file will now open. Adjust size if required to fit on your screen.
  • To adjust size, click on a part of the image so that the outside guide box appears. Hover your mouse over the square to the top left of the guide box and you’ll notice a double-ended arrow appears. Click the square and drag to resize your image.
HINT: Clicking the square in the corner will keep the aspect ratio as you resize. If you use a square on the sides of the guide box to resize your image, it will go a little bit wonky!


  • Once your image is resized and fits completely on your screen, open the Trace Tool.
  • The Trace Tool panel is easily located on the right hand side of screen. It kind of looks like a butterfly inside a rounded square.
  • Click on ‘Select Trace Area’.
  • Starting from the top left hand corner of your image, click and drag until you have a grey shaded box covering your entire design.
  • Release the mouse and you’ll see a yellow overlay now appear over your image.
  • If you notice parts of your image have been missed by the yellow trace, adjust the threshold here.
  • If the trace looks good, go ahead and click ‘Trace’ now.

  • The grey shade area and yellow will disappear, but you’ll now notice a red outline around your design. CUT LINES!
  • Now that we have cut lines, I like to delete the PNG image. This leaves me with only the cut lines and allows me to see clearly if anything needs fixing.
  • Before you can edit anything, you’ll need to right click and select ‘Release Compound Path’. You now have edit points that can be moved, deleted, or adjusted however you wish.
  • Once you’re happy with your cut lines, you can now send it to your machine for cutting.
  • Go to the Send panel, adjust settings as required, set up your machine, and send.


How to cut a PNG file with Silhouette Studio Free Software Pinterest Pin

Now that you know how to use the Trace Tool to cut PNG files, you don’t have to be limited by file type!

Take a look at my latest designs below or browse sites like Creative Fabrica for an exciting range of PNG files that you can use with your Silhouette.


Shop the latest designs…


Pin it for later!

How to cut a PNG file with Silhouette Studio Free Software Pinterest Pin
How to cut a PNG file with Silhouette Studio Free Software Pinterest Pin


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