This is the second in a series of projects to learn to use the features of Cricut Design Space. These projects create something that likely everyone can use: gift tags! They are small, quick projects designed to be useful and use inexpensive cardstock to learn how to use Design Space. Each of the projects builds on the previous, so it’s helpful to have done these in order.
This gift tag takes the simple square to something that is a bit more customized than a 3.1×3.1″ square. In this lesson, we will resize the square and turn it into a rectangle. If you have not used graphic design programs before, you will want to expand all of the directions.
Why do we hide some directions? We think it helps to see a quick outline of the steps first — if there’s lengthy amount of text to explain it, we’re exhausted before we start! Also, you may know how to do one of the steps, but not the others. We’ll show the steps first, and if you need that step explained, you can show what you need in manageable chunks at a time.
Note that for the last point, there are a number of ways to mount used materials (pieces that have already have cutout sections) on the mat. We’ll keep using this piece of cardstock and explore other methods in successive lessons.
If you’re doing these lessons in succession, if you still have Lesson 1 up on your screen, you can start from there. However, If you are a brand-new user, I’d recommend closing out of Design Space (click the X on the tab in Windows, or close the app in Android). If you get a message asking if you want to leave the site because your changes may not be saved, that’s OK. Just press Leave Site.
1. Open a New Project in Design Space
Lesson 1 covered how to open Design Studio (from the icon on your device), then click on the New Project button to get into the Canvas screen.
If you need to jog your memory, check out Lesson 1. Successive lessons will simply reference “open a new project” from here on out.
2. Add a Square
Using the Shapes tool, add a square to the Canvas screen. Details on using the Shapes tool.
The Shapes tool is found on the Design Panel menu. It’s down the left on Windows, across the bottom on Android screens.
Click on the Shapes tool to bring up a menu of basic shapes, then click/tap on the square to place it on the Canvas screen.
Your screen probably looks like this:
Depending on whether you’re on a Windows machine or an Android device, your screen is different. Look at the two screens, above. Note that on Windows, at the corners of the square have red and blue circles; the Android does not. The circles the corners is the bounding box that indicates that the item is selected. Because this is a black square, you can’t see the lines the make up the bounding box that is drawn that bounds the top, bottom, right, and left of the item. An additional item is the grey plus in the center. The vertical bar is the midpoint of the width of the element, the horizontal bar is the midpoint between the top and bottom.
3. Selecting an item
Simply click/tap on the square. You’ll know it’s selected when you see the bounding box.
To unselect it, click/tap in any unused area of the Canvas screen. Clicking/tapping in any unused area of the Canvas screen will also close the Shapes menu or any of the menus that stay open because it’s probably that you may want to add several shapes at a time.
If your shape is something other than a square or a rectangle, the bounding box is drawn exactly around the top, left, right, and bottom of the shape. That leaves blank space in the bounding box.
When the item is not selected, the bounding box is not shown. If you click in the area within that bounding box, even though it’s not shown, you will select the object.
If you have overlapping objects, the top-most item (also called a layer) is selected. The top-most layer is either the one you last placed, or the one you used the Arrange button to change its order. If you have trouble selecting individual items, look for them in the Layers Panel on the right side of the screen. Click on the thumbnail to select the specific item.
We’ll cover layers and how to select them in future lessons, but if you’re one of those types that experiments as you follow along, this information might prove helpful.
4. The Bounding Box and Handles
The bounding box has four handles. These are the icons at each corner. Each handle controls something about the item. Clockwise from the upper left, they delete, rotate, resize, and control how the size of the element is adjusted (keeping the proportions or allowing them to change).
Here’s a chart of what each of the handles does to the selected element:
|How to Use
|Click/Tap to delete
|Click/Tap, hold and drag to rotate
|Click/Tap, hold and drag to size
|Proportions are Locked
|Click/Tap to unlock
|Proportions are unlocked
|Click/Tap to lock
|Click/Tap, hold and drag to adjust
5. Resizing with the Handles
The goal is to resize the square from a 3.111″ square gift tag to a rectangle that is 1.5″ high and 4″ wide (if you’re metric oriented, use 3.5 cm high and 10 cm wide).
➀Click and drag the Resize handle. (Note that when you click on it, it gets a shade darker.
➁As you drag the handle around (for example, the path of the orange dotted line), note how the shape remains a square regardless of where you drag the handle. As you drag the handle, the dimensions change.
➂To turn the square into a rectangle, click the shape lock handle . The handle icon changes to an unlocked lock and the resize handle changes from the blue diagonal arrows to a green four arrow icon indicating that the item will not retain its original shape.
➃Now click and drag the green resize icon and move it around. As you move it (maybe following a path similar to the orange dotted line, above), the shape changes to a rectangle (and occasionally back to a square if that’s what you want). Look at the dimensions as you move it around. Try to get to 1.5″ (3.5 cm) tall and 4″ wide (10 cm). You likely won’t get both dimensions exactly, but close enough is good enough. It doesn’t have to fit anything. And if you want a different size, go for it!
Your screen probably looks like the one below. If so, you’re ready to cut it.
6. Preparing the Mat
In Lesson 1, the gift tag was cut from the top corner of the paper. There’s plenty of good paper left! We can simply mount the paper so that the upper left corner on the mat isn’t the corner with the cutout.
You can use any of the three extra corners, though to follow along exactly in future lessons, mount the paper with the cut out at the lower right, as shown below.
7. Load the Mat and Make It.
Lesson 1 covered how to load your mat and navigate the Prepare and Make screens. It starts with clicking the Make It button, then following the prompts.
Be sure to set your dial to Cardstock (or Cardstock+) before you press the Cricut cut button!
If you need to jog your memory, check out Lesson 1. Successive lessons will simply reference “make the project” from here on out, unless we are looking at more features of the Prepare and Make screens.
When you’re done, peel the mat off of the paper (again, see Lesson 1). You’re ready to fill out your gift tag and attach it to your gift!
Did something go wrong? Don’t worry. Probably the worst that happened is you ruined the sheet of cardstock. There are worse things that can happen! Try to figure out what went wrong, then try the lesson again.