Turn on your computer! If you’ve successfully installed your Cricut Design Studio software you should see the little green Cricut Bug looking at you with big eyes right from your desktop.
When you load the software, you’ll be presented with a large window with components that may look strange (or not so strange) at first glance.
Here’s a short description of the main items in the Cricut Design Studio software to help the beginner (you!) get started without pulling your hair to baldness because the software’s manual is a little too thin:
- The first thing you’ll notice is the virtual mat which looks just like your physical cricut mat. That’s your virtual design space and where most of the action is going to take place. Start by clicking on any shape in the keypad overlay (the big box just on top of the mat) and play around with the image. You’ll see big circles around the shape, those are called “selection handles” and they let you manipulate and distort the image in every direction.
- The second thing you’ll notice is, as talked about in the previous point, the keypad overlay. This is your virtual keypad that changes according to the cartridges you’ve selected. Every time you click on one the shapes or letters available it will appear on your virtual mat so you play with it and design what you want.
- Third are the 2 boxes just besides the keypad overlay: the cartridge library on the left and the shape properties box on the right.The cartridge library is just what the name suggests, it’s kind of an index of all the cartridges available. You can design with any of the cartridges and even use shapes or letters from different cartridges in the same design but you’ll be able to cut only with the cartridges you own (not cool!… I know). The shape properties box lets you manipulate the selected shapes or letters with more precision. You can give them X and Y coordinates (just like back in school), you can give them precise width and height, you can rotate them, you can nudge them, weld them or kern them.
What is nudging? Clicking on the nudging buttons moves the shape you select by very small increments. Use it when you need to make small adjustments.
What’s welding? Welding enables you to have shapes “glued” together when you cut them with the cricut. Just make shapes or letters overlap on your design, when you turn the weld function on those overlapping letters will be glued together when you cut them.
What’s kerning? Kerning let’s you specify the space between words. Use it to have a specified number (negative or positive) between words without having to nudge them over and over again.
Things to remember:
- You can design with all the cartridges that exist on planet earth (don’t know for other planets) but you can only cut with the ones you’ve purchased.
- You can use other people.cut files if your not in a very creative mood. just head over to the cricut message board or do a quick search on Google for “cricut design studio cut files”.
- Make sure to update your software when necessary to get new cartridges loaded in your cartridge library and to get bug fixes.