Some talented woodworkers cut with scroll saws, that are a type of table saw that have very fine and delicate blades to intricately cut designs from wood.
Many Scroll saw experts create templates and patterns for their designs which they generously share. Many of these designs are adaptable and make fun cutting Files too.
The files come in various formats like GIF or JPEG or PNG, which can easily be opened or traced in Silhouette Studio. Some are SVG and of course if you have Designer’s Edition it’s as easy as dragging the file in and turning on the cut settings.
However, I found a site where I liked a couple the designs and the files downloaded as multi page PDF files. So today I’m showing how to import the relevant part of the file in to Silhouette Studio. I have V3.8.88 Designers Edition. (See option at end of post if your version of the software won’t do this.)
Credit where Credit’s Due
The file I am using for this demo is by Talented Woodworker, Steve Good.
Mr. Good has an extensive catalogue of digital templates here. All are unconditionally free to download, although he welcomes any donations that come his way. (no affiliation)
On the site, If you click the search box without writing anything in it (with the category set at “all” you will be able to browse through the entire catalogue)
How to Use the PDF’s in Silhouette Studio.
This method works with Silhouette Studio Designers Edition. If you don’t have designer’s Edition – see the notes at the end of the post too.
- Download a PDF template and save ( I pop it on Desktop while I’m working on it.)
- Open a blank file in Silhouette Studio and minimize the window so you can see the file on the desktop too.
- Select the PDF and drag it across onto the Silhouette mat.
- A pop up Box will open. You will see a preview of page one of the the document. Change the number as required. In this case I want the template on page 3. The preview will change as the page number changes
- Keep the other settings as they are: Import as Vector, Group checked and 72 DPI.
- Here’s how mine looked after I changed the page number change to 3 – Click Import.
- Repeat with each page you need. (I only needed page 3 in this example)
- Select the entire design and Select the Line Colour Menu and change the colour to Red.
- With the design still selected > Right Click and Select Ungroup.
- Select and Delete any areas you don’t require (like the writing)
- Now click on each shape and drag to the side. This will reveal any hidden layers. This is the reason that you turned the Line Style to red earlier. So that any white hidden layers could be seen. I’m not sure, but maybe when a coloured image is saved as a PDF it replicates the fill colour as another layer. So we can now delete these double up layers.
- Finally check that the cut settings are turned on. Mine were on, but it’s good to check anyway. Cut away!
Here’s the result. The Base cut in pink Glitter Book Covering Vinyl and the top overlay in white caardstock
This is how I used my Candy Cane. I cut the loop from the top and popped it on a Christmas Card.
Don’t have Designer Edition?
I used an online PDF converter. I had to convert the entire 3 pages of the document and I selected the option to convert to PNG. Once downloaded I opened the file for page 3 only. I copied the image and pasted it into a new Silhouette Studio document.
From there I did a regular Trace. You will have to remove any writing once the trace is complete. Although I got a really good result with this trace I think the import option is much easier. Another reason to get Designer Edition LOL!
Not just for Scroll Saw Designs.
This import method will work with all sorts of PDF’s. I’m thinking Card, Box and other Templates from Bloggers, or from magazines or Crafters that don’t use cutting machines. They all should work well and once in Studio they are easy to resize too.
Maureen g says
Hi Pam. This is a great tutorial. I have tried importing PDF files and didn’t have much success. Can you tell me how you handle score lines versus cut lines. I tried changing score lines to a “dashed” line but it took way too much time.
Thanks Maureen, I see what you mean.
The good news is that as Scroll saw patterns are originally meant for wood cutting they’re not going to have score lines at all as they are not intended to fold.
The bad news is that other Box/3D templates may have solid fold lines which when imported don’t convert easily to dashed lines (As of course you already know)
I just experimented with one box template and had exactly the same problem you described! I don’t actually have a solution, I’m sad to say.
As a work around, It may just be a case of being selective and only using/importing PDF’s with fold lines already drawn up as dashed lines. I tried it with such a template and although the dashed lines came out a bit weird looking, when I ungrouped, I was able to change them easily in the line settings to get a good cuttable file.
Finally,(for boxes) if you haven’t seen this, http://www.getsilvered.com/2016/09/box-making-template-triple-t-tuesday-resource, it’s worth checking out as the templates can be generated as SVGs and has box templates of all types.
Thanks for this tutorial and the great ideas.
very helpful – thanks