What are cut files and how do you use them?
With technology development, artisans can create real masterpieces even at home. Modern software and relatively inexpensive devices have led to the explosive growth of craft art. Let's see how cut files help craftsmen in their work.
What is a cut file?
We often see formats such as JPG, PNG, and GIF. These are the raster graphics used both on websites and on social networks. The raster graphics are photographs, screenshots, and various animated files. Along with these formats, there are many more similar ones, one of which is SVG. It is also used to display graphics, not raster, but a vector.
All of these formats can be used as cut files: files specifically designed for cutting machines. In recent years, cutting machines have become much more affordable and are now used not only in large-scale industries. Now they are also bought by craftsmen who create small creative works.
Let's look at where and how cut files can be used.
Cut file formats
The SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) extension is mainly used for vector images and is an open format. SVG files are 2D vector images based on XML documents. The SVG format is used for describing two-dimensional vector graphics and for mixed vector-bitmap images.
SVG can be scaled up or down to any size without losing quality. Image size and display type don't matter for SVG: they always look the same. If the SVG needs to be expanded or compressed, the program that reads the file adjusts the points and lines to maintain crisp borders and solid colors.
To open the SVG file, a graphics editor or browser will do. However, it is possible to change the image both in a graphical editor and by manipulating the file's text.
PNG 24 is an image format that works with full-color images, uses lossless compression, and allows you to preserve transparency. You cannot adjust the save quality in PNG 24. However, you can adapt the saved image to achieve a minimum file size by reducing the number of colors in the picture. The name of the format is an acronym for Portable Network Graphics.
There is also PNG 8, which is more compact than PNG 24 but is only applicable to images with a minimal number of colors: 256 is the maximum. In the case of using PNG 8 for images with a large number of colors, the compression will be lossy.
PNG 24 is optimal for images with a few colors, such as icons, diagrams, drawings, and screenshots. If there are less than 256 colors in the image, then even more efficient compression is possible in PNG 8.
JPEG (aka JPG) is an image format that uses lossy compression and does not support transparency. It allows you to adjust the quality level of the saved image. Lowering it removes details and adds noise to the picture, but the size becomes more compact. Depending on the settings, JPG can provide both 2:1 and 100:1 compression, but the quality is directly proportional to the compression ratio. The name of the format is an abbreviation for Joint Photographic Experts Group.
JPEG is optimal for images with many colors, such as photographs.
Where to use cut files?
Cut files are the perfect tool for those who love card making or scrapbooking. Every year the popularity of this type of creativity rises. Scrapbooking techniques help make albums and postcards, notebooks, art books, chocolate boxes, photo frames, calendars, and much more.
Cutting materials and sublimation
Cut files can be used to cut materials like vinyl and transfer them into textiles or other materials (wood, glass) by applying heat. Sublimation is the transfer of an image onto some materials to create unique interior items, souvenirs, clothes, flags, banners, streamers, scarves, sports, and corporate uniforms.
We used to think that with the help of stencils, you could only decorate the walls in the house during repairs. Meanwhile, there are many more ways to use finished drawings. After all, not everyone can draw beautifully!
What software do I need to create and edit cut files?
Cricut Design Space
Design Space is an app that works with Cricut smart cutting machines. The Cricut library has thousands of images, ready-made designs, and fonts. You can also create your own project from scratch.
The software works with most common image types (.jpg, .gif, .png, .bmp, .svg and .dxf) and can sync across devices thanks to the Cricut ID.
Silhouette Studio is a program used by professionals to create logos, designs, and patterns. The software can be used with a cutting machine to create custom stamps from fabric, paper, cardboard, vinyl, etc. However, there have been many reports of the software being slow on various devices. The main reason for this is either a small amount of RAM or an old graphics card or driver.
Which cutting machine is the best?
One of the most important things you need to realize before buying any craft cutting machine, whether from the Cricut line-up or Silhouette, is that it's now available to everyone. Some time ago, having such devices was considered an expensive hobby.
The Circuit Maker is a device that encourages creativity in you and allows you to create exceptional personalized items such as stickers, postcards, and t-shirts. The Cricut is a cutting machine used to cut almost any material with various tools. This machine not only cuts materials but also draws different patterns.
Create your own designs or use the ready-made design templates available in the program. Cricut comes with Design Space software, available on Windows and macOS. Cricut Maker can also be connected to Android or iOS devices via Bluetooth.
The Cricut Joy is a niche machine perfect for beginners. It is also ideal for experienced craftsmen to use as a "helper." It has some unique features not found in Cricut Explore Air 2.
Cricut Explore Air 2
The Cricut Explore Air 2 does more than the Cricut Joy for a little more money. For the DIYer or even the salesperson, the versatile Explore Air 2 is just what you need. The machine is easy to use and cuts over 100 different materials.
Silhouette Cameo Pro
Silhouette, one of the leaders in entry-level cutting plotters, recently launched the Silhouette Cameo Pro. The new machine has the same features and cutting capabilities as the well-known Silhouette Cameo 4, but with some significant differences.
The key feature is the increased cutting width. The ability to cut materials up to 60 cm wide and nearly 18 meters long means you can make some colossal vinyl decals, stencils, or thermal transfer sketches. At the same time, the manufacturer guarantees one of the critical advantages typical for the Cameo 4 series: the ability to create almost any of your DIY projects with incredible accuracy.
Where can I download cut files?
Find any SVG cut files for Cricut or any other cutting machine at SVG Ocean. Download our collection of SVG files, which includes a great choice of free files. We also have all the most popular collections: Hearts, Flowers, Football SVGs. Check it out today!