making layers in Cricut Design Space

Creating Layers

Yesterday I showed you how to upload an image that you found online, clean it up in Design Space and then save it as a cutting file. If you missed that post, you can go back and check it out HERE. Today we are going to talk about creating layers for that same image. The layers we create will be for the different colors we want to cut.

So let’s pick up where we left off! Your image is now saved as a cut file in your uploaded images. I have it pointed out in the image below with the blue arrow. Click on the image and you will see a green outline to the image box. That tells you that you have that image selected. Now you can click the green Insert button in the lower right corner of the screen.

Cricut Design Space uploaded images

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Now your screen should look like the following image. Right now, if you click Make It, the Cricut would cut exactly where all of those black lines are. All of the sections where you can see the Design Space canvas grid lines, would be open spaces in your cut. But we want colored layers, so let’s make those now.

uploaded image in Cricut Design Space

Creating Layers in Cricut Design Space

I am going to show you the Duplicate and Contour method for making layers. Start by right clicking on the image and and selecting duplicate from the drop down.

duplicate in Cricut Design Space
duplicate in Cricut Design Space

Duplicate is like using the Copy and Paste function from other software programs but it does it all in one step. You can also use the Duplicate button found in the upper right corner of your Design Space Canvas.

So now I have two houses on my screen. I am going to go to the top of the screen, where you see the blue circle in the image below, and I am going to click on that box to open up my color selector. From here I can pick any color I want for the house. I am going to start with brown. Now you can see I have exact same house, once in black and once in brown.

changing the color in Cricut Design Space

From this point, we are just going to focus on the brown house, and this will be our brown layer for the cut image.

Using Contour to create Layers

using contour to create layers in Cricut Design Space

With the brown house selected, click on the Contour button in the lower right corner of your Cricut Design Space canvas.

This will open up a new window that looks like the image below. You can see all of the different areas or sections of the image you have selected. Contour allows you to control these sections, and turn on or off the sections as needed. This will create your colored layers, since we don’t want to cut the whole house from brown, just the sections of it that we want to be brown in the finished project.

using contour to create layers in Cricut Design Space

Click on the very first house preview that the blue arrow is pointing to in the image below. Now look at your brown house on the left hand side of the screen. The image is now a fully filled in brown house! The Cricut will now cut each section of the house out of brown, and you can layer that on top of the black!

using contour to create layers in Cricut Design Space

But now the whole house is brown

Now, if your saying “Wait a minute Shawn! I don’t want the whole house brown! I just want sections of the house to be brown, like the chimney.” Don’t worry, I am getting to that. It is the next step in the process.

Next you will want to click on every section you want to turn off. You can do this two ways. One, you can click on the sections of the house in the Contour window. To highlight this, I circled the same area of the house in the Contour window and in the Cricut Design Space working canvas in the image below. You can see when you look at the image on the left how it turned off different sections.

using contour to create layers in Cricut Design Space

The second way to turn off sections is in the smaller right preview panel, which I have indicated with the blue star. The shapes or parts of the house that are turned off have a darker gray background color to their preview, like the section that has the blue star in it. The house section right below it has a lighter gray background to it’s preview. This means that this section is still turned on. If you can figure out which sections you need to turn on and off just from that little side preview, you can click on them there. I like to kind of watch the house image on the left to make sure I turn on and off the correct sections. If you turn one off that you wanted on, just click it back on. No big deal.

Zoom and Move around in Contour

The Contour window does have a zoom in the lower left corner if you need zoom in or out to select sections. There is also a slider bar to help you move around on the view. The right side preview panel also has a slider bar so you can move through all of the sections.

Back to our layer

Below is how my image looked once I had just the sections for the chimney and the steps turned on.

using contour to create layers in Cricut Design Space

Now I can move those over into the outline of the house and it looks like those sections are colored in. Don’t worry too much about lining the sections up PERFECTLY in this screen. Remember, the Cricut is going to cut each color out as it’s own layer on a different mat. You are going to have to put the puzzle of this image back together after it is cut. That is when you can focus on lining things up perfect.

using contour to create layers in Cricut Design Space

Duplicate again for each color

Now we are going to repeat this whole process again for each color we want in this design of the house. Instead of Duplicating the black house layer, I am going to duplicate the brown layer this time. The reason I start with the brown layer is that the full outline of the house is already turned off. This means there will be fewer thing to turn on and off inside the Contour window. To Duplicate that layer, I click on the brown layer over on the right layers panel, and then I can either right click to select Duplicate or just click that Duplicate button that I have circled in the image below.

duplicate in Cricut Design Space

Tip about the Layers Panel

If you have not used the layer panel very much, I really suggest getting to know it and understand it. I love using this layers panel! I used to try to click on the section or layer I wanted on the image. So many times I would end up selecting the whole image not just the one layer I wanted. Using the layer panel allows me to focus in on the one layer I want to work with. You can see in the image above that I only have one layer selected since the background for preview of that layer is a darker gray color. Look where the blue arrow is. Can you see the difference in the color of the background of that layer preview from the one right below it? That shows you exactly what you have selected.

Back to duplicating. This creates another copy of this layer. When I select that I am going to change the color to a light cream. In the image below you see the cream colored layer I just created.

making layers in Cricut Design Space

Making adjustments

After I did this, I realized that I wanted the steps going up to the house to be the cream color and the bricks on the chimney to be brown. No problem! I just clicked on the cream layer and then used Contour to open up the window to turn off the chimney pieces. Then I clicked on the brown layer and used Contour to turn off the steps. When I was done my image looked like the picture below.

creating layers in Cricut Design Space

Repeat for each color

That is it! Now you just continue this same process for each color you want in the design. Duplicate one of the layers you already have. Change the color to the color you want the new layer to be. Use contour to turn on or off the correct sections for that color. When my house was complete, I had the following colored layers

  • Black
  • Brown
  • Gray
  • Cream
  • Yellow
  • Blue
  • Lilac
  • Pink
  • White
  • Green
Layered image Cricut Design Space

That is a total of 10 layers in all! That is a lot! I think we are going to stop here for this tutorial. In the next post I will show you how to make this whole house 22″ wide, which is larger than a standard Cricut cutting mat. Click HERE if you want to go to that tutorial right now.

To see all of the steps for my UP Classroom Project Tutorials follow the links below
Uploading and Cleaning up an Image
Using Contour to Create Layers
Slice Extra Large Images
Assemble Larger Than Mat Projects

5 Responses

  1. After this full process, Now what is the next step, do I attach, or weld, ect. This is where I have had problems completing this project. I want only a cut image but somehow have ended up with a print n cut image. Thank you so much.

    1. Next I would hit Make It to begin to cut out each colored layer. There is no need to Attach or Weld.

      Attach holds the placement and position of things, but since these were done with Duplicate and Contour they will already hold their placement and position.

      Weld joins two or more things that are touching so you would not want that. That would join all of the layers you just made into one solid shape.

      If you are ending up with a Print Then Cut image, you might be clicking on Flatten. Again, no need to do that.

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