How to Make Vinyl Decals from Anyone’s Handwriting

Whether you need a heartfelt Mother’s Day gift or a sentimental keepsake, a loved one’s handwriting is not quickly forgotten. As a cut file you can keep it forever as a tea towel, wooden sign, picture frame, pillow cover, or embroidery hoop like I’m going to show you in this post. That’s right- plenty of HTV and PSV possibilities!

To make this embroidery hoop extra special, use a piece of clothing or fabric that reminds you of them as well. Here’s what else you’ll need to complete this craft…


If you have a lot of fabrics, you could make a whole t-shirt quilt, but embroidery hoops are nice for just a bit of fabric since they come in small sizes.

Before I begin, here’s a few tips everyone can benefit from…

3 Tips for the Best Handwritten Cut File

  • Contrast– use white paper and black ink when possible.
  • Thickness– thicker writing will be easier to trace, weed, and heat apply.
  • Good Lighting– whether you snap a pic or scan it, good light is a must!

After ensuring these 3 things, use your favorite software to create the cut file. There are several ways to get the same result! It all depends on what software you have available.

Way #1: Trace in Silhouette Studio

Authorized Distributors, Expressions Vinyl, explains how to trace kid’s handwriting in Silhouette Studio in this blog post.

kid's handwriting heat transfer vinyl pillow case cover


Way #2: Trace with the Pix Scan Mat

If you prefer to use your Pix Scan Mat, the process is similar to #1. Silhouette walks you through the process here.

How to trace cut lines with the Pix Scan Mat


Way #3: Trace with Cricut Design Space

Domestic Heights explains the details of importing and tracing an image in Cricut Design Space on her blog here.

How to trace hand lettering in Cricut Design Space


Way #4: Scan with the Brother Scan N Cut

The ScanNCut is ideal for this project! It’s also one of Julie Fei-Fan Balzer’s favorite techniques. Watch the Brother ScanNCut ambassador’s advice here:


Way #5: Trace with Adobe Illustrator or Other Editing Software

Use the Image Trace panel in Adobe Illustrator to get a precise trace. To clean things up further afterward, I suggest using the pen tool to edit individual points. Or go to Object>Path>Simplify to reduce the amount of points even quicker!

How to trace handwriting in Adobe Illustrator

There are several other editing softwares out there with tracing capabilities, so don’t fret if your favorite didn’t make the list. Comment yours below if we left it out and let us know what you use!

Tracing handwriting comes in handy for all kinds of Mother’s and Father’s Day gifts. As well as Grandparent’s Day, Weddings, Anniversaries, Memorial services, and more! If you can’t get enough of this technique, you can get the whole backstory behind Lily’s bandana and see how to layer EasyWeed® with an EasyPress on this Live with Lily recap.

Don’t forget to pin the image below to Pinterest to save and share this helpful list :)