Bringing a Cut File from Adobe Illustrator into Silhouette Studio

I was so excited when I got my first Silhouette Portrait. There were visions of projects dancing in my head, now I had a great tool to help them come to pass. 

When I first tried playing around in the Silhouette Studio I found the program a bit limiting, as far as being able to create my own unique projects. Adobe Illustrator is a program I have been using for years, some for school and some just for fun, and so I was much more familiar with it and believe I can do so much more {design wise} with it. Now the trick is figuring out how to get those AI files into Silhouette Studio to cut.

There is a plug-in that can be purchased now but I got familiar with this technique before that was available, and this way is free, so I will just keep doing this technique.

Cardstock to fit the size of your cutting machine


Silhouette Machine
Adobe Illustrator {I am using CS5}


Make sure your artboard in Adobe Illustrator is the same size as the cutting board in Silhouette Studio {ie. 8.5" x 11" or 12" x 12" etc.}. Create an image using a line weight of 1 pt, making sure not to double and triple your lines. It can get tricky doing a project with so many curves, if the design is kept simple it will transfer over to Silhouette Studio more easily. I would recommend playing around with a couple of shapes first: ie, circle, square, triangle etc.

Once the design is created it is time to get it ready and export from Adobe Illustrator.
  • Make sure to save your file  ex. ~ Hearts Cut Lines.ai
  • Clean up your file and remove everything except the line{s} you want transferred to Silhouette Studio to be cut.
  • On a different layer create an outline of the entire artboard area {ie. 8.5" x 11" or 12" x 12" etc.}. This will force the image to be placed on the cutting board area in the exact location it is in from the artboard area {Illustrator} when transferred to Silhouette Studio. This box will also help check that everything is proportionate once brought into Silhouette Studio.

To export:
  • File --> Export to save your image as a DXF file {AutoCAD Interchange File}
  • AutoCAD Version: 2004/2005/2006
  • Click "Scale Line Weights"
  • Artwork Scale 1 inch = 1 inch {this is what keeps your art work the right size}
  • "True Colors"
  • "Raster to PNG"
  • "Preserve Appearance
  • No other options should be selected.
  • "OK"

Merging your DXF file into Silhouette Studio

Merging Preferences:
Click on "Silhouette Studio" in the top bar, from the drop down menu choose "Preferences". The menu will open to the right of your cutting area. 

*If using a PC "Preferences" will be found under the "File" drop down.

  • General ~ Unit of Length = inches; Dimensions = click
  • Defaults ~ default fill style = outline only; Blade Type = cap blade
  • Import Options ~ When Importing DXF = centered, make white lines black, join lines into polylines
  • Click on "Apply"

To Merge:
  • File --> Merge; select your DXF file you created in the previous step

Your lines should appear centered on the cut area in Silhouette Studio. By selecting the outline created in Illustrator that outlined the work area, you can make sure that the scale stayed true. Simply select it and check the measurements, ie 8.5" x 11" or 12" x 12" etc. If it's all correct, then go a head and delete it.

If your lines don't show up after merging them, try zooming out. I have found that a lot of times I may have missed a simple step and when the DXF file comes in, it is HUGE and you have to zoom way out to see it! Just go back to Illustrator and export again and double check all the settings.

If there is any last minute finagoling that needs to happen, now is the time.

Then simply cut like normal.

The original post I got all this wonderful information from can be found here. They talk about how to create a print image in Illustrator and cutting it with a Silhouette after printing it.

Next I will put together a tutorial with simple techniques about designing in Illustrator for when it will be transferred into Silhouette Studio.

Here are some other projects I have done using this technique.


If you have any questions on this tutorial, please leave me a not in the comments. I would be happy to help you be able to create your projects any way I can.

1 comment:

  1. Your music is amazing. You have some very talented artists. I wish you the best of success.
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