Cricut, Designs

How to Make SVG Cut Files for Cricut Using Illustrator

Learn something new about creating simple SVG files for Cricut using illustrator which you can then easily cut using Cricut Explore or Silhouette Cameo. 

Without a doubt, there are reader questions who look for answers on different topics and one of those topics includes how to design their very own cut files for the Cricut Explore and Cricut Maker. This easy guide will take you step-by-step on the journey to create your SVG files for Cricut using illustrator. 

The first step in this guide is that we will create a simple design to illustrate the basics of designing a cut file in illustrator. Using illustrator is a hard feat for beginners so let’s start with something quite simple- “Live Loved”, a beautiful quote.

You will know PC commands and Mac commands as well in this guide. Use them, and set your hands on the commands to learn designing files quickly. 


Step 1: Creating A New Doc File

First, you have to create a new doc file in 12” x 12” length and height. We are specifying the size of the document according to the size of a Cricut cutting mat. 


File > New (cmd + N or ctrl + N)

Here you can also choose the unit of the dimensions. We are using inches as the unit to set the size. 

Step 2: Write in Your Quote

Clicking on the Type Tool (T) present on the left-hand panel, and then type in the words of the quote. Here we are using separate text boxes for each word to be able to move every line individually. We are doing this to simply make the aligning process easier instead of dealing with line spacing and centering. 

Step 3: Time to Change the Font of the Quote

You may not like the default font, and seriously who does? So, we changed the font. You can achieve this by going into the menu Type > Font > Beloved (or any other font of your choice). Once you have selected the font, move each line of the words around until you feel satisfied. 

Step 4: Outlining the Fonts

So, our next step is to outline the fonts of the words. The purpose behind this is to turn the fonts into shapes. If you don’t perform this step of outlining the fonts, the Cricut Design Space or Silhouette Studio won’t be able to read them. It will show an error when you will try to upload them. 


Type > Create Outlines (shift+cmd+O / shift+ctrl+O)

Important Note About Using Fonts: Creating SVG files for Cricut using illustrator for beginners requires simple artwork. This means the Cricut and Silhouette software prefers simple, meaning fewer nodes, artwork to cut. Have no doubt about the complexity of the software because it can cut extremely intricate designs as well, but the more mathematically simple they are, the easier it will be for you. Once you outline the words, those tiny squares as the nodes around the font. 

If you want to work on a complicated font then use Midnight. You will see numerous nodes in the font. The blade of the software will change directions every time on the nodes which have a high chance of messing up the materials with several different cuts. 


Step 5: Uniting the Text

The Cricut software will read each letter separately in the file and cut them individually as well. Look at the above screenshot and see the blue outlines of the letter tails are overlapping each other. To put all the letters in one single shape, we will use the Unite tool under the Pathfinder Panel. 


Window > Pathfinder (shift+cmd+F9 / shift+ctrl+F9)

You can find the Unite tool under the Shape Modes as the first top left option (hover over each button to know what they are). Select all the text and press on the Unite option. You will notice that the tails of each letter disappeared and you are left with only one continuous shape. 


Step 6: Develop A Compound Path

You can save the file as an SVG at this point, but apply another quick step to save more time in the Cricut Design Space. The image we created has three shapes: live, loved, and the dot present on the “i” in living. The dot is separate because the shape is not overlapping on either of the two shapes. Bringing this file into the Cricut Design Space as it is will need attachment of the three shapes for the software to cut it properly. Avoid this to create a compound path in illustrator that helps in importing the file as one single shape. 


Object > Compound Path > Make (cmd+8 / ctrl+8)


Step 7: Save It As An SVG File

Illustrator software saves the files as default “.ai” file extensions. You can save an Illustrator version of your work, and separately save an SVG file for cutting.


File > Save As (shift+cmd+S / shift+ctrl+S)

Select SVG and save from the Format’s dropdown menu. Forget about the pop-ups that arise, simply press on the OK. it will save your file as an SVG that will easily open in the Cricut Design Space or Silhouette Studio Designer Edition. 

Now, you are ready to cut your file and use it in any way you want.

Hopefully, you have learned enough from this tutorial on how to create SVG files for Cricut using illustrator. Explore everything that the illustrator software offers. 

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