Friday, January 24, 2014

Cricut Explore to cut SVG files

Ashish Arora, the President and CEO of Provo Craft, has confirmed that the company listened to the comments from customers and decided to make some changes to their original plan.  The "possible typo" that I saw and wrote about yesterday was not a typo.  This was an intentional change in their policy as a direct response to customer feedback.  

Cricut Design Space is free to use for all file types, no subscription is required.  You can upload and design with your .svg, .dxf, .bmp, .jpg, .png, and .gif files absolutely free. You will be able to design with your system fonts absolutely free. You can use Cricut Design Space for free, and try out any image in your design for free.

In order to cut your design you will need to own the images that you have used, purchase them on an individual basis, or buy a monthly subscription that gives access to the image (licensed images won't be part of the subscription so you will have to purchase those images to use them).  Cartridges and digital images that you already own and have linked on your account will be available for use in the Design Space as well as the Cricut Craftroom.  (This is my understanding of the system from reading all of the information I have found - it is not clear to me if you can insert a cartridge in the Explore and use it in a project without linking the cartridge to your account.  It is possible that I might have missed some information - please check the official Cricut sources for update and answers to your questions).

There is additional information on the official Cricut Blog - the post with answers to some of the questions that have been asked repeatedly in the past few days is HERE.

image from

So there you have it - some very good news for everyone who is interested in the new Cricut Explore machine.   Thank you to the team at Cricut (I had to add the photo above to say thanks - isn't the dual carriage that lets you draw and cut in the same operation a neat innovation!).  I am impressed that they listened and reacted quickly to the customer concerns - this bodes well for the future.  There are some things about the new machine and software that are still issues for certain people but overall, it looks like customer input is appreciated and acted upon.  

The most common concern I have heard expressed is the need to have internet access to use the machine and software and the fee for a monthly subscription to access images that you don't own. This is the wave of the future.  Everything seems to be getting more and more cloud based and it can be difficult to grasp that ownership is changing from physical to virtual in many areas.  We stream music, and video and don't give it much thought.  We pay for subscriptions to have online access to entertainment (Netflix, Sirius XM radio, etc.) and at the end of the month, have nothing tangible to show for it.

Like it or not, internet access is becoming a necessity, not a luxury.  Since I craft at home and have pretty reliable internet, the idea of using the Cricut Explore only when I am online isn't a big issue for me.  I would rather have a program that would be on my computer and accessible at any time but the advantages to not needing to constantly update and sync machines and software may outweigh the benefits of having a program installed on my computer.  This new system may not work for everyone so you need to carefully consider if it fits your needs.

I'll keep you posted on any new information that I find out about the machine and software.  Be sure to check out all of the resources on the site that I listed yesterday - that is your best source for information.

A couple of days ago I shared this card made with one of the stamps that comes with the CTMH Cloud Nine cardmaking kit.  I promised to show you the inside of the card and a few variations on the stamping.

This kit is only available this month and you can get it for $15 if you spend $35 on other items.

The kit makes ten cards and includes the stamp set that you can use for many more projects.  You can see more about it on my friend Joy's CTMH site HERE.

I like to heat emboss stamped images.  The shine and raised effect are very appealing and it always seems like a magic trick when I watch the embossing powder melt!  Above you can see the same image I used on the card stamped with Versamark ink and covered with clear embossing powder.


When the heat gun melts the powder, you get a bold and shiny result.  The color is simply a darker version of the underlying cardstock.

I would recommend using tweezers to hold a small shape like this heart to keep your fingers away from the heat of the embossing gun - they get hot!

I embossed another heart using gold embossing powder.  Above is the stamped image with the unmelted powder - it looks sort of dark and dull.

The heat gun turns it into a bright and shiny gold - magic!

If you want a very subtle effect,  stamp the image with Versamark ink and just let it dry (it takes a little longer than regular ink but it will dry).


This particular stamps has some open area in the letters than can be filled in with another color if you like.

I used a GellyRoll Clear Star pen in the open sections of the word "love" for this heart.


It is very difficult to get a photo that shows the glittery effect but it is quite pretty in person.


When I make a card with a dark color base, I like to add a light color liner inside for a message.  These look prettier if you use a border punch to add a design.

I used this Martha Stewart Valentine Lace punch - it is one of the older style border punches that I have had for a long time.

 I usually punch  a border by starting in the center and working my way to the edges.  The piece of white cardstock was cut at 4 x 5 inches.  In this case, the centered punch left some half hearts at the edges.  They were a little distracting so I experimented a bit and found that I could fit exactly eight hearts along the bottom of the mat.  The punch creates groups of three hearts and I started from one edge and got a much prettier result.

Each punch has different ideal sizes for borders depending on the design.  I was lucky that this one worked out so evenly in the end.  It is worth taking a bit of time to experiment with your punches and learning the optimal sizes and spacing for the various patterns.  It wouldn't be a bad idea to keep a notebook with this information.  You might also keep some punched examples on a ring for a quick reference.


Here is one more photo to show the difference it makes when you pay attention to all of the small details.  Here is a LINK to a post from a few years ago where I showed how to measure a punch to work out the best placement for punching a neat border.


I used the Ranger fine detail embossing powder for these hearts.  I like this powder even thought it wasn't strictly necessary for this stamp since it has fairly bold lines.

These hearts will be showing up on another project soon - I always like to have a few extra bits and pieces around and sometimes do a lot of heat embossing at once to create a stash of embellishments.

One more tip - it is important to pay attention not just to the color name but to the brand of ink when you are working on a project.  These two hearts were both stamped with "ruby" ink but you can see that there is a distinct difference in the color.  The heart on the left is stamped with Stampin' Up Ruby ink and the heart on the right is stamped with CTMH Ruby ink.  They are both nice colors but definitely different.  So if someone tells you an ink color to use for a project, be sure you know which brand they are using.

So, now that you know you will be able to cut SVG files for free, what do you think about the Cricut Explore?  Is SVG cutting important to you or are there other concerns about the machine.  I won't really be able to tell what I think until we get to try out the software - it should be available to preview before the HSN launch date.

Have a wonderful weekend - I hope you have something special planned.  I'll be learning more about pocket page scrapping tomorrow...

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  1. I love your heart card, and the info on how to punch a neat border. Sometimes, I have trouble with that, so the tips were helpful. Explore looks interesting, but I have never tried anything SVG and don't really understand what it is. I just use my cartridges or my Gypsy in my machines. Love to hear more, though. Thank you!

    1. Thanks BethAnn - I am a little obsessed with getting things to be even and symmetrical!
      SVG is a file type - it means Scalable Vector Graphic. Many designs are available from many sources in this format. SVGs can be scaled to any size and not lose sharpness. I'll keep you posted with any new information I find about the capabilities of the new machine - you will have to control it through a computer or eventually a tablet device. I am most excited about the quality of the cuts - so much better than previous Cricut machines for small and intricate detail!

  2. Thanks for all these informative posts! I'm with those who prefer not having to be connected to the Internet in order to craft. My office with computer is upstairs and my craft room is on the lower level; so I'd have to buy a second computer for the craft room. That's why I prefer my Gypsy and haven't even used Cricut Craft Room! I'm afraid, though, that it won't be long before they quit supporting the Expressions and stop making physical cartridges...sigh

    1. It is an issue for people who don't have an easy way to have their computer near the machine, I have a laptop so I can easily bring that to my craftroom. They have stated that they will still produce physical cartridges - there are so many of the earlier machines in use that it would be silly not too. If the cartridges are appealing, people will buy them! When the tablet app is available, that might be an option for people who have a tablet, they are much easier to carry around!

  3. Thanks for keeping us updated on the Explore. I do like the feature that allows both the blade and a color pen to work together. That's a time saver. Will the blue tooth work with any computer or just with an iPad?

    1. Hi Jan,
      I think the pen and blade combination is a great idea! I really liked the Thank You card they did using both. I don't know the answer to your question - I did hear that you will need a wifi adapter (at an additional cost) to add to the machine to make it wireless - I assume that it would work wirelessly with a computer or a tablet but I'll have to see if I can get verification of that.

  4. Beautiful card and love all the possibilities with that stamp set.
    I was wondering if we will be able to import svg's from Silhouette Design studio software to the new Cricut software to cut on the new machine.

    1. Hi Diane,
      It is a fun stamp set - very trendy and fun!
      The Silhouette studio files are in a proprietary format so I don't think you will be able to import them directly. There are ways to work around that but if you have a Silhouette I would probably just cut those files with the Silhouette and not try to keep switching things back and forth. I don't think Silhouette will start offering their files as SVGs (but I could be wrong....)

  5. I recently imported a Google image of Spider Man and used the print n cut feature on my Silhouette. My question is once print n cut is available on The Cricut Explore do I have to pay into the subscription in order to cut it and use it on The Design Space? Or is the subscription only for the use of their images? I am very unclear about this.

    1. Hi Louise, I don't know any specifics about how the print then cut will work yet. I don't think you would need a subscription because the subscription is for access to Cricut images. Other types of files can be used without paying for the subscription. It might be that the first update would be only to print then cut with Cricut images but there hasn't been any announcement yet that I have seen. They said the second half of 2014 so we should know more soon.


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