How to Create a Cut Line for Vector Images

Easy to follow steps that will help you make a cut line for your vector graphic. Take a look at the helpful video guide as well. 

Step 1: Set up your design in Illustrator.

Open illustrator, then open the file where your design is located. Find the file folder where you saved your design and open it. You are now able to view your design.

Step 2: Make sure you’re using CMYK colors.

Go to File and scroll down to Document Mode. Make sure that CMYK is selected.

Step 3: Sizing your design for printing.

To resize your design for printing, first select your entire design. Then go to the transform panel and Select Width or Height to keep the same dimensions. Increase Width or Height depending on what size your design needs to be.

Step 4: Creating a Cut Line for your design.

To begin making the cut line, create a new Layer and label it as Cut. Then select the whole design and press Control + C to copy it. Next, make sure you  select your Cut Line layer and paste it over your design by hitting Control + V. Or you can also go to Edit and scroll down to Paste to do the same thing.

*Bonus Tip: Make sure to lock your first layer before pasting the Cut Line layer to make sure it doesn’t get tampered with.

Step 5: Using the Pathfinder Tool.

Select the Pathfinder Tool and click Unite to make your artwork a solid object.

Step 6: Change Fill to Stroke.

Select the Cut Line Layer. Go to the left side of the screen and find the tool panel. Go down to Fill/Stroke and reverse these properties. Then go to the color Tab and change the color to either Cyan or Magenta. Make sure that the stroke width is 1.

Step 7: Creating the Bleed Layer.

Create a new layer and title it as Bleed. Take this layer and put it at the bottom of the composition, or the bottom of the other layers. Then select the Cut Line layer, copy the Cut Line layer using Control + C and paste it using Control + V or select the Edit bar and scroll down to Paste.

Step 8: Extending the Bleed Layer.

Select the Bleed layer and then pick the Eyedropper tool from the tool panel on the left. Select the outermost color on your design. Then go to Fill/Stroke and flip the properties. Then go to the Stroke and extend it far past the design.  

Step 9: Review and Save.

Review your design by giving it a good look over. Then go to File and scroll down to Save As. Select the appropriate location to save your file. Make sure it is saved as an appropriate file type, then click Save.