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 22350 views 1 time favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 1465 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!

8 replies so far

View MrUnix's profile


7405 posts in 2619 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 - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View Redoak49's profile


4045 posts in 2409 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


165 posts in 3682 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 1507 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

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2 posts in 1465 days

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

Thanks everyone for the feedback and advice. Much appreciated.

View Edwardnorton's profile


203 posts in 2347 days

#6 posted 11-13-2016 05:42 AM

Corel Draw by far in my opinion. You can try it for free for 30 days; CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X8 Trial

It is $419.00 to buy but keep in mind, you get what you pay for. CorelDraw can do more detailed editing than any other program I think & I have them all (Coyote Stencil Shop, Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, Illustrator, Painter Essentials, Rapid Resizer & a few others). If your only going to 1 or 2 for personal use then I’d use Gimp since it is free.

If you are wanting to do it for re-sale then I would spend the bucks & get software that is made for doing this type of editing. Personally if you can’t afford CorelDraw then I would buy Coyote Stencil Shop. It is only $89.95 and I have seen even novices print out a near perfect pattern!

Comparing editing software is not like comparing different tool brands. There is no difference between a Harbor Freight tool or a DeWalt, Bosch, Excalibur etc if the operator is a novice, in a hurry etc.

I’ve spent thousands on software & 25 years + using it. Just sharing my personal opinion & experience to you.

Here are some examples of the Coyote Stencil Shop software usage: Examples

-- EdwardNorton

View MrUnix's profile


7405 posts in 2619 days

#7 posted 12-29-2016 02:10 PM

Dredging up an old thread, but thought I’d mention that Corel Draw won’t run on anything but a Windoze platform and has a really restrictive EULA. Coyote as well. Running in a virtual environment would be an option, but then you add even more costs for licensing yet another operating system.

But I am curious… why do you feel that you can do ‘more detailed editing’ than any other package? A pixel is a pixel.


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View Brian Morgan's profile

Brian Morgan

12 posts in 4004 days

#8 posted 12-30-2016 02:14 AM

The type pattern that Kristi describes is known as intersecting word art. It can be created with free software – Inkscape is a free vector drawing software. There is an excellent Youtube video giving instructions on creating intersecting word art using Inkscape at the following link:


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