Archive for February, 2009

More on using the Paint Bucket in Inkscape

Wow, the response to the first video has been overwhelming, literally. I am approaching my bandwidth limit at screencast and am looking for a different way to host the tutorials. Here is the second video, which shows how to use the Inkscape paint bucket technique to convert a color image into color separated vectors for cutting on your Cricut. If this doesn’t work, please try this alternate site for viewing the video.


February 25, 2009 at 4:43 pm 25 comments

New Technique for Making Piecing Patterns in Inkscape

picture-4Did you know you can use the Paint Bucket tool in Inkscape to trace a bitmap piece by piece? Well, you can and it’s a fun and easy technique you’ll want to add to your arsenal. Click for part 1 of the video tutorial which covers how to convert a black and white (line art) coloring book page  into vector form for paper piecing patterns you can cut with your Cricut.

February 24, 2009 at 10:25 pm 27 comments

Master List of Cricut Video Tutorials

Inspired by AdobeTV, which puts all kinds of video tutorials together for users of Adobe products, I longed for a comprehensive list of video tutorials related to the Cricut machine. Finding none, I developed my own poor man’s version on At the brand new CricupediaTV , you will find a list of Cricut-related video tutorials which are categorized by topic and user level (click on “All Topics” to filter). In the comments field, I have also included the length of each video (where available without timing it myself).

Now, if you want to see every possible video related to Cricut, you can always use Google for that. So as to be the most useful, I have limited the list specifically to videos which are tutorials, or in some case demos that teach something. I have also included only those videos that are free. With these criteria, there are already 116 tutorials cataloged!

If you would like to help with this project, please suggest additional videos, notify me if you find duplicates and rate the videos you watch so that the star ratings will become meaningful.


Update: Cricut Video Master List has a new home

February 13, 2009 at 6:53 am 17 comments

Free Valentine .scut files at

Update: These files are no longer free.

I found a great source for free .scut files and information about Sure-Cuts-A-Lot software. Check out for many great Valentine cuttables like the basket shown below.

February 12, 2009 at 1:35 pm 6 comments

Free SVG silhouettes at UberPiglet

For those of you that were frustrated with the earlier vector packs because of the conversion required, you are going to love this site. has an outstanding collection of silhouettes that are already in SVG format. All you need to do is open them up in Inkscape and save the image you want into a new document for import into SCAL.

Some examples include the Safari and Farm Animals set from Spoon Graphics:

and the Transportation Pack from D.A.T.:

There are 15 sets in all covering business people, dancing people, sports, florals and more. SCAL users are going to want all of them!

February 11, 2009 at 2:09 pm 8 comments

Instant font slideshow in Mac OSX (Leopard & later)

Compared to the PC side, there is a dearth of font viewing software for Macs. In particular, none of the freebies and few of the for-pay font utilities I have found allow you to view uninstalled fonts. However, you can view the character sets for your fonts, whether installed or uninstalled with this Mac OSX Leopard  (and beyond) trick.

Open a finder window and select the fonts you want to view. Here I have filtered my downloaded fonts folder by searching for “ttf” to eliminate most of the folders and read me files. It doesn’t matter what view you are in. I am showing this in the cover flow view, because some of you may not know you can use it for fonts.


Next just tap the space bar (or the QuickView icon which looks like an eye) and your font slide show window will appear. Use the arrow keys to navigate or click on the triangle on the screen to play the slideshow automatically. In Lion it  looks like you have to press the full screen button before you get the slide show option.


The contact sheet button works, too, though it acted a little quirky for me .


This is really a lot of fun to play with. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

February 8, 2009 at 6:25 am 6 comments

60 Free Vector Packs and how to use them

From Smashing Magazine comes this awesome listing of some of the best free vector packs available.

The Ultimate Collection Of Free Vector Packs

While the images are beautiful and many are suitable for cutting, few of them are in SVG format. Most are in EPS, PDF or AI format. Newer AI files, as well as PDFs will import directly into Inkscape. When you double click on an EPS file on a Macintosh, it will be converted to PDF automatically and open in Preview. From there all you have to do is save it and Inkscape will make it into an SVG.

Once you have imported an AI or PDF into Inkscape, click on the vector pack and begin ungrouping until you see dotted rectangles around each individual image. To work on an image, drag it off by itself or save it to a new document to do any necessary simplification, color separation or whatever. Once it has been saved in Inkscape you can then import it into SCAL for cutting.

Here’s an example, starting with one of the free vector packs from


We open up the EPS version and save it as PDF in Preview, then open it in Inkscape and Ungroup


Then delete everything but the dolphin we were after and saved under a new name.


February 6, 2009 at 6:55 am 7 comments

Hand sketch fill with Cricut markers


As a follow up to the last video tutorial, this time we start with the filled in text and alter it using an Inkscape filter to give it a more hand sketched look. For those of you who are familiar with Illustrator, this gives a somewhat similar effect to the Scribble Tool.

Video Tutorial

February 4, 2009 at 6:13 am 2 comments

A new font from old shapes

As promised, allow me to introduce PunchDings, a dingbat font I created on by gluing shapes from my (much bigger than I realized) collection of craft punches onto the font template.


Pretty cool, if I do say so myself. Download the TrueType font here. If you’d like to share this font, please help me publicize my blog by sharing a link to this page instead of just the font file. The sharing button in the right hand column makes that easy. Thanks!

February 2, 2009 at 6:52 am 38 comments

Create your own font online for free


Update: yourfonts is no longer free :( Try MyScriptFont instead, which was still free as of January 2011.

One of my favorite web apps of late is called YourFonts and it lets you create a personal font online. All you need is a printer and a scanner. The process is very simple, first you download and print their grid page, write in your letters and then scan the page. Alternately, you can download a bitmap version of the grid and paste in your own art or input with a graphics tablet. You could also cut and paste letters from a handwriting sample for a more natural look. Once your grid is filled in to your satisfaction, upload it to YourFonts and within minutes you can download your brand new TrueType font, ready to install. Amazingly, this service is free. You don’t even have to register.

The applications for this are enormous. Scrapbookers can type in their own handwriting, parents can preserve their children’s handwriting, companies can put their logos in easy reach, the list goes on. And I’m sure you SCAL users are already dreaming up ways you can use this to create cuttable outlines for your Cricut machine. Watch for my next post when I’ll show you my newest font creation, made at

February 1, 2009 at 6:44 am 7 comments

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