Monday, November 25, 2019

Creating custom paths for your cutting machine!

This will be a discussion about creating your own paths for cutting or writing with your cutting machine. There is a bit of a learning curve (no pun intended), but it's definitely achievable. Just keep practicing, and you'll get there!

What is a path?
A path is a set of instructions telling your machine exactly where to go. says this:
Paths create complex shapes by combining multiple straight lines or curved lines. ... A good understanding of paths is important when drawing SVGs.

The good news is that we don't need to know all that much (even though it helps), because the software really does handle most of what we need to do.

Do I have to use SVGs with my Cricut?
Not at all! We can also use PNGs and JPGs. Because of Cricut's limitations, there are times when an SVG is actually a problem! The most important thing is to make sure we have a high quality image, so that our Cricut machines getdirections that are as clear as possible.

What tools do I need to make a path?
There are lots of programs we can use to create custom paths. I'm going to talk about three- Inkscape (, Adobe Illustrator (, and Skedio (

What is a bezier curve, and how will it help me?
A Bezier curve is a tool that tells the computer how much to curve the path and in what direction.

 A Bezier (BEZ-zee-ay) curve is a mathematically defined curve used in two-dimensional graphic applications. The curve is defined by four points: the initial position and the terminating position (which are called "anchors") and two separate middle points (which are called "handles"). The shape of a Bezier curve can be altered by moving the handles. The mathematical method for drawing curves was created by Pierre B├ęzier in the late 1960's for the manufacturing of automobiles at Renault.
      - from

How do I use Bezier curves?
Here, have some tutorials. :D

Web page tutorials:

Video tutorials:

Do I have to use Bezier curves to make a path?
No. You can use the pen tool in programs to manually draw out your curves. I generally draw my paths manually first, then smooth them with the Bezier curves.

What was the point of all this, anyway?
Well, to make your cutting machine write without bubbling on the letters, you need a path so that the machine just draws/writes the way people do, instead of just outlining everything.

And if I want to fill in my letters with a pattern? 
Then you would draw out your path inside of the letter form you choose. Like this!

First you draw your custom path. I'm using Skedio here so I can draw on my tablet. You can also use lllustrator, or Inskape, or several other programs.

Then upload that path to your Design Space and place it onto your canvas. Make any size and placement changes you want, and be sure to attach everything. That will keep everything where you put it.

Then make your project! As you see, the Cricut draws the path exactly as I drew it. No bubbling here!

Hopefully this can give you a starting point, so that you can create even more things with your Cricut! :D

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