So you’ve purchased a Cricut die cutting machine. You did the research and watched so many videos on YouTube that your eyes are going to fall out. You finally get your machine set up – and you’re completely lost. Fear not! Tri-Coastal Crafting is here to save some of your time (and sanity). We will be doing a Basics Mini series, explaining in detail all of Design Space 3’s basic functions. If you aren’t a new user but new to the Explore and Maker models, Design Space will be new to you after using Cricut Craft Room for so long. Let’s dive right in with out first basic function: Attach!
Basic Function #1: Attach
Imagine your project is tangible, in your hands in front of you. You want to bind two pieces together, you use a staple to keep things in place and right where you want them. This is essentially what Attach does in Design Space 3 (DS3 going forward in this post). Attach allows you to combine two or more layers together, pinning them in place so when you hit “Make It” they are exactly where you want them. DS3 has a habit of moving projects on the cut screen out of alignment to save space, ignoring your hard work and planning! Attach allows DS3 to see it is ONE piece, ONE design, and keeps it together as you have it.
In this basic screen by screen tutorial, I will show you how to attach two basic elements: a shape, and some text. The image to the left is the LEFT side of your DS3 canvas. Select the Shapes tab to see all the preset shapes available in DS3. I’ve selected a square for this tutorial.
You can click and drag on the square to enlarge it to what you need, or you can click the LOCK icon on the bottom LEFT of the square to unlock its proportions, dragging it into a rectangle. You can also type in your size on the top bar under “Size” if you wish.
Using my text tool (located above the shapes tool) I typed out some basic text and layered it over the square that we have already on our mat. At this point, the two objects are separate design elements and DS3 see it as such, so when you send them to the cutting mat, they will jumble up to save space. This is where the attach feature comes into play. By attaching the text to this square, we are going to PIN the text to it, keeping it in place.
When you have these two items on your canvas, stop and take a look to your right on the screen. This panel is called your Layers panel. It shows you every element of your design, and how it is associated on the canvas. In this example (left, image) the layers tab has the square as one layer and the text as another.
Okay! we now have all our elements on the canvas, ready to attach them to make them ONE layer. In the upper left of the image, you will see a “select all” button. Using this button will do just that, highlight everything on your screen. Alternatively, you can click and drag over everything you wish to select OR use Control + A as a keyboard shortcut (windows, not sure about Mac systems).
Now they should all be selected, making the “ATTACH” button on the bottom RIGHT under your LAYERS panel become an option.
After you press Attach, the following will occur. (Left Image) your Layers panel will reflect the change, now showing your two items under an “Attach” header with drop down arrows so you can see all the details for each. Because attach does just that, attaches two layers together, both the text and the square are both editable.
Now that the two are attached, DS3 will turn your image one color to show the union. (right image) Because they are now attached, the image shows that the text is going to cut out of the square. This is especially helpful when you get into weeding boxes and alignment for cards, but that’s another post for another day. 😉
When and Why to Use the Attach Feature
- When you are working on a design with two or more colors, you can attach all LIKE colors and then attach overall to keep the colors in their exact spot and all like colors on their appropriate mats. It gives you more bang for your vinyl or paper buck and makes layering a breeze!
- Sometimes you don’t want to slice, so attaching (like I did in this tutorial) will give you the same results! If it’s something as simple as text, you can do as I have shown you, and weed out either the box around it, OR the words and make it a reverse for a stencil for painting or etching. Bonus? The straight lines of the box around it make aligning your project simple and quick, as opposed to spending countless hours fussing over 1/16″ (what? just me?)
- When using the writing feature in DS3, you want to have the machine WRITE your text, but CUT the shape around it. Attaching your text (make sure it’s set to write) to your square let’s DS3 know to do just that! If it isn’t attached it will cut through every individual letter, making your project a bust.
- If you are using PRINT THEN CUT, you MUST attach your print design AND flatten in order for DS3 to cut the outer shape and NOT all the individual design elements. I see this happen OFTEN, and it’s frustrating for sure! Attach let’s DS3 know it’s not a part of the bottom layer and should not cut with it. (Flatten will be discussed in another post!)
What other ways can you think of using Attach when using DS? Leave a comment below to share your creative genius! I hope this tutorial has helped explain the Attach feature and how to use it successfully.