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Getting Started In Cricut Design Space

Updated on June 22, 2020
linfcor profile image

Professional scrapbook artist, paper crafter, and author, I have taught people how to make family memories into legacies for 20 years.

The Cricut Design Center- New Software For The Cricut Explore

When I purchased my Cricut Explore, one of the reasons that I decided to buy it was because of the software that Provocraft had designed for the Explore. It was called the Cricut Design Center and it has amazing options that makes the Cricut Explore one of the most versatile cutting machines

Not only can you cut images that are built into the software, but you can also use imported SVC files or images that you can download for scans from your own computer.

The other feature that was very appealing to me was that you can load all of the Cricut cartridges that you own into the machine. That made the program economical- It made it easy to use what I had. You could even share and exchange cartridges with your friends.

The Features Of Design Space 3

There are new features in the Design Space 3 that makes this update user friendly and superior design experience.

  • Project Categories- When you open the Design Space and get to the home page, you will actually get to projects by category, You can also search for a project on your home page.
  • No More Flash-No more flash updates. Makes the program faster.
  • The Menu Is Bigger-The font menu is not the small two inch list. It is now the size of your page, Easier to read !
  • Upload Images Is Easier- now it is just a drag and drop.

System Requirements

Mac OS
Android Devices
Windows 8 or later
Mac OS 10.12 or later
Android 6.0 or higher
Intel Core Series or equivilent
CPU of 183 CHZ
Mobile devices and tablets -no chromebooks
46 GB Ram
46 B of Ram
Qualified devices:Samaung Galaxy S, Galaxy Note, Galaxy Tab A, Galaxy Tab S, Google pixel seried. LC-G,K,and V series, Motorola Droid-G,Z,E Turbo and Moto Series
Browzers: Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge. All should be latest version
Browsers:Safari, Google Chrome, or Mozilla Firefox. All should be latest version
Note: Performance may vary by Chipset. processor,speed, and manufacturer
50 MB free disk space
50 MB of disk space
Broadband connection
Available USB port or Bluetooth connection
Available USB port or Bluetooth connection
Minimum of 1024 px by 768 px screen resoltion
Minimum of 1024px by 768px screen resolution
Broadband connection
Broadband connection
The only device that will work with Design Space offline are the IOS devices. Memory needs will vary

How Slow Internet May Cause Problems In Design Space

The main cause of problems with Design Space is a slow internet connection. The program requires good and consistent upload and download speeds. An inconsistent connection with dips and spikes may also cause problems for the software. You’ll likely get a more consistent connection if your device is closer to your modem.

The Cost Of Using Design Space

You can load design space and use it at no cost. Many people do, It is as simple as learning how to add fonts and images from the internet.

But you will miss a lot from the Cricut experience by not being a subscribing member. There are different levels of subscriptions that you can get, All of them have one thing in common-access to over 90,000 images and over 400 fonts.

Monthly Option

You pay $9.99 per month. Unlimited access to over 400 beautiful fonts.Unlimited use of over 90,000 covet‑worthy, cut‑ready premium Cricut images You get 10% off of every product purchase, even on sale items.10% savings on premium licensed fonts, images, and ready‑)to‑make projects from brands like Disney, Sanrio, Simplicity, and Anna Griffin.Priority Member Care Line (50% less wait time)

Annual Option

You pay an annual fee of $95.88 billed yearly. That is about $2 less per month than the monthly option. Unlimited access to over 400 beautiful fonts Unlimited use of over 90,000 covet‑worthy, cut‑ready premium Cricut images 10% savings on all product purchases on, including machines, accessories, materials, and more – including sale items. 10% savings on premium licensed fonts, images, and ready‑to‑make projects from brands like Disney, Sanrio, Simplicity, and Anna Griffin. Priority Member Care Line (50% less wait time)

Premium Membership

$119.88 billed yearly. Unlimited access to over 400 beautiful fonts. Unlimited use of over 90,000 covet‑worthy, cut‑ready premium Cricut images 10% savings on all product purchases on, including machines, accessories, materials, and more – including sale items!110% savings on premium licensed fonts, images, and ready‑to‑make projects from brands like Disney, Sanrio, Simplicity, and Anna Griffin. Up to 50% savings on licensed fonts, images, and ready‑to‑make projects2Free economy shipping on orders over $50.Priority Member Care Line (50% less wait time)

I personally have the annual subscription, I love getting that 10% off when I make a purchase.

Reasonably Priced Images

White there are thousands of images and projects that you can use for free, some images and projects may have a cost attached to them. That is because they are licensed images. That means that Cricut has paid a fee in order to make them available to you. The good thing is that if you are subscribed, you will get 10% off the image, Once purchased, you own the image and never pay again.

Never Run Other Programs While Using Design Space

Running other programs on your computer at the same time as you are using design space may cause problems.

Cricut Cartrdges

Linking Cricut Cartridges

You can load any of your old cartridges into your design space. You can only do this with the Cricut Explore and the Cricut Explore Air 2.

How To Add Cartridges To Design Space

  1. Open Cricut Design Space and log into your account
  2. Click on link cartridges
  3. Allow Cricut Design Space to locate your machine
  4. Insert the cartridge into the slot on your machine
  5. Click the link cartridge button
  6. Wait until a message pops up to let you know the cartridge is linked. Remove the cartridge and repeat until all cartridges have been linked

There are a few things to remember about linking cartridges. You can only link cartridges to one account. Beware of purchasing used cartridges. If they were already linked, they will be useless to you.

There is also an option of purchasing several digital cartridges

The port to link your cartridges is located on top of the Explore And Explore 2 on the left side below the tool cup
The port to link your cartridges is located on top of the Explore And Explore 2 on the left side below the tool cup

New Project Page On Cricut Design Space

Features Of The New Project Page In Design Space 3

Design Space Three is the newest version of the design space program. The exciting thing about this version is that all of the functions are faster !

  • Instead of tabs, all of the editing functions are now visible on the page
  • If you want to quickly and easily change the colors in your project, you can easily do this in the new Color Sync panel (in the right-hand menu). Just drag and drop your color choices over the item you want changed and voila! It’s changed. So much easier than clicking on each individual item and changing the color
  • You can now edit text after ungrouping i This is a new feature that is very welcome by users.
  • The font menu itself is now larger. You can see and select your font on the entire page
  • The Make It Now Option is easier to use than ever Instead of just being able to search by category, you can now plug in a term in the search box and find all the matching projects.

Features On The Blank Canvas Page

There are multiple features on the Blank Canvas page that make it easy for you to create a perfect project every time.

  • Menu-Helps you navigate through the program. You can get to Home, Canvas, as well as many Design Space features like, New Machine Setup, Link Cartridges, Settings, Help, and Sign Out.
  • Page Title-Reminds you where you are ( which page you are on)
  • Project Name-The name of your saved project will appear here. If you have not saved it, it will appear as untitled.
  • My Projects-Opens a project that you previously saved.
  • Save-Saves a project to your account
  • Make It-Prepare your mats and send your project to your Cricut machine.

Main Menu Options In Design Space

Use this option at any time to start a new project and get a blank canvas
After you click on it you will be prompted if you want to save your current project or replace it with a blank canvas.
This is where you can set a specific type of template to help you visualize how your design will look on a certain item.
You could use this feature for sizing and placing letters and words on a project
Use this option to see all the available Ready to Make Projects
Some projects will be free to use. Other projects have componemts that will have a fee. But once you buy that component, you will own it. Some projects are ready to make. Some have a custom feature where you can custom the project the way you would like it
When you click on the Images tool, you will see the Cricut library of images open. This is where you can select from thousands of images that can be inserted into your project. To narrow down your selection on the top right hand side there is a search option where you can search for a specific image. The images with the green “a” in the left corner are ones that are included with your Cricut Access (Clic
The images with the green "a" in the left hand corner are those that are free to use.
Allows you to create text for any project
o edit your text you will use the options in the tool bar across the top when your text is selectedIn the first drop down box you can change your Font. You can select from All Fonts, System Fonts (meaning ones from your computer) or Cricut fonts to browse. You can also use the search bar to look for a specific fon
You can use this option to insert basic shapes into your design like a circle, square, heart, etc
Allows you to upload and use images from other sources

Searching For Images

You can search for images and projects by using the search box. Rather than using the plural of the word, use the single version. You are apt to get more results

Uploading Images

You can upload any SVG, PNG, JPG files easily and transform them into a cuttable image for FREE.. You can upload anything from simple, flat jpeg images to complex multi-layer vector file

  1. Open Cricut Design Space in your web browser
  2. Click the green “New Project” button in the upper right hand corner to create a blank project.
  3. At the bottom of the toolbar on the left side of the project is an “Upload” icon. Click that to open the Upload tab.
  4. From here you can upload either a basic image (a single-layer image such as .jpg, .gif, .bmp, or .png) or a vector image (a multi-layer image such as .svg or .dxf).
  5. Then either drag and drop an image file into the window, or click the green and white “Browse” button to open an image file.
  6. Once you choose a basic image to upload, it will show a preview on the left side and ask you to select the image type. You can choose from:browse” button to open an image file.
  7. Select the image type that you want. Simple: a super basic image with high-contrast colors and either a transparent or single-color background Moderately Complex: an image with some details and multiple colors, but there is still good contrast between the subject of the image and the background Complex: a detailed image with blended colors or shading/gradient (these images are a little harder to work with because of the level of detail)
  8. The next step is to “process” the image to make sure only the parts you actually want cut out make it into your project. Select & Erase: This is like the magic wand tool in PhotoShop; it allows you to select an area or specific color in your uploaded image and erase it. If you click the “Advanced Options” button you can change the tolerance.Erase: This is just a standard eraser tool. You can change the size of your eraser using the slider on the left.Erase: This is just a standard eraser tool. You can change the size of your eraser using the slider on the left.Crop: You can crop away entire areas of your image using the crop tool.
  9. The next step is to decide what type of image you have, and give it a name. You can save your uploaded image as a Print & Cut image, or just as Cut image. If your original image has details in it (like a photo of your kids that you want to print first, then cut, or something where the colors are important), save it as Print & Cut. If it is just a shape that you want to cut out, you can save it as a Cut image.
  10. Give your image a name and add tags if you want, then click the green “Save” button.
  11. Your uploaded image will appear in the Recently Uploaded Images section at the bottom of the Upload tab. Just select your uploaded image and click the green “Insert Images” button to add it to your project!

Finding Free Images

To find free images, use the Filter within the Design Space Image Library. Simply select the “Free” option to see an array of images you can insert into your projects at no cost!

The Weld Tool

The most common use of the weld tool is to take several letters from a text that you have created and "weld them together " into one word. However, welding in design space also means take two different images and welding them together. Many of the projects and design in design space have already been welded for you. However, some users of design space, like to create their own custom designs and this tool will help you get it altogether.

Writing With The Cricut

Cricut now offers a variety of color choices for their pens that fit perfectly into the pen holders on the machines that you can purchase online or in stores where Cricut is sold.

Cricut has a large collection of different pens that you can chose to write with. Their pen line fits perfectly in the pen holders.

However, there are others pens that you can use with your Cricut.

  • American Crafts Galaxy Markers
  • American Crafts Slick Markers
  • American Crafts Glitter Markers
  • American Crafts Precision Pens
  • Recollection Markers
  • Pilot Precise V5 Pens
  • Crayola or Cra-Z-Art Markers, thin tips

If you have issues positioning a non Cricut pen into the holder, place a craft stick under clamp A as you insert your pen stopping just until it kisses the stick.Close the clamp and pull out the stick.

Store your pens tip down so that the ink will always be there when you want to use them

Print Then Cut Feature

One of my favorite features in the Design Space Program is the Print then Cut feature. This feature allows you to print an image that you have selected , then the Cricut will cut it perfectly for you.

So the first thing to know is that you will be printing the image on your printer. An inkjet printer works better than a laser printer for these projects,

Along with the image, the printer prints registration marks on the paper. These marks are what the Cricut reads to make the cut. If you use anything other than white paper, the registration marks may not be readable when you go to cut it.

The Flatten Tool

To put it simply, the flatten tool turns any standard image into a print and cut image. It can take two or more cut images and flatten them into one image that you can print and cut. You can do this with almost any image within the Design Space Program.

It is simple to do this:

  1. Select the entire image

Repeat Or Skip A Mat To Cut Your Image Or Project

On the cut page, you can skip or repeat a mat as many times as you wish. Just click on the mat you want and highlight it. Then cut as many times as you would like to repeat the cut

Moving Items On The Mat

Once you have selected an item and moved it to the cutting area, you can select the number of items that you want to cut all at once. In the upper left hand corner, you can select the number of items that you want and hit apply. The number of items will appear on the mat on you screen.

To save space , or to fit the items onto the paper that you are using, you can actually move the items on the mat.his not only allows you to scrunch things up tighter than the software originally suggests, but it also ensures your cut is precisely where you need it to be (like if you are trying to use a scrap or oddly-shaped piece of material). Just make sure you match the grid lines on the screen to the grid lines on your mat to ensure your design fits your material wherever you have it

Now you can edit your mat within the final cutting stage (on the right-side panel), without having to cancel everything to go back to the preview

Simply by dragging and dropping the images, you can move a cut anywhere on the mat and even rotate it using the handles on the upper right-hand corner.

Finding Free Fonts

Your Cricut machine can cut any font you have installed on your computer. This not only means that you can cut any font that came pre-installed on your computer, but also any awesome font you find and download from some of your favorite free sites such as Font Squirrel or DaFont. To find the fonts you can use without incurring additional charges, simply choose “My Fonts” from the font menu filter. This will show you ALL the fonts installed on your computer, as well as any Cricut

Using The Custom Cut Feature

One of my favorite options in Cricut Design Space is the custom cut option. It helps you adapt the the machine to cut every material perfectly every time. This feature is one the cut mat page, Once you hit the Make It button, you will be able to access this feature.

On the cut screen, you will have the option to select "Materials". If you have an Explore , you have to set the dial to Custom on your machine

  1. Select "Browse All Materials" ( small green button on top of the menu.
  2. Down on the bottom is small green letters, it will say " Material Settings"
  3. From there, you can select any material and adjust the settings

© 2019 Linda F Correa

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