The fundamental goal was simple.
Design a gift tag file on Cricut® Design Studio using either the Cricut® George and Basic Shapes or Cricut® Plantin SchoolBook catridge.
The free trial version of Design Studio allows you to cut with the cartridge that came with your machine. Since my Expression came with the Cricut® Plantin SchoolBook font cartridge I thought I might give this contest a try.
I had never used Design Studio, since I bought SCAL the same week I bought my Cricut Expression. I knew I never wanted to buy cartridges right from the start. Discovering SCAL was a key part of my decision to finally buy a Cricut.
I just designed a Santa paper piecing to use on my Christmas cards and thought it might be a good learning exercise to try and design the same thing using Design Studio.
The contest turned out to be more challenging than I imagined.
Design Studio only cuts what’s on a cartridge, and Plantin SchoolBook doesn’t have much; letters, circle, heart, rectangle, leaf, tag, zigzag, scalloped border, flower, apple, star, oval and blast is pretty much all you get. So, I had to start thinking about how my Santa design, with it’s rich curves and swirls, could be duplicated by welding basic shapes together.
I started laying things out on the virtual mat and immediately began to miss features I’ve grown to love in SCAL
- Design Studio is slow to load when it’s launched. Even though I only own one cartridge, it loads the design elements for all cartridges.
- Design Studio doesn’t support Group/Ungroup, so you can’t move or resize multiple objects at once.
- Design Studio doesn’t let you pick multiple objects at once.
- Design Studio doesn’t support layers so you can’t easily separate objects into colors and cut each color independently.
- When you rotate an object in Design Studio, the pick points move with it. So, when I rotated an object 90 degrees, when I grabbed the edge to grow it horizontally, it would actually grow vertically!
- I couldn’t figure out how to get the mat full screen, so I was forced to work in a very tiny area.
Since I could only work with objects on my cartridge, I had to change my design to fit the elements available. Now the cartridge was interfering with my creativity!
Needless to say, I finished a version of the design, cut it, and entered the contest. The tag I created with Design Studio is on the top. The tag I created with SCAL, in at least 1/4 of the time, is on the bottom. Which would you prefer?
After I finished the Santa, I just couldn’t resist trying to create other tags. Joe M. and Betty got in to it as well. We ended up with four more tags! Here are those tags. Five tags made using Cricut Design Studio and the Plantin SchoolBook font cartridge: Santa, Train, Penguin, Holly, Nutcracker
To help others who are struggling with Design Studio to piece together designs, here are the cut files for all 5 tags (zipped together). Enjoy!