5 Little Monsters: Everything You Need to Know About Cricut Design Space

Everything You Need to Know About Cricut Design Space

-This post sponsored by Cricut, all ideas and opinions are my own. This post may contain affiliate links.-

If you have a Cricut cutting machine you will need to use Design Space, so what is it, what can you do with it, and how do you use it. Cricut Design Space is the program you will use to create the projects you will make with your Cricut. Here you will find an overview of what you can do in Design Space, as well as the answers to some frequently asked questions. 

You can download Design Space to your computer, it works with Windows or Mac operating systems (check here to make sure your computer meets the system requirements), or you can use the mobile apps on your Apple or Android phones or tablets (again, check to make sure your device is compatible). It is a Cloud based program which means you can work on a design on your phone, then open it on your computer and pick up right where you left off!

You can use Design Space to create the designs you want to make with your Cricut. You can do this by uploading deigns you have bought or designed in other programs, or you can use the thousands of images available in Design Space (these images may cost money, but I will talk more about that later), or you can use text to create your own new designs. Or you can combine all of those to further customize your designs.  There are lots of tools and options to help you create the designs you want. There are even ready to make projects that you can make. 

So let's open Design Space and take a look (this is the desktop version, the mobile version will look a little different):

Your home screen when you first open Design Space will look something like this. There will be a section with the projects that you have saved, then, when you scroll down you will find community projects, ready-to-make projects, videos, and other ideas. If you click on new project it will take you to your canvas where you can start creating. 

There are a few areas on the canvas you will want to be familiar with. First we will talk about the left side where you have your design options. 

Design Options

New-  This will open up a new canvas just like the one we have open now. 

Templates-  Click here for a variety of guides and templates to help you design your project. For example, if you are making a t-shirt you can open a t-shirt template so you can see what your design will look like on a t-shirt. 

Projects-  Here you will find a variety of ready to make projects, with instructions, cut files, and finished photos. 

Images- This is were you can find a huge library of images that you can use in creating your designs. There are simple single layer/color designs, as well as more complex multilayer/color designs. Even some that are print and cut designs. There are also some licensed designs, these usually cost a little more to use. Some of the images are free, some cost money, and some are part of Cricut Access which is a subscription that gives you access to many images and fonts. A Cricut Access subscription allows you to use anything with a green a in the corner, if you don't have Access you can purchase those images individually to use in your projects (most are around $1.99).

Text- Click here to open up a text box along with all of the fonts and text options. Like with the images, Design Space includes some fonts, a few free, most part of Cricut Access so they are included in your subscription or you can purchase them (usually $4.99), others cost to purchase regardless of whether or not you have a subscription. Here you can also access all of your system fonts, so any font you have downloaded on your computer will show up here for you to use. There are also lots of text tools available to get your text to look exactly the way you want. Adjust the size, the spacing between letters or lines of text, curve, etc. 

Shapes- This is a quick way to add basic shapes to your design. Includes a square, circle, heart, star, hexagon, triangle, and more. 

Upload- The last option here is Upload. This is where you can upload your own designs, designs you have purchased other places, or designs you have created outside of Design Space. 


At the very top you have your header. In the left corner are three lines, this is the menu. Click here to bring up the menu to see account details, subscription information, settings, new machine setup, etc. 

In the center you will see the title of the project you are working on if it is a saved project. 

Click on My Projects to see all of your saved projects. 

Next you have a toggle to select the machine you are using. You can select Joy, Maker, or Explore family. This helps Design Space know which machine to send it to, but also helps in the creation of your project like showing size limitations or other things specific to the machine you are using. 

Last is the Make It button. Click here when you are finished designing and ready to actually make your project. This will take you to the cutting screen. 

Tool Bar

Along the top, below the header we have the tool bar. Here you will find a variety of tools to help you in your design process.

Undo/Redo- Pretty self explanatory, click these arrows to redo or undo something in your project.

Operation- Click this drop down arrow to change the operation, choose from things like basic cut, perforated cut, wavy blade, score, draw, engrave, print then cut, and more. 

Color Change- Click on this little square to change the color of an image or layer, or add a pattern fill to a print then cut design. 

Select/Deselect- Again, pretty self explanatory, selects and deselects your image. Honestly, this is not one I use often. I just click on the thing I want to select, or click on it in the layers panel.

Edit- Use this to cut, copy, and paste.

Offset- This is the newest feature to roll out and is still in beta and only available in the computer version, but it allows you to create an outline shape around your image. 

Align- This is actually one of my favorite tools, I use it all the time. Select 2 or more items and then click here to align them so they are centered or aligned along on side. 

Arrange- Move elements forward and backward in your design.

Flip- Use this to flip your image horizontally or vertically.

Size- Easily change the size of your design to exactly the size you need it to be. 

Rotate- Type in the degrees you want to rotate your image. 

Position- Use this to move the image to a specific place on your canvas. 

Layers Panel

On the right side of the screen you will find the Layers Panel. Here you will be able to select and manipulate layers of a design. 

Layers and Color Sync- At the top of this side you will see two tabs, Layers and Color Sync. In the picture is the layers tab, this is kind of the default tab, it will be on this tab unless you click the other. This shows the layers in your design. The color sync tab shows all of the colors and which elements are which color. In this tab you can adjust your design so that all or some of your layers are the same color. 

Group/Ungroup- Group holds all layers of your design together. It keeps everything in place, while still remaining separate layers. This is especially helpful when resizing a design with multiple layers because it allows you to resize everything at the same time instead of individually so it all stays proportionate. Grouping only affects your design canvas, it doesn't do anything when you actually go to cut. 

Duplicate- Duplicate the selected layer(s) on your layers panel. 

Delete- Delete the selected layer(s) on your layers panel. 

Layers- Now for the actual layers in your project. Each layer will come up on a separate line. You can select one or more layers to use the other tools in this section. You can see in the picture the image "Rainbow with Hearts" includes 3 layers grouped together. There is a yellow heart (layer 1), 2 coral colored lines (layer 2), and a pink line (layer 3). You can click on any one of these layers to edit it individually, change the color, etc., or you can click on all of them to move and resize together. 

Canvas- At the bottom of that middle section it says Blank Canvas with a little rectangle. Click that to change the color of your canvas. This can be helpful if you are working with white designs, or want a little preview of what a certain color of vinyl will look like on another color. When you use a template it will also show up down there so you can change the size or color. 

Slice- Select 2 overlapping images/text to slice one out of the other.

Weld- Select multiple items and click weld to turn them into one shape. Used often to weld overlapping letters in script fonts so they cut as one continuous word instead of individual letters. Once you have saved a project (or done multiple steps so you can't just click undo) you cannot unweld, which is important to know if you want to make any changes later. 

Attach/Detach- This holds everything in place exactly where you want to cut it. Everything you attach will turn the same color because when you attach you are saying you want it all cut exactly like that. Where group hold everything in place for designing, attach actually holds everything in place for cutting. Once you click attach it will change to detach so you can make changes later. 

Flatten- Flatten is used when making Print then Cut designs. This changes the different elements of a design from individual layers to one flattened image that will be printed on your printer and the Cricut will then cut around it. 

Contour- Contour allows you to edit images by clicking on certain elements to hide them. For example, in the image above I could click on the middle coral colored layer, click contour, then click on the bottom stripe. When I went back to my canvas I would be left with only 2 stripes and the heart and that inside stripe would be hidden. 

Hopefully this helps you understand all of the design features and tools in Design Space. With the tools available here you can design just about anything you want. Whether you prefer to upload your own designs, or create and customize designs directly in Design Space the options are pretty much endless. 

If you plan to use a lot of the images and fonts available in Design Space you may want to consider a Cricut Access subscription. It is $10 a month for a monthly subscription or under $100 for a whole year, and includes free access to over 100,000 designs and more than 500 fonts. You also get a discount on purchases through Cricut.com, as well as a few other perks. I have it and use it regularly so I find it is totally worth the access it gives me to images and fonts. But, if you don't want to pay for a subscription you can still totally use Design Space and your Cricut by uploading your own designs, and using fonts that you download. There is a way for everyone to create using Cricut Design Space. 

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