Cricut Design Space: A Complete Guide 2021
Cricut, Designs

Cricut Design Space: A Complete Guide 2021

Cricut Design Space is your place to embrace creativity. When you want to maximize the full potential of your Cricut, your journey starts here.

Although Design Space can feel a little overwhelming at first, you’ll discover that it can be one of the most useful tools in your crafting arsenal.

Some people love to jump right in to start experimenting. There’s nothing wrong with that approach! When we learn by trial and error without any support, the practice we get from those sessions creates the skills needed for a successful experience.

When you prefer to follow a guide, this resource can help you start to reach your crafting goals. You’ll learn each icon’s role, what each panel can accomplish, and how to use the canvas to achieve the results you want.

If you’re ready to learn what Cricut Design Space can do the help you, let’s get started on this journey together right now!


What Is Cricut Design Space?

Cricut Design Space is a companion app and browser-based resource that works with your machine.

It functions with Cricut Maker and the Cricut Explore family of cutting machines to help you do numerous projects with ease.

This software resource offers thousands of ready-to-make designs, images, and fonts you can access from Cricut’s library. It also lets you make something from scratch.

Over 60,000 unique items are available for you to review in Design Space, with many more getting uploaded daily for additional creative solutions.

Before you can access Cricut Design Space, you’ll need to sign in with your current ID. If you don’t have an account yet, you’ll need to create one today.


How to Create a Cricut ID

If you want to maximize your Cricut machine’s functionality, you must create an account ID first.

You can start that process by visiting this website if you are in the United States. Cricut offers support in several countries and languages, so please choose the appropriate option for your needs at the account creation site.

Your Cricut ID requires your name, a valid email address, and a password to get started. You’ll need to choose your current country as part of the sign-up process.

Two boxes are available to review above the green “Create an Account” button. You’ll want to check both of them before continuing.

The first box, when checked, authorizes Cricut to send you exclusive sales opportunities, design inspirations, and DIY ideas to the email address selected for your ID.

With the second box, you agree to abide by Cricut’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use when checked.

You can decide to uncheck the first box during the creation of your Cricut ID. You cannot proceed with the registration until you click on the second one.

Once you authorize the creation of a Cricut ID, you’ll need to confirm your decision through an email link sent to your inbox. If you change your mind, simply ignore the message. You can always return to finish this step at a later time.

When you are ready to start using Cricut Design Space, consider reviewing these project ideas first to see what is possible with your machine and creativity.


Why Do I Need to Use Cricut Design Space?

Cricut Design Space communicates with your equipment to tell it how to operate. If you had one of the first models of this crafting tool, it would require cartridges and manual manipulation to correct your design sizes before cutting or drawing.

With Design Space, you can now upload whatever fonts and images you prefer. The software supports several file formats, including JPG, PNG, and SVG.

This update ensures that your creativity has access to the most versatility possible.

Although your Cricut is moving away from cartridges with Design Space, you can still use the images that are on them for your designs. You can also access premium options through Cricut Access, including options created by fellow crafters.

You can access some of Cricut’s design options through the mobile app, but Design Space works better when using it on a desktop or laptop. It works with macOS and Windows to give let you use your favorite designs.

Your Cricut connects to your desktop or laptop by USB or through Bluetooth. It depends on the model you prefer. If you plan to use your device with an Apple laptop and need a wired connection, you’ll need an adapter that goes from the lightning connector to the USB format so that your tools can speak with each other.

Once you have your Cricut and computer or mobile device connected, you can start learning how to use Design Space. It is the easiest way to start creating!

Your Cricut can make greeting cards, genuine leather projects, incredible stencils, and even quilting blocks.

When you have the correct cutting tools and features for your Cricut, you can make book bags, toys, pillows, and more!

Please note: If you want to cut a Knife Blade project with your Cricut, you must access Design Space through a laptop or desktop computer.


You Don’t Need Technical Skills for Cricut Design Space

Are you familiar with programs like Illustrator or Photoshop? If so, you’ll find that Design Space is a straightforward software platform that is relatively simple to learn.

Anyone familiar with operating a computer can learn the basics of Cricut Design Space in a few minutes. Its purpose is to touch-up the designs you want to use at home instead of creating something from scratch.


How to Navigate Around the Canvas Area

Instead of trying to take in everything simultaneously, let’s do it one step at a time. We’ll begin by looking at the four specific Design Space areas, where you can make some magic.

  • Top Panel. This area is at the top of your screen. It is the editing area where you’ll issue commands for the software to follow. Each tool offered in Cricut Design Space starts its journey from the clicks you make here.
  • Left Panel. In this region, you’ll find the insert area. These options let you modify the image in specific ways to ensure your project comes out as intended.
  • Right Panel. You’ll use this space to create layers for your images. Here is where Photoshop or Illustrator experience can be helpful because you’ll “build up” your ideas to create custom results.
  • Main Screen. The rest of the screen is the canvas area where you’ll see the results of your work.

Once you become familiar with these regions, please feel free to experiment with your images! You’ll discover that the creative process is relatively straightforward. Part of the fun of owning a Cricut is to see what it can do.

When you’ve had time to become familiar with the interface, it’s time to see some of the specific functions you can initiate through Cricut Design Space.


What to Expect from the Top Panel in Cricut Design Space

When you access the commands in the top panel area, you’ll have arranging and editing options to select for the image(s) in your canvas area.

This panel lets you choose the font you prefer, the size you need, and the alignment required to create your final image. Several additional customization choices are available to let you explore the full realm of your imagination!

You’ll find that the top panel gets divided into two areas.

  • The first subpanel allows you to name your project, save it, or issue the cutting command to your Cricut.
  • When you use the second subpanel, the software enables you to edit and control the elements found in the canvas area.


List of Choices from the First Subpanel

The first subpanel enables you to navigate to your profile and different projects while providing the commands needed to finish your project.

You’ll discover several selections available to manage your essential needs in this area of Cricut Design Space.

The first option on the far left, next to the box with three lines, is the Toggle Menu. It is where you can go to your profile to make adjustments. When you need to update the software, calibrate your Cricut, or manage the blades, the resources necessary for those commands come from a click to this option.

If you want to explore what your Cricut can do with each project, it might be useful to spend some time looking at each option.

The primary element for the canvas area and your project comes from the Settings choice in the Toggle Menu. You can alter the measurements and visibility of what you see on the central portion of the screen.

Once you feel confident about what these choices offer, you can explore the rest of what the first subpanel offers.


Project Name

When you open a new project, it comes as an untitled piece. You cannot change this name until you place at least one creative element on your canvas. It can be a shape, image, or text. Click here, give your work a moniker, and keep on going!


My Projects

Clicking on this section of Cricut Design Space takes you to your library. Each file you’ve previously saved is available with this command, allowing you to re-cut something already made. It’s a massive time saver that stops you from recreating the same project repetitively.


Save Icon

Once you place a design element on the canvas, this icon activates. Please try to remember to save your project periodically to prevent losing some of your work. Although the software is in the cloud, a hardware failure on your end could cause significant problems.



This option is unique for all Cricut users. The choices you’ll find here are machine-specific to the model you have at home.


Make It

Once you have your files uploaded, click here to begin the creative process. You’ll see the project divided into the mats based on the colors needed for your work.

This option works well if you have multiple cuts needed for your project.


List of Choices from the Second Subpanel

When you reach the second subpanel area from the Top Panel, you’ll find the tools needed to customize your project even further.

If you are familiar with Microsoft Word or Excel, the second subpanel design will seem intuitive.

Is it your first time using software like this to create something? You’ll pick up the various commands quickly with the outline below!

We will move from left to right across the second subpanel in Cricut Design Space to outline the various options you have for designing.


Undo and Redo

If you make a mistake while working in the canvas area, these commands let you reverse your decision. Undo allows you to remove something you didn’t like or need to correct, while Redo changes an accidental modification or deletion.


Linetype and Fill: Part 1

This section lets you tell your Cricut what blades and tools you will use for your project. The options you’ll see in this area depend on what you selected in the first subpanel and the model you use for cutting.

Design Space offers seven options for Linetype right now: cut, draw, score, engrave, deboss, wave, and perf. You must click on the dropdown menu to see the available list.

If you have a Cricut Explore, your only options are to cut, draw, or score.

  • Cut is the default option that creates the project based on what is on the canvas. You can change the fill in each one, helping you define material colors when reaching this step.
  • Draw is the choice to use when you have Cricut Pens and a compatible machine. Your design will come out based on the canvas layers and the hue selected, but it will not color your design.
  • Score creates dashed attributes within the layer selected. You’ll need a wheel or stylus meant for this choice to take advantage of your machine’s characteristics.

With the engrave, deboss, wave, and perf selections, you’ll need the “Quick Swap Adaptive Tool” for your Cricut Maker. Each one performs the task stated in the menu option for this subpanel command.


Linetype and Fill: Part 2

When you select the Fill dropdown menu, it is easier to create your project’s patterns and printing needs. It activates when your linetype selection is “Cut.”

If you choose “No Fill,” you cannot print anything.

Printing with your Cricut is lots of fun because the feature enables you to cut your projects after creating them. It’s like what you could do with a standard printer, only through the lens of crafters who need specific outcomes.

After clicking on the Color or Pattern, a selection of different tones, shades, and designs appears in Cricut Design Space.

When you choose the one(s) you prefer, an editing option appears to let you customize your project’s design.


Select All

Choose this command if you want to move every element on your canvas simultaneously. This option works well when you have multiple designs that require shifting.



This selection lets you cut, copy, or paste items from the canvas. That means you can remove them, make duplicates of the same thing, or place an element previously initiated by the other commands in a specific area, respectively.

It features a dropdown menu to let you access these commands. This step is a little different than what similar software designs offer.

You must select at least one element on the canvas before these commands become available to use.



Anyone with graphic design experience will understand how to use this menu. If not, this resource will be your best friend in Design Space!

Each function provides a specific result that customizes your project’s look. It creates the balance needed to make your work feel cohesive.

Several choices are available for you to use.

  • Align Left. This selection moves each item to align to your left margin. That means the furthest thing to the left goes to the edge while everything else remains in the same proportion to that feature.
  • Center Horizontal. Choose this option if you need your designs to align with the side-to-side frame.
  • Align Right. This option is the same as Align Left, but it operates in the opposite direction.
  • Align Top. Select this command if you want your elements balanced with the top of the canvas.
  • Align Bottom. You can balance your project toward the bottom of your canvas to create the balance needed for your final design.
  • This choice enables you to align an element vertically and horizontally simultaneously.
  • When you need precise spacing between elements, this command automatically takes care of the work instead of forcing you to do it independently and manually.
  • Distribute Horizontally. You’ll distribute the spacing from side-to-side with this command.
  • Distribute Vertically. This selection addresses the top-to-bottom spacing of the selected elements.



You’ll discover four command options waiting for you in this dropdown menu. When adding items to the canvas, each new creation stays in front of the rest of your work.

If you need to move items to the back or the front, this section of the second subpanel lets you accomplish that goal.

The four choices are as follows: send to back, move backward, move forward, and send to front.

Each one performs the indicated function for your selected elements.



When your design requires elements to reflect each other evenly, this command makes it possible.

You can flip items vertically or horizontally with this feature. The first is similar to what you’d see with reflections on water, while the second is more like how a mirror functions.



Anything you create within the context of Cricut Design Space has a specific size associated with it. When you need to alter that definition for your project, this command lets you make the required adjustments.



You would select this item when you need to rotate element(s) on the canvas to a specific angle. After choosing what you want to alter, enter the number of the degrees required to create the desired design.

It’s much easier to use this feature than trying to adjust everything on the canvas manually to work as you’ve envisioned.



Use this part of the second subpanel to see the exact coordinates of the selected elements. It’s an advanced tool for those who need specificity within their design elements to finalize their project.

Most users will find the other alignment tools in the second subpanel much easier to use when working toward specific results.



Click on this section to choose your preferred font(s) for your Cricut project. Unless you have a specific reason to include multiple formats, most designs benefit with only 1-2 fonts included within the structure.

If you have Cricut Access, any of the fonts with a green “A” next to them is a usable item within your project’s context.

Those who don’t subscribe to this feature can still use their system fonts to create the desired text for their work.



These modifiers impact the way your text displays within a project. They’re the same options you’ll find in any standard word processing software package.

You can create bold or italic text with this feature. Cricut lets you choose “bold and italic” instead of selecting each one individually.

You can also return modified text to its regular appearance.


Font Size, Letter Space, and Line Space

These options enable you to customize how your text appears within the design through spacing, size, and line depth.

When you see some fonts on Cricut Design Space, you’ll notice that the letters can be far apart. This command lets you reduce that space.

With Line Space, you can increase or reduce the area between each paragraph line.



This option impacts the words you’ve inserted into the project. Left, Center, and Right all align the paragraph or selected portion to that area of the text box.



You will select this option if you need shaping with your text. A small slider lets you adjust the text box so that the words move upward or downward in a circular form.

If you move the slider all of the way in one direction or the other, your text will form a complete circle.



This dropdown menu lets you ungroup to letters, lines, or layers.

You would use this feature to separate design portions based on how they operate. If you want to modify each character, you will select the Ungroup to Letters option.

When you Ungroup to Lines, the command separates the individual lines of paragraphs.

Ungroup to Layers requires a multilayer font to work. You must subscribe to Cricut Access or purchase the graphic characters to perform this function. It will separate each layer within the design to create several new customization options.


What to Expect from the Left Panel in Cricut Design Space

When you look to the left of the canvas area, you’ll see a sidebar with several commands available to use.

This area is the Left Panel.

Instead of editing your designs with these options, Cricut Design Space lets you upload items with these commands.

You can insert images, shapes, or projects that are already prepared for cutting.

It comes with seven different options to consider. Each function is covered in its entirety below.


New Command

Select this option if you want to start a new project. It will wipe your canvas area clean of any work you’ve previously completed.

Cricut Design Space provides a warning if you have work featured on your canvas. It asks if you want to replace your project.

If you select “Replace,” you’ll lose any unsaved work remaining on your canvas. You can choose “Cancel,” to stop the process, or tap on “Save” to preserve your work.


Templates Command

If you need help visualizing your project, this Left Panel command lets you see how your ideas work on various items.

The included templates with Design Space are for visualization only. You’ll have the project cut when you send it to your machine, not the elements you’ve used to make everything.

It’s the perfect option for anyone who wants to personalize items with their Cricut.


Projects Command

When you are ready to cut, choose this menu option. You can select a project, customize it, or send it along to your machine to get started.

Most projects found in this category are available to Cricut Access members. If you prefer to pay-as-you-go, that option is also available.

You’ll also find several free ideas for quick cutting in the Projects area. You can access them by scrolling to the bottom of the dropdown menu and selecting the device you have at home.


Images Command

You can access several images that can get used in your Cricut project through this Left Panel selection. It provides an extra touch of personality while helping you achieve the results you want.

Design Space lets you search by cartridges, categories, and keywords.

Some items within the cartridges search are available through Cricut Access for members. You will also find some options that require a direct purchase.

Please remember that if you decide to buy something, all sales are typically final.


Text Command

This selection inserts a text box into your project on the canvas. You can click in the window, add the words you want, and have it become part of your work.

Once you have the text inserted, you can modify its appearance by using the second subpanel’s editing tools at the top of the screen.


Shapes Command

Click on this menu option when you want to add specific shapes to your canvas. Cricut Design Space offers nine selections at this time: square, circle, triangle, diamond, pentagon, hexagon, star, octagon, and heart.

You can also insert score lines when choosing this Left Panel command. This element enables your design to have incorporated folds to create specific results. It’s the perfect choice for anyone who makes cards with their Cricut machine.


Upload Command

If you have specific images or files you want to upload into Design Space, select this menu option. You’ll receive clickable buttons that direct you to the particular outcome you want from this selection.


What to Expect from the Right Panel in Cricut Design Space


When you use the Top Panel or the Left Panel in Cricut Design Space, you can accomplish virtually any basic design.

The included commands in each section let you upload and modify elements to meet their creative preferences.

Once you’re ready to add more complexity to your projects, it is time to explore what the Right Panel offers.

You’ll use the commands found here to add layers to your canvas.

Layers represent each design and element found in your work. If you’re unfamiliar with graphic design, it is best to think about this feature as if you’re getting ready for a day outside in uncertain weather.

When you dress in layers, you might start with a t-shirt. You might have a sweatshirt or sweater on top of that, followed by a jacket that lets you keep out precipitation.

You might put on leggings first to keep your legs warm. When you slip on some jeans or slacks, the second layer gives you some formality while creating a defensive layer against the weather.

That means you can go down to the basics if it gets hot outside or have multiple layers available to keep you warm.

Creating layers in a project with Cricut Design Space follows a similar process.

You’d start with something basic, such as a text layer. There might be images inserted into the project that you’d like to bring forward or leave in the background.

There is one word of caution when using the commands on the right side of your screen. If you incorporate JPEG or PNG images in your design, the file’s nature doesn’t allow it to work with layers.

When you want to know more about what each one does, here is a look at the various commands that are available to use today.


Group Command

This option lets you group layers. It’s a useful option when an intricate design requires several different levels to create the desired outcome.

You’ll use it to keep everything organized within each element.

Imagine that you’re creating a tiger for a greeting card. The first layer would be the background shape for the animal. When you get to the second layer, your graphic elements might include the eyes, nose, whiskers, and mouth.

Selecting the Group menu option on the Right Panel would keep the second layer together instead of separated.

This action keeps everything together on that layer if you need to move the elements during the creative process.


Ungroup Command

If you’ve grouped items on a single layer with your previous work, this command can undo that option. You’d want to use it whenever you need to modify something specific in each element to a particular level.

Once you’ve completed the modifications, you can return the items to a group if you prefer.


Duplicate Command

This menu option is like the copy/paste menu combination you can find in the Top Panel. It lets you duplicate your chosen designs or layers from the canvas.

If you created a stripe for your tiger and wanted more of them, you could use this menu option to make your work go faster.


Delete Command

Select this option if you want to remove elements from the layers included on your canvas.


Linetype and Fill

If you select this command from the Right Panel, it will show you what linetype or fill is being used for each item within your layers.

Depending on the Cricut model you own, it may include cut, write, score, print, wavy, perf, and others.

You can use this option to verify that your project will come out as intended once you send the design to your machine for processing.


Layer Visibility

You will see a small eye appear as an icon on each layer in the Right Panel. This command represents the visibility you have for the specific elements in the current layer under examination.

If you are unsure of how specific elements in your design look, you can click on this icon to remove them from the canvas.

This step does not delete that layer. It merely removes it from the canvas so that you can examine the other elements of your project with greater clarity.

You’ll see a cross mark appear on top of the eye when you remove a layer. When you want to bring it back, simply click on this icon again.

If you click-and-drag layers, you can move specific designs to be on top or underneath other elements. It works a lot like the Arrange option previously outlined.


Blank Canvas Command

When you initiate this layer, it enables the option to change the canvas’ color. It’s an excellent choice for designs where some background experimentation could unlock your creativity!

When using this command with the templates from the Left Panel, you can modify the options that appear in your canvas.

It’s a useful tool to create even more balance within your creations.


Slice Command

This tool lets you cut out text, shape, and other elements from different designs to use them in other ones.

Once you’ve selected the shape you prefer, you can copy/paste the results to incorporate different elements. It’s a fun way to include more customization than having a standard circle or square.


Weld Command

You’ll use this menu option to combine two or more shapes into a single one. Once you choose the elements that require fusion, it becomes a solitary object.

The color of your new shape gets determined by the one on the back layer of your item.


Attach Command

This function in Cricut Design Space works a lot like the layer grouping features, but it has more power for your creativity.

When you select shapes to attach, they become connected.

This connection remains on your canvas even when you make positioning adjustments or send the project to your machine for cutting.


Flatten Command

If you change the fill to print, that command applies to a single layer only. When you use this menu option, it applies to multiple shapes simultaneously.

Once you are satisfied with how your design looks, select this option to see how your project will appear once your Cricut finishes with it.

You can’t reverse this function after exiting your project. Think of it as the final preview step before your creativity becomes a reality.


Contour Command

You’d use this option to hide design elements that you don’t want to have in your creation. It provides more choices for your eventual design because it enables the full extent of your creativity.

You can use this option for shapes, text, or other elements.

It only activates when you have designs or shapes that qualify for this tool. If you cannot click on it, your canvas doesn’t contain items you can modify this way.


Color Sync

The final choice in the Right Panel menu options provides color consistency throughout your project.

Some designs might come with multiple shades of a single color. When you choose this option, you’ll reverse the elements to a standard shade.

You would click-and-drag the color you prefer from your project to keep it. Cricut Design Space will match each one to a similar shade while disposing of your unwanted hues.

It’s a fast way to create balance when working with multiple uploads.


What to Expect from the Canvas Area in Cricut Design Space

The canvas area in Design Space is where all of your creativity comes to life! It’s your screen’s central area where each element and design are available with a visual representation.

You’ll discover that this software tool is relatively intuitive. The grid patterns translate to your mats’ design elements to create a realistic first impression without cutting, drawing, or printing.

When you start learning how to use the canvas area, the grid and measurements are the first lessons to take. Design Space allows users to switch between imperial and metric to match whatever option is more comfortable.

You can also toggle the grid to be on or off when working. This feature is more about your personal preferences than what happens with your Cricut machine.

When you select layers on the canvas area, the selection turns blue.

Once this action occurs, you can modify the chosen element from each corner. If you see a red “X,” that means you can delete the layer.

If you bring your cursor to the upper right corner, you can rotate the image manually. Using the Rotate Tool from the editing subpanel works better if you require specific angles for y our project.

On the lower right, you’ll see a small lock. This option keeps your selected elements to an appropriate proportional size. You can still increase or decrease layers, but it will bring additional features with it to ensure balance remains.


The Zoom Feature in the Canvas Area

When you work with graphic elements, it is helpful to zoom in on specific objects to make small modifications.

It is also useful to zoom out to see what the overall project looks like in its current state without initiating other commands.

When you take advantage of the zoom feature in Cricut Design Space, you can accomplish both goals.

As with most graphic design, spreadsheet, and word processing software products, you can move in or out with your view by pressing the “+” or “–“ sign at the lower left corner in the canvas area.

Selecting this option will not modify your design or selected elements. It merely changes the view that you see in the canvas area to help you create better results.


Are You Ready to Try Cricut Design Space Today?

It can be lots of fun to experiment with Cricut Design Space. You’ll find that its intuitive design lets you manage virtually any design concept with relative ease.

If you have never used design programs before, this software might seem intimidating at first. With dozens of potential commands to initiate for your project, it can be challenging to know where to begin.

Instead of trying to tackle everything that this software offers simultaneously, it helps to break the learning process into smaller chunks.

It works best to take each section of this guide independently. When you have each reference for the various menus and commands to use, you’ll see that it won’t take long to get your creativity up to speed!

Please remember to be patient with the learning process. As you make more projects and put these design elements to use, you’ll retain more of the information available here with each session.

Your journey with this software is about to begin. What do you think you’ll try making first with Cricut Design Space?

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