Cutting Custom SVG Files

Learn to draw your own SVG filesDo you have a Cricut or a Silhouette?  If you are like me you don’t like to have your cutting be limited to a cartridge or things extra you have to buy. When I started with Close to my Heart we didn’t have any connection to a cutting machine.  When the Cricut first came out I bought one and a few cartridges to go with it.  Then Close to my Heart came out with a couple of font discs with fonts to match our stamp sets so you could type your journaling and have them match. I bought a Silhouette and sold my little Cricut.  Discs came out twice and a couple years later Close to my Heart announced they were going to produce exclusive Cricut Cartridges to go with certain stamp sets. I resisted for 2 years, then bought the Cricut Expressions.  Long story short… I now have a Cricut Expressions 2, Cricut Explore Air and a Silhouette!   Some days I think how ridiculous this sounds but I kept the Expressions so my customers here in Utah can use the Close to my Heart cartridges when here in Creatively Carol’s Craft Room.

I don’t like being limited but also don’t want to spend any more money on cartridges and designs than I have to, so I began researching programs to create my own .svg  patterns. The clear choice was Adobe Illustrator but I didn’t want to pay again for another program, after all, I didn’t now if I would even like doing it.

Here are some of the programs the New York Film Academy posted as alternatives to the Adobe Illustrator program.

  1. SVG-Edit  (any browser)
    • This can be used on any modern web browser. SVG-Edit is an editing suite that deals solely in SVG (scalable vector graphics) Six Free Alternatives to Adobe Illustrator which may sound like a restriction but is actually quite useful given the versatility of the format. If you’re scared of getting into SVG editing, you’re missing out, and this will break you in gently. Being a web browser platform also sounds limiting, but again, the speed at which it operates as a result is often superior to desktop counterparts.
  2. Inkscape  (Windows and Linux)
    • As with SVG-Edit, Inkscape is also geared towards those who want to work primarily in the SVG format. Featuring both a clean and intuitive user interface, but packed with advanced futures (such as alpha blending, object cloning and very accurate bitmap tracing), Inkscape comes as a highly recommended free alternative to Adobe Illustrator.
  3. Affinity Designer – for MAC
    • Affinity is a full rasterizing controls, layer management, multiple file format support, infinite zooming and every vector drawing tool you could ever hope for…Affinity Designer could quite possibly become a true illustrator killer. At the moment it’s only available to MAC users as a trial version for free. The full version comes with a price tag of $49.99 with free upgrades for two years, but the free trial is still a remarkably functional and worth a shot if you’re looking for a free editor. It’s even worth it just to play with the infinite zoom function (yes, infinite).
  4. GIMP – All browsers
    • This program works on all platforms, GIMP is an acronym for GNU Image Manipulation Program.  GIMP is more of a substitution for Adobe Photoshop Elements rather than Illustrator since it’s vector options are limited but what it can do in terms of image manipulation is second to none. Entirely free, open source, and loved by thousands (which have formed a very active online community since its release).
      • Personally, I found GIMP confusing and downloaded the trial of Adobe Photoshop Elements 15. Last night I received the Costco sales for this next month, and they are offering $40 off so you can buy Elements for $39.99. I will be purchasing this program.
  5. OpenOffice Draw – Windows, Linux and MAC
    • While Apache’s flagship vector illustrator looks a little outdated these days, that’s purely a cosmetic concern. Its still packed with features and is especially geared towards diagram and object manipulation. It also comes with the very handy feature of being able to create Flash (.swf) files from your document.
  6. Serif DrawPlus – Windows
    • The started edition of Serif’s DrawPlus is aimed towards the amateur illustrator given that A) it’s free software, and B) it’s very much scaled-down version of the fuller release, but don’t let that put you off. It’s not limited in any way, there’s no pressure to shell out for the professional edition DrawPlus16, and it does a good job of emulating its heavy weight cousins.

The New York Film Academy says “you might find you need to use a combination of the above free alternatives to Adobe Illustrator to get the job done, but for many people it’ll be worth the cash it saves and you may even find a new favorite.

I will give these a try and let you know my opinion of the offerings, but hopefully in the meantime these may help you create your own cutting designs.


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