More fonts coded for crafting

Update: This bundle has expired. New font bundle for crafters is here.

As some of you know, I’ve been working behind the scenes to advocate with font designers and bundlers to get more fonts coded in a way that makes them accessible to those without high end software. We are finally beginning to make some headway! Case in point … The Hungry Jpeg has released a “Crafters Bundle” with 8 font families, all PUA (Private Use Area) encoded so all the characters are fully compatible with Character Map (Windows), Font Book (Mac), Sure Cuts A Lot, Make the Cut, Nexus Font, BabelMap, etc. Use code cricut20 for 20% off.

Learn how to use the crafter friendly fonts at

Purchase of these bundles through my affiliate links helps me defray the costs of maintaining my blog. And be sure to let the designers and bundlers know you appreciate them providing crafter-friendly fonts. Thanks!

As always, I’ve got tons of resources on how to use PUA encoded fonts (same as Samantha/Cantoni). Find the tutorial you need based on the software you have here:

Windows Cricut Design Space

Windows Microsoft Word (including on to Cricut Design Space)

 Click here for my video tutorial

Windows/Mac Adobe Illustrator (including on to Cricut Design Space)

Windows Silhouette Studio

Also please see this link for written instructions and a couple of corrections.

Mac Cricut Design Space

Mac Silhouette Studio

Windows SCAL 3, Mac SCAL4

Also please see my blog post about SCAL here

Mac – other programs

I’m using Windows Character Map, but the glyphs are so small.

Here are some ways to see them better

Use Nexus Font’s character map instead – Written tutorial from Paper Moon Snippets

Use Microsoft Word instead – video tutorial by me here

Use the Magnifier – Written tutorial from Under A Cherry Tree

October 14, 2015 at 9:02 am 7 comments

My Arrow Crafter font hits Dafont


Just a quick update to let you know that I’ve just had my first font posted to Dafont! Arrow Maker started out with diecutters in mind but I realized it might have broader application as well. Be sure to check out the tips doc and character key that comes in the folder. I’ve got to warn you, this font is just fun to play with.

Check out this fun arrow making font by cleversomeday. Free for personal use.

Download it from here.

For those of you who use Inkscape, Silhouette Studio, SureCutsaLot, Make the Cut or even MSWord, I’ve included many characters made just for text to path so you can make your arrows bend, curve or circle any way you want. Silhouette users can upgrade their text on path skills with this video.

October 7, 2015 at 10:34 am 57 comments

Tumbler template freebie

I have shared these files in various forums over the years but never got around to putting them on my blog. If you are cutting vinyl for a standard 16 oz double wall tumbler then this template will let you curve the text so that it will be in a straight line when applied to the tumbler.

Download the 16 oz tumbler template in .studio format here.
Download the 16 oz tumbler template in .svg format here.
Open the shared Cricut Design Space 16 oz. template here (letters have to be ungrouped and positioned/rotated individually)

Free tumbler template for Silhouette Studio

You can see from the Silhouette Studio screen shot above that the instructions are on the mat, but basically you just double click and backspace over the sample text, type in your own, change the font and size, then recenter. Ungroup and regroup your text to move it from the curve or leave it on the curve to keep it editable. Delete what you don’t need and cut.

I tried to make this template a no-brainer, but a basic knowledge of text on path is helpful for using it to the fullest. Here’s my video on the text to path if you need a refresher.

I have also included a print and cut file for a paper guide that you can place inside the cut to help you get the vinyl on straight.

Download the .studio print and cut tumbler helper here. As shown below, this goes inside the cup to help you position the design when its time to apply it.

free tumbler helper print and cut guide

And if you want to make your own templates for other size items, instructions for using an online generator are here.

September 17, 2015 at 11:07 am 20 comments

What we know about the Curio so far

Here is the official info from Silhouette

2015 Product Rollout Info

Curio FAQ

As always, the most important information is between the lines. To sum up, the Curio lets you load and cut/draw, etc. (but not necessarily cut through) thicker materials, while the Cameo lets you load and cut/draw, etc. much larger materials. The Curio is configured for ease of embossing, etching and stippling (but with the same downforce as Cameo is still underpowered for these tasks), while the Cameo is configured for ease of paper and vinyl cutting. The thing you really want to look at if you are considering a Curio is samples by everyday crafters and compare those to what your Cameo can already do, or what other Cameo owners are doing.
There are some great Curio samples at this German blog and some great Cameo samples at Amy Chomas’s blog to get you started. My initial opinion is that the Curio does a tad better embossing on vellum and card stock, but about the same on metal foil. This makes sense because with the same pressure you will still get a slightly better result with the thicker cushioning the Curio’s extra clearance allows its embossing mat to have. Hopefully we will get some side by side comparison samples soon.

Here’s my comparison of the features, taking into account 3rd party accessories people have already been using to emboss, etc with the Cameo.

Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 12.00.18 PM

Download the PDF chart here

I will also add that if your main interest is embossing or engraving, you will likely be better served by a higher pressure machine like the Pazzles, Zing etc. if you can afford it and are not already heavily equipped with Silhouette library images. So be sure to check out samples from those machines, too, if this is your main interest.

August 15, 2015 at 12:39 pm 18 comments

A Cricut policy you need to understand

Imagine if you picked out a new printer, checked the system requirements on the box to be sure it would work with your computer system, took it home, set it up, were happily using it until one day when, without warning, your new printer was disabled by a non-optional, irreversible driver update. Your call to support yields one simple solution … purchase a new computer to support the new requirements of your printer. Say what? You’d be outraged, and rightfully so … yet that is exactly what has happened today to Cricut Explore owners with MacOS 10.6 under Cricut’s policy of changing system requirements retroactively.

On the left are the system requirements that appear on retail boxes for the Cricut Explore and Explore Air. On the right are the new system requirements that quietly appeared in the FAQ’s at after a February update to Cricut Design Space, which is required to run the Explore. As you can see, RAM requirements quadrupled and 4 operating systems were dropped.


System Requirements for Cricut Explore Air per screen captured 7/15/15

As of this writing, Mac OS 10.6 users are unable to use their Explores, even though their computers met the system requirements at the time of purchase. Others who do not meet the new system requirements are sometimes encouraged by Cricut’s Customer Care to purchase a new computer when they call about a problem. While it is sometimes possible to update an older computer to a newer operating system, this can be costly, result in performance loss or perhaps resulting in the loss of other legacy hardware or software that may not be replaceable at all (Mac OS 10.6 users should be especially cautious about the 4 OS jump Cricut is recommending to you). I remain a Mac OS 10.7 user by choice for this very reason, yet wonder how much longer my Explore will operate.

I was still holding out hope that this was an oversight until Cricut’s policy on this was added to the FAQs this spring, and until today’s instructions to Mac OSx 10.6 users.

Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 2.35.46 PM

I know of no other hardware that comes with this kind of caveat. Up to this point, the system requirements on the box have always been assumed to be current and valid for the life of the product. Yes, time marches on and technology improves, but you always have the option to refuse updates to be able to keep your hardware running if that is your need or choice. Cricut is changing the game here in a way that is not consumer-friendly and it’s important that anyone considering an Explore understand that. If you have already purchased an Explore, and especially if you have already been impacted by this policy, please do not quietly buy a new computer thinking this is the norm. It is not the norm, it is unprecedented (and I’m not even sure how it is legal.) Let Cricut management hear from you that this policy is unfair and unacceptable and that there needs to be a way for those that are happy with their current computer to refuse Design Space updates that would render their Explore inoperable.

Update: Let me try one more approach to make this clear. With any other diecutting machine (or phone, printer, etc) you can buy it, set it up and continue to operate with your existing operating system, RAM, internet speed etc for as long as you wish or until the device or computer fails. Periodically, you would have the option to update drivers, etc. at your convenience. Until you do, the machine keeps working. WIth the Cricut Explore, this is not the case. When Design Space stops supporting your operating system you must update it or buy a new computer to continue using the Explore. Periodic plug-in updates are not optional, and not at the user’s convenience. Until you complete a Design Space update, your Explore will not operate at all. These are, of course, consequences of the cloud-only system that Cricut has chosen, but it is important to understand what the practical difference will be to the users in terms of life cycle cost.

My intent is to serve the diecutting community of which I am a member both as a long time Cricut and Silhouette owner. If you follow this blog you know that I call out any company or product that I believe is not treating its customers respectfully or performing as advertised. I am going to delete any comments from Silhouette users who wish to bash Cricut because that’s not what this is about. Thank you for understanding.

July 15, 2015 at 11:05 am 81 comments

Free “Chevronizer” template for Silhouette Studio

Free and fully adjustable
How would you like to fill a letter or state shape with a chevron pattern quickly and easily, and be able to adjust the size and position of the chevron and the thickness of the outline? Well, I’ve created a “smart template” for Silhouette Studio that will let you do just that! Download my new free “Chevronizer” file here and watch the video below to learn how to use it to easily add a fully adjustable chevron design to create cut files.

For those of you who like written instructions, you will find them in the margin of the file as shown in the screen shot below.
Chevronizer SS
Download the free Stateface dingbat font here.

June 29, 2015 at 5:21 pm 59 comments

Straight talk about the “required” Silhouette update

What we know is that without a new (3.3.622 or higher)/patched version(2.9.67), after June 22, you will not be able to:

1) Shop through Silhouette Studio

2) Download purchases

3) Activate a new upgrade (to DE or BE)

4) Reactivate an existing upgrade if necessary

5) Restore your library using V3’s File>Library>Import library (this is not confirmed but it does require server interaction)

If you do not update, your existing upgrades and store purchases will remain in place.

Everything else in Silhouette Studio should remain unchanged and run fine (perhaps better and faster without internet interference).

-There was/is already posted a version 3.3.638 for Win that works fully going forward. This is the second third iteration, as version 3.3.622 and version 3.3.632 failed to open for many Windows users.

The latest version for Mac that works going forward is incorrectly labeled 3.3.638 but will install as 3.3.631 (you will see this after install) so autoupdate incorrectly reports a newer version available, when there is not. The current Mac download is correctly labeled but is no different from 3.3.631. An identical to 3.3.631, but now labeled 3.3.638, is available for Mac.

– There are many people on the Windows side who can not get 3.3.632 to open and SA is working that. The problem seems to be related to graphics card drivers. Update: 3.3.638 seems to have solved the opening problem, there are other issues being worked, and limited information as this is brand new.

-3.3.631/2/8 have not corrected existing issues with sluggishness, preference errors, diagonal draw bug, Mac resource hogging, etc. Please keep pressing SA for fixes!

-3.3.632/8 will not work with Win XP

-SA has promised a patch version of V2, to be called the Heritage version, for those who would like to remain with version 2. We plan to hold them to this promise. Update: the patched version of 2.9.45, now version 2.9.67 is available for download here.

Default cut settings for various materials has changed as of 3.3.632. A headsup to those who are not diligent about writing down your own preferred settings (and you know who you are).

My recommendations

-back up your library and license file immediately if you have not already. This way you can restore your own store files and DE/BE license if you need to, independent of SA servers. The location of these files can be found here.

if you do not wish to update your software, you don’t have to. Please let know that you will not be shopping at the store until your preferred version is supported. (If you have a subscription, respectfully request a fee suspension until your preferred version is supported.) Note: You will still be able to support many of your favorite designers through their web sites, Etsy stores, etc. and I hope that you will do so.

-if you do not mind updating, try 3.3.638 and if it works you are good to go. If not, roll back and sit tight for SA to fix things. Windows users may want to make sure their graphics card drivers are up to date first. Really, there is no rush and you can wait and see if things stabiiize if you like.

 -for Mac users it is fairly simple to install more than one version of Silhouette Studio so this is a good alternative. Win users who are computer savvy may want to consider this option as well.

-don’t forget you have plenty of options, including Sure Cuts A Lot and Make the Cut. Do not be pressured to make a change you do not want to make.

SA’s FAQ is here. (Note:This is a fluid document that has already changed at least 4 times that I am aware of.)

June 16, 2015 at 1:13 pm 119 comments

Older Posts Newer Posts

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 5,779 other followers

Follow me on Twitter


Cricut and Sure Cuts A Lot Top 40
Silhouette Top 40
Sure Cuts A Lot Top 40
Make The Cut Top 40


Posts on this blog may include affiliate links which reward me for purchases you make from here. This allows me to defray the cost of providing this blog to you. Though there is sometimes a financial incentive for me to recommend products and services you can trust me to only steer you towards those I personally use and am satisfied with.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 5,779 other followers