The Cricut is an awesome addition to any scrap bookers’ armament of tools. It is pricey, but pays for itself quickly by providing a crafting outlet for your mats, frames, embellishments, journaling tags and card making. Many people don’t realize there’s an entirely new world to the Cricut Expression without the limitations of its design cartridges. Purchasing software like, Sure Cuts A Lot 2.0, is a great way to maximize your use of the Cricut. Visit their site for more information on this software, http://www.craftedge.com/index.html. Now, you can use any computer font available for your page titles. This includes SVG clipart and hand drawn design elements too. There are a number of blogs that provide free files and SCAL templates for private use. Some designers even sell artwork and templates for minimal costs (ranging from around $1.50 up to $5.99) and include many intricate cards and paperform crafts.
To really excel at creating your own designs and being able to purchase and download designs for use with SCAL you will also need a vector graphics program. My favorite is Adobe Illustrator, but there are some freebies available on the web. I’ve seen Inkscape listed on a few design sites that might be a good place to start. You can visit their site by clicking here http://www.inkscape.org/index.php?lang=en.
Once you have your software installed and your Cricut Expression connected with a simple, USB cable, you’re ready to go. You can create titles by manipulating regular fonts to type outlines and using a Pathfinder-type tool to weld the lettering together, spelling anything you can imagine. Did you ever wonder what Dingbats were really used for? Well, now you can download some of these (just like fonts), then create type outlines to isolate the individual graphics, providing you with an endless supply of great basic vector images for holidays, events, and design elements for cutting.
There are tons of great blogs and sites available to download free and purchased files and templates for the SCAL software. Perhaps, if you get good enough, you can even find some time to create your own original artwork and offer it for sale. I’d love to do this, if I ever find the time.
Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely love my Cricut and love the artwork that is available in their cartridge collection. However, I want the freedom to design projects and layouts on my computer as well. The setup I’ve described in this article gives you the best of both worlds for a reasonable price.