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**UPDATE 7/11/17** The NEW Cricut Design Space will be replacing the old Design Space this week. I will be doing an updated post and will post the link here soon. Many of the tips are still the same, they just look a little different in the new Design Space. If you have questions let me know in the comments below.

**You can view my post about these tips on the Cricut blog here. **

If you have been wondering about how to use Cricut Design Space, the program you use with your Cricut then this post is for you! This post will explains a few basics of the program along with some tips which will allow you to make awesome designs with your Cricut Explore Air 2.

So let’s open up Cricut Design Space. You will see a screen similar to the one below. You can select the “Create New Project” button or you can also select any of the Make It Now projects which are projects that are already done for you (and are super awesome!) You can read more about Make It Now Projects on THIS post.

Once you select the “Create New Project” button a new blank canvas will open up.

On the left hand side you will see five different menu options:

Insert Images
Upload Images
Insert Shapes
Add Text
Set Canvas.

I will explain what each of these options do in the following screen shots. 

Set Canvas menu tab 

I’m actually starting at the bottom option. This is where you can set a specific type of canvas to help you visualize how your design will look on a certain item. It can be helpful for spacing and sizing. I usually just use a blank canvas, but that’s just my preference. There is another Canvas Button on the right hand side where you can adjust the sizes of the canvas you select such as Kid Apron or Adult Apron.

Insert Images menu tab

This is the top button. When you click on the insert images menu, you will see the library of images open. This is where you can select from thousands of images that can be inserted into your project. To narrow down your selection on the top right hand side there is a search option where you can search for a specific image. The images with the green “a” in the left corner are ones that are included with your Cricut Access (Click HERE to read more about Cricut Access.)

Another neat option is searching through specific categories or cartridges. If you had an older Cricut cartridge you were use to working with you can look up that specific one.

Upload Images menu tab

This is where you can upload your very own images and designs. I have a detailed post on how to upload your own images HERE.

Insert Shapes menu tab

You can use this option to insert basic shapes into your design like a circle, square, heart, etc. I will go into more detail on how you can edit these shapes later on in this post.

Add Text menu tab

When you select this option a text box will appear and you can type your desired text. The text you typed will then appear on your canvas.

To edit your text you will need the menu option on the right hand side. You will select edit and then you will see lots of different options. The second drop down menu is the Font selection where you can select the font style you want for your text. You will also notice some other options such as Font Size, Font Alignment, Letter and Line Spacing and Rotation. These are options you are probably used to, but you can click around for a few minutes and familiarize yourself with them.

*Letter spacing is a great tool to use when you have cursive letters and you want them to be closer together so they touch. Simply decrease the letter spacing by selecting the down arrow.


*Another important tool is the isolate letters button (red arrow below). You can use this to edit each letter separately in your text. I use this to be able to rotate my letters if I want to make the text curved.  Or if I want a certain letter to be larger then the rest.  You can also select your text on the canvas and right click on your mouse to select “Ungroup” which does the same thing. Once you are done editing the text, select it again, right click and click group so all your text can be moved and edited together again.

In the image below, my letter are isolated so I can select each one separately and rotate them.

Now that I have talked about the options on the left hand side, I want to go into more details on the options on the right.

Layers Menu

When you have the Layers Menu Selected you will notice some different options underneath- Slice, Weld, Attach, Flatten and Contour. These will be important when you are making your designs. I’ve listed a description of what each of them does below, but a nice feature to remember is if you hover over each of this options, a little box will appear with a brief description of what each one does if you forget

Slice– Split two overlapping layers into parts
Weld– Join multiple layers into one shape
Attach-Hold images into position for cutting, or adds writing to image layer
Flatten– Merge layers to a single printable image
Contour– Hide/Unhide lines on a layer

The Layers menu will show all of the different texts and images you have on your canvas. Each is it’s own layer. If you click on one of the layers, a menu box will pop up entitled Layer Attributes.  This is where you can change the attributes of the layer you have selected.

There are 4 different options- Cut, Write, Score and Print. If you look to the right of you text layer I have selected in the picture below (where the red arrow is) you will see the scissors with the circle icon is next to it. That means your text that you inserted is currently set to Cut. If you select a different option such as Write, that little icon will change to the writing icon, a circle with a little pen tip in it. If you select the print option, the words will be printed instead of cut or written. Make sense?


Sync Menu

Another option is the Sync menu. It has a brief description right on the menu of what it does when you select it. You can drag and drop different layers to make them the same color. This helps when you are cutting out projects with multiple colors because it will ensure you are cutting all the pieces that are the same color at the same time. This will save you so much time of having to switch the materials you are cutting back and forth because you will cut all the same color at the same time!

Canvas Menu

As I mentioned previously, this last option is where you can change the size and color of the canvas you have selected by using your “Set Canvas” menu tab.

Okay, now for a few more tips and tricks that I use all the time.

When you insert a shape or design, you can click on the little lock bottom in the bottom left corner to unlock the shape. This allows you to freely size the shape. If you wanted an exact size shape you can also select the shape and click on the Edit button on the right hand menu and enter your desired size.

Shape Unlock Cricut Design Space

There are three actions on the Layers Menu that I frequently use, Slice, Weld, and Attach.


If you want the Cricut to cut out something exactly how you have it on your canvas you will want to use the Attach option. So many people get frustrated when they hit the Go button to cut and their design is moved around by the program to cut it to conserve material. Avoid that problem by selecting Attach!


When you insert at least two shapes or designs, you can select both and select the Slice button which will split your shapes into parts as in the picture below. (Make sure you have your desired layers selected, as indicated by being highlighted in blue on the layers menu.)


Or you could select both of your shapes and use the Weld function to make them into one shape. I frequently use both of these options modify my shapes and designs.

Cricut Weld Option

I hope this post helped you with a couple of tips on using Cricut Design space and to see how easy it is to use. If you have any other questions, please let me know in the comments below!


Wanting to learn Cricut Design Space for your Cricut Explore Air 2? This post is for you!


  1. I really enjoyed this. I just got the Explor Air2. You gave some great tips and answered a ? I had about editing text. I have another ? though. I cut out a ready made card project but ran out of time and had to stop after the last page cut. I went to put it together the next day and I’m confused. Can’t figure out what goes were. I have looked for the instructions everywhere and can’t find them. Is there a place to go to find them without cutting out the project again? Thanks for your help. and for your post! Cj Reed

    1. Hi Cj! Glad I could answer some of your questions about your Cricut. I found a post that someone did about the first card project. Is this the one you are talking about? Hopefully it explains how to put it together. Let me know if you have any other questions!

      1. No that was not the card. The one I’m having trouble with is the Russian Nesting Dolls card. There are a lot of layers and a piece I’m not sure I need! I’m very frustrated and have set it aside. I’ll probably just end up searching “You Tube” but thanks for the tips and I did go over it again. Thanks again. Cj

        1. Oh darn it. I’m sorry! I hope you are able to find some instructions. Searching YouTube is a great idea. I’m guessing someone has put it together on there.

  2. Thank you for the tutorial. I am learning to make notes as I don’t use my cricut a lot yet and I tend to forget easily. So this helps a lot!

  3. I’ve had my Cricut Explore Air 2 for awhile now, I’ve messed around with it did a few things and put it up and haven’t done much with it. Honestly I felt overwhelmed with it. It seemed like a lot of work, a lot harder than I thought it was going to be! But I think I’m going to get it back out and give it another try! Thanks for the Tips and Tricks!

    1. Nikki I am so glad to hear you are going to try again! There is a bit of a learning curve, but the Cricut is SO much fun! I love mine and use it all the time. If you have any other questions let me know and I will try and answer them for you 🙂

  4. I am having a serious problem connecting my laptop to the Cricut. This came about after an auto update on my laptop. Now when I go to continue to cut the project, my design space says I am not connected to cricut, although every thing on my laptop says Bluetooth is connected. Any suggestions. I am at my wits end.

    1. Hi Elaine! I’m so sorry you were having troubles with connecting your Cricut. I’ve been traveling and I am just getting back to answer my blog comments. I hope you were able to find a solution.

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