Just in case you haven't heard the news from Cricut yet, the long-awaited Print Then Cut feature for the Cricut Design Space and Cricut Explore machine is coming very soon. It will be released in the week of September 22nd (next week!) so the wait is almost over. The update is free. You will need to update the plugin for the Design Space, update your machine firmware and calibrate your machine for printing and then cutting images.
I was asked to preview this new update so I have already had a chance to use the Print Then Cut feature and other improvements to the Design Space program. If you are an Explore owner, I hope you don't have a lot of plans for next week because you will want to be trying out all of the new things this update allows you to do. If you don't own an Explore yet - this update is likely to tip you over the edge (or at least give you the "big item" for your Christmas list - if you can wait that long).
For those of you who have not used other Print Then Cut systems, here is a quick explanation of the process:
First choose some images you would like to print and then cut. You can do this with any image but you will probably find it most useful for images with lots of layers - particularly if you want to use them at a small size. Add the images to the mat.
I chose some cute Halloween images from the Create A Critter 2 cartridge. They have multiple layers and the size is just 2.3 inches. These would be very fiddly to assemble if all of the layers were cut.
Next, select an image and then click the "Flatten" icon at the top of the layers panel. The layers will combine into one multicolored image layer. The Witch Turtle in the example above has already been flattened. The black lines that define the edges of each shape in the layered image will disappear.
If you don't want to use the default image colors you can change the color of any layer by clicking on the layer and choosing a new color (just as you do now for choosing papers).
You can "unflatten" an image if you change your mind about a color or decide to cut it in layers after all. The icon for "unflatten" will appear only when the flattened image is selected. When you unflatten an image the layers will return but you won't see the defining black lines around each shape. However, you will see all of the layers in the layers panel.
When you have selected and flattened all of the images you want to print then cut, click the "GO" button at the top of the screen as you do for any other project. The Mat Preview Screen will appear. The images will preview on the mat with three black corners or registration marks positioned around the group of images. These marks cannot be adjusted. (The printing is set for 8.5 x 11 paper - I am not sure when or if a 12 x 12 option or other sizes will be added).
When you click on the green "Print and Continue" box, the print dialog box for your default printer will appear. You can adjust the settings as you would for any printing job from your computer.
Go ahead and print the page on your printer. You can do this by either a wireless or wired connection. Take the printed page and load it on your mat as shown in the preview screen. Then follow the usual steps of loading, setting the dial and press "Go" to cut the images.
In just a few minutes from the time you select your images, you will have full color printed and cut images to use for your projects. This will make it so much easier to put together a card in a hurry - no need to assemble all of those teeny tiny pieces!
I have been very impressed with the accuracy of the cuts I have been getting. I have one tip to share that applies to all print and cut systems. Since you are using white cardstock to print and cut the images you may notice the white edge that is actually the side of the cut piece. You can ink this if it bothers you or just leave it alone - it only shows if you look at a piece from the side.
If you don't have a Cricut Explore yet, check out all of the bundles available on the Cricut site HERE. You may also want to pick up some of the Disney and other cartridges that include heavily layered images - suddenly all of those images can be used for fast and easy projects - and the eyes will look right!
Please leave comments on this post with your questions about the new Print Then Cut features (I'll talk about"Slice," the new printable cardstock and vinyl, and the Imagine cartridges in separate posts) and I will reply with answers. It is better to leave a comment instead of emailing me individually so that everyone can learn from your questions.
I'll be sharing lots more photos and projects as quickly as I can. We have been away and I just got home last night from a trip to see our old friends in England and Scotland - so I am a little jet lagged!
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