Posts filed under ‘Cricut’
I have a number of exciting announcements coming in the next few weeks, and I’m happy to share the first of them with you today. Some of you know that I love font and graphics bundles, but that I have been frustrated that because most of them are geared towards graphic designers, they don’t serve the needs of crafters as well as they could. As a result, I spend a lot of time troubleshooting with you, which I don’t mind. But what I do mind, is when the product you purchased wasn’t really a good fit and you aren’t able to fully enjoy it because of your software and/or skill level.
I’ve been working behind the scenes with a number of font designers and bundlers for a couple of years now to get fonts to be more crafter friendly in general, and to get bundle items explained more clearly. Progress has been slow, but steady. Recently, however, I was approached by Roemie Hillenaar of Revolge.com and LittleBigBundle.com with a great solution… What if we had a bundle site just for crafters, and made sure that everything there was vetted to meet the needs of the crafting community? And what if Kay, one of the most picky sticklers around, got to curate some bundles herself, just for diecutters? Given the amount of time I already pore over fonts and graphics on your behalf, and given what I’ve seen of Roemie’s projects so far, it was an offer I couldn’t refuse. So if you are looking for bundles without caveats, I hope you’ll check with Little Big Crafter and look for the Curated by Kay label.
LittleBigCrafter has just gone live, along with the first Curated by Kay Bundle! I think you are going to love this yummy word art and split monogram bundle from the very talented Nutsy+Me.
The box is under the tree, and you can’t wait to get your hands on it. Here are some things you can do to make sure you start off with success.
1. Watch the Official Cricut videos. They are professionally done, and will save you a lot of confusion later.
2. (Windows only) Optimize your computer system for best performance. IT guru Troy Young has a great video to help you with this.
3. Download and install Cricut Design Space. Go ahead and start familiarizing yourself with the software so you’ll be ready to hit the ground running when the box is opened.
4. Begin collecting free files, but I recommend only stockpiling the ones that scroll off after a specific time period. Many more freebies can be found and downloaded any time you need them.
Here are five of my favorite time-sensitive freebie sites (SVGs for cutting or PNG format for print then cut):
- Miss Kate Cuttables free SVG every day
- Daily Art Hub free SVG set every day
- Pretty Paper Pretty Ribbons free SVG every Friday
- Kadoodlebug Designs free SVG every Monday
- MyScrapChick subscribe for a free SVG every Friday
Haven’t decided which machine is right for you yet?
Check out my Cricut Explore vs. Silhouette Cameo analysis here.
The Hungry JPEG has released a new bundle of 12 crafter friendly fonts specially coded to work with Character Map/Font Book. That means you can get to all the swooshes and swirls with software built in to your machine. Use code Silhouette20 to get an extra 20% off. See this post about a similarly coded font, Samantha, for FAQs and tutorials.
I’ve found yet another way to take advantage of my beloved Paint Bucket Tool in Inkscape…this time as a shortcut for offsetting text or any solid shape. (Offset is used for many purposes, including making shadow or matte layers, thickening up thin or delicate fonts, and creating knockouts, etc.) This technique is very simple but I’ve made a video, as well as step by step instructions for those of you who might not already be familiar with this tool.
Open Inkscape, select the type tool and enter your text, change the font and size as desired. Select the Paint Bucket Tool.
Check that the Fill by setting is on Visible Colors, the Threshold is on 15 and that Fill Gaps is set to none. Change the units under Grow/Shrink to pts.
Set the numerical value to a starting value for the width of your margin. (72 pts = 1 inch; 36 pts = 1/2 inch; 18 pts = 1/4 inch; 9 pts = 1/8 inch)
Click on a solid portion of your text. Undo and adjust your pt value as desired.
Shift-click each additional section of text with the Paint Bucket to add to the offset.
Double click the offset to enter point edit mode and delete points of any unwanted inner pieces that may have resulted from the offset process.
Click the selection arrow to exit point edit mode, then click on a color swatch to fill your offset with a color and shift click the empty (X) swatch to set its stroke to none.
Click on the filled offset to add another layer.
Change the color and stroke of the new layer as for the first one. Click the Send to Back button.
Select the middle layer and click the Lower Selection One Step button.
Select your original text and Path>Union to change it from text to path (you might want to make a copy of it first because it will not be editable as text after this step).
Check your file in Outline View (View>Display Mode>Outline) to verify that your cut paths look correct (solid text indicates it has not been converted to a path). The status bar is another good way to check information about any object in your document.
Save your document. (Inkscape saves natively as SVG)
When you import your SVG into Cricut Design Space, each offset will have its own layer as shown below.
I want to share a quick Mac tip on how to install a bunch of fonts quickly, even when they are in different subfolders. This comes in handy when you purchase a font bundle, for instance. It’s really much quicker to do than to explain. I put together a 3 minute video, as well as written steps for those of you who prefer that. Of course this same process of using the Mac’s smart Finder windows is handy for lots of other sifting tasks as well, and once you get the hang of it, you will use it all the time.
1. Locate the bundle folder, usually in your Downloads folder. If it is zipped, double click on it and it will unzip automatically.
2. Double click to open the bundle folder and you will see a bunch of other folders.
3. Type the letters “otf” into the search bar and select Postscript OpenType font from the menu that drops down. (I install OTF as a rule of thumb, but you can use TTF if you prefer.)
4. Click the name of the folder in the Search header.
5. Select any one font name, then type command-A to Select All. Tip: You can select individual fonts and preview them by pressing the space bar. If you don’t want to install all the fonts, you can command-click to select just the ones you want.
6. Open the Font Book application (its built in to your Mac, type Font Book in the Spotlight Search bar to find it quickly) and (optional) make a new Collection by clicking the plus button at the bottom left.
7. Bring the Finder window back to the front, or side by side, and drag and drop the selected fonts into the Collection of your choice or onto “All Fonts” at the top.
8. When you let go, a verification window may appear asking for your password. If so, enter it and click OK. Your fonts will be available to preview in Font Book under All Fonts or by clicking the collection you installed them into. They will also be available to all of your software applications the next time you open them.
Want some bundles to install?
The Sweet Type bundle is covered in this post and there’s another crafter friendly font bundle covered here and yet another holiday bundle reviewed here.
You’ve been hearing a lot about font bundles here lately, because that is what I am getting the most questions about. I’m pretty particular about what I consider to be “crafter friendly,” which is why I don’t recommend all of the bundles that come along. I was privileged to work a little with type designer Emily Spadoni of Sweet Type early on as she and the craft community discovered each other, and it has been a blast watching her soar in popularity!
Emily’s approach is to break her fonts down into “sub-fonts” so that all you need is the keys on your keyboard to get to all the goods. For instance, her beautiful font, Secret Garden, is actually a set of 5 font files. Getting a custom look is as simple as choosing a different font for the first (secret garden Alt Left) and last letter (secret garden Alt Right) and one or more letters in between (secret garden Alt 1 or Alt 2). Here’s a screen shot of what that looks like in Silhouette Studio. In Cricut Design Space you will need separate text blocks for each font.
Right now there’s a Sweet Type bundle deal going on over at revolge with 12 text fonts, 2 floral dingbat fonts and lots and lots of easy to access swirly extras. Commercial rights are included so you can use these fonts on items you sell.
If you just want to try out some of these, as well as others from Sweet Type (for personal use and without the extras), check out Emily’s section on Dafont.com
Disclosure: The above post contains affiliate links. I did receive this bundle for free, but I was already a satisfied customer, having purchased a number of Sweet Type fonts in the past.
There’s still time for this font bundle with oodles of bonus holiday graphics, too.
Merging two of my favorite things today, word art and seamless patterns, to bring you a nice set of freebies for your holiday projects. Silhouette users can drag and drop these patterns directly into a shape just like any other image, or place them in the Library. If you need a refresher on using seamless tiles in Silhouette Studio, see this video. Those of you that have the Effects feature in Silhouette Studio v3 (all Mac users and Windows users with a compatible graphics card) can change the color of the tiles to get just about any color you need.
A note to Cricut users: I originally made these for Design Space’s new pattern fill feature, but, unfortunately, a bug leaves a thin white gap both on screen and in print so that seamless tiles do not function, well, seamlessly. Please let Cricut Customer Care (support@Cricut.com) know that you would like this bug fixed. In the meantime, you can use the 12 x 12 versions, which my digiscrapper friends may also find useful. In Design Space, be sure to upload these files using the Pattern button.
For the advanced Silhouette users, I also made a couple of transparent tiles. Right click and “save image as …” to download these. For details on how to use these, see this video.
And if you want some more graphics and fonts for your holiday projects, check out the great bundle that I detailed in my last post!