Are you a Silhouette user who is also the proud owner of a Glowforge laser printer? If so, congratulations! With the combination of Glowforge and Silhouette Studio, a whole new realm of creative possibilities is now open to you. You may even have a Silhouette Library full of designs you’re ready to bring to life. But there are some tricks to using Silhouette Design Store files with the Glowforge app and I’m going to share those with you today.
What is Glowforge?
If you’re not familiar with what Glowforge is or does, let’s begin with a brief explanation. Most of the time you’ll hear Glowforge referred to as a 3D laser printer. Personally, I prefer the term “laser cutter” (which I think is more accurate) but it does mark and engrave on 3D objects, which can be described as “printing”.
Designs are sent to Glowforge by way of a web-based app. Glowforge is compatible with several file formats including JPG, PNG, SVG, and PDF, which can be created using a variety of platforms including Silhouette Studio. This tutorial will focus on using the SVG file format in Silhouette Studio.
Problems with Silhouette Studio File Export to SVG
In order to save designs from Silhouette Studio in a file format Glowforge can recognize, you will need Business Edition. Saving one of your own designs as an SVG is fairly straightforward UNLESS you are using a shape (or any part of a shape) from the Silhouette Design Store.
Generally, Design Store files are purchased in Studio format and added directly to your Silhouette Library once the purchase is complete. If you try to save these files as an SVG however, you will receive the following message:
You will see these dotted lines when you import the image into the Glowforge app. A file like this cannot be cut or engraved, but you can score the dotted lines.
Purchasing and Downloading
a Silhouette Design Store File
The export restriction will only occur when you are trying to export a Studio file as an SVG. In the Silhouette Design Store, you have the option to purchase designs in SVG format in addition to the Studio file. The SVG format can be downloaded to your hard drive, opened in Studio, and saved as a new SVG without the export restriction. Let’s try it.
Step 1: Purchase the SVG version of the shape
In this example, I’m using the Laurel Leaf Borders shape (Design Store ID 298959), which is one of the many free shapes available in the Silhouette Design Store.
BONUS TIP: Each week the Design Store offers a new freebie with options to download a Studio file, an SVG, and both the Personal Use and Commercial Use licenses. As with all shapes, the Studio file and Personal Use options are automatically selected, so be sure to select the SVG and Commercial Use options as well. You never know when you might need them!
Step 2: Download the file to your hard drive
If you have credit in your Design Store account, click on the Express option to bypass the checkout process and add the Studio file directly to your Library, then click Proceed.
When you see the second popup message, click on Download Item, then Direct Download. (You can also set up your account to automatically download your order each time.) Be sure to make a note of which folder you specify for the download.
If you do not have credit in your account, you will be given the Direct Download option once you complete the traditional checkout process.
Once the file is downloaded, unzip the file so that the design will be ready to use in Silhouette Studio.
But What About Studio Files You’ve Already Purchased?
I’ve purchased a lot of Design Store shapes over the years but (with the exception of the weekly freebies) I rarely included the SVG format before I got my Glowforge. So does that mean I have to purchase these designs all over again if I want to create an SVG for the Glowforge? Not exactly. Let’s use the butterfly shapes I showed you earlier as an example.
One of my absolute favorite things about the Silhouette Design Store is that I can very easily tell which shapes I’ve already purchased.
Notice that once I click on the thumbnail for the Butterfly Set, there is no option to add the shapes to my cart or use the Express Checkout feature since I already own this design.
However, once I check the box for SVG, the Express Checkout and Add to Cart options reappear. The price shown is the difference between the purchase price of an SVG and the Studio format previously purchased.
The SVG format can then be purchased and downloaded in the same manner as described previously.
Creating and Saving a Usable SVG
Step 1: Create a design in Silhouette Studio
I will be engraving a cork trivet from IKEA that is 7 inches in diameter, so the first thing I did was to draw a 7-inch circle and change the line color to blue. Changing the line color will allow me to choose a setting in the Glowforge for the circle that is independent of the other parts of the design.
Then I merged the Laurel Leaf Borders SVG into the design, by clicking on File>Merge and navigating to the folder where the file was saved.
I resized the laurels, added a monogram, and centered everything within the circle.
Step 2: Export the file as an SVG
To export the file as an SVG, click on File>SaveAs>Save to Hard Drive. Type in a name for your file and select the SVG option. Click on OK and the SVG will be saved to your hard drive. No export restriction message and no dotted lines!
Using the File with Glowforge
Open the Glowforge app in your browser. Drag and drop the SVG file into the app to upload it. Place the design on your media and set Glowforge as desired.
You can see the settings I used for the cork trivet here:
Laurel Leaf Borders and Monogram: Engrave with a custom setting of
Speed 1000, Power 40, Lines Per Inch 125, Focus Height 0.375 inches, Number of Passes 1
It turned out beautifully!
Now I can’t wait to create even more Glowforge projects using the Design Store shapes I have in my collection!
Have you used Silhouette Design Store shapes with your Glowforge? Will these tips make it easier for you? If you found this tutorial helpful, be sure to share the image below to Pinterest.
Until next time,
P.S. If you haven’t yet invested in a Glowforge but are thinking about purchasing one, would you like to save a little money? When using my referral code, you’ll save $500 on the Pro, $250 on the Plus, or $100 on the Basic model. I’ll receive an equal amount as a referral bonus. Just click the link below and the discount will show up on your checkout page. Happy shopping!
This post may contain affiliate advertising. This means that if you click on a link in the post, I may make a commission based on your purchase. The price you pay for the product or service is not higher, and the commissions I earn help keep Caught by Design online. Thanks for your support!
Lycia is a lifelong crafter whose goal is to help others find value, confidence, and joy in whatever they create. She geeks out on using technology to supercharge craft projects with Silhouette Studio, Design Space, Glowforge, sublimation, etc.! Lycia teaches these skills and more through online tutorials and videos as well as in-person classes at both the local and national levels.