Let’s face it: there’s not much in this world that is more adorable than a baby’s footprint, amiright? Maybe a baby’s giggle or sneeze (or Ryan Gosling), but that’s about it. I wanted to create a keepsake of my son’s newborn tootsie that I can look at everyday without having to flip through his entire baby book (although you don’t have to twist my arm to get me to do that), so with the help of my Silhouette Cameo, I cut out the cutest little vinyl decal you’ve ever laid eyes on. Here I’ll show you how to trace & cut your baby’s footprint with your Silhouette Cameo.
[Full Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. I truly appreciate any and all support!]
- Baby’s footprint
- Photoshop Elements (or some other photo editing program….depending on your footprint, however, this may not be necessary)
- Silhouette Studio
- Vinyl (or some other medium of your preference)
- Transfer paper
- Cutting mat
- Silhouette Cameo
- Scraper tool
Since Rowan just turned one, it was time to update the special page in his baby book with his one-year-old footprints. I’m no scrapbooker, but I have been working on his baby book a little at a time all year, updating the pages and adding pictures bit by bit, and this page was one I’d been looking forward to…and simultaneously dreading. How is he already a year old?! Sigh….
This got me thinking, however, that it would be sweet to be able to see those teeny tiny toes on a more regular basis. Since my Silhouette Cameo is my most favoritist crafting tool in the history of ever, I used it to create a simple vinyl decal….simple but precious.
Rowan, of course, had his first footprints taken at the hospital when he was just an hour or so old. That page has a special place in his baby book, along with another page that we inked his feet on when he was three weeks old. Like my little note says, we weren’t able to also get his handprints….little stinker refused to unclench his hands. Oh well.
The backside of this page is now also home to his one-year-old footprints. It’s amazing to see just how much his feet have grown this first year! They’re still so tiny, but so much bigger than they were….
Scanning The Footprint
For my decal, I chose to use the footprint that was taken at the hospital when he was brand spankin’ new. I liked the print of his left foot better because I think the upper portion has more variety and character, but darn it for missing the middle section!
Because of this, I ended up using his right footprint since it was a complete print. It’s still super cute too. I took this page and scanned it into my laptop using our printer/scanner.
Once the page was scanned, I opened it in Photoshop Elements and cropped it so only the right footprint remained. I then used the Magic Wand tool and clicked on the background to select everything EXCEPT the actual print.
After the background was selected, I pressed my ‘Delete’ key to get rid of it. This was so there would be nice contrast between the actual print and the white background now that the off-white paper background was gone, which would make tracing it in Silhouette Studio much, much easier.
Tracing The Footprint
Once that was complete, I saved the file as a JPG and then opened it up in Silhouette Studio (but Silhouette Studio is able to open it up as a .psd file too).
Next, I opened the Trace menu. [Is it just me, or does the Tracing icon look like a piece of blue toast? That’s all I see. I know it’s actually a butterfly, but I like food so that’s what my brain seems to turn everything into….]
In this Trace menu, I did the following:
- Clicked on ‘Select Trace Area’ and drew a box around the entire footprint.
- Unchecked ‘High Pass Filter’.
- Checked ‘Low Pass Filter’ and played around with its slider until I was happy.
- Adjusted the ‘Threshold’ slider until I was happier.
- Clicked on ‘Trace’.
***For your image, the amounts on your Low Pass Filter and Threshold percentage will vary. You’ll just have to play around with the sliders until you get coverage that you’re happy with.
And wham-o! I now had a traced (and cuttable) footprint. However, it obviously wasn’t a perfect trace since the print wasn’t a graphic image with nice crisp, clean lines. I needed to turn it into that.
Erasing The Unnecessary Cut Points
To do that, I went to my left menubar and selected my Eraser tool and started erasing all the tiny dots from the traced print. Those dots were 1) ugly, 2) not going to cut well since they were so small and intricate, and 3) ugly. They needed to get gone ASAP.
NOTE: Here’s a friendly heads up about he Eraser tool in case you’ve never used it–it is TERRIBLE! Sorry, but it is. I hate it and try to avoid it at all costs. With this project, it kept freezing up my program (I would have to go back and forth between my internet browser and Silhouette Studio non-stop in order to unfreeze it.). So, if you’re going to use this tool, be prepared for a little frustration and a lot of time. I’m very happy with the results, however, so in the end, all the hassle was worth it.
Below you can see what a difference erasing all those tiny, ugly dots made. This tootsie is starting to clean up nicely!
Using the Edit Points Tool
Now that I had the inside cleaned up, it was time to refine the outer edge as well as all the crease marks/wrinkles. To do this, I used my Edit Points tool from the left menubar.
Once I selected my Edit Points tool, the footprint turned into a series of red lines with gray squares and red dots….these were all the cut points. The gray squares are points connected to other points by red cut lines, whereas the red dots were points that were either all alone (not connected to any other points or lines…cue Celine Dion’s “All By Myself”) or only connected on one side. Red dots are bad because they signal cuts that are not complete, like an opened circle. So, as you can see below, I had a lot of cleaning up to do.
I first hit ‘Simplify’ lots and lots (and lots!) of times to get rid of a bunch of the points…there were just so many! After that, I focused on the outer edge of the foot and toes and cleaned them up by clicking on the gray squares one at a time so they turned white and then deleting the unnecessary points. I also had to change a lot of the points from ‘Corner’ to ‘Smooth’ or change the lines to ‘Make Curve’…..I didn’t want any jagged edges. Smooth was the name of the game here. Once I was happy with the edges, I focused on the inside by refining and/or creating the largest and most distinctive creases/wrinkles. Occasionally, I had to utilize the ‘Break Path’ option and sometimes added new points by clicking on the red cut lines so a new gray square would appear.
Now, just like the Eraser tool above, the Point Editing also took some time to work with. Ahhh, who am I kidding….by “some time” I really mean A LONG FRICKIN’ TIME editing all. these. points. I started it one evening after Rowan went to bed then finally had to hit the hay myself after I started going cross-eyed. I ended up finishing it the next day during his morning nap. I guess it wasn’t too bad, it just took longer than I initially anticipated (thankfully, no freezing up though….just lots of editing to do). But, once again, I love the end result so it was all worth it.
For a great video tutorial on how to use the Edit Points tool, I would suggest checking out this video by Silhouette America. It’s how I learned about this powerful ability and definitely worth a watch.
I was a very happy girl once I was through the Editing Points phase! But boy, what a difference it made:
Preparing To Cut Out In Vinyl
It’s not a perfect match, but gosh darn it, I’d say it’s pretty close. And definitely good enough.
To make it easier to see what the final product would look like, I used the Fill Color option to fill it in.
Now that the tracing and designing was complete, it was time to prepare for cutting it out in vinyl. I wanted to make sure it was the same size as Rowan’s actual newborn foot and print, so I went back to the page in his baby book and measured the original print with a ruler. It was roughly 3.25″…..so tiny!
Silhouette Cut Settings for Vinyl
Now that I had the exact size (or close enough to it) of Rowan’s actual print, I resized my image to be 3.25″ tall. I then opened up the Cut Settings menu and adjusted my settings.
I first selected ‘Vinyl’ as my medium, but since this was going to be such a small cut with some rather intricate lines, I decided to turn down the speed to 5. I was also going to be cutting the footprint out on a piece of scrap silver Oracal 631 vinyl that was left over from our family growth chart ruler, so I made sure to check the Cutting Mat option.
The settings I used for this were:
- Speed: 5
- Thickness: 9
- Blade: 2
- Cutting Mat: Checked
Cutting Vinyl in Silhouette Cameo
I then applied my scrap vinyl to my cutting mat, loaded it into my Silhouette Cameo, and then hit ‘Cut’. And it worked beau.ti.fully.
I then trimmed it up with a pair of scissors and weeded (or removed) all the excess vinyl. Compared to the original, it wasn’t too shabby!
Applying The Vinyl
Now it was time for application. I placed it back on the cutting mat just to keep it still and flat and then applied some transfer paper over top with my scraper tool (you could also use a credit card if you don’t have this little gizmo).
I then applied the teensy tiny, itty bitty foot to the cover of my Silhouette Cameo…..two of my favorite things together forever: my Rowan and my Silhouette. Perfect….
Viola! A successful trace, cut, and application. I love it when that happens. Is this not the cutest little thing you’ve ever seen?? I mean, seriously. Adorable.
The Final Product!
And here’s my Silhouette Cameo in all its glory. I just love it! It’s slowly becoming personalized and….me. This little footprint just melts my heart….I can’t get over at how little Rowan was. Was he really that tiny at the beginning?? Man, it sure went by fast….
If you’d like, you can also check out how I made the cute and feminine home state decal of my Old Kentucky home here.
I also used this cut file to add Rowan’s footprint to his newborn stats canvas….and it turned out so great! I love that it is HIS ACTUAL FOOTPRINT (and true to size) and not just some generic clip art. This canvas made the perfect addition to his room and hangs right next to his first birthday fingerpaint art canvas.
I think I might cut out Rowan’s footprint in another color and stick it on my Mac….it just melts my heart every time I see it. Anybody else do anything neat with their little one’s footprint??
Thanks so much for stopping by! If you enjoyed what you saw here today, please share the love and pin it! And I’d love for us to stay connected!
Friday 18th of March 2016
I have my daughter's actual footprint tattooed on my back with her name and birth date so I am very partial to this. I can't wait to do my daughter's footprint. Thanks for the idea and explaining how to do this.
Tuesday 28th of April 2015
I can't even get over this!!!
Tuesday 28th of April 2015
Haha, thanks friend! This was one of my very first Silhouette projects, so I'm glad it turned out! :)
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