How To Design Your Own Scroll Saw Patterns? – Complete Guide

The beauty of a scroll saw pattern is that it can be as creative as you want it to be. You don’t have to worry about the accuracy of lines or even making sure that they go from point A to point B, as this is taken care of for you by the design software you use. Scroll saw patterns are also created on a computer, which makes it easier to experiment with different ideas and then see how they will look when cut into the wood.

All you have to do is download some free design software, chose a picture that you would like to turn into your own pattern, adjust the size so that it will fit onto your project board, tell the software what type of scroll saw you have, and then hit ‘print’. This is where the next step comes in, as you cannot just print out your new pattern and start cutting it. All scroll saw patterns come with a ‘grain’ and this has to be respected in order for your pattern to work.

The grain is the direction that the wood fibers run, so if you cut against or across them then your piece of wood will break or splinter. This is why it’s so important to think about where the grain on your pattern goes before you start cutting.

Step by Step How To Design Your Own Scroll Saw Patterns

  • Choose a picture to use (can be computer-generated or scanned in)

  • Use free design software to turn pictures into a pattern.

  • Resize the scrolling saw pattern so that it will fit your project board, seams together correctly, and doesn’t exceed the size of your wood piece.

  • Save the pattern onto a memory stick/flash drive/external hard drive for uploading later on when you are cutting out your jigsaw pieces.

  • Upload pattern to scroll saw machine, following all instructions provided with the design software.

  • Cut along lines of pattern carefully, following the direction of the grain in wood so as not to break pieces apart when finished cutting. 

  • Repeat steps if necessary until you have the desired number of jigsaw pieces to make one full picture.

  • Arrange and fit together your scroll saw puzzle pieces using glue or double-sided tape.

  • Once dry, sand down the edges of each jigsaw piece and paint.


1. Firstly you need a good quality photo of the image that you’d like to make a scroll saw jigsaw puzzle from, this is important as if it isn’t clear enough then it will be hard for you to be able to follow the grain correctly and your pieces may end up not fitting together properly. Try using a digital camera instead of taking a photo with your phone as most phones now have very poor resolution, making it difficult to see what you’re doing.

2. Once you have your picture then open it in some design software such as Corel Draw or Photoshop, these are both free but there are also cheaper ones out there if money is an issue (e.g., GIMP). Save the picture onto your memory stick/flash drive/external hard drive.

3. Now you need to resize the image so that it fits onto your project board, make sure that all cutting is finished before sizing down your picture or it will be difficult for you to fit each section of it together later on without them overlapping somewhere. If the image is too big then simply resize it until you get the best fit possible.

4. Once everything is ready then upload the scrolling saw pattern into your machine and cut away! It’s also a good idea to label each jigsaw piece with a number or letter in case they get mixed up while being used or after the paint has been applied so bear this in mind when designing yours. 

How the scroll saw patterns works

A scroll saw is a type of power tool used for cutting intricate or artistic patterns into different materials. The blade on a scroll saw is mounted vertically and moves back and forth, which makes it ideal for free-hand arts and crafts work. Many people choose to use their own handmade scrolling saw designs when working with wood, metal, etching glass, or even plastics.

To start creating your design you need to be sure that the grain runs in the direction that you want it to before cutting out your pieces. If not then when you are finished you will find that the pieces don’t fit together like they should because the grain would have run against where all of your seams lie. Once this is taken care of then everything else is easy; all you need to do is decide on the size of your scroll saw pattern and then resize it so that it fits onto your project board. 

Once this is done, save the picture onto a memory stick/flash drive/external hard drive for uploading later on when cutting out each piece. When you want to cut out an image, simply upload the scrolling saw pattern to your machine and then cut along the lines with your scroll saw, making sure that you follow the direction of the grain.

Guidelines to Remember

  • Scroll saws can only be used on materials that would normally be suitable for cutting by hand (e.g., wood, metal, etching glass).
  • When cutting out your scrolling saw pattern on a flat surface you do not have the benefit of being able to cut straight up and down. This is why it’s important to remember which way the grain on your pattern goes so that you can follow it while cutting.
  • If there are any logos on your pattern then you’ll need to reverse them before uploading the picture into your machine. Many design software programs now offer an option for doing this, or they will give you the option of changing it yourself if you know what you’re doing.
  • Some images can be put together in more than one way but still come out looking the same, so if it’s important to be able to see all parts of a logo on your finished jigsaw puzzle then try rotating it around first before cutting out each piece. 
  • You can make multiple jigsaw pieces from one scrolling saw pattern by simply resizing and saving after every cut. Just remember which order they were made in as this is how they fit together later on.

Final Thoughts

The pieces all fit together as they should and the grain follows where the seams lie. The process is simple, you make sure that your project board fits what you want to cut out of it, resize the picture however big or small you need it to be for this, download it onto your machine, and then cut away! It’s as easy as that !!! Thanks for reading my article on how to design your own scroll saw patterns!!! I hope that this has been a help to anyone who reads it.