Learn How to Correctly use Cursive Fonts in Cricut Design Space to Take Your Text-Based Projects from Iffy to Beautiful!
Now, this is just a guess, but I’m pretty sure a lot of us got introduced to the Cricut world by those gorgeous signs with the perfect script fonts that you see all over Pinterest. Or maybe it was a pillow or a decorative towel. Whatever the case, you probably thought, “well it’s just typing my phrase into a program. I can do that!”
Then you got into Design Space and typed it up… And it was totally not what you expected. Why are the letters spaced so weirdly? What the heck is going on with the overlaps?
Script fonts can be tricky in any program but luckily Design Space has the tools you need to easily touch up your cut file and make beautifully composed script font cut files even as a beginner. Let’s get started!
Let’s begin by going over the most common problems you’re likely to come across when working with script fonts in Design Space.
- Terrible Awful Very Bad spacing of both the lines and the letters.
- You want to cut out the individual words, not the individual letters.
- Once you fix the spacing, the tall and long letters overlap and make your lines harder to read or just look off.
- you’re using the wrong script font for your project.
The bad news is it can take a lot of adjusting to get the text to look just right. But the good news is it’s really easy to do and I’ve got a few shortcuts and tips to make the process go faster.
Step One: Choosing the Right Script Font for your Project.
Hopefully, before you started typing, you knew what kind of project you plan to make.
Note: there are plenty of exceptions, but generally, if you are cutting vinyl, you will want a slightly thicker font whereas if you are writing with a Cricut pen or marker, a skinny font is going to look best.
Once you create a text box, you can start searching for the perfect font. Design Space has over 700 fonts available with Cricut Access, so it might take a while to scroll through them all. Try checking the “Kerned” box in the font filters to narrow it down.
Kerning is a method of character spacing in typography that adjusts the spacing between individual letters to make the text more visually appealing. When kerning is applied, some parts of a letter may overlap vertically with part of another letter. Non-kerned fonts have the same amount of space between each letter. This is called tracking. Therefore, cursive fonts are more likely to be kerned.
Here are some cursive fonts that are available in Design Space. (Whoops! Annie “Lou” is actually Annie Leu!) The ones on the left are better suited for cutting because they are thicker. You can still write with these but the pen will trace the outside of the letters. The inside will be left blank. The fonts on the right are made specifically for the writing function of your machine and do not work for cutting. You can also filter for writing fonts in the font menu.
For this tutorial, let’s say we are making an HTV pillow. And let’s use the Annie Leu font.
Step Two: Correcting the Spacing
Once you type up your text in design Space, it might spit out something like this:
Over the years, Design Space has improved its initial settings for text, so you actually may not need to adjust the letter spacing at all anymore if you’re using a Cricut font. As far as I can tell, the text automatically chooses a letter spacing of either 0 or 1.2, but it just depends on the font.
So, how do we fix the spacing? Well, for starters we will select the text so that the toolbar changes to a text editor.
Now we can adjust the letter spacing and line spacing to quickly get the text much closer to what we are looking for with only a few clicks, rather than spending time moving each letter on its own.
I prefer to change the letter spacing first so I can have each word look more correct before I adjust the line spacing and worry about composition.
You can use the arrow buttons to make slight changes but my best tip is to first change the number to zero. That seems to be around where most script fonts start to look how they were intended.
You likely need to adjust a few individual letters from here, but let’s hold off on that for now so we can use a shortcut for composition before we separate the text into a bunch of layers.
And that would be line spacing.
Now, line spacing with a script font is a little more open-ended than later spacing. It can depend on what you’re making if you want to add any filler shapes etc. And because of the ascenders and descenders (like the y and g and d and k below) the spacing you want can look messy and even overlap.
I still recommend starting with zero and adjusting from there. After editing spacing, you may end up with something like this. Not perfect, but it’s starting to look a lot better. For this particular font, I like the way it looks best at around -2.
Step Three: Script Font Composition
Next, we will start to separate the text into layers and make individual adjustments. (Like fixing the ascender and descender overlaps and adjusting S in Space to feel less crowded.)
To do this, let’s take a look at the “advanced” tool. I promise it’s not scary. Three options are available for this tool. The “separate by layer” tool does not apply to what we are doing today, so let’s skip that one for now.
Next, we have “separate by line” And “separate by letter.” These tools do exactly what they say.
Use the “separate by line” tool to move full lines of text at once. Like adjusting the first two lines below so that they don’t overlap.
Use the separate-by-letter tool to be able to move each letter independently. Like adjusting the capital S in the word Space below to look less crowded.
Keep in mind that once you separate by letter, you can not go back and use the separate-by-line tool. If you want to use that function still, try grouping all the layers in the line.
Now that your letter and line spacing are looking better, you might still want to move words around a bit to create a more appealing composition. This is especially true if your words have a lot of ascenders and descenders. It’s the worst when they overlap and you have to add bigger line spacing than you’d like. That’s one of my least favorite parts of working with text in my files. But there are lots of ways around it so don’t fret.
Tip: this is a good time to group all the letters of each word so you don’t accidentally mess them up while you’re working.
Composition Tips and Tricks
Here are a couple of my favorite tips to create an intentional-looking composition when that happens.
- Try out different alignments. The problem might be solved by just aligning to one side instead of the center.
- Change the sizing or individual words or lines. (Important words should be bigger than the rest)
- Add some other elements to fill in the gaps. Try searching “flourish” in the images tab.
Here are the before and after from just these three composition ideas. There are a lot more ways you can play around with your text to make it look exactly how you like.
Did you know? As long as you don’t use Slice, Combine, or Flatten on the text, you can continue to use the text editing menu.
Step Four: Keeping It All Together
Once you are happy with your file, there’s one more important step you’ll need to take before hitting that Make It button. And that’s getting everything to stay in place when you send it to the machine.
If you were to leave the file as is at this point the mat would look something like this. And after all that hard work… no thanks.
You may be used to using the Attach tool to keep everything in place when you cut, but for script fonts, it’s essential that you use the weld tool instead.
If you were to attach the layers, the letters would still be cut out individually. And since script fonts typically overlap on each letter’s tails, you would essentially be telling the machine to slice the overlapped areas.
Welding takes all of the layers that overlap and creates one cut line for the whole word.
The image above shows the difference between how the file would cut if you used the attach tool (top left) versus the weld tool (bottom right).
The best way to check whether your file will cut correctly without a practice cut is to select the entire file and change the linetype to Write. You will be able to see the outline of all the letters (like above), even where they overlap.
And that’s it! Take some time to play around with script fonts in Design Space and see what you can come up with!