What program or software is best for making scroll saw patterns?

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Forum topic by KristiStL posted 07-17-2015 04:09 PM 5517 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 464 days

07-17-2015 04:09 PM

Topic tags/keywords: scroll saw software pattern making silhouette studio

I am new to scroll sawing, LOVE it and find that I’m getting quite good at it but I am looking for some software options for creating my own patterns…either word/text or images. I’ve seen some scroll saw plaques that overlap text (example: “FAMILY” in the background and something like “Life’s greatest blessing” stretched out over the top of it) and while I could buy their specific patterns…and may… I would also like to make my own and share them with others as well.

Any help and advice on programs would be helpful. I can do it the hard way…by hand…but I’m confident there is a much easier way. I have a Silhouette Cameo cutting machine and can use their Silhouette Studio software, which seems similar to Photoshop but I’ve yet to figure out if this could be an option since i already have it. I’m still learning how to use that as well.

Thanks in advance!

5 replies so far

View MrUnix's profile


4028 posts in 1618 days

#1 posted 07-17-2015 04:56 PM

I doubt there is any one ‘best’ software for making patterns, and it has a lot to do with what you are trying to accomplish. the type of patterns you want to make, and what you are familiar with/comfortable using. For many, just a simple graphics program like MS-paint works fine. Word processors can be used for text based and simple graphics patterns pretty easily. More advanced graphics packages allow more options and a greater range of possibilities, but not everyone can become proficient using them. It’s up to each individual and depends on many factors.

For me, I find that between Gimp and LibreOffice (both free and run on multiple platforms), there isn’t really anything I can’t do fairly easily – from signs with mostly lettering, to fairly intricate scroll saw portraits. Photoshop is also widely regarded, but it’s not an option for me as it won’t run on my systems. I’m not familiar with Silhouette Studio, but that may be a good option as well.


-- Brad in FL - To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid

View Redoak49's profile


1817 posts in 1408 days

#2 posted 07-17-2015 05:12 PM

I think there are a number of ways to do it. Since I have PowerPoint,I have used it to do lettering projects and others. Gimp works well

Try looking at Steve Goods site. Also, the site has a good forum. That site is down right now for an upgrade.

View ddockstader's profile


151 posts in 2680 days

#3 posted 07-17-2015 05:22 PM

I love Inkscape for pattern making. Besides being free, it is almost unlimited in it’s graphics capability. You can take raster graphics (bitmaps) from almost anywhere and convert them into smooth, scalable vector graphics in no time. Just try blowing up a small clip art some time and watch how the edges all become jagged. Those aren’t fun to saw. But by converting it to vectors there are no jagged edges and the scaling is infinite. It does take a little effort to learn, but you can be making patterns pretty quickly and there are tons of video tutorials on YouTube to cover all kinds of functions. Then if you want to create word graphics that can be shaped, put on a circle or along a curved path, there are tutorials for that as well. Travis at has some great tutorials (they’re on YouTube as well). I’ve designed wine glass holders, all sorts of intricate word art, and even some intarsia and marquetry on Inkscape. Just go to to download. They just updated to version .91 earlier this year.

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David Taylor

326 posts in 506 days

#4 posted 07-17-2015 05:26 PM

The ultimate graphics program for this would be Adobe Illustrator – very high learning curve very high price tag. It’s a vector graphics program meaning you do line drawings and then can scale them without loss of resolution.

A free option would be Inkscape ( I don’t know about its learning curve.

There’s a good comparison list here –

-- Learn Relentlessly

View KristiStL's profile


2 posts in 464 days

#5 posted 07-20-2015 02:21 PM

Thanks everyone for the feedback and advice. Much appreciated.

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