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One of the main reasons why I purchased a Cricut Explore is that I can design and cut my own images. This might make me sound like a graphic design wiz, but I’m NOT! I use very simple graphics from PicMonkey. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a free online photo-editing program. It has these little overlays that you can “stick” onto your photos, but if you use a blank background, you can also use them to create your own shapes. And that’s what I do. Then, I upload them into the program that connects your computer to the Cricut Explore, called Cricut Design Space™. Today I’m going to walk you through the steps on how to design and cut out your own basic images in Cricut Explore!
So usually my designs start out as a sketch, or sometimes it’s just something I design in my head. This was the case with my Anything’s Popsicle Wall Art. I already know what a popsicle looks like, so there was no need to draw it out. All I needed to do was see if there were any simple shapes in PicMonkey I could use to create the shape.
To create a blank canvas, head to http://www.picmonkey.com, then click on Design. You’ll see a few choices for canvas size, depending on what you want to do. Usually I will click on the square.
Then you’ll want to give it a transparent background. It will automatically prompt you in the left hand menu. Just click the box and click Apply.
Now go to the Overlays button, which is the butterfly. You’ll see all of the available shapes and images that you can use. I will usually go to the Geometric category, where you’ll find some basic shapes.
Now choose your shapes. There isn’t anything available that’s the exact shape of a popsicle, so I will have to make one. I used a rounded square, and an oval.
Then I just played around with their size and positioning by dragging them around, until they matched up. Here’s the top of the popsicle, all done. Save this shape to your computer, as we will need this shape as the top layer of our final project.
And finally, I added another rectangle at the bottom for the popsicle stick. Save this image separately, as this will be the “shadow” piece in our final project. And that’s it! All done with creating the image. Time for the next step, which is to upload it into Cricut Design Space.
Log into your Cricut account, and open a new canvas. Then on the left hand side, click on Upload Image, then click on Basic Upload.
Browse for your image. Then click on Simple Image, as this image isn’t too complicated.
In this step, you would click on areas that you want to make transparent, if you had an image that had white space in the middle that you wanted to cut out. It’s very simple to do. But this image is completely solid so you don’t have to do anything. Just go to the next step.
And finally, save your image (un-check the box at the bottom right that says “preserve original image…” as we are not doing Print Then Cut. Repeat the whole process with all of the images you’re using in your project (so for this one, it would be the two popsicle shapes you created). They will appear at the bottom of the upload screen, as seen below. To load them into Cricut Design Space, click on both until they have a little check mark on them.
They will pop up in your Cricut Design Space. At this point, you will want to resize them as well as change their color if you want them to use two different paper colors.
Click on each image layer on the right, and a menu will pop up for choosing colors. Do this for both pieces. Then, because I’ll be layering the two pieces, and I want the bottom shadow piece to peek out, I put the brown piece on top and resized it until I liked the look.
For the text part of my project, you can type out the text in PicMonkey and save that as an image, then upload as we did above. Or you can do it directly in Cricut Design Space. All of your system fonts (i.e. the ones your computer came with, plus ones you added yourself), should be available for free in Cricut Design Space. Cricut also has some good fonts for free, as well as lots for purchase. I used the Pacifico font (one of my system fonts), directly in Cricut Design Space. To add text, click on Add Text on the left, and start typing your text in the window that pops up.
To change your font, click on your text layer on the right, then click the Edit tab. You’ll see a dropdown menu of all the fonts available, including your system fonts.
I didn’t like how all the letters for spaced so far apart. Also in the Edit tab, you can scooch your letters together by clicking the up and down arrows under Line Spacing. Much better. This will make adhering the letters much easier if they’re in larger pieces rather than several small ones.
And that’s it! Connect your machine (or if you’re going wireless, no need to do that), and click Go. Design Space will prompt you to first insert one piece of paper, to cut out the first layer, then the next, then the next (again, this is why we had to change the colors of all of our different pieces). Adhere them (I love my Xyron adhesives) and you’re all done. See how I assembled all of my pieces into my Anything’s Popsicle Wall Art here.
Last year, when I learned that the Cricut Explore could cut images that you design yourself, I gasped! And I have used my Cricut Explore a lot over the past year. Cricut Design Space is a great tool to help me with my designs. Here’s more information on it!
- Cricut Design Space™ is software for PC, Mac®, iPhone® and iPad® that you get for free with your Cricut machine of choice.
- Instead of trying to figure out how to make your project, Design Space gives you the ability to focus on what you want to make. Your Cricut machine takes it from there and brings it to life.
- With Design Space, you can start designing from scratch on your computer, iPhone® or iPad®, or you can use a pre-designed, Make It Now™ project. These ready-to-make projects are created by professional artists and include everything from home décor to fashion to paper crafting, and even a variety of FREE projects.
- If you want to use one of Cricut’s 50K+ images, you can try them out in the Design Space to see which will look best in your project before you commit to purchasing it.
Here’s more on Uploading Images and Cut What You Want® tool
- When you’re ready to start designing, you can either use one of Cricut’s 50K+ images or easily upload your own using the “Upload Images” tool in Design Space.
- You can upload and cut .svg, .jpg, .png, .bmp, .gif, and .dxf files absolutely FREE. You can even use fonts already installed on your computer.
- The Design Space’s Cut What You Want® tool makes it easy to convert your design into a cuttable image in just a few clicks!
And here’s more information on The Cricut Design Space™ app for iPad® and iPhone®
- Cricut’s easy-to-use app for the iPad® and iPhone® makes it possible for you can design anytime and anywhere inspiration strikes you.
- It also allows you to access all the project’s that you’ve personally designed, whether on your iOs device or your PC or Mac, and gives you access to all the Make-it-Now projects.
- With this app, you can start a project while at the beach, enhance it at the ice-cream shop, add some embellishments while cozying up on your couch, and then cut it on the Cricut Explore in your craft room. Plus, it’s cloud-based, so your projects are always synced across all your devices.
- P.S. Cricut is working on an Android™ app right now, so don’t feel left out if you don’t have an iPad or iPhone.
If you’ve been thinking about purchasing a Cricut Explore, hope that my posts have helped you in your decision! Be sure to visit the Cricut website, where you’ll find these deals going on right now: $20 off of Explore Air Ultimate bundle, and $20 off any Explore One bundle.
Thank you for reading, as always!