Portrait to Vinyl Decal Cleanup

There's a few applications out there used to clean up images before converting to a vectorized image for a vinyl decal.  My favorite cleanup buddy is Adobe Fireworks, but I'll have to give that up once I get another computer since Adobe is scrapping it.  Uggghhh!  I miss Macromedia!

I can clean images in Pazzles Pro 2010 and Make-The-Cut too, but only after I've vectorized the photo.

Some people like to convert black and white or gray scale photos, but I tend to use whichever will make the converted image look good.  The fewer the steps the better for me.

Here's a photo I found online of someone with natural hair.  I chose this photo because I wanted to see how the hair would look.  As you can tell from the photo I cleaned up quite a bit (if I had left it as is, I would be weeding this for days).  This photo was easy to convert because the background was really clean, which did not disturb the main object in the photo.

When I'm cleaning up vectorized photos that I know I will make into a cut file, I clean out as many tiny pieces as I can.  I would probably clean more off from her hands and around her eyes for an easier cut.

These silhouettes can be adhered to many surfaces and some people even cut them from paper.  I usually use vinyl because I can pick up all pieces at once using clear contact paper.

I've made these personal portrait decals for people to use on cell phones, cell phone cases, laptops, wooden plaques, walls, t-shirts, jackets, tote bags, doors, tiles, license plates, etc.  It doesn't take me long to create these.  I don't charge a lot to do these (especially if you want a downloadable digital file).  People love to give these silhouettes as Christmas gifts.
If you ever want to convert a photo to a silhouette, delete the background and clean off as many small pieces as you can.

There are some photo to stencil programs (or vectorizing programs) out there for you to freely use, but you'll still have to clean the photo so you can have a clean cut file.   When you upload a busy background to one of the free programs, you will get undesired results if you plan on cutting the file. If you only want a print out, the free programs are the way to go.

Here's a video I did a little while back.

Talk to ya later.

Gina  :-)


  1. Hi Gina!
    Thanks for sharing this great information. Love your projects. Soooo creative!!!

    1. Hi Shirley

      You're welcome. Thank you and thank you for stopping by and taking the time to comment. :-)