Cricut Design Space Tutorials with 200+ Free Projects

Do you know how to unweld in Cricut Design Space? What does Contour mean in Cricut Design Space? This ultimate beginner’s tutorial to Cricut Design Space will answer these questions and many more!

Before I get started, I want to offer all of my free projects in case you want to practice as we go through various basic functions of Cricut Design Space.

I have 300+ FREE projects that I provide for all my newsletter subscribers. I add new templates and tutorials every week to this pool of goodies and it is all free. Join the newsletter and get access to all of my free resources:

How to open and edit projects in Cricut Design Space

First things first, I’ve included some really basic functions in Design Space like… how to start a project.

New projects can be started in 2 ways in Cricut Design Space.

From the Canvas View, click the “New” icon in the left tool bar.

From the Home View, click the “New Project” button.

how to open and edit projects in cricut design

How to edit a saved project in Cricut Design Space

All previously saved project and Cricut Access projects can be accessed via the Projects icon in the Canvas View.

After clicking on “Projects” icon in the left tool bar, you will see Projects for All Categories. Filter for specific project types in the drop down menu.

Cricut design space zoom

It’s funny that some of the most basically functions in Design Space are super hard to find.

One of the first things that happens is you get a project, you upload the project file and it is really big or it’s somewhere else on the canvas and you have no idea where it went.

Let me help you out… it’s probably off the page on the canvas.

Zooming out in Cricut Design Space

zooming out in cricut

In this really faint gray rectangle in the lower left corner of the Canvas, you will find the zoom button. If you hover over it, it darkens to something more visible.

(it’s ok, it took me a second to find it too ๐Ÿ™‚

How to upload images to Cricut Design Space

I’m going to do things a little differently than all the other tutorials out there. I’m going to start with what I think is the most frequent first thing most beginners try to do.

The first thing I tried to do was cut someone else’s design.

In doing this, you will need to know how to upload an image.

Now, this sounds relatively straight forward but depending on the project and the file type, it can get a little confusing.

File type for Cricut Design Space

Contrary to what most people think, there are 2 broad categories of image formats that Cricut Design Space can take; bitmap and SVG images.

Bitmap images are composed of pixels (little dots). Bitmap images files formats include: png, jpeg, jpg, bmp.

Vector or SVG images contain information about the paths (or lines). The most common file format for vector images is .svg which is what the Cricut uses.

Why can’t the Cricut just use regular images? Well, it is because the blade needs directional information to know what paths to cut.

Your printer on the other hand uses bitmap images because it “paints” little dots instead of paths.

What you will quickly see in Cricut related Facebook groups and other social platforms is talk about uploading SVG files and buying SVG files.

SVG is not the only type of file that can be used with the Cricut. Cricut Design Space has some basic vectorization capabilities but it is limited which enables you to use bitmap images.

In this article, I will only go over how to upload a SVG file. I have many other articles on how to upload other files. I also have a full quick reference e-book, Cracking the Cricut, that provides a comprehensive guide to unzipping and uploading all file types on all platforms.

How to upload file in Cricut Design Space

upload images to cricut

From the Canvas View, click on the “Upload” icon in the left tool bar.

Then click Upload Image > Browse.

Select your file. Then Continue in the bottom right corner.

Quick note on zipped file – most svg files you purchase or download will be zipped. You can either unzip it first before uploading or just right click > open as you are in the uploading process documented above.

Unzipping file on your iphone, ipad or Android device is a bit more tricky. I spell this out in great detail in my quick reference guide Cracking the Cricut.

Uploading Bitmap Images to Cut

If you are interested in how to upload bitmap images like a photo and turn it into a cut file, check out my article on How to Turn a Photo into a Cut File.

How to fill an image with color in design space

So you see some really cute Cricut project on Pinterest, you get the file, you upload it to Design Space and ….. it looks nothing like the end result.

how to cut on cricut design space

Yup, been there. (oh, btw, if you like this paper lace card, check out my tutorial and template on it here. It is one of many free templates from my resource library.)

So, the reason it looks like a solid pattern when uploaded is SVG file don’t necessarily need to be colored in any particular way to still function as a cut file.

Most designers who make svg files, specially a cutting pattern one, will just leave it black.

how to fill an image with color in design space

Lets use this unicorn face SVG file as an example. (if you are interested in file, you can find it is part of my mix and match unicorn iron on design article here)

When you upload the file, it is all black. If you send it to cut right now, all of the pieces will be cut using one material.

Each color is a different layer (or material) in Design Space.

Say you want to change the colors of the flowers. If you want to print it to a specific color, then you can use the color drop down menu to select your color.

If you just want to use a different material for each flower, you can just color each flower a different color (it doesn’t matter what color, just different) so it groups the cuts separately when you Make It.

How to Weld in Cricut

It is inevitable that you will want to make some design changes within Cricut Design Space or just make your own design altogether.

Weld is an essential function to learn in design space.

how to unweld in cricut

I have a full article on how to make rolled paper flower templates within Designs Space if you are interested.

To weld, first create the shape you want to weld. Then select both shapes and click on the “weld” icon in the bottom right corner.

How to unweld in cricut

Figuring out how to unweld something is probably the second most frequently asked question after How to Weld.

Technically, you can’t unweld something. But there are 2 ways around this.

You can “Undo” if you are in the same session. The undo button is in the top tool bar panel.

how to unweld in cricut

The second method is to slice the graphic.

How to slice on Cricut Design Space

Slicing in Cricut Design Space is relatively straight forward. Just select both shapes and click on the “slice” icon in the bottom right corner of the Canvas.

how to slice on cricut

Lets use this watercolor splatter as an example. I want to cutout some text from this turquoise blob.

To do this, I first write my text. Then position it in place, select both items and click the “Slice” icon in the bottom right corner.

How to Unslice on Cricut Design Space

You can’t really unslice, but you can weld things back together. If you haven’t moved the items, just select both shapes and “weld”.

You can also always undo if you are in the same session.

Slice Troubleshooting: Why can’t I slice in Design Space?

You can only slice 2 elements at a time in Cricut Design Space. Deselect one of the items and then perform the slicing function again on the other two pieces.

Cricut weld vs attach

Weld is frequently confused with Attach in Cricut Design Space. Weld merges two shapes into one continuous shape. Attach just keeps the individual shapes together relative to each out.

How to Attached, Detach and Group in Cricut Design Space

Attach and Group also gets confused. Group in Design Space keeps things together while you are working in the Canvas. Attach keeps the items together relative to each other after you โ€œMake Itโ€.

Group and Attach are both available on the right tool panel.

Once items have been grouped or attached, the option to Ungroup and De-ttach will appear.

how to cut on cricut design space

How to crop in Cricut Design Space

Another topic that frequently comes up is cropping an image. There may be a time you just want a part of a design and Ungrouping the elements is not an option.

(designers who make svg file can save the image in multiple ways. Sometimes they are separate elements and you can just ungroup and delete. Other times, they are already welded together and you have to do some creative cropping.)

There is no dedicated crop function in Design Space. You will have to use the Shapes and Slice function in combination to “crop”.

How to erase part of an image in Cricut Design Space (aka, DIY erase tool in Cricut)

how to crop in cricut design space

Lets use this Princess Castle centerpiece I made for a birthday party as an example. (The Princess Unicorn Castle Tutorial is here, as always, the templates are free in my resource library.)

The base box I used is too big for one sheet of cardstock. I have to split the single castle shape into two pieces.

I can do an effective “crop” by creating a “crop” window as a shape. I then overlay the “crop” shape over the area of the image and “Slice”.

This is particularly useful when you are working with decals that go beyond the Cricut print and cut size limit.

How to Print and Cut in Cricut Design Space

Print and cut is a function that has many applications for Cricut crafts.

How to Print and Cut a Photo

I mentioned a link earlier on a separate article on how to vectorize a photo to cut within Design Space. There are other scenarios where you might want to just upload a photo to cut without vectorizing all the details.

cricut cut custom images

Lets use this cowboy kitty as an example. I want to print and cut just a heart shaped version of the photo.

To heart cowboy kitty, you simple use the upload function to upload your bitmap image (.jpg or .png format).

Cricut Design Space will realize it is not a .svg file and will ask you a few different things. Mark the image as “complex” to preserve the details.

Then save as a “print then cut image” so Design Space knows to not just to keep the outline of the photo.

Then use the shapes tool and slice function to make whatever cutouts pleases you.

How to Flatten in Cricut Design Space

There might be projects where you want to just print but not cut every little part of a design.

Lets use this robotic face design as an example.

cricut cut custom images

I want to just print the design on a sticker sheet and cut out the circle base shape.

To do this, I select all piece and then click “Flatten” in the bottom left corner of the canvas. The “unflatten” options will appear to undo if necessary.

How to contour in Cricut design space

Contour in Cricut design space is probably the most confusing function to newbies.

You can think of Contour as equivalent to hide in Design Space.

Lets continue with out robotic face example.

cricut contour tool not working	what does contour mean on cricut

Lets say I’m using this base design for multiple things in a birthday party kit. I want to turn the design into a stencil for a cookie.

I can’t have the floating slivers in the forehead of this robot face so I have to temporary take them out to cut my stencil.

I don’t want to have to put it back in later to make vinyl decals.

To temporary hide these elements, I can use the Contour button in the bottom right corner.

After clicking “Contour”, I can select all the pieces that want hidden.

Why is my Cricut contour tool not working?

The contour tool only works on “welded” items.

contour tool not working

Lets use this hexagon and start shape as an example. The top design can be contoured while the bottom one cannot.

Why is the Contour tool not working in the bottom design? It is because it is 2 separate shapes, not one welded shape. A design that is only grouped or attached together cannot use the contour tool.

Are you ready to get started after this Cricut Design Space Tutorial?

It’s ok if you haven’t gotten everything in this first pass. I totally get it, it took me a while.

Who am I? Hi there! I’m Ilyssa, the creator of Domestic Heights (the site you’e on right now) I’m an engineer turned crafter. So now instead of working on circuit boards, I work with my Cricut. (“I” am the only different there… har har, get it?! ๐Ÿ™‚

If you like my slightly nerdy technical explanations with a bad sense of humor, you can get the full version of it in my ebook Cracking the Cricut. I’ve created this super helpful comprehensive quick reference for Cricut Design Space.

Cracking the Cricut is an ebook and mini video e-course with a comprehensive single-page reference guide for every basic function in Cricut Design Space.

This Cricut quick reference covers both web, iOS and Android platforms which covers all laptops, iphones, ipads and Android mobile devices.

Related Articles:

The Most Profitable Cricut Projects to Sell

7 Cricut Projects with Scraps

29 Beginners Cricut Projects with Free Templates

beginners tutorial to cricut design space
cricut beginner tutorial

4 thoughts on “Cricut Design Space Tutorials with 200+ Free Projects”

  1. Cima

    thank you so much for all your help. Im totally new…and lost, but your page helps me a lot

  2. Marcella J Baker

    Wow. You have done an incredible job of making design space easy to use. Thank you!

    1. Elf @DomesticHeights

      Thanks Marcella ๐Ÿ™‚

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