Finally, I found a way to make (for the most part) beautiful and smooth outlines in Cricut Design Space.
I’ve been putting off this tutorial because I wanted to make sure that anyone with a computer could make it and achieve beautiful results. The final quality and the results after cutting your projects are essential to me.
It took me months to figure this out, and about two days to test the results, and now they are available to you.
Although I try to explain things very simple, this is not a beginner’s tutorial.
I have arrows and marks on the screenshots that show you the tools I used, but to be ready for this tutorial, these are the concepts you need to know.
- Uploading Files to Cricut Design Space (SVG, PNG, JPEG) and using Print then Cut
- Slice in Cricut Design Space
- Adding and Editing Text in Design Space (fixing cursive fonts)
- Adding Shapes and knowing how to unlock the proportions of layers.
- Having a good concept of what every icon is for in Cricut Design Space.
You can try to follow along, but if you feel lost, check out the tutorials I just linked to.
Before we continue, I want to give you a preview of the topics we will be covering today, so you don’t get confused.
- Making Shadows and outlines inside Cricut Design Space.
This method doesn’t render the best results, but it’s the only way to get outlines for images and fonts that are part of Cricut Access. I give it an 8 out of 10 for final quality.
Please, Cricut, if you read this, can you please add this feature to Cricut Design Space?
- Making Shadows and outlines for SVG files you find around the web and fonts you have on your computer.
This method renders 100% excellent, smooth, and superb quality, and it will work with any SVG file you get your hands on.
You don’t need to install anything, but you need to be from a desktop or laptop computer and have either Google Chrome or Internet Explorer.
Are you Ready?
Let’s get started.
How to Make Outlines and Shadows in Cricut Design Space
There’s not a way for you to make outlines in Cricut Design Space, but we all know that as crafters, we don’t give up, right?
Let’s see it how to do it with images first, and then we’ll do it with text.
Note: Use this method if the images and fonts you want to use are part of Cricut’s images. If you have the file or font on your computer, use the second technique mentioned in this post instead.
Making Outlines/Shadows with Cricut Images
Start by adding an image to the canvas area.
The simpler the image, the better the result you’ll have. Don’t add very complex images.
I decided to go with this little kitty; you can find it by clicking on “images” (left panel) and type #MC6A1419 to insert it to the canvas area.
After adding the kitty to the canvas, make an identical copy, and use the “Contour” tool to hide all contours and have the kitty’s silhouette.
Change the kitty’s silhouette color for yellow or another color that has good contrast with black.
After adding all copies, the kitty will be in the back of the design, and since we need it to be on top of it, select it in the layers panel and drag it to the top.
Select all the elements you have on the canvas and click on “Align” (top panel) and select the option “center.”
After centering all layers, you’ll only see the kitty and one of the kitty’s silhouettes, and since they are all the same size and the black kitty is on top, you can only move the yellow layers from the layers panel.
From the layers panel, select the first yellow silhouette and move it slightly to the left.
Warning: You’ll get into some fights with Cricut Design Space here because the black layer will select itself if you aren’t quick enough to move the yellow layers.
You’ll get there!
Select the second yellow layer and move it slightly to the right. Repeat the same thing with the remaining silhouettes, but this time move one slightly to the top and the other one to the bottom.
All of the layers should look like the screenshot down below.
I know, some parts look weird, but we will tackle that later on. Mainly you want to make a rough copy of the outline.
When you are done arranging all of the silhouettes to make the outline, select them and click on “Weld” to form a single shape.
As you can see, the outline doesn’t look that good. Those ears look quite odd, and the kitty’s tail also seems a little bit weird.
To correct these flaws, make another copy of the original kitty and use contour again.
Add a square and unlock its proportions to make a rectangle and place it where the ears of the new copy end; then select both layers (new kitty and rectangle) and click on “Slice.”
Keep the “Slice Result” that has the ears and duplicate it; then, delete the rest of the pieces that resulted from slicing.
We need two ears, but they need them to be in separate layers. With the contour tool, select one of the “Slice Result” copies and hide all contours except for the right ear.
Repeat the same process with the other copy, but this time, show the left ear.
Select the left ear and place it on the left ear of the outline, then increase the size, so it fits the entire area. Repeat the same process with the right ear.
To fix the kitty’s tail, add a circle, and reduce its size, so it fits in the spot that needs correction.
When everything stands in place, select the outline, ears, and circle and click on “Weld” to finish up the kitty’s silhouette.
This is how it should look at the end!
Doesn’t it look pretty?
Look at another example with other Cricut Image (this time a quote). I repeated the same steps, and I think it looks fantastic.
You can also use the contour tool to separate all lines of the design and then make the outlines individually.
Making Outlines/Shadows with Cricut Fonts
Making outlines with text is very similar to making outlines with images. However, I’ve noticed that the number of copies to make the outline varies.
For instance, sometimes four copies will be enough, however other fonts will take 5 or 6 copies.
Let’s look at how to make the outline for this font called “A Frightful Affair.”
Add the text you want to use and add six identical copies of it. Change the color of the copies for one that has good contrast with the black copy. (I used a neon green)
The number of copies will vary from font to font, and practice is the only way you can get good at it.
Select all layers and align them center. If the black copy is not on top of the green copies, select it on the layers panel and right-click on it and select the option “Send to Front.”
Start moving each green layer to complete the outline, just like we did it with the kitty.
For this font, I made 6 different slight moves, some of them needed to be moved in two directions to complete the outline.
- Bottom Left
- Bottom Right
- Top Left
- Top Right
When you are done completing the outline of the text, select all green layers, and click on “Weld” to make a single shape.
After welding, you will notice that there are some rough spots on the outline.
The more time you take to make a smooth outline, the less rough spots you’ll have, and the quicker you do it, the more things you’ll need to fix.
In other words, take your time to arrange the layers that are part of the border.
As you can see right down below, there’s a lot of imperfections on the outline.
To fix those areas, add rectangles and triangles to smooth out the borders of the outline.
Don’t rush on this step because you can do more harm than good. Make sure that everything matches.
When you are done placing the shapes to fix the rough spots, select them along with the green outline and click on “Weld.”
Note: Select the “Weld Result” and use the “Contour” tool to get rid of the blank spaces on the letter D and R.
Bring that black text to the front, and there you have it. Your outline is complete.
Making an outline for an entire word is a little bit complicated because you need to watch every single letter at the same time.
If you do not have good results, start practicing on a single letter.
It’s so much easier; in the end, I only had one area to correct. Don’t be afraid of using more copies to make a better outline.
Now take a look to this Script font
I followed the same steps I just explained. It took me five copies to complete the outline.
And believe or not, I didn’t get ugly spots that needed correction.
Something new to add is that you can make the outline thicker by using the thin outline as a starting point.
Add four copies of the outline you made and arrange them like you would do it for the first time.
Don’t forget to fix the rough spots.
For this particular design, I had to fix the letter “O.” It was easy, though. I added a small oval to smooth everything out.
Doesn’t it look beautiful?
It’s not 100% perfect, but if you need outlines for a font you like from Cricut Design Space, this (for now) the only way to do it.
Make Shadows and Outlines for SVG files to use in Cricut Design Space
What I am about to teach you, you’ve never seen before, can we name this technique, the daydreamintoreality method.
I am telling you that it took me forever to find a way for you to be able to make beautiful outlines for your SVG files.
They work with any SVG file you can find on the WEB without the need for any phone app or special software like Adobe Illustrator, or Inkscape.
And let’s be realistic…
A lot of people don’t have those programs, or can’t afford Cricut Access.
Are you ready for perfect shadows and outlines?
What you need to Make Outlines
For this tutorial, you will need an Internet browser. Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Mozilla, etc.
I have screenshots for Google chrome, but everything should look pretty similar. If you run into problems google “how to open inspect element on _______ (your browser).”
You also need to take screenshots of your computer. If you have a windows computer open the app “Snipping tool.” and if you have a Mac, open the app “Grab.”
I have a PC so I used the Snipping Tool, but if you have doubts for a Mac check out Apple’s support.
Are you ready?
Let’s do this!
To follow along download these SVG files.
Note: You need to be on a Desktop computer to be able to save them.
Oh! And just so you know, I also have a FREE growing library with tons of printables and SVG files ready to be cut.
I would love for you to be able to get access to all of them. It’s 100% Free for my daydreamers (aka subscribers) check out a live preview here, or get access here.
Step 1 -- Open File Location
Open the location where the SVG file you want to use is located in.
Most likely, you’ve noticed that SVG files don’t open with regular programs.
Usually, to edit them, you need a particular program like Illustrator; but, if you want to see them, you can always open them on your Internet Browser.
To make the outlines and shadows for SVG files, we are going to do some “fake editing” from the browser.
To open the SVG file, go ahead and double click on it (Mr. and Mrs. if you’re following along).
Step 2 -- What is Inspect Element and How to Open it
Every time you open SVG files on your browser, you only see the design itself under a white background.
Nothing fancy, right?
Although you may only use your browser for web searchers, there are many other things you can do from there that, unless you are a computer programmer, you wouldn’t be aware of it.
One of those things is “Inspect Element.”
“Inspect Element” is a browser tool that allows the user to modify the code of a website. It’s used by web developers to visualize the change of colors and appearance of a website before doing something drastic.
These changes are temporary, and for them to take effect, you have to take that code and place it on your website.
Now, you are not building a website or trying to learn programmer skills.
Am I right?
You are trying to add a stroke/outline to add to Cricut Design Space, and from “Inspect Element,” we can temporarily edit an SVG file and add a border very easily! (Insert happy dance)
To open inspect element Right Click on a blank space (white) of the design and select the option Inspect.
You can also use the shortcut Ctrl+Shift+I (CMD key if you have a Mac).
Most times, when you first open Inspect Element, a panel at the bottom of the window will slide open.
I prefer to have that panel on my right; to do that, click on the little three dots I selected on the screenshot right above and choose one of the two options I highlighted.
Step 3 -- What Code to Use and Where to Place it
After opening Inspect Element and have it located on the right panel you will see endless options.
But for this tutorial, you only need to make sure you are on the “Elements” tab (First Green Square on the screenshot down below).
Now, let’s look at the other two green squares I selected on the screenshot.
The big square is the “Element” you want to modify on your SVG file. Sometimes a file can have multiple elements, and you always want to select the first one because it represents the entire SVG file.
Important: Outlines are one of the things that you would want to do on the entire file, so make sure you are selecting the top element as I show you.
In some cases, especially when you convert JPG to SVG, you need to select the second element (I will show you this later on).
The third green square is where you are going to add the changes to add the outlines to your design. The changes you add here are called styles.
Step 4 -- Add Changes to Inspect Element to Make an Outline
As I mentioned before, the modifications we make here are temporary. If you close the window, when you open it again will look as nothing happened.
To add the changes, we need to add a unique code that will modify the file.
These are the styles or words you need to add a stroke/shadow to your SVG files. Note: you need to type them as I am about to show you.
|Code / Styles||What is it for?|
|stroke||Adds an initial outline. It’s the turn-on switch for you to activate outlines|
|stroke-width||Adds thickness to your outline.|
|stroke-linejoin||It adds different effects to your outlines. If the stroke-width is a big number, I recommend you choose the option “round.”|
|fill||It changes the color of your design|
To add a style (stroke, fill, etc.), click on the “element.style” area like I show you in the screenshot down below.
You’ll see a little box that allows you to type in your style.
Type in “stroke: black” and notice the changes that happen on your file. A thin little stroke line should appear. If you can’t see it, make sure you are selecting the first element I mentioned in the previews steps.
Most likely you’d want a thick outline.
To add thickness to the stroke, click right below the style you just added and Type in “stroke-width: 10.” The numbers can be as little as 1 and as big as you want.
Just play with your design until you get the results you want.
For instance, I decided to go with a stroke-width: 40 because I wanted a clear outline.
Don’t worry if the original design disappears or looks weird; you only need to worry about the smoothness of the outline. (I will cover this in another example)
When you are happy with the thickness of your stroke, open the Snipping Tool or Grab for mac in your computer and take a screenshot of the outline.
Once you capture the outline, save it to your computer to upload it to Cricut Design Space.
Step 5 -- Upload Outline to Cricut Design Space
We are getting close to having a perfect and smooth outline!
Go to the canvas area and upload the screenshot of the outline you just saved.
Depending on the file you have, you may choose simple, moderate, or complex.
If you have high contrast images like black and white, choose simple. But if your image has whites, and low contrast colors pick complex.
Click on, continue to clean up the image.
With the eraser tool (magic wand), click on the areas you want to delete. In this case, it will be grey areas.
Don’t delete anything purple because it’s part of the outline (it will make sense in a little bit).
Depending on your preferences, you may want to keep the grey areas in the center of the file. However, I recommend you still erase them and use contour later on if you prefer a solid outline.
Click on continue when you finish deleting the gray areas.
At this point, Cricut is going to ask you if you want to save the image as Print then Cut, or as a Cut image.
Select “Save as Cut image” and click save.
Step 6 -- Upload original file and organize
Don’t forget to upload the original file.
You can see down below that is next to the outline we just saved. Select both images and click on insert.
Bring the original size to the front and resize it to fit the outline.
Doesn’t it look perfect?
If you don’t like the gaps in the outline, you can use contour to hide them, and now you have a solid shape.
I know it may sound complicated!
But, give it a shot!
You got this 🙂
How to Make Multiple Outlines for SVG files
On the example right above, you learned how to make the first smooth outline for any SVG file you have on your hands.
But, what if you want more outlines?
Look at the following image? Doesn’t it look fantastic?
Let’s learn how to do it.
Make sure you already know how to make the first outline because I won’t be covering those steps to the detail again.
Step 1 -- Open File and Inspect Element
Start by opening the SVG file on your browser; then right-click on a blank area of the window and open Inspect Element.
Make sure that you’re selecting the top Element as I show you in the screenshot down below.
Step 2 -- Add Styles and Take Screenshots
For the styles type in “stroke: black; stroke-width: 10; stroke-linejoin: round”
Why do I need to add a stroke-linejoin?
Stroke-linejoin is a type of effect that will allow you to give your file round or square corners.
When adding strokes, sometimes the outline will get distorted and show sharp angles coming out of it.
In other words, it can look hideous.
This file, and most of the ones you find outline will have this problem. To fix this, use “stroke-linejoin: round.”
Let’s rewind, and let’s see how to make multiple outlines.
It’s super easy!
To begin with, make the first outline and take a screenshot of it with the snipping tool (Windows) or grab (Mac).
Leave the window and Inspect Element open and double the stroke width to 20. Then take a second screenshot of the second outline.
But wait, there is more (read in infomercial voice).
Don’t close the window yet.
Again, duplicate the stroke-width you used for the previous outline (40 in this case) and take the last screenshot for the third outline.
Step 3 -- Upload Original File and Outlines to Cricut Design Space
Upload each outline you took a screenshot of and repeat the same process I explained with the Mr and Mrs file.
As you can see down below, I uploaded the three outlines and the original design. If you applied the steps I’ve shown you throughout this tutorial, you should have something similar.
Now, let’s insert them into the canvas area.
Tip: Weld the original file, so everything is one single layer.
I also used “Contour” on the second outline because I think it looks so much better with a solid background than with all of the cutouts.
It’s time to change colors and organize the layers (you can see the order of the outlines in the layers panel in the image down below).
The three outlines don’t need to be resized because we took the screenshot from the same window. But the original design needs to be resized to fit inside the outlines.
Look at some of the other things you can also do with the outlines!
By slicing the first (blue) outline with the original SVG file, we have a different design. And look what happens when you slice that “new design” with the second (pink) layer!
Doesn’t it look lovely?
Practice, Practice, Practice!
Download the other two SVG files I provided you with and try to replicate these other two examples.
What About that Font that you Bought?
I know what you are thinking!
What about those cute free fonts out there, should you give up making outlines for them?
Of course not!
You didn’t come this far to leave empty-handed.
Here’s a quick tip that will allow you to use the fonts you love!
Open a word document where you can type in the text you want to use and zoom in as much as you can, and with the Snipping (window) or Grab (mac) tool, take a screenshot of the text only.
Now, go to this website and upload the screenshot of your text and convert it to an SVG file.
Warning: It’s not going to be 100% perfect, but it will get you close enough to create an outline.
Now, repeat the same process that you did with the other files!
However, when you convert files from JPG to SVG files, select the second Element, not the first one like we did with the other files.
I don’t really know why, but it doesn’t work when you select the first option.
Tip: Sometimes, your SVG file will be almost as big as your screen, to have a better view, use the shortcuts “Ctrl -” and “Ctrl+”
When you are done with the outlines, take the screenshot and upload it to Cricut Design Space.
Now, in the canvas area, type in the text you wanted to use and organize it to fit the outline.
Tip: If you liked the SVG file you got from converting your text, you could use it instead.
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial today and can make beautiful outlines!
Do you know that it takes me around 15 hours of work to complete a single Cricut article? I know, it’s crazy! But I like to make sure that you understand EVERYTHING!
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