Tutorial: How to Cut Free Printable Stickers Using a Silhouette

Raise your hand if you hate fussy cutting! Yep, that’s me. I hate it so much that it’s one of many reasons I decided to purchase a Silhouette machine.

I know that I’m not alone in my hatred for fussy cutting. If you’re like me and have a Silhouette machine that you’re not very familiar with how to use, keep reading.

How to Cut Printable Files Using a Silhouette

I’ve had many Squadettes ask in our facebook group how to create cut files for the free printables they find online.  Today, I’m going to show you how I do it, step by step.

I would also like to note that the file I’m using in this tutorial is from the amazing Victoria Thatcher. I just love her printables!

Step 1: Convert PDF

Before you can import your file into your Silhouette software, you will have to convert it from a PDF to a JPG or PNG file.

While there may be free options for programs that will convert this for you, I personally use Photoshop since I already have that from my photography school days.

Step 2: Import File

Once you have your PDF converted to an image file, you can now open the image file with your Silhouette program. You can do this by dragging and dropping it into the software, or import through the library.

Step 3: Trace and Detach

At the top right-hand side of your Silhouette software, click on the trace button (it looks like a square with a little blue butterfly with yellow border).

Once you have selected the trace tool, you should see the following settings:

Click on “select trace area” and draw a box around what you want to trace. Notice I didn’t bother tracing the text along the top and bottom of the graphic, because I’m going to end up deleting that later, anyway.

Make sure to de-select “high pass filter”. Then turn the threshold up as high as it can go, and turn the scale down as low as it can go.

(Quick tip – if you’re having a hard time getting a clear trace, try doing it in sections, instead of all at once.)

Your image should turn yellow similar to the image below:

Once you have selected everything you would like to trace, select “trace and detach”. This will basically cut the images out of the background so you can move them around individually.

Step 4: Delete Background

Once you have detached all of the images, pull them off to the side out of the way. Then, select and delete the leftover background.

Step 5: Rearrange Graphics

Once the background image has been removed, rearrange your images where you want them on the document.

Step 6: Offset (Optional)

This step is only necessary if you want to have a bit of white edge around your stickers. If you don’t want the extra white space you can skip to the next step.

To create this white border, you will need to create an offset. Click on the image or images you want to offset. Then click on the offset tool along the top toolbar.

Adjust the settings so that it creates a red line border slightly from the edge of your images. I typically set my offset distance to .0125

It’s important to note that this red offset line is not your cut line. They look the same, but it’s only the line that will be traced whenever you make your cut lines in the next step.

Step 7: Trace Outer Edge

Once you have created your offset lines (if you choose to), you’re ready to trace your images again to create your cut lines.

Select the trace tool and highlight everything you want to cut. You’ll make your settings the exact same as you did in step 3, only this time you will select “trace outer edge”. This will create your cut lines.

Step 8: Print and cut

Once you have your cut lines made, you’re done! From here you’re ready to print and cut your stickers and start sticking them into your planners!

Tutorial: How to Print Free Printable Stickers Using a Silhouette Machine

Did this tutorial work for you? Comment below and let us know. Also if you think this post may help others, we hope that you will share it with them as well.

Happy cutting!

Jenn Roberts, Planner Squad, Chaotic Bliss Homeschooling

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Jenn is a Missouri mom, wife, and REALTOR. When she's not busy chauffeuring her family around or writing contracts, shes working in her junk journal, sleeping, or having BBQs and game nights with her best friends. Her favorite ways to pass the time are spending time with her family, traveling, dancing at concerts, photography, and watching her favorite TV shows. Jenn is a glam-planner at heart and can't stand feeling unorganized. She looks at planning and junk journaling as a form of therapy and a way to squeeze in creative time while dealing with a hectic life and work schedule.


  1. Kemmy M McCoy says

    I just love you, I love reading all your blogs/emails. You’re so talented. I just wanted to acknowledge you, and say THANK YOU, for Everything you do.

  2. Julie Marquez says

    For my planner size I have the Happy Planner where it states to save and print at 85%. How do I save my PDF file to 85%? Do I save it to the 85% prior to converting it to a jpg? If so how do I save it.
    Thanks so much

      • Julie Marquez says

        I’m still not quite sure what you mean. I thought I had to save the PDF at 85%. When I print it at 85 % and to to my Cameo 3 to cut the labels, it is not cutting the labels from the cut lines. Is there a step by step video or print out I could’ve directed to? Thanks for the help

  3. Skye says

    I’m attempting to do this with one of the VT printables and it is not recognizing any individual stickers, only the entire page as a whole and tracing around the whole thing. Arg!

    • Jenn Roberts says

      Hmm.. sounds like maybe you either skipped steps 3/4 or that they didn’t work right. You have to separate the elements from the rest of the page. Make sure you pay attention to all of the settings (high pass) when you’re tracing!

  4. Barbara Ford says

    I also love Victoria Thatcher printables (I just found her). I am following all your steps exactly, but when I do the final trace (outer edge), on some of the images, the cut lines are going WITHIN the image itself–like on the Girls Best Friend printable, the cut line is going up and around the doggies legs (in one example). I have done all the settings like you specified. What can I do? (I have the designer edition of the software, so I am importing the PDF, then choosing image, setting it 30 300 DPI).
    Barbara Ford recently posted…Holy Spirit Promised {Bible Art Journaling}My Profile

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