Slice! And we aren’t talking pizza. We mean the Cricut Maker, of course. With the innovation of the Cricut Maker and the Cricut Design Studio, home crafters and DIYers are finding themselves in crafty heaven. No longer do they have to wait for a cutout service to deliver their customized vinyl, iron ons, or banners. They can cut out their designs with all the precision of a professional tool from the comfort of their home and office.
Cricut really knew what it was doing when the company came up with the design studio’s features. Though any new software is a learning curve, the tools in the Cricut design studio are easy to learn. One of them is the slice function. So let’s dive into our slice tutorial and learn how to slice in Cricut!
How Do You Use the Slice Tool in Cricut?
The slice function in Cricut cuts new shapes and cut paths out of two overlapping layers. With each new shape that you create, the Cricut Design Space software will recognize it as a new layer. For example, if you overlap a circle on a circle to create a Venn diagram shape, all those overlapping parts turn into their own unique shapes and layers.
Slice is useful for anything you need to cut intricately, personalize, or set up for assembly. You could use the slice tool to create:
- Vinyl decals of names, quotes, etc.
- Transferring patterns onto a particular shape or text
- Customizing cursive and semi-attached fonts
You can find way more uses for the slice feature once you get going if you really let yourself get creative.
Using the Slice Feature
To use the slice function in Cricut, you’ll first need two different shapes or individual layers. This will not work with more than two layers. Another thing to keep in mind while setting up your slice is the order in which your layers appear.
The topmost layer will be the shape that is cut, or sliced, out of the bottom layer. Stack your layers accordingly: background, main shape on the bottom, the shape you want sliced out of that main shape on top. Also, be sure to ungroup any layers you want to use with the Slice tool.
- Create your main shape.
- Place a second shape—a second layer—on top of the main shape where you’d like to cut the shape out.
- Select both shapes.
- There are a series of greyscale icons on the bottom right hand corner of your toolbar. The slice button will become active if you successfully select your layers. Click slice and give your cricut design space a moment to apply the slice function.
- You are now left with the new shapes, new cut paths, of the slice. For example, if you sliced a small yellow star from a heart shape, you’ll now be left with the heart with a star shape in it. You’ll also have the original yellow star, and the new shape—the star “punch out”—which will be the color of the heart.
- If you want to keep the punch out, take note of the new layer’s stacking position on the layer panel and move it to a blank part of your design screen. If not, feel free to delete it.
The slice function doesn’t just limit you to shapes. You can put text over shapes or photos to slice letters, words, and numbers. In this way, you can add patterns and designs to the text itself.
Using Slice to Connect Letters
The slice tool allows you to create seamless cutouts and colorful, classy text in conjunction with tools like weld and ungroup. Very often when you’re working with text, especially when you’re using script fonts, the letters of the word will not be connected to each other. Rather, it appears as a “sort of” cursive—maybe the “o”s are connected, but definitely not that first letter.
Using slice and ungroup, you can connect them.
- Type out your text in your desired font.
- Using your first layer, decrease the space between letters using the letter-spacing option on the top toolbar.
- Next, select your text and click the ungroup button.
- The ungroup button will allow you to move and connect your letters in your desired layout.
- Now for the tricky part. If you want to connect your first letter to the rest of the word, find a letter in the same font you’re using that has a ligature—a connecting stroke. You can slice it out and add to the first letter in your word.
- Once you’ve determined your ligature of choice, isolate it. Place a shape behind the letter and keep the ligature outside of the shape’s cut path. Highlight both layers and click the slice button.
- You should now be left with the parts: the ligature, the letter without the ligature, the cut out of the letter from the shape, and the altered shape you used to isolate the ligature.
- Delete everything but the ligature and what you’re originally working on.
- Add the ligature to your text and group the letters of the word together.
Now that all your letters are connected, your bubbly, cursive font is all set to go!
Why Can I Not Slice in Cricut Design Space?
If you’re having trouble with the slice tool, or for some reason, you cannot use it, you may be doing something incorrectly. Let’s look at a few examples.
Solution One: Weld
First, make sure that you are only selecting two different layers. You cannot use three layers. There is a way around this for the sake of efficiency, however.
Say you want to create a party banner with three shapes. These shapes are a circle, a square, and a triangle. You want to slice out a different name on each shape. If you look at your layer panel, you’ll see that you have way more than two individual layers. Fortunately, you have two different theoretical layers—the shapes and the names. You will have to weld these theoretical layers together.
Welding is final. You cannot undo welding.
- Select all the individual layers in the shapes layer. Next to the slice button, you’ll see the weld function. Click it. This joins the three shapes into one layer.
- Place one name over the desired shape. Select both the name and the welded layer. Click the slice function.
- Do this with the two other names.
Another way you could do this is to weld the three names together after positioning them over the welded shape layer. This, however, requires absolute precision. Sometimes the shortcut may not be the easiest way to go.
Solution Two: Ungroup
For this example, let’s just say that you are trying to slice eye shapes out of a teddy bear shape. Your teddy bear has two circles for the ears and one circle for the face. Make sure that these three circles are ungrouped. Cricut Design Studio will not recognize grouped layers as one layer. Once you ungroup your layers, go back in and cut out each eye hole according to regular slice rules.
Solution Three: Stacking
Sometimes you end up with many layers, which is why it’s so important to keep your design space organized. See how many layers are listed in your layer panel. There may be one hiding behind a shape you’re trying to slice.
No Matter How You Slice It
Again, learning software takes time, but Cricut Design Space is fairly simple to master with enough practice. The slice feature isn’t challenging in that you can find it without searching too long and its basic function is an easy concept to grasp. It becomes more a matter of user technique and finesse at that point.
Consider this slice tutorial your cheat sheet.
- Make sure you are only working with two layers.
- Weld shapes together to create one layer.
- You cannot undo a weld.
- Ungroup any shapes that have multiple layers that you plan on slicing.
- Keep track of your layers using the layer panel. Ensure that no sneaky layers are hiding behind your main shape, photo, or image.
- Plan your work to avoid errors and design space clutter.
No matter how you slice it, you’re going to create something pretty cool—on your terms. No waiting for personalized banners to arrive in the mail, no worrying about a preview of a product you won’t see until two days before an event. Cricut puts the world of DIY and crafting in your hands, and its features like the slice tool make it possible.