picture to svg

Picture to SVG

There are a lot of programs and apps out there that can help you in the process of converting a picture to SVG file. I will share some of those different programs with you in this article. One thing I do want to make clear, there is no way to make a TRUE SVG file in Cricut Design Space. For more on that click HERE.

What are SVG files?

Before we get into how to make a picture into a svg file, first let’s talk about what a SVG file is.

SVG stands for Scalable Vector Graphics, a standard graphic format mathematically designed and works with Cricut and other machines perfectly. This image format is different from PNG or JPEG as it stores pictures as vectors, a kind of graphic including lines, points, curves, and shapes. 

Many people usually ask whether they should use only SVG files on the Cricut or other images that can be used. Actually, several formats of images can be used, but I will say that SVG files are the easiest to use with Cricut Design Space. This is because a svg will upload ready to cut, with colors and layers already applied to the image or design.

However, you cannot create a true svg file with Cricut Design Space. I know that there are some people that will tell you that you can, but what they are really showing you is how to upload an image to Design Space, remove the background and save it as a cut file. That is still not the same as a TRUE SVG file.

But, if you do want to learn that process I have some tutorials you can take a look at. I recommend starting with how to upload and clean up an image. After that, you can learn how to create layers using duplicate and contour. This process works best for what I like to call a coloring book style image. If you would like to see this full process using the same image from start to finish, I have that in my UP themed classroom project HERE.

Up house

The main reason to use SVG files for Cricut is because that format will let you change or modify its shape and size without losing the actual quality.  Moreover, the SVG file also holds layer data, including transparent background. That means, once you import your design to an SVG file, you’ll not have to do any extra work to improve its quality, like you do when you import simple images into Design Space.

Programs that DO support Picture to SVG conversion

You can use several image editing programs to convert a picture to svg file. Below are some choices for you. None of these are a quick one click of a button process and may require a learning curve.

When it’s about creating an SVG file, then nothing can be a better option than an Illustrator. It’s one of the professional and high-quality image editing programs. I found a tutorial on using Illustrator for you HERE.

It is very simple to create SVG files with Adobe Photoshop. But, you have to keep one thing in mind that, if elements exist on your project which is not vectors, you will not be up to scale them without quality loss.  You can follow along with this Photoshop tutorial to create svg files.

Inkscape is a free and open-source program that will let you transform your image to SVG or vector file. I have used this software a few times, and I will say there is a little bit of a learning curve. This will not be something where you can just upload the image and click a button and it is suddenly a svg file. You can click HERE for a tutorial on that.

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Apps and Websites for Converting a Picture to SVG

I know that a lot of people are looking for ways to create svg files from actual pictures. This can make a beautiful memorial type piece of a loved one. The challenge with doing this is always that an actual photograph has a lot of colors and shading in it, which can make it very hard for a beginner to convert that picture to svg format with some of the programs listed above. This is where I recommend going the route of using an app or website to create svg files.

For the image below I used an app called Vector Q, which can be downloaded to your phone, iPad or tablet. After that I just uploaded my image and picked the Ink image choice and then saved the outcome as a svg file. You also have choices to help you convert the picture to svg files with layers of color.

picture to svg

Another choice you have is to first find an app or website that will convert your picture to a sketch or cartoon image. This will break your photograph down into basic lines and remove all colors, then you can upload that to Design Space to clean up the image.

If you are looking for something quick and easy to use to change a picture into a svg file, I suggest using one of the converting apps or websites that are out there. I have used pngtosvg.com, and have a tutorial that you can read HERE. I feel that this program was pretty easy to use, when I was converting clipart style images.

Another converting tool is picsvg.com, and it looks and works much link pngtosvg.com. It’s a free cloud-based service that allows converting any image format into SVG format. Picsvg is perfect to transform your photo into SVG and use on Cricut, Scan N Cut machines, Silhouette, and other vinyl plotters.

Here are the steps you need to follow to convert your photo into SVG through Picsvg

Step-1: Visit Picsvg.com from any web browser and tap on “UPLOAD A PICTURE” from there. 

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Step-2: Now select your preferable photo and make sure the photo has a decent resolution. (Try to use a photo with a solid background, or you can remove the background before putting it in Picsvg)

Step-3: Once you upload a photo, Picsvg will automatically convert the photo. 

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Step-5: Once you’re happy with the converted SVG file, click on “DOWNLOAD SVG” to save the photo on your device. 

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After downloading the converted SVG photo file, now you’re ready to use it on your Cricut project. 

How to Upload Your Converted SVG File Into Cricut Design Space

As well as knowing how to convert your photos to SVG, it’s important to know how to upload your photos to the Cricut design space. If you want to know how to do that, simply follow the below steps-

Step-1: Open the Cricut design space from your device and tap on “New Project.”

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Step-2: Now you’ll see a new window with the project stage. Tap on “Upload” from the left bottom side of the toolbar.

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Step-3: In the third step, click on the “Upload Image.”

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Step-4: Now tap on “Browser” and select your desired SVG image file and click ‘open.”

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Step-5: After that, click the“Upload” option below.  However, before clicking on the upload button, you can write the name of that SVG image file and add tags. 

Step -6:  Select the uploaded image from the “Recent Upload” options and then press on the “Insert Images” option from the below right side corner.

Final Thought

You can use several formats for your Cricut project, but when the matter is about the resolution SVG file is an appropriate option. Why? Because SVG format is resolution-independent and lets you resize the photo without losing quality. Unlike other image formats, SVG will ideally hold the exact quality by ignoring the size, shape, or resolution issues.


For even more information on SVG files make sure to check out my article about how I make SVG files. If you would like to just find and use high quality SVG files for free online, you can check out my information on over 20 Places to get Free SVG files.

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