No matter how you slice it, this tool is loads of fun to use.
I’m talking about the slice tool and how to slice in Cricut Design Space!
Let’s talk about what this tool is, how it works, and when you will use it.
Spoiler: Once you get the hang of it, you will use this tool all the time. Because it’s one of the more powerful tools that lives inside Cricut Design Space, and a tool that gives you the freedom to create and customize your own designs.
How to slice in Cricut Design Space three ways
“How to slice in Cricut” is one of the first questions a new Cricut owner asks. And in this post, I’ll go over how to Slice in Cricut Design Space three ways:
- Trim an existing shape
- Create a new shape
- Cut a shape inside another shape – most often called a cutout design, or knock-out design.
At the end of the post we’ll put it all together and create this cut-out butterfly using only the shapes and assets available in Cricut Design Space. I’ll share a trick to slicing and welding a cutout design, like the butterfly, in half the steps it normally takes – using a workflow I use in Adobe Illustrator all the time and discovered it works in Cricut Design Space too.
How to slice in Cricut Design Space three ways
Use the slice tool to trim
The first way you can use the slice tool is to trim a shape and remove parts of the design that you don’t need or want. In this example, we’ll use this arrow, and say that we only need these first three arrows.
The first step is to grab a shape from the shapes panel in Design Space – any of the shapes will work, as long as the shape covers the part you want to remove. For the arrows, a square will do, but I want to free-transform the square so I can resize the square to fit the entire arrow. To free-transform a shape, hit the lock on the bottom left corner of the select shape.
Once the top shape is covering all the parts you want to remove, rubber band select both layers (click and drag the mouse to select both shapes).
What you NEED to know about working with the slice tool…
The slice tool works by splitting two overlapping layers – images or text – into different parts. The tool acts like a digital cookie cutter. The shape on top being the cutter, and the slice tool cuts the shape out of the bottom layer.
The slice tool in Cricut Design Space will only work on two layers – but I have two workarounds for working with multiple layers.
The first trick is next, and the second trick will come into play when we make the cut-out butterfly.
We’ll use this flower as our example and say we want to trim the stem, but we need the three layers to remain separate. The trick is to select only the layer you want to trim – the design is a group, ungroup before you begin. Then pick your top shape to trim the stem and selecting only the stem and the top slice shape – hit the slice.
Done! If you need to regroup, select all layer and hit group in the Cricut Design Space layers panel.
Use the slice tool to create shapes
The second way you can use the slice tool is creating a new shape.
We learn in art class that every design comprises a group of shapes. When you think of it in those terms, it’s a lot of fun, and a fantastic learning exercise, to bring a bunch of shapes on the canvas and play around. You will always learn something unexpected by experimenting.
For example, let us use these two circles to create a half moon.
All you have to do is overlap the two circles, align until you have the shape you are happy with and SLICE!
Pull apart the shapes… and what do we have?
One of the slice pieces looks like a lemon – so lets take the extra pieces and create a lemon.
See what I mean? Unexpected discovery.
Tip: Use two contrasting colors for the layers. Make the bottom layer black or a darkish color, and the top layer light – this allows you to “see” the shape as a final cut better.
Another example I’ll share is using a triangle and a diamond to create a geometrical snow-capped mountain.
Use the slice tool to cut-out or knock-out shapes
Now we will put everything we’ve learned about the slice tool and make this cut out butterfly.
I will show you two ways that I would approach and create a design like this.
But first, here is a visual of the layout for the butterfly we’ll be making. The first image is the layout of the cut-out shapes, and the second is the result of using the slice tool.
Cut-out Butterfly: Method 1
The first step it to find a base silhouette, which is the butterfly. Next, find images and shapes that you find interesting. Go into Design Space — > Images and choose a bunch of random shapes and throw them on the canvas. Have a wide selection of shapes to choose from.
Note: everything you see on the canvas here is available in Cricut design space. Some are free, some are Cricut access, but they’re all available under images.
- Arrange the shapes on one half of the butterfly.
- Once you are happy with your layout, group the images you will use together, and delete any images you don’t need.
- Now stop.
Trust me, stop.
Now duplicate the layers you will work with to save as a backup – you can hide those layers in Cricut Design Space.
It’s an excellent idea, and best practices, to make a backup because the edits are somewhat destructive (in Adobe lingo). You can hit COMMAND + Z to go one step back, but it’s only one step back. It becomes messy when you’ve gone so far forward in a design that you’d have to hit a bazillion COMMAND + Z – and it’s a nightmare.
Make a backup, then pat yourself on the back. I promise, you will thank yourself for doing this one simple step.
Phew, ok let’s move on.
- Select the group of shapes you want to cut out of the butterfly and duplicate.
- In the top toolbar in Cricut Design Space, select flip, then flip horizontal.
- Click and drag the duplicated layer to the other half of the butterfly.
- Select both layers and in the top toolbar in Cricut Design Space hit Align — > Center Vertically to align the two layers perfectly.
Lean in and listen cause this is the second trick to slicing with multiple layers that I talked about earlier.
Because we don’t need these top cutout shapes to be individual layers, we can weld them together. That one step will combine all of those top shapes into one layer.
Now you have two layers, select both, and hit the slice tool.
- Remove the cutout shapes.
- The last step is to create the cut-out on the body using a circle shape. Unlock the proportions and free-transform the circle to an oval and align over the center of the body.
- Select both layers and hit Slice.
Cut-out Butterfly: Method 2
Now I will to show you the second way that I would create this design. And the way I usually create in Adobe Illustrator. Let me show you first, and then I’ll explain why you would do it this way.
Approach the design the same way as the first method above, by choosing a silhouette and arranging the layout of shapes.
- Grab a square shape and unlock the proportions to free-transform.
- Resize the square and slice and trim the butterfly in half.
- Arrange the shapes on the wing.
- Weld the group of shapes together.
- Select both layers and hit Slice.
- Remove the extra cut-out pieces.
- Select the one layer and duplicate.
- Using the flip tool in the Cricut Design Space toolbar, select Flip Horizontal.
- Drag and align the second half until it aligns.
- Select and Weld.
- Using a circle shape, unlock proportions and Slice from the center of the Butterfly’s body.
When and why you would use this method
It seems counterproductive to slice a design in half, at first. Not all SVGs you’ll come across are design equal. Maybe the wings are off center with each other, or you have a hand-drawn butterfly, and one wing is wonky, and it drives you crazy.
Cut in half and work and design on the GOOD part – boom, fixed.
But this is also a handy trick if you are creating your own silhouette either in Design Space or you import design you have vectorized. If you are mirroring the design, like this butterfly, you only need to create one half – and then duplicate and flip. This saves time, it’s easy, and you end up with a perfectly symmetrical design.
I hope this was a helpful introduction to answer how to slice in Cricut. If you have questions please leave them in the comments and I’ll answer every one of them.
Now that you know how to slice in Cricut Design Space, GO PLAY.
And most of all, have fun.
PS…more Cricut projects and resources for you to explore your creativity.