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Combine Tools in Design Space

Cricut Design Space has come a long way over the years. It started out as a pretty simple way to interface with your Cricut machine – sizing an image, adding text, telling your machine to cut what material, and off you went.

And this was by design! The idea was to get you and me crafting right away without knowing technical graphic design lingo.

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As the crafting world has progressed over the years, and lots of people (myself included) began learning more about computer tools, graphic and SVG design programs, we were ready for Design Space to do more.

Some features maybe took longer than we wanted to be patient for (offset, anyone?) And no, Design Space isn’t a full vector / node editing platform, but there is a TON of stuff you can do right within Design Space to make your designs easier to cut and use, and easier to customize to exactly what you want.

The above PDF can be downloaded and printed even, to keep by your craft space! I think the visuals of how the different Design Space actions work is really helpful – I hope you think so too!

Here I’ll go over each one in even a bit more detail.

Design Space Tools

I like to think of these as the “actions” that Design Space can do. We’re not talking about adding text, or aligning items, but the tools that are over on the right side of the screen in Design Space.

GROUP in Design Space

Choose any number of shapes / layers and click group. This will keep the shapes together so you can easily move them around the canvas.

Items will still cut in their original colors, and on separate mats. But this is very useful when trying to set up the look of your final design.

I also use it when I want to take a group of things, like a bunch of different colored balloons, and want to center them over some text, but I don’t want each individual balloon moving to the center.

SLICE in Design Space

The slice function cuts along two overlapping shapes, creating new shapes. Think “cookie cutter.”

You can only have two shapes selected at once to slice. If there are three or more, OR if you have selected a layer that is actually a group of shapes, or has been altered using Unite, Subtract, Exclude or Intersect, the SLICE button will be grayed out it you won’t be able to use it.

You can also slice from an image that has been flattened for print then cut! I use this all the time when I’m making stickers. I can slice out stickers that I don’t want to use, or be able to “break apart” stickers in a single image so they can be rearranged to fit my print then cut space better.

ATTACH in Design Space

Any number of shapes / layers can be selected, then click attach. Shapes will change to all one color and will cut exactly as positioned, on the same mat. Overlaps will be cut through.

If you have arrange text and shapes the way you want them to be cut, but when you click make it and they scatter weird all over the mat? This is when you need to go back and select everything and attach first.

FLATTEN in Design Space

You can flatten any number of shapes / layers and it turns selected shapes into one print then cut image.

My biggest reminder here is that if you are trying to make some kind of tag or label or sticker with a white background, there needs to be a white bottom layer of some kind!

Otherwise, the cute name that you placed in the middle of a fancy frame border will be also cut after it’s printed, when really you wanted to just cut around the frame.

I have a longer post about Print then Cut that goes into more detail here.

But just remember you need a white circle or rectangle, or offset layer that you need to flatten everything to.

* Bonus use for flatten: I will sometimes flatten a complex cut design just to get a good idea of how it will look finished, because it removes the black outline around each shape. Just remember to switch it back before making!

CONTOUR in Design Space

Turn off or on any cut line in a design. You can use contour on svgs you upload, or on design from Design Space.

If the contour button is grayed out, you may have selected a group instead of a single item, or it may be a shape created with Unite, Subtract, Intersect or Exclude. If that’s the case, ungroup, or alter the image using Weld or Slice if possible.

Contour is really useful if you want just the outline of something without all the inside cuts.

To turn off or on a cut, click on the cut line itself, or the layer on the side (though it is often hard to tell which layer is which cut)

Note that you can zoom in and out to help see what you’re doing.

When finished, simply click outside the contour box and you’ll go right back to the canvas. If something still isn’t right, click on contour again to click on or off addition cut lines.

WELD in Design Space

Weld can be used on any number of shapes. It combines selected shapes into a single outline cut.

The colors will all change to a single color, because it is now all just one path.

This action can’t be undone, because Design Space no longer recognizes the cut lines of the original shapes.

Weld is perfect for overlapping script text – you want that to cut continuously and not have overlapping cuts between each letter.

Read more about text in design space here.

UNITE in Design Space

Similar to WELD, but can be undone. Useful for if you might want to change this later in your design.

Can’t slice anything from this new shape because it’s not considered a single cut.

SUBTRACT in Design Space

Similar to SLICE, but you’re only left with one shape. It deletes the top layer and anything underneath it, so it eliminates the steps after slice of having to delete all the pieces you didn’t want to keep.

This action can be undone, and slice can’t be used on this new shape.

INTERSECT in Design Space

The new shape created is only what overlapped. This action can be undone, and slice can’t be used on this new shape.

EXCLUDE in Design Space

Anything overlapped disappears. This action can be undone, and slice can’t be used on this new shape.

Phew, that’s a lot, right? But don’t be overwhelmed. Now you know what everything does. And honestly, I use Slice and Weld way more often than the other combine options. So don’t feel like you have to use them just because they are there.

I hope you learned something new from all these Design Space tool descriptions. Let me know if you have questions!

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