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I'll be transferring information to there from this blog as I get time. Any new tutorials/info will be posted there!

Friday, 28 December 2007

Welding inside a shape

Update: More recent version of DS allow you to weld objects inside ready made frames. You may still have trouble getting some parts of the object to cut however. Here's some info on how to fix that problem.

The following information is still relevant however, if you can't find the correct ready made frame for your project....

Who would have thought welding an object inside a shape could be so difficult? Many of us have tried and unfortunately it's not as easy as it should be. The trick is that you can't actually weld inside a frame. But you can make your own "frame" and weld inside that. Here is a step by step pictorial on how to do it. For this example I have used the George/Basic Shapes cartridge for both the frame and the object inside it.

Click Shift Lock on the DS keypad.

Click on the thin rectangle button key (below the question mark).

Click on your shape and using the Vertical Stretch handle, stretch the rectangle to the length you want your frame to be. Then using the Horizontal stretch handle, stretch/shrink the rectangle to the correct width.

Copy this shape (Edit, Copy/Ctrl C/ ) then Paste (Edit, Paste/Ctrl V/ ).

A new rectangle will be pasted on top of the original rectangle.

While this rectangle is still selected (i.e. you can see the selection handles) click the Turn 90 button once.

This will flip the rectangle horizontally.

Using the Free Move handle, move it up to meet the top of the vertical rectangle.

This will form the top of your frame.

Using the Horizontal Stretch handle, stretch this rectangle until it is the correct length.

(Note, when you use the stretch tool on the vertical shape, it stretches in one direction. When you stretch a horizontal shape it stretches from both ends).

Using the Free Move handle, position the top rectangle so that it meets the left rectangle.

Select each shape in turn and click Weld on both.

Click the Preview button to make sure your welding has worked. Remember, only the bold lines are the cutting lines.

Select the top rectangle and select Copy.

Select Paste, then using the down arrow on your computer keyboard, move that rectangle to the bottom of the vertical rectangle.

When you are close, hold down the CTRL key on your keyboard while clicking the down arrow. this will move your shape in smaller increments. You can also hold down the ALT key while moving your shapes to make the Selection handles disappear. This makes the placement of your objects easier. You may also find it easier to make small adjustments if you change your view to 200%.

You have now formed the bottom edge of your frame. Check that the bottom rectangle has the Weld option ticked.

NOTE: Don't be tempted to create the right hand rectangle yet because for some reason it won't weld properly if you do!

Now it's time to insert your shape. For this example I've used a star - also from the George cartridge.

Click on the first star shape on the DS keypad. This will insert a star onto the mat.

Select the star and using the Free Move handle move it inside the 3 rectangles so that the top point and the left point touch the top and left edges of the rectangle.

Using the Scale handle stretch the star until most of the points of the star meet the edges of the rectangles.

While the star is selected click Weld.

Now you can add the final side to the frame.

Select the left hand vertical rectangle and copy and paste it. Move the pasted rectangle over to the right side until it meets the two horizontal rectangles. Adjust the placement as necessary.

Again, check that it is welded.

Click the Preview button. You should have something that looks like this:

If any of the points of the star don't touch the side of the frame, you can use the Vertical and Horizontal stretch handles. However, it's not necessary that ALL the points touch the frame. It will just give you a different look if they don't.

Click Preview again to check your welding. Remember, only the DARK lines are the cutting lines.

Use the same process if you want to weld a word inside your frame. Just remember that everything must be welded.

Here's some more examples:

With this example I did the flower first and built the frame around it. Just remember to weld everything and add the right hand side of the frame last!

If for some reason your welding isn't working, delete the right hand side of the frame (select it and press the delete key) then undelete it (CTRL Z or Edit, Undo Delete Shapes).

And here's a great example from AnointedHands:

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Selecting/deselecting objects

Sometimes it seems that no matter how many times you click an object, you just can’t seem to get those elusive "selection handles" to show. 

Here's a picture of an image on the mat. Note how it has a box around it and a plus sign in the middle (I’ve coloured them blue to make them easier to see). Clicking on these won't work. Nor will clicking on the crosshair in the middle of the object.

To select your image you must click on one of the image's lines. See where the black arrows are pointing:

Any line of your image will do. And you should only need to click once.

Still can't get it to work even though you are definitely clicking on a line of the object? Maybe the selection handles are just hidden. Press the ALT key to make them reappear.


This is as easy as clicking somewhere else on the mat. If you single click, your cursor will stay where it currently is. If you double click (at the right below) your cursor should move to that spot on the mat.

Moving the cursor:

One of the frustrations that some users are having is getting the cursor to move to where they are clicking. I have done exhaustive testing (ok, I'm kidding - I tried a couple of times) and have found that the speed I double click has a lot to do with the problem. I have slowed down my double click and have much more success at getting the cursor to behave.

You can also use the up/down/left/right arrows on your keyboard to move the cursor.

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Where is page 26 of the online user manual?

Good question! And one that nobody from Cricut seems to have answered....

So here's a run down on that elusive page. Like most of the manual there isn't that much information. I don't want to reproduce the page in case I infringe copyright, but it covers the following topics:

Sizing and Positioning - Basically, use the selection handles to change the size and position of your objects. For greater control over those adjustments, use the Properties box.

Intricate Designs - Remember that some very intricate designs will be difficult for the Cricut to cut.

Saving and Loading - The default folder for saving your project files will be MyDocuments/Cricut/Projects. This will of course be different if you changed those options during installation. Project files are saved as a .cut file.
Don't forget - this is a computer we are using. Make sure you SAVE your work regularly to avoid losing hours of work.

Welding - You can not only weld words/letters together, you can weld images together and weld images to words. The possibilities are endless. You can combine objects/text from different cartridges all in the one design. Just remember that you need to actually own the cartridges to cut out your design. More info on WELDING to come in a later post.

Complicated projects with a lot of welding will take more time for the computer to process when you click the Preview button. Be patient!

Maximizing Paper Usage - With this software you will be able to position your objects more precisely on the mat to reduce paper wastage. Use kerning, sizing, rotation to fill gaps.

Community Feedback - Take a visit to the Cricut Community webpage at for more information. (Gee, I think I've visited there once or twice).

Technical Support - Apparently if you are having problems with DS you can contact Technical Support! Go to, email or call Customer Support at 801-932-1144 (United States only I'm assuming).

And that about covers it!

Installation issues

For information about installing your new software, including system requirements and updating the firmware please visit here:
This information has been kindly provided by Nathan from Cricut.

It looks like with the changes to the site that the above link no longer works... :(

Where can I download the trial version of the software and what does it cost?

You can download a FREE trial version of Design Studio from here:

This is a fully functional version of the software. However you will only be able to cut designs from the cartridge/s that came with your Cricut. (George/Basic Shapes for the original Cricut and Plantin Schoolbook and Accent Essentials for the Expression).

You can still design with all the other available cartridges - you just won't be able to cut your design.

What if I buy the full version of the software? Do I have to uninstall the trial version and install the paid version?

No! All you need to do is activate your software. Open Design Studio and instead of clicking the Trial button, insert the serial number off your CD (or the email you received when you downloaded the real version) in the correct field.


Finally, the long awaited Cricut Design Studio has arrived, and with it - lots of questions!

So here, in one place I thought I would post all those Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) from the message board and hopefully some answers too.

I'd like to include lots of tips and how to's as well. If you have anything to contribute, please let me know.

There have been some stunning designs posted on the message board already and caro3600 has created a blog ( from where you can download the .cut file for lots of those designs.

So stay tuned for lots of great info.

Narelle (girlfromoz)