How to Make a Silhouette Cutting File from a Photoshop Brush

Hi everyone! You may have seen my recent hybrid layouts on the Let’s Capture Our Memories Blog done using Heidi Swapp digital elements. Speaking of Let’s Capture Our Memories, they are having a HUGE sale right now. You can get some papers recently released papers (Crate Paper Pretty Party anyone? Or how about some BoBunny?) for just $0.25 each. There are some awesome bargains to be had. Tanya needs to make room for the stuff coming in after CHA Summer 2012.

Where was I? Oh, yes, hybrid scrapbooking… I love adding printed digital elements whenever I can and it’s not as hard as you may think, and no, the quality is not compromised when it’s done right. I want to show you how to take one of Heidi Swapp’s cute digital brushes and make it into a Silhouette cutting file for your personal use.

Here are my examples, just in case you’re still skeptical.

The ‘adventure’ title below was created using a Heidi Swapp digital brush with the help of Photoshop, Silhouette Studio and my Silhouette Cameo.

Great Wolf Adventure 2

This is a full shot of the layout. More detail shots are available on the LCOM Blog here.

Great Wolf Adventure

The ‘drama’ title was also created using a Heidi Swapp digital brush.

Drama Queen

You can see a few more of the digital page elements in this full shot of the page (the camera, the hearts and the arrow). Again, more detail is available on the Let’s Capture Our Memories Blog.

Drama Queen 3

On to the tutorial…

How to Create a Silhouette Cut file from a Photoshop Brush
Click on any of the images to make them bigger.

  1. Open Photoshop and create a new file.
  2. Select the brush tool. From the brushes toolbar in Photoshop, click on the brush tool picker and select the brush that you would like to use. Set it to the largest size possible.

    photoshop-brush-tool photoshop-brushes

  3. “Stamp” the brush on your blank document several times until it’s opaque. I find that BLACK works best – I have used pink just for the purpose of the tutorial.  Save the image as a jpeg.Heidi-Swapp-brush
  4. From Silhouette Studio and open the saved jpeg by clicking on the open button and navigate to your saved file.
  5. Click on the trace button.
  6. Click on Select Trace Area.
  7. Click and drag your mouse over your image. A grey transparent box will appear over top of the image.
  8. Click on Trace under Apply Trace Method. Click on the image to move the cut lines away from the jpeg.
  9. Cut the file with your Silhouette as usual


Q: What if my traced cut file doesn’t look like the original image?
A: Try adjusting the Trace Settings and trying again. You may have to play with these settings a few times for each image that you want to trace to get it exactly right. Note that some images don’t trace very well. Sometimes they might be too complicated or the contrast isn’t great enough for the trace feature to work.

Q: What if my traced image is really close to the original image, but it’s not quite right?
A: Try editing the path point by point. Click on traced image and click on Release Compound Path. Next, click on the Edit Points button (second arrow on the left hand tool bar) and edit the individual points in the path. If you need more support on this particular point, please visit the Silhouette America tutorial here:

Thanks for following along! I hope that you found my tutorial helpful.

Have a great week!