Posts tagged ‘Cricut Design Studio’

Tracing trick revs up CDS and CCR

Updated with videos!

Cricut Design Studio video

Cricut Craft Room video

Ever wished you could bring an image “into” Cricut Design Studio or Cricut Craftroom, and plop it on your mat so you could “trace” it as you created your design with basic (or not-so-basic) shapes or text? I am happy to share that I’ve learned a fairly easy way to do just that, so put away your old school methods and prepare to be overjoyed!

The secret weapon in the fight against blind designing is a utility that can make selected windows on your computer transparent – and it turns out there are many to choose from. So far I am having good success with Afloat for Mac and Chaos Crystal for PCs. You may need a different utility depending on your OS version, browser, etc.

Once you have a suitable utility installed and running, open your “go by” image, then open CDS or CCR and set the transparency of its window to whatever value makes it easiest to see through to and work with the image below. No more measuring from a hard copy, or guessing, or trial and error, all the information you need is right there in front of you.

If the exact size of the final cutout is important, then you will need to adjust the size of your image on the screen relative to the size of the grid on CDS or CCR. I use a simple 1 inch square on my image for reference to accomplish this as it can easily be lined up with the gridlines on the virtual mat. The default preview applications on both Mac and PC have the basic resizing ability you need for this. (Size matching is not as critical in CCR, as you can easily group and resize your entire design once you are done.)

If you have done much designing in CDS or CCR, you probably have plenty of ideas in mind for this already, but in case you have been deterred by the limitations of those programs, here are a few ways this new tracing capability will come in handy:

-Create Cricut versions of existing (download or scan to PDF or jpg) craft templates.
-Work from a card or layout sketch, or “scraplift” from a photo of a finished project.
-Re-create images from line art or photos from scratch for paper piecing or vinyl … your business logo, or the house you grew up in, for instance.
-Make custom mats for your rubber stamp images or digital stamps as shown in the pocketwatch example above.
-Planning layouts and making custom frames/mats with the photographs you want to use visible (thanks, Khrista)
-Curve text for decorative purposes or to lie properly on a curved surface. Let your favorite graphics program do all the hard work of curving and spacing, then just drag your Cricut letters into position accordingly, as shown in the tumbler example above.
-Match clip art to Cricut shapes for print and cut with the the hinge method.
-Design or open a rhinestone pattern, then just drag circles into place for Cricut cutting.

I’m pretty excited about this and hope you are, too. Be sure to let me know how you’re using this trick in your designing.

One more tip: If your desktop wallpaper or general window clutter are distracting when using this, you may find one of these utilities helpful Backdrop for Mac or Screenshot Backdrop for PC. They are also great when making tutorials.

May 19, 2011 at 1:52 pm 20 comments

Cricut software comparison chart update

IMPORTANT UPDATE: As of March 14, 2011, MTC no longer supports Cricut.

With new official releases of SureCutsALot and MakeTheCut finalized in the last few days, I have been busy updating my comparison chart. So click below for the latest on who does what, current for SCAL 2.038 and MTC 3.2. By the way, both MTC and the comparison chart are celebrating their first anniversary this week.


December 24, 2010 at 12:23 am 8 comments

I heart U pop up for CDS

This is a repost so I can try and get linked up with the freeebie sites. It is also timely again with Valentines Day just around the corner.


You can download the .cut file here.

For more details see the original post here.

And a reminder for you SCAL/MTC users that I have a font to make pop-ups for any word here.

February 1, 2010 at 10:21 am 7 comments

Cricut software comparison

I have seen so many questions and there is so much information to slog through, that I put together a chart with as many relevant parameters as I could think of. I anticipate frequent updates in the near term so please send others to this page instead of sharing the file. Thanks for your cooperation.

Click here to download the latest chart in PDF format

Latest update 12/23/10. MTC 3.2 and SCAL 2.038

You may also be interested in the 4 part series on this blog

or a short comparison article from Darcy

December 22, 2009 at 12:41 am 51 comments

Hinge technique for cutting printouts

Shown here with the Cricut machine by itself, here’s a technique that is also helpful with Cricut Design Studio, the Gypsy or with Sure Cuts A Lot. Use this when you need to see in advance exactly where the Cricut is going to cut in relation to the mat. This is especially helpful when cutting around printouts, cropping photographs and any other applications where you want the printing to be perfectly centered or otherwise positioned within the cut.

September 22, 2009 at 4:34 pm 61 comments

Pop ups with Cricut Design Studio

I am predominantly a Mac user, so I don’t mess with Cricut Design Studio much, but I thought I would try out the pop up card technique so those without SCAL can play along. Here were the results:


and here’s a screen shot (colors are reversed…the outside of the card is on the right):


You can download the .cut file here. Cartridge is Plantin Schoolbook. The finished card is A2 size so you can just use a half sheet of card stock for the outside instead of cutting one with the Cricut as I did above. For instructions on how to assemble the card, check the references on my earlier post about pop ups.

January 25, 2009 at 6:04 am 15 comments

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