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Best Format for Cricut or Silhouette Cutting

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For beginner crafters, especially those who use cutting machines, it might be difficult to find the best format for Cricut or Silhouette machine that is not only easy to use but also gives the best results. 

Not to mention how many different types and manufacturers of cutting machines, it can be a hassle to figure out all the features and utilities of each one.

Obviously, the more you practice and use your cutting machine religiously, the more you will be able to understand your preferences. It does, however, take quite some time to get to that point all on your own so I am here to help you!

Best of the Best Format for Cricut and Silhouette 

Out of all the variety of cutting machines, perhaps the most commonly found and used would be those of the Cricut brand. As a cutting machine, Cricut can help you design all of your crafts with personalized touches.

From cardmaking, apparel, decorations, and other daily items to use or to give to someone else, the crafts you can make by using this machine are truly endless. It is fairly easy to use a Cricut cutting machine since they already have their own software called Cricut Design Space.

Other than Cricut, you might also be using a Silhouette cutting machine. Just like Cricut, Silhouette also has its own application called Silhouette Studio.

The usage of Silhouette Studio is also similar to Cricut Design Space where you can edit your design before printing or cutting it. But when it comes to available formats, Silhouette Studio has more options as it also has more versions of applications.

To learn more about the compatible design, the best format for Cricut or Silhouette, and the application needed to properly operate them, you can refer to the official websites of Silhouette and Cricut here.

Before getting to use the respective applications for your machines, you need to first get the file you want to print and cut. Usually, the best format for both Cricut and Silhouette would be SVG files. But sometimes not all designs will have an SVG format available.

In this case, you can also use PNG, JPG, DXF, BMP, and even GIF files as a substitute. All of these files are usually separated into two types of categories which are basic images and vector images.

Basic Images vs Vector Images—What’s The Difference?

First, let’s get to know what is categorized as a basic image.

A Basic Image is also known as a raster image. This type of image has only one single layer. To edit this type of image, you can do so during the upload process. 

Formats such as JPG, BMP, PNG, and GIF are examples of basic images. Usually, basic images are used with the Print Then Cut feature that is the best format for cutting machines to produce final products, stickers for example.

Sometimes, a basic image will have a solid background instead of a transparent one. If this is the case, you first need to remove the background of the design or picture you want to use.

This is why it is advised to use an image with high contrast between the background and the main focus of the image.

Best Format for Cricut - Tumbler Wrap PNG

An example of a basic image is this PNG of Diamond Gradient Tumbler Wrap. To acquire this tumbler wrap, simply print the file on a vinyl sheet and sublimate it onto a skinny tumbler. You will need a special printer and ink for sublimation, though.

Best Format for Cricut - Griswold Christmas Sublimation Bundle

This Griswold Christmas Sublimation Bundle is also another example of a basic image. 

Due to the details and colors of this design, if you were to use this design as a sticker per se, you will need to print the design first, then cut it with your Cricut or Silhouette machine by adding some offset space.

Therefore with these types of designs, file types like PNG would not be the best format for Cricut or Silhouette use.

To some extent PNG are usable for cutting machines. But the tracing result won’t be as smooth and clean as original SVG files. That’s why using original SVG files is preferred.

PNG would not be the best format for Cricut or Silhouette use.

Whereas Vector Images on the contrary are designed from scratch to have clean, cuttable lines. Vector images will also automatically save and upload as multiple layers instead of one.

Because of this, Vector Images are meant to be easier to cut without printing first by machine. Vector image also allows for easier customization after the design is finished. Because of this simplicity, Vector images are the best format for cutting machines. Particularly SVG and DXF.

What makes them the best format for cutting machines is because they can be used to make more intricate and complicated crafts with multiple layers, such as shadow boxes and 3D pop-up designs.

Best Format for Silhouette - Snowman 3D Pop-Up SVG

This Snowman 3D Pop-Up Design is a great example of a Vector Image. Although the design is available in other formats like PNG and JPEG, it is not recommended to be used with any other format aside from SVG. Printing this design in another format will result in losing the 3D details of the design.

Best Format for Cricut or Silhouette Cutting 5

Other variation includes this Christmas Tree 3D Pop-Up Design. This one is free so you can try it out firsthand.

Best Format for Cricut or Silhouette Cutting 2

Another Vector Image example is this Floral Cat, Dog, and Elephant SVG Cut Decoration. Using the SVG format type will assure the design keeps its original details as intended. 

Best Format for Silhouette - Animal SVG Cut

Depending on what you are looking to craft, these two types of files are your safest bet when you’re looking for the best format for Cricut and Silhouette. This also goes for other automatic cutting machines you might have.

Vector images are the best format for cutting machines. Particularly SVG and DXF.

It is important to note though that most crafters would recommend SVGs to be the best format for Cricut or Silhouette.

SVGs are more versatile, hence the most commonly used file type. So if you can get your hands on an SVG file for your desired design, it’s always safe to try them first!

If you have any questions or tips and tricks, you can share them in our Facebook Community! You can even get exclusive freebies only by joining.

I wish you luck on your journey to crafting with a cutting machine!

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