Everything you need to know about Cricut Design Space

Ultimate Beginners Guide to Cricut Design Space

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Beginners Guide to Cricut Design Space

So, you’re thinking about buying a cricut? Maybe you already have a cricut, but haven’t taken it out of the box yet! No worries! I know your pain because I have been there too! Trust me!

I think my cricut sat in the box for at least a few months until one day I made the decision to conquer it!

Just a cute little machine, but it’s so intimidating! Either way, you can always start with Cricut Design Space! You don’t need a cricut to get acquainted with the design space!

Learning a new hobby or skill is always scary at first, even a little overwhelming!

Once you start getting to know the  buttons and all the functions, I think you will find it quite relaxing and enjoyable! YES there’s a ton of Information out there! Lets just focus on a little at a time!

This covers all the basics you need to know, no matter what machine you purchased!

All right, so lets jump in to this Ultimate Beginners Guide and start creating beautiful things in Cricut Design Space!

What is Cricut Design Space you ask?

It’s the software you need to make any project

If you haven’t already, go to your play store on your phone or if your on your computer. The logo of design space is the one I provided above this paragraph. Follow the prompts and set up your account!

Cricut Design Space is your canvas! You will open design space every time you start a project or edit an existing project!

Welcome to the canvas area in cricut design space

This article may contain affiliate links for your convenience which means I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you! You can read my disclosure here.

  • Cricut does offer a membership to access hundreds of designs and creations by others.
  • Click here for more information about cricut access. Just scroll to that section in the post.

OK, Now don’t get overwhelmed! We are going to be walking through all the parts of design space and I will do my part to explain it the best I can. I will be with you every step of the way cheering you on the whole time we are learning!

This post is jammed full of information on Cricut Design Space so grab a rockstar, coffee, or whatever floats your boat! I will see you shortly!

Don’t forget to sign up for my email list! I share monthly newsletters that include anything from SVGs, Fonts, affirmations, motivation tips, and of course, my newest blog post to inspire you throughout the week! Let’s kick butt and create together!🤩

    The Four Areas of Cricut Design Space

    1. Top Dark Grey Panel and Top light grey panel

    2 top panels in design space-dark grey and light gray

    There are 2 parts to the top panel.

    The top dark grey panel starts at the 3 lines at the top left of your screen.

    This is where you can access your profile picture, go to your canvas, set up your new machine, calibrate it, and access Cricut access among other things.

    I won’t be going into much detail here! Just explore and enjoy getting to know your space:) Then going across the top you have the title of your piece, my projects, save, and make it.

    Then there is the top, white or off gray panel which is all your editing, arranging, aligning, font, and size.

    2. Left Panel in Cricut Design Space

    The left panel in design space

    Underneath the dark grey panel across the top there are more buttons such as new, templates, projects,  images, text, shapes, and upload.

    3. Right Panel

    The right panel

    This is where you see the layers you are working with and the ColorSync is there!

    You can also group things together so they move as a unit or ungroup things and move them closer together or further apart.

    This is where you duplicate an image or delete it.

    You also have the slice, weld, attach, flatten, and contour buttons here.

    4. Canvas Area in Cricut Design Space

    canvas area in design space

    The canvas area is the big blank lined area in front of you when creating at all times. This is where all the magic happens!! Woohoo! You can watch your designs come to life!

    Don’t worry! We are deep-diving into all those and what they do now!

    Deep dive-Top Panel

    deep dive into the top panel

    Top dark grey panel

    • The 3 lines in your top left hand corner, picture above, You can change your profile picture, go to your canvas,  add a machine, once added you can calibrate it. You can also access cricut access, access your settings, and ask for help if you are having an issue.
    • Next, everytime you start a new canvas I encourage you to name it right away and save it every 15 minutes or so. It always starts as an untitled document. So once you have a good amount done move that curser over to the save button and click it and give it a name.
    • You also have a button called my projects! If you click on that guess where that takes you? Yes, you are right the projects that you have created and made! There may be a time where you want to duplicate a part of a project and you can do that! WOOHOO!!!

    See everything is going GREAT!!!

    • You have another button that should be the machine you registered with. You can switch machines if you have more than one! But please make sure you have the right machine selected that you are working with! Certain machines give you more options than others!
    • Lastly, you have a make it button. Once you click on that it will take you to a editing screen where you can arrange, mirror,  and edit the mats to your liking. It does arrange mats by color so no need to worry about that!

    Top Light Grey Panel

    deep dive into the light grey panel in design space
    • Undo and redo– oh we all have those days where we are always making mistakes, creating things we didn’t like or accidentally deleted something important. These little guys make it easy to go back or forward 2 or 3 steps.
    • Linetype now called operation– tells you what you are doing with a particular line. Are you cutting the line, drawing the line, scoring, engraving, debossing, and so on. This will also determine the blade you will be using and that depends on what machine you have. You may have different options!  

    Different Linetypes/Operations:

    1. Cut- this is the default operation that cricut starts you with when you begin a new canvas. Lets say we put a square on the canvas. On the left panel, go to shapes and click on the square. Go ahead, put a square on your canvas, select it, and  in operation it says its going to cut that square!  Now hit make it and you will see the lines it will be cutting.
    Cricut design space has different line types to choose from
    The cutting mat with a cut line

    Now cancel that with that little grey cancel button! I was just showing you. Now let’s go back to our canvas.

    I just want to make a note that you can change your material size here if you are using a different size or using a scrap piece of material. More to come on that in another post

    2. Draw- Your Cricut actually writes and draws for you! Yes, that’s a true statement. There are certain pens Cricut has for this and they work Fabulous!!!  Again if you want to change that square we put on your canvas to a draw line and hit make it, it will be completely different! Example below.

    the draw line in cricut design space
    What the draw line looks on the cutting mat

    3. Score- This is perfect for a trace line or dotted dash line. It does not cut the material but scores it. An example would be a scoreline to the middle of a card to fold in half. To score you do need a scoring wheel or there are cheats around that, that I will eventually be telling you about! 

    The score line in design space

    4. There are others but to start I would say focus on these and master them first unless you have a super passion for the others which are Engrave, Deboss, Wave, Perforation, and Foil (foil is pretty new) If you need more information on one of these please reach out if I haven’t written the article about it yet!

    • Fill– tells you if something is solid or has a fill pattern to print  it. This is only available when it has a cut line to cut.
    The fill in design space
tells you if something is solid or has a fill pattern to print  it. This is only available when it has a cut line to cut.

    If you go back to your square, make sure it is a cut line, go to the fill box, change to pattern and the box next to it goes to a question mark. Click that little box and you have 2 options. Color and pattern. Click on pattern and explore all of them!

    Options of fill are color and pattern

    You can choose from tons of patterns to put on your image. So go ahead and choose one and it will then transform the image you had selected to that pattern.

    The print pattern fill

    There you have it! You just filled in your square with a pattern!! Congratulations!

    Filling the square with a pattern in design sapce
    • Select-All is where you can select your whole project with one click  to move it to a different part of the canvas. Super convenient button! It moves everything as a unit to a different part of your canvas. I made the select all button on the canvas just in case you couldn’t see it in the picture!
    The select all icon in design space
    • Edit– This is where you can cut, copy, and paste.
    Edit icon

    Cut completely removes the item from the canvas. Let’s do that now! If you take that square again you have on your canvas, select it, and cut it, it is completely gone from your canvas. GO YOU!!!! Now go ahead and paste it back on so it’s there.

    Copy is like a duplicate button. So again let’s do it! Select that square and hit copy.

    Paste is pasting an image you had selected onto the canvas. So let us Paste that square we copied from above! You should have 2 squares on your canvas now. YEAH!!!. Great JOB!!

    Get familiar with these! There is a faster way to do this but this is here for you to decide.

    • Align-Most programs have an align buttons. Picture above in Edit.

    These help to align your project the way you want it. I will not spend much time here. Cricut does a great job at showcasing where the alignments are!

    Example: Align left simple means it’s going to align the elements to the left. Align Center means that it will align your elements horizontally, in the center.

    Distribute button- If you want something evenly spaced out between items then this will help you! 

    *If you need more help with this please reach out to me with any questions you may have!

    • Arrange-So every time you put something new on the canvas it’s always in front of everything else, so you can arrange the items as need be. If you are working with three images and need them stacked a certain way this is where you will rearrange them. One in front or behind another. This allows you to easily rearrange the order of the items. 
    1. Send to back- This sends the selected image straight to the back! Go ahead, give it a try. Copy that square and paste it. Put one over the other and send the top one to the back. WOOHOO!!! You did it!
    2. Move Backward-This sends the selected item backwards just once.
    3. Move Forward-This sends the selected item just one step forward.
    4. Send to Front- This sends the selected image all the way to the front of things.
    • Flip- You can flip images in a horizontal and vertical way in Cricut Design Space!
    1. Horizontal-Great for when you have a set of something! For instance if you have the left side of the heart done and if you copy and paste it and flip it you now have both!
    2. Vertical-Great for flipping designs vertically! 
    • Size– Everything you are working with has a size! This changes the weight and height of your image. You can enlarge and decrease the size from there. Note: Please pay attention to that lock key on the top. If you want it to stay proportioned then the lock stays locked, if you want to unproportion the image then unlock the lock key.
    • Rotate–  This makes it super easy to rotate an item a certain degree to fit it where it needs to go. You can rotate any object from here. Play around and enjoy the learning process!
    • Position-This boxes shows you were your items are located on the canvas when selected. You can also move an object to a particular spot on your canvas with this tool. I can honestly say I don’t use this much. 

    Next, if  you have text on your canvas and select the text, another top menu will pop down

    If you are working with text in design space, there is another top panel that shows
    • Font– will be your first box. This is where you can change the font of your text on your canvas! Hit the text box on the left panel and write something fabulous about yourself! Play and experiment! Its fun! See what fonts you like and don’t like. You can even look for free fonts elsewhere.

    Want to know where to find free fonts? Check out my article Where to find free fonts for Cricut design space.

    Fonts in design sapce

    When you click on the Font button this appears (View image above)

    This gives you an option to select where you want to get the fonts from. You can view all fonts, your system fonts, Cricut fonts, or can even search for a particular font. You can even use the filter button all the way on the right to narrow it down even more!


    • Style-You can change the style of the text to Regular, Bold, Italic, or Bold Italic
    • Font Size– The place you can adjust the size of your fonts.
    • Letter Spacing-This allows you to change the spacing between the letters of a word. This is a game changer for me! It can save alot of time vs the ungrouping and individually moving letter by letter! When you type certain words out cricut spacing is a bit off sometimes. There will be a huge gap in between letters. Just play around with letter spacing and see what happens.

    Go ahead! Write something incredible about your day! Make sure it is selected. Now go up to letter spacing and hit the up and down arrows. Acknowledge what it is doing to your text! Pretty AMAZING!!!

    • Line Space-This helps with the space between the lines in a paragraph! This comes in handy when you are working with tons of words, phrases, or sentences.
    • Alignment-This is different from the first one I mentioned earlier. This option is for paragraphs, but aligns the same. Left aligns to the left and so on. Center Aligns to the center and Right Align shifts everything to the right.
    • Curve- This is a great feature. This curves your text on your canvas. If you select your text, click on the curve tool and a bar appears! Slide that bar with your text selected and will it curve it for you! Go ahead write out something great, like You are a Rockstar! Now play with the curve bar.
    • Advance- This is where you can ungroup letters, lines, and layers. 

    Left Panel

    The left panel in design space

    Now that we have discussed in detail the top panel, we are now going into the left panel of Cricut Design Space!

    • New (+) this button opens up a brand new canvas!  Go ahead! Give it a try. Go into cricut design space and set up an account and machine then get in there and hit the new button! And there is your new canvas! Congratulations!!!!

    *NOTE: If you hit the new button and already have a project on there it will prompt you that a project already exist and what you want to do with it appears. You can either save it and start a new project, replace the project with what you are starting, or cancel the new canvas to continue with the one you had started!

    • Templates- Cricut offers templates that you can use to make a particular item so you have a base of where to start.

    For example, if I wanted to make a design for an apron, I would first click on templates to see if they have an apron template. They do, so you can click on the template and design space puts an outline on the canvas for a size guide. It will notify you as well, as this is only a template!

    Cricut also has templates that we can use as a guide

    These are the templates that Cricut Design Space has for us to use as a guide

    • Projects- This is where you can go see projects by others and projects that are ready to make. You can find inspiration or make a ready to go design.
    • Images- You can search for anything you are looking for. To start a project or to add to your project! You can search for images, categories, or cartridges. Note: There may be a price next to images and items, you have to pay for them unless you are part of cricut access. 
    We can search for images with the image icon in design space
    • Text- This is were you will click to add text to your canvas. Go ahead-hit that text button and write something great!
    • Shapes- You will be using these all the time so get use to the shapes and designing things from them! You can do many cool things with some basic shapes. The shapes are square, circle, triangle, diamond, pentagon, hexagon, star, octagon, and heart. Also here is where you will find another version of your score line.
    Shapes icon-The shapes are square, circle, triangle, diamond, pentagon, hexagon, star, octagon, and heart.  Also here is where you will find another version of your score line.
    • Upload- This is were you can upload your own images and designs! Upload images you want to work with. You can also upload patterns! Again play around with it and enjoy! You’re not going to break anything! Just familairize yourself and have fun! Turn your thoughts and ideas into your masterpiece!

    Right Panel

    The right panel
    • Layers- This shows you all the layers you have on your canvas and what that layer is doing. From the picture above, you can see that I have 3 arrows in my layers canvas and each of those arrows have 2 layers.

    A layer is all the different items you have on your canvas.

    EXAMPLE- If you were making a simple fold birthday card you might have text saying happy birthday, a picture, or a cake and balloons for the card, these are all layers needed to make the card.

    An example of a birthday card to show you all the layers and an explanation of the layers

    Example: So here you have the card, happy birthday, the balloon, cake, and score line are all layers! Each element is considered a layer!

    Example: The cake, which is the first thing, on the top of the Layers panel. That cake has 4 layers to it. Unless you change the cake to a print and cut, then it will only have one.

    • Layer Visibility-Once you have an item on your canvas, if for some reason you want to get rid of something but not delete it completely there is a eye icon if you click on that it leaves it on the layers panel, but takes it off the canvas.

    If you look at the picture above, you see my little arrows in the layers panel, but don’t see them on the canvas. This is because I hit that eye icon and it took it off my canvas but not out of my layers panel. The eye will have a slash or line through it.

    • Colorsync-This allows you to colorsync and use less materials. This tool is fabulous to match all the same colors together. Say you have 6 different blues but only want one. This will match the colors up for you!
    • Group & Ungroup- When writing with text all those letters are grouped together and move as a unit until you ungroup them. When you ungroup you will be able to move letter by letter. You can move the letter closer or further apart and select each one and regroup them back together so they move as a unit. Once you are done and everything looks great, MAKE SURE YOU GROUP THE LETTERS BACK TOGETHER!!!!
    • Duplicate– That just makes a copy of something that is selected
    • Delete- You can select an item on your canvas and delete it so its not there anymore.
    • Blank Canvas- This  allows you to change the color of your canvas; if you are trying to see how a  design looks with a different color. The power of this is used  when you work with  it along with the Templates tool because you can modify the color and the options of the template itself. 

    Right Panel- bottom-Slice, Weld, Attach, Flatten, and Contour

    The bottom right panel-slice, weld, attach, flatten, contour

    I can’t express how important these tools are. You will be using them often so please master these!

    • Slice this tool is great for cutting out shapes, texts and  other items.

    Let’s put a star and square on our canvas. Center the star on the square.

    Next, Select both the star and square and head down to that slice button. Click the slice and look what it did!

    It’s important that both items are selected!

    If you look at the picture below to the left I have a star and square. Notice that the items selected are in a darker color than the other items on your right panel. Once you slice you will have an extra piece that the slice causes.

    • WeldThis tool allows you to combine 2 or more shapes and texts when wanted. It welds it together

    You can create new shapes and completely come out with something amazing!

    You can see the difference here between the two shapes and the two shapes that are welded together.
    • Attach Attaches two or more items together! Lets say you have your square and star on your canvas. Select both of them and hit attach. Now try moving them around. They connect and move as a unit. Go ahead and try it. 
    The two shapes that are just there and the two shapes that are attached and what happens to them
    • Flatten This is where you will flatten everything.

    This tool is great for making multiple layers into one layer!

    Do you remember that cake that had 4 layers, when we were talking about layers? OH GREAT!!! 

    Well, here we can flatten that cake to make it one layer. The picture below should guide you and help you understand the flatten icon.

    The original cake and the flattened cake
    • Contour This tools allows you to hide a portion of an image layer by removing any unwanted cut lines.

    It’s important to know that this tool will not work unless the image is a single layer.

    If it has more than one layer the contour tool will not be lit up to use. More to come on these tools with in-depth descriptions!

    Canvas Area

    This is where the magic happens! This is where all your elements and designs are laid out!

    • Grids and Measurements- Get to know your design space layout and enjoy this space! The grids and measurements are great because it actually preps you for working with your cricut cutting mat.

    Your canvas is almost identical to the mat you use for Cricut, so you can arrange it accordingly.

    You can change the grid and units it’s measured in from CM to IN and vice versa.

    In the left-hand corner you have those 3 lines, click there, then go to settings and a screen should pop up that looks like this. Picture below!

    Go ahead and set it up to your liking. You can always come back and change it at any time.

    Grids and measurements in design space and how to view and change them

    WOOHOO! After reading this article and applying all you learned, I have to say CONGRATULATIONS!!!! You are no longer a complete beginner!

    3 Tips for Cricut Design Space Beginners

    • Give yourself a break

    This is a lot to take in. Make sure you are taking breaks to breathe and enjoy your creative process. If you find yourself getting frustrated, get up and take a break! When overwhelm starts taking over, I get up stretch, yawn, and clear my head!

    • If you are working with paper, vinyl, or HTV you will have extra

    No worries if you are only cutting 3 items out of a 12 x 12 sheet.

    Cut your items out and cut off what you don’t use and save it. You can then use that piece of scrap for something later! This is where the grids and measurements will help you! Just line it up on the mat, edit in the make it icon.

    • Gather all your materials that you will be using first!

    Once your design is done and you are happy with it, please take a look at the materials you will be using. Grab all the materials you will be cutting and have them ready to go.

    Your Cricut machine will prompt you on what is coming next. You also have the option to skip to a different mat, by selecting the mat you want to go next!

    That was a lot of knowledge about Cricut Design Space! Take this in-depth article with you to explore the wonder that is cricut! I truly hope this article helped you! I covered everything about design space so start exploring and making crafts!

    To this day I don’t know what I would do without my Cricut! This little machine has truly changed my life and I hope it changes yours too!

    If you enjoyed this please share the love!

    If I missed anything, please let me know and I will write an article to cover that!


    Where are you at on your Cricut Journey?

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