Cricut Machines

So, you just got a Cricut . . .

Cricut Machines

If you are brand new to using a Cricut, then let me help you get started.  I am sure you have a lot of questions!  That is exactly why I am here!  I can help you learn how to use a Cricut!  From Cricut set up to understanding all of the Cricut lingo, I am here to help you!

I see people asking the same questions over and over again.  I thought wouldn’t it be nice if there was one place they could go to find all of the answers to the frequently asked questions. So get ready to learn to use your Cricut!

Well, how about we start that here!  I can turn this post into a Cricut Frequently Asked Questions page, and if I need to do a more detailed post about a specific thing I can link to it from this one mail post.  If you have a question and don’t see it here let me know please leave a comment and I can add to this post.
I have also created a printable document you can download HERE.

Design Space for the iPad

Design Space looks very different in the mobile version.  If you are using Design Space on the iPad you can reference the information HERE also.

The Cricut website

Here is a link to a video on the Cricut site . . .

Most Asked About Features In Cricut Design Space Video

~ Now let’s get to the questions that I have seen people ask ~

How do I set my Cricut up and connect to the computer?

Follow the directions HERE

Where do I find images to cut with my Cricut?

The first and easiest place to find images to use with your Cricut is in Design Space.  This is the software that goes along with your Cricut and it allows you to search for images, view project ideas and inspirations.  You can either purchase a membership to Access, which allows you to use THOUSANDS of images for one low monthly or annual fee depending on the plan you choose.
If you don’t want to do a monthly or annual plan, you can purchase individual images or groupings of images, called cartridges.  Once you purchase those images, they are yours to use over and over again.

The other way to use images is to find images on the internet and upload them.  You can also upload images into Design Space and clean them up with the magic wand tool and the eraser tool.  I have found that simple images that only have two colors in them, like a coloring book page, are the easiest to work with.
HERE is a video about how to clean up an image you upload into Design Space.
You can also purchase SVG files, which are the cutting files used with the Cricut.  To find these, Google will be your best friend.  Search for free SVG files.  For example, I just searched free dog svg and all kinds of images came up for me to choose from.

Dreaming Tree has some great SVG files, and they have a whole section of free ones.

There are also SVG files for sale out there.  Find a seller that you can trust.  There are some that are really good and there are some that are not.  I have started a list of some svg sites recommended by myself or other crafters HERE.

Designing your own files

For me, when I am designing my own files or projects, I try to break things down to simple shapes.  There might be some elements you can find in Design Space to combine into a whole new design.

One program that a lot of people use to create files is Inkscape.  There are groups on Facebook specifically for crafters who want to learn Inkscape.  Two that I am in are Inkscape for Crafters and Inkscape for Design Space.

Another topic I see asked over and over again by various Cricut owners is how to add a shadow type outline to text in Design Space if the font does not come with a shadow.  Cricut just added an Offset function and I have as in depth tutorial on the topic HERE

One of the best videos I have found about how to add a shadow to any font in Inkscape is this one HERE.  This is the only way that I do shadows on text now.

Sharing Files and Designs

When you make something in Design Space, if it was created with all Cricut purchased images or simple shapes, there is a function that allows you to share the file or design.  This is great for when you are in a group and show off the project you made and someone asks “Can I have the file so I can make this too?”

The one draw back is that if you uploaded any images in order to create this design, then Cricut will not allow you to share the file or design.  This is to help cut down on people sharing images that are protected by copywrite or trademark.

H ow to use a Cricut - Using Design Space

If you are new to using Design Space, there are some different tools and functions that this software has that you will want to learn.  I find it easier to pick a project you want to make and learn the steps/tools/functions that you will need to complete this project.  It seems to help people to remember how to do all of the different functions if they use them to create something.
I am going to list out the different functions below, and then I will also create videos for each and link to them.
This first group of functions will be found in the upper right corner of your screen when you are working in Design Space.
The following tools will all be found in the lower right corner of the screen when you are working on your computer in Design Space.

Weld – Weld allows you to join images together.  HERE is a project where I used weld to connect the shadow layer of some letters. Welding is a great way to connect the letters of a script font. I show how to do that HERE.

Slice – I like to think of slice as using a cookie cutter.  If you want to cut the number 3 out of the center of a heart, use slice.  HERE is a link to a project I did that uses slice.  One note about slice, is you can only slice two items at a time.  So if you had a square, with a circle on top and then a heart on top of that, you cannot select all three of them and use slice.  You have to do it in layers, two pieces at a time.
Attach – I use attach a lot for my card making, specifically for the inside of a card.  Make a square, and then use the text function to write up the sentiment for the inside of the card, position that on the square and select the text and the square and hit attach.  Now when the image goes to the Cricut it will ask you to insert your pen first so it can write the words, and then it will cut the square around it.
Contour – Contour allows you to turn on or off some of the different parts of an image.  HERE is a project with a video to show you how contour works.
The next group of tools will all be found in top of the screen, above the space where you are designing your project.
Align – Align allows you to make sure that your items are in a straight line. I used that in a project HERE.
This group of tools are found on the left hand side of the screen.
Text – This allows you to add text to your projects.  HERE is a video about adding text to a project.
Also read the next section of this post about Fonts.  This will let you do so much more with the text function.  I also have a tutorial HERE that talks about the difference between a Writing Font and a Cutting Font.
The Cricut can also do Print then Cut projects.  For these you would first print the image on your printer and then use the Cricut to cut it.  Think of this like making a sticker.  Here is a tutorial on Print then Cut. If you want to learn the difference between a print then cut and a cut only project, you can read this tutorial HERE.

Questions about Fonts

When working with fonts, first think about what you want the Cricut to do.  Do you want it to cut out letters that you are going to attach to something or do you want a pen placed into the Cricut to write the letters out for you?
For an example of cut letters, check out this post . . . click HERE
For an example of a font with a shadow layer, check out this post . . . click HERE
Learn to add a shadow, offset or outline to text, images and shapes by clicking HERE.
For an example of how to use Inkscape to add a shadow to any font, click HERE
For an example of the pen writing the letters, check out the inside of this card . . . click HERE
You can search Cricut for fonts, and there is a filter to tell you if it is a writing font or a cutting font. If you choose a cutting font and the change the icon in Design Space from cutting to writing it will only draw/write the outline of the letters.  To my knowledge, there is no font that will color in the full letter for you.
You can also download additional fonts to use.  My favorite site to download fonts from is  Just download and install that font onto your computer, and then whenever you are using that same computer those fonts will show up in Design Space for you to use.  Instead of explaining how to install a font, I am just going to link you to the directions for installation on the DaFont site . . . click HERE.
There are also fonts that are called Dingbat fonts.  These are fonts that use images instead of letters.  I did a whole blog post just about using Dingbat fonts to find images you can use in your projects.  Click HERE for that post.

Questions about Working with Vinyl

* Where is the best place to buy vinyl?

If you are making a small, one time vinyl project it will probably be easiest to run to your local craft store and pick up some vinyl,  but if you are going to be making larger projects or looking to use your Cricut to make things to sell then you are probably looking for the best deal on large quantities of vinyl.  The most recommended place I see time and time again is 143Vinyl.

My favorite brand of HTV, or iron on vinyl is Siser.

* What type of vinyl do I need for my project?

That depends . . . what do you want to make?
  • Are you going to put the vinyl directly on the wall of your house?  Then I would use something that can be easily removed.  This is also called 651 vinyl.  When you remove this it will not tear up your drywall.
  • Are you going to put this on a car, glass or other item where you want it to stay there for good?  Then you want permanent vinyl.  This is also called 651 vinyl.
  • Are you going to put this on a shirt or something else made of fabric?  Then you want the iron on vinyl.   This is also called HTV or Heat Transfer Vinyl,

What is weeding?

After you cut an image or words in vinyl, you have to remove the negative space.  This process is called weeding.
One big tip for weeding is to add a weeding box around your image/text to help to make it easier to remove the negative space.  Click HERE to see more details on weeding boxes.

For more help

Cricut Classes

If you would like some one on one help you can also book a video conference class with Shawn. If you just need help with one project or if you want to learn all of the functions of Design Space, there is a class for you.
The Teach Me Cricut Design Space Online Course will show you how to use each and every button in Design Space with easy to follow tutorials so you really learn the power of Design Space. This is my most complete and comprehensive resource! If you want personalized one on one time with me over video conference you can choose either the Project Specific Help or the Teach Me Cricut Design Space One on One session.

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5 Responses

  1. I have worked in a factory all of my working years. I am not good with comupers. My friend talked me into a Cricut when I retired 5 years ago. I have an ipad. I have no clue how to save & download files on my ipad. I’ve had my girls try to help me. They couldn’t figure it out either. I am lost. Just wondering if any of your classes would help me out. Thank you!

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