A Simple Guide to SVG Files for Crafters

With the rise in crafting at the moment due to people finding indoor activities that they can do at home in the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown here in the UK, many crafters have been finding out about the wonders of SVG files and how their crafting can benefit from using this file type. SVG files can be used to create gorgeous images and they are very simple to use when you have got the hang of them. This guide is going to be a simple guide to SVG files for crafters. We are going to chat about what SVG files are, their advantages, how to use them and give you some great crafty resources of where to find SVG files to use in your own craft projects!

What are SVG Files?

SVG stands for Scalable Vector Graphics and it is a file type for images. SVG files use text to describe how the image should appear. SVG files are beneficial as they can be resized and made larger or smaller without losing quality. The format is independent of resolution so graphics for websites and print mediums are often made in SVG so they can be easily resized. 

They are also used on digital cutting machines such as Cricut. You download a file and, using the software from your chosen cutting machine you can upload it onto the device and use it to create craft projects instantaneously, saving lots of time and making amazing creations! No more need to copy and trace designs as the file and machine do everything for you! You can also use SVG templates with many different materials as long as your machine still works with the material and there are no pixelation problems with sizing.

Why should I use SVG files?

There are many advantages that using SVG files have. Firstly, they make super crisply cut images. SVG use coordinates to plot points that are connected and cut to create lines and shapes. These graphics are drawn using maths so they are super sharp and the images are not pixelated so you get a great image quality by using SVGs. They are resolution independent so this crispness and image quality is not changed on any screen or device, regardless of the size of the image. SVG files are built specifically for accessibility as well with specific tags in mind including the <title> tag and the <desc> tag providing content for screen readers. SVG files aren’t just used by crafters either, they are very popular with web designers because of their animatable abilities that can be used to create interactive experiences. Animations such as this can be created using CSS.

You can also style elements inside SVG files using fill and stroke properties to add colour and borders. With Javascript, we can interact with elements inside SVGs using the navigable DOM to create interactions that we could with HTML or CSS. File sizes of SVG files are often very small when optimised due to their nature being an image drawn from a series of coordinates. 

How do I open an SVG file?

If you are looking to only view an SVG file then the easiest way to do that is to open it using an internet browser such as Chrome or Firefox or another browser of your choice, nearly all current browsers support rendering for the SVG format. This is why you can open an SVG file without having to download it beforehand. You can also use an internet browser to view an SVG file that you have downloaded using Ctrl and the O key. You can also use other programs such as Adobe Illustrator (which you can actually use to create SVG files), other Adobe softwares such as Photoshop and non Adobe programs such as Corel and PaintShop Pro. You can view the text version of the file in any text editor as SVGs are really just text files. 

How to Convert an SVG file? 

An SVG file can be converted to other image files such as PNG or JPEG using an online file converter such as this tool by Lifewire. These tools are quick and easy and there is no need to use paid for programs or unfamiliar downloaded software. 

How do I use an SVG file? 

Usually, the files download as a ZIP file so you must first extract the files  from the zipped folder and then upload them onto the software that you use for your cutting machine, making sure to select the SVG file! If there are layers on your design, you will need to separate those and then you can arrange and cut as usual! 

Where can I find SVG files? 

There are loads of resources available online for SVG images that you can use in your crafting projects! If you do a basic search on pinterest, you will be met with thousands of resources. Some bloggers and resources are available for free and others have a small cost involved but there are lots of gorgeous graphics to make your projects look amazing! There are some great resources detailed below.

If you have a Cricut cutting machine then you can upload SVG files to the Cricut Design Space. If you have a Silhouette, then you can upload designs to Silhouette Studio if you have upgraded from the free version to the paid platform. 

Christmas SVG Files – If you are looking to create some fun, Christmas themed crafts then Ruffles and Rainboots have some great SVG files here that can be used for gifting or Christmas decorations in your home! 

Design Bundles – Design Bundles have thousands of SVG files available with something to suit every craft project! They are really affordable and use incredible independent designers, plus they have great customer service!!

Jennifer Maker – Jennifer Maker’s blog has a huge library of SVG files available including paper flowers, paper lanterns, cards, boxes, tags, felt and fabric projects such as coasters, vinyl projects and pop up and 3D projects. 

SVG Designs by Miss Mandee – If you are a Disney fan yourself or you have a child who loves everything Disney then some of these incredible Disney Lantern designs might be right up your alley!

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