Have you ever struggled to turn a Single Layer Image like a PNG or JPEG into a Multiple Layers Image to use in Cricut Design Space? Some may even refer to it as turning a PNG into an SVG.
Today, I will show you the easiest and fastest way I know currently. I say currently because as technology changes so do our crafting processes.
There are multiple ways to get the same end result. I am sharing the process I find that is EASIEST and QUICKEST for me.
The great thing about this process I’ll teach you is that turning a single layer image into a multiple layers image will work whether you are using a Desktop, Laptop, iPhone, Android, or Tablet and using Apple or Windows devices. You will see that I use Chrome Browser as that is the browser I prefer, which you can use on Windows or Apple products.
What is a PNG, JPEG & SVG?
These terms and abbreviations reference different File types that many crafters use with their cutting machines. Obviously, these file types are saved and used for many different reasons, but I will cover why we use them as crafters.
Keep in mind, there are other file types crafters use such as .DXF, .ESP and .PDFs, but for the purposes of this tutorial I will be covering how to change a single layer such as a .png or .jpeg into a multiple layers image such as a .svg for use in Cricut Design Space.
Brief Descriptions of each File Type
- .PNG – Portable Network Graphic: (Raster File) Ideal for uses such as Digital Art, Logos and Icons ETC. It also can be saved as a transparent file (clear background) and uses 24-bit color which supports over 16 million colors. PNGs are also one of the largest file types.
- .JPEG – Joint Photographic Experts Group: (Raster File) A pixel based raster file mainly preferred for photographs and can be compressed really small unlike a .PNG format. When compressed it will loose some of the wide color variations.
- .SVG – Scallable Vector Graphic: (Vector File) Web-friendly vector file. This means you can scale the same file really HUGE or really SMALL and the image quality will remain the same. Generally if you try this with .JPEGS or .PNGS your image will become pixalated and blurry. Now again, there is much more to it, but in a crafters world this is a brief explanation as to why it matters to use which file formats to use or even design.
Why do I need to change a Single Layer Image into a Multiple Layer Image
There may be multiple reasons why depending on your project, but let me give you a very common reason I’ve heard from so many of my readers. I often get emails asking how to do this process which is why I decided to add it to my blog and also a YouTube tutorial for the visual learners!
It is literally one of my most asked questions!
Little Adorable Miss Maggie (7 years old) decides she wants a Unicorn theme for her Birthday but she also adores colorful rainbows in shades of pinks, purples & gold. You already have a layered Unicorn design you are planning on using but you only have a PNG file of a rainbow. The rainbow you found via Google Images is the primary colors of Red, Yellow, Blue, Green, and Purple.
But Little Adorable Miss Maggie has her mindset on way different colors to match her Unicorn-themed Birthday Party.
Now with the PNG rainbow file, it’s only one layer and you pretty much can only use it as a print then cut file whether it be in cardstock or print then cut HTV project.
We know Little Adorable Miss Maggie wants the colors different so we know that the only way to do this is to “change the single-layered image into a multiple layered image”.
Once you change the PNG file into a Multiple layered file or .SVG you can pretty much pick any color for your materials plus use a ton of different materials such as Glitter HTV or Pink, Purple & Gold Vinyls to make your rainbow. You’ve just opened the door to SO MANY IDEAS and Choices.
So now you can see the why, so let me show you the how!
VIDEO: CHANGE SINGLE LAYER IMAGE TO MULTIPLE LAYERS IMAGE
How to Change a Single Layer into a Multiple Layered Image
Please keep in mind this process is the same whether you want a 2 layer image or 10 layer image.
Locate your desired PNG file and save it to your Desktop, Downloads or Files folder depending on your preference or which device you are using.
In today’s tutorial, I am using a windows computer along with Chrome Browser, but as stated above you can be using multiple devices for layering multiple layers.
I will use a Winnie-the-Pooh image png file found on google as an example only for this tutorial. I can not give you this file as it would be a copyright issue. I am only using this image to show you the process and I am not using the image on a product or for personal gain.
I then clicked on the image I wanted and chose “save image as”
I actually don’t need to remove the background from this Winnie-the-pooh image but I will show you the process in case you need to use the app someday.
Remove background if needed. Sometimes a file may state that it is a PNG format but when you download it somehow a white background is visible. When this happens or if you only have a JPEG file that comes with a background then you simply remove the background.
My favorite FREE site is: RemoveBG
Simply drag and drop your file or use their “upload image button” and locate where you saved your file. I love the drag and drop!
The next step, download the image. I always use the free option but decide which is best for your current project.
I chose the blue button that states: Download
Turn your .PNG or JPEG image into an .SVG format.
My favorite FREE site is: PNGtoSVG
Scroll down the page for a little bit until you see the “choose a file square” as seen below
Locate your file and then it will show you your image with little square boxes of color for each layer in your SVG. Count the colors in your design and change the number if needed. It defaults to 5 colors. I changed it to 4 colors for my Winnie-the-pooh image.
So yes you can change the number of colors by clicking on the + or – button. I ignore the “Simplify” option. Then for “Palette”, you want to see if those colors match the ones in your image. If any of them is the wrong shade or color, simply click on the color of the box that is wrong, then with your cursor click on the correct color in your image. You will notice your cursor shape changes to an “eyedropper tool”.
Once your colors all match then click on the “Generate” button. The SVG will populate to the right of the image you were adjusting the colors.
Once generated, click on “Download SVG”. You also have the option to give a donation if you like.
Upload SVG Image into Cricut Design Space
Click on “New Project”
Your image will now appear on your Design Space Canvas and you will see that you have each of your color layers in your “Layers Panel”
Clean up image layers.
When we use free applications to manipulate our files we may need to do a little “housekeeping” to clean up the layers. I like to call it housekeeping LOL!
It really is a simple process and you will do the same process for each layer. Sometimes, depending on your image you may not need to do much or anything at all. It mostly depends on how the image was originally created and how it was saved, which we never really know unless we create the image ourselves.
I have to admit, I’ve even found some images I had to just walk away from as it would have been way to much to clean up, so it can vary and I just want you to know this.
This easy process uses the Cricut Design Space feature “Contour”. If you would like more detailed easy understand directions on how to use Contour and many more features using Cricut Design Space, I have my FREE Resource for you.
This process may be easier to learn by watching the video as it seems easier to watch then to read the simple steps.
I start at the top layer in the layers panel and click on it. This will highlight your layer as seen below
Then click on “Contour” at the bottom of the Layers Panel
This is where it can be confusing if this is the first time you’ve used “Contour” or don’t quite understand “how” or “why” to use Contour.
Basically choosing contour gives us the ability to turn lines or sections of an image OFF (if we don’t want the Cricut to cut it out) or ON (if we do want Cricut to cut it out)
We have 2 options to help us get it done quicker
- Show all contours
- Hide all contours
This is very helpful because there can be 45 pieces of lines to get rid of sometimes, so at least this way we can get our image closer to how we want it to cut out.
Then we can fine-tune what we ONLY want Cricut to cut by clicking on each part of an image we want to be for ONLY this one LAYER.
Below is one I already finished. I only want the Cricut to cut the bottom of Pooh’s feet.
So notice how his feet are shaded a little bit darker? This means I turned those cute little feet pads on so that our Cricut will ONLY cut them out and not all those silly lines that are still showing.
So by clicking on Pooh’s feet pads it changed the color shading so I can keep track of what I’ve clicked on.
I promise it won’t hurt anything to just click on/off just so you can see what it does. You can’t mess it up and when you are done you close this window with the “X” in the upper right-hand corner or simply just click off of it and it will take you back to your Design Space canvas.
If you notice you forgot to click on another portion, simply click on “Contour” again and click on that portion you forgot.
Again, the easiest way to learn Contour is to just play with it one day. Some items are simply one solid image and can’t be contoured and then some images have a bunch we can contour out.
I actually LOVE using contour once I figured it out! You will too! You can do this! I promise!
Repeat Process for Each Layer as Needed.
HOW TO TURN SINGLE LAYER IMAGE INTO A SILHOUETTE IMAGE
There will be times you may want to create a one-color silhouette or background image for your design. Most often for the following reasons.
- Creating Offsets
- Main Solid Bottom Layer to add your Multiple Layers Image onto
- HTV (heat transfer vinyl) Projects – This helps you layer designs without the dreaded vinyl shrinkage heat issues can cause with using layers on top of eachother such as T-shirts ETC.
This process is so super simple it’s silly! Remember at the beginning of this tutorial I explained how we download the PNG file to your computer? But then we uploaded that PNG into a website to turn it into a Multiple Layers Image?
Well now, we simply go to that same PNG file you saved and upload it into Cricut Design Space.
Check it out!
While in Cricut Design Space to use the Upload and Upload Image as shown up above. This time upload the original PNG file you first saved. So in this tutorial, I will upload the Winnie-the-Pooh PNG file to Design Space.
Choose “Complex” then “Continue”. The next screen is shown below
Since the background is already removed, all we do is select “Apply & Continue”.
Next, we’ll select our “upload type” shown below
Select “Cut Image” then “Upload”
Next, we’ll select the same image from our “Recent Uploads” area
Choose the “Uploaded” then “Add to Canvas”
For some reason, the image may come in HUGE. Simply change the width at top of DS to something like 5″ so you can see the whole image.
Next, we just make each image the same width for the project your want. So easy! You may need to right-click on the silhouette image and select “send the image to back” so it goes to the bottom of all the other layers you created.
It should now look like this.
And there we have the final “Multiple Layers Image” completed and ready to size to your liking and then click on “make it”.
I really hope this helps answer the many email questions I get on how to change a single layer image into multiple layered images.
Or even the ever-popular how to make an SVG term.
Now, if you are interested in learning how to make SVGS for yourself or to sell, be sure to leave me a comment below. I have many great resources I can share with you in the future too!
Please always feel free to ask any questions or even leave a helpful tip I may have forgotten or did not think to include in this post! You can leave a comment or question below or on my YouTube channel.
Let’s all help each other and “create with love”.
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