I am NO expert on the subject, by any means. I am really just learning about all that it can do…and what it can be made to do via other software programs. I will welcome any comments on the subject, as I am writing this post by request from some of the readers of the Shabby Shoppe blog who saw that I had cut out the Strawberry boxes for Nalley’s birthday invitations on my Cricut.
I bought the Cricut Expression in January, and got the Sure Cuts a Lot (SCAL2) software to go with it at the same time. SCAL is a software program that overwrites the Cricut’s need to cut with the cartridges that are made for it. You must have a cartridge, any cartridge in the machine in order for it to work, but SCAL reads .svg files (scalable vector graphics) as well as .scut (SCAL’s file designation) files and any true type font that you have installed in your computer. I should add here, that using the SCAL software with the Cricut, WILL void the manufacturer’s warranty, so if you are worried about that at all, you should wait until your warranty has expired to use the SCAL software.
You can download any number of .svg or .scut files on the internet at many different blogs and cut file websites. Many digital scrapbooking sites also have “d-cut” files or “digital cutting” files available for purchase too. However, if you are clever and somewhat proficient with photoshop, illustrator, or inkscape (and even if you’re not, there are MANY tutorials out there to catch you up to speed), you can create your own cut files and let your Cricut do all your detailed cutting for you.
For the strawberry boxes I used for Nalley’s invitation, I simply isolated the box shape in Photoshop, filled the “shape” with black and saved it as a .jpeg file. From there, I used the Trace Image option in SCAL2 and scaled the cut file to fit on my 8.5 x 11 page that I had printed my red and white damask paper on. I enlarged it to be as big as I could fit on the page.
I did the same thing with the strawberry cap for the box and just printed them on the green polka dot paper. I saved the scraps and used them for the other parts of the invitation.
There are so many tutorials available for Photoshop as well as Inkscape and Illustrator (they are both vector graphics programs, Illustrator is Adobe’s version, and is quite costly, but Inkscape is a free program and you can download it here). There are also lots of tutorials for SCAL, as I mentioned before. I am not a great help when it comes to this stuff, I do LOTS of trial and error…and usually have a lot of error in my quest for success…but it has been lots of fun and a good investment for me.
i hope you’ve found this somewhat helpful, and if you have questions, I’ll do my best to help. But please, if you are knowledgeable in this stuff…there are lots who want to know about it, so leave some comments for us!