Archive for April, 2009

How to decorate t-shirts with your Cricut – video

A 13 yo explains everything you need to know to make cute t-shirts with freezer paper, paint and your Cricut.

Some more of the freezer paper stencil shirts we’ve made

April 25, 2009 at 5:20 pm 26 comments

Using MSWord to generate circular text for cutting

I have been getting a lot of questions about how to make circular text since I posted the video on moving the letters with mesh. While circular/curved text can be done in Inkscape, (see this video) the best tool out there is probably already on your computer, its the WordArt widget that’s been in Microsoft Word for years. (Microsoft’s WordArt feature is also included in Publisher, Excel and Powerpoint, as well as MS Works versions earlier than 8.5. You will also find a similar feature called FontWorks in Open Office.) It is an incredibly powerful and flexible feature with a friendly user interface (did I really just say that about a Microsoft product?) and the best part is that it generates vector output. So here’s how to use it for your cutting projects.

Step 1: Generate your circular/curved text in a blank MSWord document. If you don’t know how to do that, see this video.


Step 2: If you have a Mac, print to PDF as shown in the screen shot. If you have Windows, see this post for how to print to SVG, then skip to Step 4.


Step 3: Import the PDF file you generated in Step 2 (default settings, click OK). Click to select the circular text object and then click the Ungroup button repeatedly until you see the word “Path” instead of the word “Group” indicated in the tip bar. (In my example it took 4 clicks). If you don’t see the Ungroup button widen your window, or select Ungroup from the Object menu.



Step 4: Save and name your file in Inkscape’s default format (SVG). Open a new document in Sure-Cuts-A-Lot and import your SVG.


Another update: A reader reminded me that the Microsoft’s WordArt feature is also included in Publisher. I should also mention it’s in Excel and Powerpoint, too, as well as MS Works versions earlier than 8.5. Might be worth picking an a bargain bin or ebay copy of Works or Publisher just for this feature.

Latest update: Replaced SVG Factory technique with reference to this post about printing to SVG.

April 16, 2009 at 4:01 pm 45 comments

Cricut Video Master List has a new home

The Master List of Cricut Video Tutorials has been transitioned over to its new home and now boasts over 180 videos. I’ve enclosed a skitch-enhanced screen shot below to show you some of the features.


Click for larger image

April 13, 2009 at 4:10 pm 24 comments

Way Cool Tool for your Mac

2013Update: Skitch has been bought by Evernote and absolutely destroyed. I no longer recommend it.

I can not remember when I have been more excited about a new piece of software than I am about Skitch. Skitch is a free screen shot/image sharing and annotating tool that is just so well designed you will have to see it to believe it. When you do you will find yourself asking yourself, “Why isn’t all software like this?” It seems like plasq has not only created a whole new kind of application we didn’t know we needed, but thought of everything as they built it and created an interface sure to be envied (and hopefully emulated) across all computerdom. I’m (obviously) not ashamed to gush over this combination application/web service which might just be the exception to that “if it seems too good to be true” rule.

Sample uses for the crafter/blogger might include
-taking, annotating, sizing and organizing screen shots for use in blog or print/pdf tutorials
-ditto for webcam shots
-cropping, resizing and annotating digital camera photos or scans for posting on blogs or message boards
-facilitating multiple images in a single post on Cricut message board
-creation of dummy thumbnails for scut or svg files

April 10, 2009 at 6:16 am 1 comment

Non-cutting annotation in Inkscape

One of the advantages of using .svg files, as opposed to .scut files, is that you don’t need the font loaded for the file to cut. But recently I opened an svg from a little while back and needed to change the wording. All of it had been converted to outlines for cutting and I had no idea what font I had used. If only I had noted that somewhere.

It dawned on me that I could put notes like that, and any other text I want, in the Inkscape file itself, and, as long as I don’t convert it to a path, it won’t affect the cutting. I could put it on a hidden layer, as well, but I’ll be much more likely to find the notes if they are right there, and so will anyone I share the file with. See the results of my annotation test below.

How the file looks in Inkscape

How the file looks in Inkscape (Outline View)

How the file looks imported into SCAL

How the same file looks imported into SCAL

If you want to check if text is converted or not, double click on it. Regular text will have rotation arrows while text that has been converted into a path will show all its nodes. And just to be sure you don’t interfere with scaling, don’t select the annotations when transforming your design.

April 8, 2009 at 6:43 am 4 comments

A Free SVG Every Day

Eleanor at the SVGShop (formerly Vendibles) Blog has a very ambitious goal to create a free SVG for every day for a year. She’s about a month in and her track record of quality and reliability is impressive so far. These SVGs are designed for cutting and are trendy and adorable as you can see from a few examples below. Stop by and treat yourself.

April 5, 2009 at 11:35 pm 3 comments

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