How Paper Crafters Import and Cut SVG Files for Cricut

With more and more paper crafters using digital die cuts to create scrapbook pages, cards and decorations, the desire to learn how to import and cut SVG files on a Cricut digital die cutting machine is also growing.

Even novice scrapbookers need not feel etsy SVG intimidated by digital die cuts. The process of downloading, importing, preparing and cutting the designs is actually quite simple. And with two quality third-party software programs on the market (Sure Cuts a Lot and Make the Cut), each with active message boards and support forums, any glitches should be easily resolved.

First, anyone planning to use SVG files must have three things: a Cricut machine (either the original Personal “Baby Bug,” the Create or the 12-by-12-inch capable Expression), along with a standard printer cable and either Sure Cuts a Lot or Make the Cut.

Sure Cuts a Lot (SCAL) and Make the Cut (MTC) are available for purchase via their respective manufacturers. SCAL is compatible with both Mac and PC, while MTC was designed for PCs and will only work with a Mac that is running Boot Camp or Parallels.

While some sites make files available for purchase, there are many available for free. There are SVGs available in all kinds of themes, from animals to holidays to toys. Many images are similar in quality to the designs available on the Cricut cartridges sold by Provo Craft for $70 to $80 each.

Once you find a SVG file you like, download it to your computer. It’s usually just a simple process of clicking on a download button or link, and then “unzipping” a compressed file by double-clicking on the file name once it’s downloaded and then choosing Extract. It’s a good idea to organize your SVG “collection” into folders by subject, or via some other system.

If you are using Sure Cuts a Lot, open the program and the mat screen will appear. You can set your virtual mat to 12-by-12, 6-by-12 or 12-by-24, depending on the size of your Cricut machine and real-life mat. Under the File menu, select “Import SVG” and then navigate to the SVG image and click OK to import it. You will be able to change the image’s size, rotate it and combine it with other images, among other functions.

In Make the Cut, open the program so the mat screen appears and choose “Import,” and then “SVG/SVGZ File.” The image will appear on your virtual mat and you can choose “Shape Magic” and “Break” the SVG to separate it into the parts of the image.

In either program, once you have the elements of the image arranged the way you want them, usually by color and maximizing paper use, arrange your cardstock or paper in the corresponding areas of the sticky Cricut mat.

Save your project, make sure the Cricut mat is loaded into the machine (check blade pressure and speed) and then choose the “Cut” command. If you have any trouble, remember, both SCAL and MTC have active support communities.

Another benefit of using third-party software with the Cricut is the ability to cut virtually any True Type Font, including welding (joining together) letters.

Once the design is cut, it can be assembled with glue. Many paper crafters, as well as those using SVG designs for school projects, home decor or other uses, like to add dimension and their own creative spin to die cuts with white gel pens, chalk, ink, glitter glue or dimensional “pop” dots.

As many paper crafters who love saving money while expanding their creative options, using designer cut files with a cutter such as Cricut is an easy process to master, thanks to high-quality SVGs and third-party software.

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