knockout text tutorial

Knockout Text

Today I am going to show you a project that combines using the Offset and Slice features in Design Space. Typically these are called knockout text projects, since you will be knocking out our removing a portion of the design to draw more emphasis to a portion of the text. You can see in the image below that a portion of the word Grandma has been removed or knocked out so that the names of the grandchildren can fit perfectly inside that space.

knockout text

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For this tutorial I am going to focus just on creating the knockout text. I have a second tutorial for creating the shirt that you can find HERE.

Knockout Text Supplies:

  • I Love Glitter Font which you can download from Dafont
  • Cooper Hewitt Font which you can download from 1001FreeFonts

Download and Install your Fonts

The first thing you will want to do for this knockout text project is to download and install your fonts. If you have never done this before, there is a tutorial for you HERE. Or you can watch the video below for the process. If you will be working from Design Space on a mobile device, the process is slightly different, so I have a video on that on my YouTube channel HERE.

Insert Text

Now that you have the fonts you need for this knockout text shirt, we can start to work on the design. Click on the text button and type in GRANDMA in all capital letters. You can use the font pull down that I have circled on the far left of this image to find the Cooper Hewitt font.

knockout text

I want the word Grandma to be tall so I have room for the knockout text over the top of it, so I am going to click on the little padlock icon in the lower left corner, which I indicated with the blue arrow in the image above. This allows you to stretch and alter the text. In the size area, which is circled in the very top of the image above, I can type in the overall dimensions I want. For this design I did 10″ wide and 3″ high.

When I am working on a design, I like to make things the color that it will be on the final project. I find that helps me to better visualize things. To change the color just click on the little square in the operations area, which I circled in blue for you in the image below.

knockout text design

I Love Glitter Font

Now for the fancy stuff! We are going to type in the names we want inside the word Grandma, and add a cute little heart and lines to the text. Type in a left bracket, then the first name, then an underscore, then the second name, then a right bracket. It should look exactly like the black text in the image below with no spaces between anything.

knockout text

After you have the text typed in, click on the font name and change the font to I love Glitter.

knockout text i love glitter

When you change the font to I Love Glitter it should look like the image below. See how the brackets changed into the lines at the beginning and the end of the text. And the underscore changed into the cute little heart mage. These are called glyphs.

knockout text i love glitter

Ungroup and Move/Adjust the Text

Now we have to move those letters so that they touch and are one continuous word. This is probably the most time consuming portion of this project, since using the build in letter spacing tool does not give us a clean look. That is why I am going to show you how to use Ungroup and move the letters manually.

With the text of the names selected click on the Ungroup button in the upper right corner of the screen in Design Space. This will change all of the parts of the text into individual letters. Now you can start to move the letters until they touch. I like to do this one word or name at a time so if I do not like the look I can use the Undo button in the upper left corner to easily go back and start over for that word.

In the image below you can see that I have all of the letters for the name Thomas touching. I like to select all of the letters and use the Align to Bottom feature to make sure that the bottom edges are all in a straight line. You can see the align feature by the blue arrow in the image below.

knockout text

After you have the name exactly how you want it, select the whole name and click the Weld button in the lower right corner of Design Space. Weld will connect anything that is touching or overlapping into one continuous item. This way the Cricut will cut the words instead of the individual letters. I also like to weld by word or groups of letters. You will see why in the next section of this knockout text tutorial.

Fixing Filled in Letters

Sometime when you weld together letters a portion of one letter, like the center of and e, will fill in. This is because a small portion of the letter next to it is actually going into that opening. This actually happened to me when I was welding the Katie portion of this project, as you can see in the image below, so I figured it was a great time to show you how to fix the problem.

welding letters fix

If you see one of your letters have filled in like this, click the Undo button in the upper left corner of Design Space. This will undo the last step, which in this case was welding the name together. Next I select the letter that filled in, and the letter right next to it. If you have a steady hand you might be able to do this by making a window around the two letters, but I actually like to use the layers panel on the right hand side for this.

Find the letters in the layers panel and while holding down the shift key on your keyboard, click on the letters from the layers panel. As you can see in the image below, when you select an item from the layers panel the whole background for that item becomes a darker color in the layers panel. This is how you can see exactly which items you have selected. Look at the blue arrows by the layers panel to see that color change.

Now click the weld button, which I have indicated with a blue arrow in the lower right corner of Design Space. This will weld just the i and the e together. Sometimes just welding those two letters together is enough to fix the center of the e from filling in, but if it still fills in for you just click Undo and move the e slightly to the right and try welding again.

knockout text

Once you get the names welded together, you can move the lines and the cute little heart piece into place, and weld those on to the names. When you are done you should have an image like the one in the picture below.

knockout text i love glitter

Now you can click on the square under the operations section and change the color of this portion of the design. You can find that by the blue arrow in the image below. If you feel like you need to adjust the width of the text you can do that at this time also.

knockout text color size

Since I am doing this project with two lines of names, I will repeat this whole process for the second line of names.

Add an Offset

Now this is where things get really fun! We are going to create an offset layer around the names, and then use that same offset to slice an opening or knockout into the word Grandma. If you have never used offset before you can click HERE to learn more about that feature. For this knockout text project I selected the names, and then went to the offset button, which opened up some choices for me.

I changed the distance to .05 and used the rounded corner option. I love that Design Space gives you a little preview of what your offset will look like in blue. This can help you visualize the project and if you want to adjust things you can. Then just click Apply.

knockout text offset

Once you hit Apply your image will look like the one below. You can just leave the offset color as black. We will not be cutting this offset from vinyl. We just needed to create it as part of the designing process. The next step is to create an offset for the second line of names for this knockout text design.

knockout text

Group the Layers of the Text

Before you move the names and the offset layer that you need for the knockout text into position, select the two layers and click Group in the upper right corner. I have the Group button indicated with a blue arrow in the image below. Group will keep each piece on it’s own layer, but allow you to move them together as one big grouping.

knockout text group

Now I can place both lines of names where I want the over the Grandma.

knockout text using slice

Slice to Create Knockout Text

Now we have to slice out the offset layer for both lines of text from the Grandma. This will create the openings in the word Grandma. One of the things that most people forget about slice is that you can only have two items selected at one time for slice to work. So for our design we are going to want to slice the black offset layers from the blue Grandma layer.

Do you see why I like to change the parts of my design to the vinyl I will be using? When you are looking at those colors it makes it easier to see what you need to keep and what is just there to help you create the design, but you don’t need to actually cut out.

If you look in the layers panel on the right, there is a little eyeball icon. You can use this to turn on and off layers. The Cricut will only cut layers that are turned on. For this step of the knockout text project I am going to turn off the purple names layers. Once you do that, your image will look like the one below, with only the blue and black layers showing.

knockout text using slice

Remember, you can only select two things at one time, so select the Grandma and the top line of names, then click the Slice button in the lower right corner of the screen. I have it indicated with the blue arrow in the image above. Then select the Grandma and the lower line of names, and click Slice.

Cricut Tip

Using my same layers panel trick, find the Grandma in the layers panel, and click on the eyeball icon for that layer. I have it indicated in blue in the image below.

knockout text

That will turn off the entire Grandma and leave you with an image like the one in the picture below. You can delete everything that is left on the screen from slicing. This is what will create the opening for the knockout text.

knockout text

The very last step is to go back to the layers panel and click that eyeball icon again to turn the layers back on for Grandma and both lines of text. Your image should look like the one below.

knockout text

The last thing I would suggest you do is click on both of the purple names layers from the layers panel and click the Attach button. Attach will hold the placement and position of things when you click Make It in Design Space. I actually forgot to do this when I made my Grandma shirt project, so I had to press my names one line at a time instead of the whole layer at once.

Knockout Text Video

If you want to watch all of the steps come together in a video, I have that for you also!

Ways to use Knockout Text

The knockout text look is very popular for Mother’s Day crafts. You could place this design in a frame, on a pillow or on shirt to give as a gift. I will show you how to place this design on a shirt in my next post, which you can find HERE.


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