August 10, 2019 32

Make Any Font a Writing Font for Cricut Design Space

Make Any Font a Writing Font for Cricut Design Space

In this video I’m going to show how to make
any font into a “writing style” font for use in Cricut Design Space and with the writing
feature of the Cricut Explore models. To do this you will need to use a vector editing
program, I’m using Inkscape. To start, use the text adding feature to type the text that
you want to have written and then choose your font. I’m going to be using “Sunlight”. When
you have an actual project in mind you should size it correctly for whichever project you’re
using, but since I’m just practicing today, I’m just going to make it a bit bigger so
it’s easier to see. The first thing that you need to do, then, is click on the “Path” menu
and then click on “Object to Path” which is the shortcut shift+ctrl+c. Then you click
on the “View” menu, go down to the “Display Mode” menu, and click on “Outline”. This shows
us the actual vectors that are involved in the program. This illustrates why the Cricut
software will write “bubble” letters with system fonts, which everyone hates. So that
fonts can be sized correctly at many different sizes, they are vectors. Word processing programs,
like Microsoft Word, read the outline at whatever size it is, and fill it in with the appropriate
text color. This outline is what Cricut Design Space and other word processing systems read,
and that is the path that the Cricut will follow. This is why Cricut Design Space just
can’t write any font as a writing style font, because this is the only information that
Design Space has about the font. Cricut has created a few writing style fonts for use
in Design Space, which are single stroke fonts that write more similar to how a person holding
a pen would write. These fonts, since they do not bound an area, cannot be read by most
word processing programs, you would just see nothing there, there would be no information
about where to fill in the color, so that’s why you really can’t find writing style fonts
available for download. We are going to use this font as a guideline to create our own
writing strokes and pen strokes. Since this font has thin areas and thick areas, I’m going
to use one single pen stroke through the thin areas, and then a second pen stroke through
the thick areas. The tool we are going to be using is the “Bezier Curves” tool, located
over here on the left side of the screen. Clicking in the center of this outline of
the letters, so that we follow what a pen stroke would follow, I’m just going to start
by clicking in straight lines and following the curve around. When using the Bezier Curves
tool, you can click and drag in order to create a curve as you’re going along, but we don’t
need to do that, because I’m going to show you a really cool, easy trick to use, in order
to get perfect curves every time. So I’m just using straight curves. And then instead of
going down the center of this part, since I am going to use two strokes in this thick
part, I’m just going to go down the side of it. When you reach the end of your letter,
press the enter key on the keyboard to turn it into a curve. And now I’m going to draw
the second stroke. I’m gonna start out about the same height as the first one starts, follow
it down and come and have it connect at the bottom, here. Now, using my normal selector
tool, I’m going to select both the strokes that I just drew. Go to the path menu, and
go down to where it says “Combine” which is the shortcut ctrl+k. I’m going to click on
Combine and that just puts both of these paths on the same editable layer. Now you can either
double click on the paths or click on the “Edit Paths by Nodes” button on the left side,
so we can see all of the nodes that we just drew. I’m going to turn these nodes into auto-smooth
nodes, which will make the letter really nice and curved. So I’m going to start selecting
these nodes by just clicking and dragging around them. And then I’m going to click this
button up at the top which is “Make Selected Nodes Auto-Smooth”. And then they turn from
squares to round. I’m actually going to leave this node up here as a corner, because I want
the pen to make a sharp movement there. The end nodes will never turn into auto-smooth
nodes, but that’s OK they don’t need to be. So you can still select them, they just automatically
won’t change. Now I’m just going to zoom in a bit, and the great thing about auto-smooth
nodes is that as you move each node, all the other nodes around it adjust so that there’s
always a perfectly smooth line, which makes it really easy for following these fonts,
because you don’t have to be perfect. At the bottom, you are going to make sure that both
of the paths connect. This will make sure no matter what size pen you’re using in the
end, that your paths are going to touch and it’s going to look seamless. Depending on
the pen size you intend to use, is how close together these two strokes in the thicker
part need to be. If you’re using a very thin pen, you might need to put them closer together,
or even add a third stroke. But if you’re using a thicker marker, then they can be further
apart and it will still look seamless in the end You want to be sure when you are writing your
letters, that you don’t use too few node points. If you do, once you change the curve to have
auto-smooth nodes, your letter is not going to look much anything like the original font.
You can see it’s just really curvy here. So if you do that, that’s OK, you can either
add more nodes by double clicking in the middle of the path to add more, or you can just click
ctrl+z and start over. At the same time, you don’t want to have too many nodes. The Cricut
machine can only handle so many nodes at one time, and if you have something with a lot
of text that has many, many different points of nodes, eventually the Cricut machine will
kind of ‘give up’ and just -stop typing- stop writing your text which can be very annoying
when you have a very long project almost finished and then it stops writing on like, the last
sentence. So, in straight parts, use less because the pen is just going to follow a
straight path, but around curves, do add a few more nodes to have the curve be more specific. As you’re getting into the more cursive areas,
or with cursive style fonts, you want to make sure that from one letter to another, the
letters connect. So just drag after you finish two letters, drag the last node of the first
letter over, and have it touch the second letter. When you get to parts like the dot of the
“i” or other punctuation, you can kind of cheat and use the inherent circle function
that Inkscape has. I’m holding ctrl+shift while I draw the circle, and that makes it
draw out from the center in a symmetrical circle. And you can draw one circle or even
two, to make sure that the whole dot is going to get filled in. And then make sure that
you select both those circles and also the rest of the “i” and I’m going to hit ctrl+k
to combine those together. And then never forget to go back and make the last letter
you did touch the next letter you just did. The great thing about writing a lot of text
this way is that as you go, you start to work faster and faster because you can go back
and use the same path you’ve already drawn for one letter, for another letter. So I’m
going to select this “g” that I have drawn before, and press ctrl+d, which stands for
duplicate. Now I can drag that over, and just place it back in this new “g”. You’ll see
as I go through, a lot of letters start to repeat, so, in the beginning you’re drawing
most of the letters but as you progress, you can copy over a lot of the letters. All you
need to do when you add a new letter in, is just make sure that it connects to the other
letters around it. You’ll notice with a lot of the letters, I
start at the end of the letter and work my way back. And I just think that’s the easiest
way for me to look at a letter and make sure I have the least amount of strokes possible.
The more individual strokes you draw, the more times the pen is going to pick up and
be put back down, so the longer the writing is going to take. So I try my best to have
one continuous stroke going through all of the thin parts of the letter, and then to
build up the rest of the letter with single strokes, and have the least amount used as
possible. Sometimes you might realize that you want
to change a node back to having it be sharp, so you can do that by clicking on the “Corner
Node” button twice while you have that node selected. And now sometimes as you’re going along, you
will start to realize that there are some places where your single pen stroke could
extend longer, so, I think that these two letters, “w” and “r” are a great candidate
for our pen to go through the “w”, and then continue to the “r”, and then go and fill
in the wider strokes. This wouldn’t necessarily work from the “r” to the “i”, because if you
were writing with a pen, you would come up with the “r”, and then come down the “i”,
and you’d have those two strokes right next to each other, and then you would want a third
stroke for to thicken the “i”, and it would either look like the “i” was pointed at the
top, or it would have some weird stuff going on. So with those two, some of the letters
it doesn’t work to combine them together, but other letters like this “w” and “r” is
the perfect candidate for them to be a single stroke. So I am going to join these letters
together as one stroke. So at this point, I’ve been working about
40 minutes on getting this font turned into a writing style font, and I’m finally on my
last letter, since this last word “font”, I already have an “o”, an “n”, and a “t” created
, so the “f” is my very last letter. So you can see that it does take some time, you know
I’ve been stopping to kind of talk about what I’m doing, so it’s taking me a little longer
than it normally would, and as you go through and you get more familiar with Inkscape, get
more familiar with what you’re doing and practice tracing fonts a lot more often, you will get
faster at it. So it’s not necessarily something you do for every project or a single one-off
project, but if you’re doing something like writing invitations, you want one thing to
look really nice, it can be a really great way to have any font you want be written as
a writing style font. OK, so now I am all done, I’m going to go
grab the original font that I was using. I know I’ve grabbed it because the bounding
box is around the whole thing instead of each individual letter. And I’m just going to delete
that. So this is what our writing font looks like. And you will see it does look very similar
to the writing fonts in Cricut Design Space where you have individual paths. You can see
where things are going to be thicker and be thinner. I’m going to go and change my view
back from outline to normal. So again that’s “View” menu, go to the “Display Mode” menu,
and hit “Normal”. And to show you what this might look like with a pen, I’m going to select
all of these, and I’m going to look at my “Stroke” menu, and I’m going to increase my
stroke width. And this would be the same as using, like, a wider marker, so you can see
how once the strokes are thicker, we wind up with not any gaps between those double
lines that we did, you know, there might be one right there so that’d be somewhere where
I’d go back in and make those lines a little bit closer together, but it is going to depend
on what kind of pen you’re using, so it will require a little bit of testing to go and
see. Before I save, I’m just going to take the stroke back down to a weight of 1. Sometimes
it can look funny when you pull it into Cricut Design Space if the stroke is anything other
than one, so, just for peace of mind. And the last thing I’m going to do is one last
Path>Combine. And the reason we’re going to do that is because if you don’t put all of
those on one single path, Cricut Design Space will read each individual stroke we have done,
and each individual letter as a single layer in Cricut Design Space, so when we are bringing
this in and changing it from cut to write, you can either do one go of it or you can
do a million for each little letter you did. It won’t work if you just do ctrl+group, and
you can’t weld it in Cricut Design Space, because it’s not a closed stroke, so Cricut
Design Space won’t let you weld it, so that’s why we’re going to use the “Combine” tool
to do it in here. And finally we’re just going to save this so that we can bring it into
Cricut Design Space. I’ve saved it as a .SVG, which is what you want to do. If you save
it as a .JPEG, it won’t work. So now it’s time to bring it over into Cricut Design Space! OK, so now we’re in Design Space, and we’re
just going to quick go to “Upload Image” and we’re going to find that image that we just
did. Save it. And insert it onto our canvas. It’s coming in at a little over 9 inches wide,
I think I’m just going to use a regular piece of paper to write this, so I’m going to make
it a bit smaller, so that it will fit on a piece of paper. And we have to go over here
and change “Cut”to “Write”. And I’m going to, I think, do this twice, so I can try it
with a thick and a thin pen. I’m just going to change this to a different pen color, both
my pens will probably be black, it’s just two pens, that’s just going to make the machine
stop in the middle, to let me change out the pen. And you should be good now, so I’m just
going to click “Go”, making sure they’re appearing one right after each other, and I’m going
to click “go” again. As you can see, with the V-5 pen it was a
bit too skinny, we would probably have to make the text smaller, or add a third stroke,
but it does still look kind of nice and pretty like some of the Cricut writing style fonts
have that outline inherent. With the marker, it did much better, some areas are seamless
and a few areas there is a gap that would have to be fixed by just moving the strokes
slightly closer together, but overall it’s a really good start. I hope you’ve enjoyed
this video about how to make any font into a writing style font for Cricut Design Space.
It’s definitely an advanced technique, but I think if you challenge yourself, you can
have some great results.

32 Replies to “Make Any Font a Writing Font for Cricut Design Space”

  • Julie Molis says:

    I was wondering if this could be done. Thank you so much for posting your video. I am going to try it using Inkscape.

  • Stacy Click says:

    Fascinating technique! I will certainly remember this for future projects. Thanks!

  • Rhonda Mobley says:

    Why do you make double bezier strokes? If you made single wouldn't it write a single stroke and therefore eliminate the gaps in the letters?

  • budrfly57 says:

    That is pretty awesome but, way to much work for me…Thanks for sharing tho 🙂

  • Leslie Galvan says:

    Awesome technique, will definitely give this a try. Do those pens fit in the cricut adapter or is there a different adapter I would have to use in order to put the pens you used in?

  • Ericka Quesada says:

    Thank you SO much for this. I got some 3d printed pen adapters on etsy and with this tutorial my options are endless know!!!! <3!!!!!

  • Wool Again S says:

    I love this…….You are a excellent teacher!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  this was so easy to understand!!!!!!!!Thank you…..Diane

  • Julie Stevens says:

    Amazing! I had no idea that I could use different markers in my machine! What other brands have you used with success?

  • Grace Baxter says:

    It is a lot of work. You did a great job of explaining everything. Thank you. I might use the technique for something very special.

  • Pamela Burks says:

    great information but im not that advanced yet.

  • Deanna Kelly says:

    Great video but again…WAY too much work!

  • Shawna Reynolds says:

    wow, too much work. I will pay 4.99 for fonts in DS

  • M P says:

    Sorry but my inkscape doesn't have the sunlight. Is this the old version of inkscape? But how can I add that font ( sunlight) into my inkscape fonts?

  • K C says:

    Thank you or this tutorial. I used this technique after hours of turning a png into svg and it not giving the results I wanted. I traced what I wanted out of it and was able to make what I needed! Thank you, again!!

  • Prathamesh Jakka says:

    which plotter are you using

  • Sleepless In The Carolinas says:

    Thanks for taking the time to create this tutorial! There are so many wonderful fonts in the marketplace so it is wonderful that I don't have to be limited to those in Design Space.

  • Geo F says:

    Is there any way that the single stroke be continuous without the Cricut doing letter by letter? I want to use a calligraphy pen and tried this method but it still isn't the look I'm going for

  • A Guiding Light says:

    Im trying to replicate this process on an image which does the same thing when i try to write it in design space, but when i do this process, it does not show me an outline, just a blank box. How can this be if cricut is seeing it as an outline filled in?

  • Myheartblongsto Eric says:

    Thank you so much for this video. It was so helpful. I was always so frustrated that I had to pay for a writing fonts in design space and now I can make my own!! Beautifully explained and so easy to follow!!!

  • Marco Lagerwey says:

    WOW this was exactly what i was looking for! Thank you very much.

  • Evelyn Wald says:

    Thank you for this. Very helpful as I'm learning how to use my new Cricut and want to do things that are not "stock". Since you spent so much time in doing this, it occurred to me that if you were to type out the entire alphabet (upper and lowercase), do the tracing steps, you could save the file in Inkscape (or other drawing software) for future projects and then just copy the letters that you might want for your a new phrase. I certainly will get a lot of practice using my pen tool since I'm also new to Illustrator!

  • der ddd says:

    Thats way to much work and not very practical at all..

  • Heather F says:

    Thank you so much for this video!!! I teach basic graphic design, so this will be great practice on using the pen tools! I use, a free online vector design program, but was able to adapt these instructions easily! Thank you for sharing!!

  • Lollka Lollichka says:

    Thank you so much for the awesome tutorial, exactly what I was wanting to learn. Very clear & concise.

  • Tami Aucremann says:

    So incredibly helpful! Thank you for a great tutorial! 🙂

  • SonShine Shon says:

    Thank you for explaining why I couldn't get downloaded fonts to write correctly in Cricut Design Space!! I admit this all seems very overwhelming to me, but I will download a free app & give it a try 🙂 Your tutorial was very informative & helpful! Thanks for taking time to share with us!

  • Clarisa Diaz says:

    Tried to follow this. Got to the end and now when i do my last path> combine my word looks very weird. Any suggestions?

  • The Wandering Wife says:

    Thank you! I think I’m going to try importing my signature and using this technique.

  • Patti Arico says:


  • Linda Smik says:

    Very nice tutorial. Yes it is a lot of work, but once you have a whole alphabet down I bet it can be reuse those letters with another sentiment. This video actually helped me learn more about using all those path tools in Inkscape too. Thank you!
    I know you used Sunlight font in the tutorial, but I love the font you used in your title "How to turn any font…." What font is that?

  • John Chapman says:

    what a load of faffing ….cant believe Cricut maker can't do this ….might as well buy a printer

  • Laura Crookston says:

    Great explanation of how 'writing style fonts' work! I use Adobe Illustrator and the tool 'offset path'. Does inkscape have something like that? It will definitely speed things up compared to using the pen tool. I am having to do some of this for some of my wedding stuff – but luckily I (and a million other people) am using Futura, so it's been very straight forward (pun intended). I was fine with my text, but came here to figure out how I should go about doing the punctuation – your info about the dot over the i was great. Thanks!

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