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How to Convert PNG to SVG: 3 FREE Online Ways!

On the recent survey I sent out, one of the most requested tutorials was on SVG design and how to convert PNG files to SVG files to use with a Cricut machine.

I have done a tutorial on how to create basic SVG images from downloaded files found online in Cricut Design Space, but today I wanted to test out a few free online SVG converter options that would streamline the process.

What is an SVG?

For my Cricut crafters, the file type of an image you are trying to cut out is very important. Cricut Design Space and other cutting machine software uses scalable vector graphics (SVG). The machines can read around the vector format to cut out the image and different layers.

The SVG format are expandable vector-based graphics (pieces of code). This means all of the shapes and lines will expand to any size without losing their resolution or image quality. 

svg vs png

On the other hand, PNG format (portable network graphics) is made up of individual pixels that are very small squares of color. These raster images are dependent on how many pixels are in the image and will change in quality (look worse) as the raster graphics are scaled up.

png vs svg

If you just want to do a print then cut image, then using PNG images or even JPG images is better. But if you are wanting layers of different colors, then you’ll need to use an SVG or a converted files.

Making SVGs

Now that you know that the SVG file format is needed for electronic cutting machines, you might wonder why this type of image file is harder to find online when you are googling specific images.

It usually comes down to design. SVG images require special programs to make them like Adobe Illustrator which can be expensive for the average crafter (and has a pretty big learning curve!)

It takes time to design an SVG from scratch which is why people sell them as digital products and why Cricut Design Space charges for all the SVG vector images.

There are a bunch of websites where you can find SVGs for Cricut crafting, but sometimes you might want to use a specific image in a project.

There are a bunch of SVG conversion websites that have popped up so I decided to test a few to give you some ideas of how to use them and what you can expect.

png to svg

How to Convert PNG to SVG

I do have a full video tutorial at the bottom of the post that might be easier to watch but I wanted to give you a written tutorial and some pictures of the process.

You will get the best results when using a PNG or JPEG that is an illustration and only a few colors that are contrasting. These programs usually break down the images by color, so if you have a ton of different colors and shadows you will get tons of separate pieces or not a very good representation of the starting image.

animal

For even cleaner pieces of the image, starting with an image that has a bit of space in between each color is ideal.

We will be going over the pros and cons of the following free software when it comes to making a converted SVG. The process is the same for converting PNG and JPEG (raster formats) to SVG vector files!

I found this illustration on Pixabay and will be using it in each software to show you the differences. Just remember that a lot of the images you find on Google are probably copyrighted, so make sure you are not selling images for profit that are not yours.

Using SVGTrace

The first of the online tools we will look at is SVGTrace.com. I was pleasantly surprised at the output vector file that the online PNG converter created.

When you go to the website, you’ll just get a page that you’ll need to upload the image to.

using svgtrace to convert jpg to svg

This website uses the different colors to separate the PNG or JPG. There will usually be two primary colors selected on the right panel when the image is brought in.

Then you’ll need to use the eye dropper tool to click on the different colors of the image. All of those colors will be added to the panel.

use svgtrace to convert

Once you have all of the colors, you can change the Smoothness, Despeckle and Simplify Curves slider. I recommend playing with these options and covert the image a few times to see what you like.

I increased the smoothness and simplify curves a bit and then clicked on the blue convert button.

svgtrace png to svg
export new svg

Once the image is coverted you’ll click on Export on the next screen.

Now let’s upload the new SVG into Cricut Design Space.

svgtrace svg to cricut design space

You’ll notice after I ungroup the different color layers it made, that there is some fuzziness on some of the brown spots where the edges were touching another color.

The black silhouette image and hearts that weren’t touching any other color came out perfectly smooth and would make a great cut!

online free svg converter to cricut

Contrast this to a PNG file that has less colors and more distinct borders. The different colors are all nice and clean and will be easy cuts to make. Not bad, right?

converted svg in design space

So depending on the graphic designs, you might be able to use this free tool for the conversion process.

Using Adobe Express Converter

Another free conversion tool is the Adobe Express Converter. This is part of the Adobe products (like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator) but it’s free to use, woo hoo!

There is no option to manipulate anything though. The program does it’s own optimized file coversions with the click of one button. Then just download.

free svg converter adobe

This program does a really good job with creating clean cuts. You’ll notice there are a ton of layers in the layers panel so you’ll need to do some clean up and delete off all those little lines and pieces you don’t need.

But overall I am liking the smoothness of each part of the image.

Screenshot

Creative Fabrica PNG to SVG Converter

Before we get to Inkscape, I wanted to mention this aweseom converter that I just found out about (literally, while writing this post!).

This isn’t tecnically free, but I know a lot of you have a Creative Fabrica subscription like I do, so this is free if you do! You can try for free here!

The new studio has a ton of new features and there are multiple SVG converters that work beautifully!

Screenshot

I used the PNG to SVG converter and look at how amazing the results are! No fuzziness on any of the edges. Nice and crisp, perfect to cut out of vinyl or cardstock.

Screenshot

You can check out a full video tutorial on the Creative Fabrica SVG converter here.

Ok, now let’s take a look at another free popular software option, Inkscape.

png to svg inkscape

How to Convert PNG to SVG (Multiple Layers)

Yield: 1 SVG cut file
Active Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 3 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Estimated Cost: $0

Using the free program Inkscape, you can convert any high quality image into a layered SVG file to use in Cricut Design Space.

Tools

  • Inkscape software

Instructions

  1. Go to Inkscape.org to download the free software. The is not an online program, but rather a program that needs to be installed on your computer. Follow all prompts. Open a New Document.Screenshot of inkscape software
  2. In the upper left land corner under File, click on Import. Then find the downloaded image on your computer. You'll get a popup that says PNG bitmap image import. I change Image Rendering Mode to Smooth. inkscape image trace
  3. The image will open on the canvas. Click on the image and right click so the drop down menu appears. Choose Trace to Bitmap. Or click on the Path dropdown menu and select Trace Bitmap.convert png to svg inkscape
  4. A panel should open on the right hand side with a few different tabs. Select Multicolor and then in the Detection Mode, choose Colors.convert png to svg cut layers
  5. Now is when you get to play with some settings, like number of colors to scan. The nice thing about Inkscape is that their is a live preview mode on the right side. I like to decrease the number until the minimum amount possible while still maintaining all the colors I want. For this particular image, that turned out being 5 colors.converting png to layers svg
  6. Then I check the boxes for smooth and stack and you can nudge the details up or not. Again you'll have to play around with all the functions and figure out what works best for your image! Click on Apply on the bottom right side and the converted layered SVG will appear on top of the old image. You can move it over and delete the one in back.Screenshot ()
  7. If you look on the layers panel (4 stacked lines), you'll see all the new paths that were created during the conversion and you can pull them apart.Snapshot
  8. Save the Image as an SVG file and it's ready to use.Screenshot
  9. Upload the new SVG to Cricut Design Space and you can see that it comes in 5 different layers. The individual pieces are not pulled apart like in the previous software. The one thing about this image is that since the middle is white, it didn't split so you would hav eto slice it out of the white in CDS. Inkscape splits the image into layers which is perfect for cardstock projects!png to svg inkscape

Did you make this project?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

As you can see there are quite a few ways to convert a PNG to a cut file for Cricut! I hope this tutorial gave you a good starting point and that you play around with some of the mentioned programs to figure out what best suits your needs!

Thanks for stopping by and have a creative day!

partysignature

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