How to use an SVG file with the Silhouette Cameo

You have a Silhouette Cameo electronic cutting machine.

You have SVG files for cutting the appliqué shapes for your favorite Meaning of Life Designs or Sarah Vedeler Designs design collection.

How do you use those SVG files?

This tutorial will take you step by step through the process of converting an SVG file into something that can be used with your Silhouette Cameo. Click on any image to view a larger version of it.

Step 1

You will need to download the Silhouette Studio software and purchase a license key to upgrade to at least Designer Edition in order to be able to use SVG files with your Silhouette Cameo.

Go to to download the basic free version of Silhouette Studio and purchase your license key.

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If you already have your software installed, make sure it is updated to the most current version (4.1.206 as of this writing).

Click Help -> Check for Updates… and then follow the prompts.

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Step 2

When your software is installed, launch it and then click File -> Open and navigate to the SVG file you wish to open. Select the file and click OK.

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The SVG design you open will land in the middle of the cutting mat shown on the screen. You will be on the DESIGN tab (see the top right corner of the window).

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Step 3

To make it easier to position the fabric on your cutting mat, I like to display the grid in the software. If you don’t already have a grid turned on, select Grid on the Page Setup panel. Check Show Grid and Snap to Grid. Set Spacing = 1 and Divisions = 4.

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Also to make it easier to position the fabric on the cutting mat, I like to put the design in one of the corners of the mat.

Click Edit -> Select All or Ctrl+A to select everything. Use the arrow keys to nudge the design.

The design I am using measures 12″ x 8 1/4″. With the grid divisions set to 4 (per inch), the design won’t go all the way into the corner. Change the divisions to 8 (per inch) and nudge the design right into the top corner using the up arrow key.

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Step 4

Most SVG files from Meaning of Life Designs and Sarah Vedeler Designs contain a bounding box to help with design placement on the mat. You don’t want to cut this bounding box, so when your design is in position, you can delete the bounding box.

Right click on the bounding box and then click Ungroup.

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You’ll see a “selection” box around each shape in the design.

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Click anywhere off the cutting mat to deselect everything then click the bounding box to select it.

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Use the delete key on your keyboard to delete the bounding box.

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Step 5

Now you’re ready to SEND the design to your Silhouette Cameo! Make sure your Cameo is turned on and plugged into your computer.

Click on the SEND tab in the top right corner of the window.

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Click Line. The very faint lines of your design will now become bold and easy to see!

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For my Cameo 3, I have the option to use a tool in the left hand slot and one in the right hand slot.

To use an AutoBlade, it needs to go in the left hand slot on your machine and you need to click the circle on the left which will be red when selected.

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To use a RatchetBlade, it needs to go in the right hand slot on your machine and you need to click the circle on the right which will be blue when selected.

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Select the Material you are going to cut. For fusible webbing backed fabric when you are cutting appliqué shapes, choose “Fabric, Thick (Canvas)“.

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If you are using a ratchet blade, be sure to set the blade depth to 5 on the actual blade.

After you’ve used your blade for a while, you may need to set the blade depth number higher – both in the software and on the actual blade.

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With your fabric positioned on your cutting mat, load the cutting mat into your Silhouette Cameo.

In the software click SEND to start cutting.



  1. Betsy Wolfe(Dorothy)

    Just the information I need to get started with so many of your terrific designs. THANK YOU!!!

  2. Do you place paper side down and fabric up on the Cameo mat?

  3. Would you please also address preparation of your fabric for applique cutting on the Silhouette? (Preferred starch if used….preferred webbed backing, etc.) Thank you!!

    This was SO helpful to a newbie Silhouette user!!

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