Last night I played around with the Print Then Cut (PTC) feature in Design Space using the Cricut Explore. I saw a picture of someone's Explore that had been decorated with the characters from Finding Nemo and decided to do the same to mine using Toy Story. I've had the Toy Story cartridge since it came out but have never used it because all the tiny pieces and layers to make these characters look right intimidated even me - and I LOVE piecing together tiny things! This is a cartridge that PTC was made for!
I know there are tons of videos out there on how to use the PTC feature in Design Space. Videos are great but I prefer a step by step guide that I can refer back to so I decided to do a quick tutorial on how to print and cut an image from the Cricut library.
1. Open Design Space and click on Insert Image.
2. Select your image. You can search by name, or by specific cartridge or image set. I decided to search my image sets (linked cartridges).
3. Select image and click Insert Images.
4. This will take you back to the mat screen. Size your image. With PTC you are limited on size. This is something that is supposed to change with a later update to Design Space. I entered 7.00" inches in the height box. As long as padlock between the width and height is closed you only need to enter one size and Design Space will automatically keep the proportions. You can also size my clicking on a corner of the box around the image and dragging.
5. Next, you will flatten the image. Make sure the entire image is selected and Click Flatten. You will see that all the layers except the shadow layer are now gone and only the image with a print icon next to it remain in the layers window.
6. Next, since I'm going to give this to my son, I want to add the shadow layer as an additional cut. (I actually cut the shadow layer 3 times to beef it up) You could proceed from step 5 above to printing and cutting. To add the shadow layer I click on the eyeball. The shadow layer then shows as cut only. Next you click the green GO button to proceed to printing then cutting.
7. On the Mat Preview screen it shows your project. First it shows the PTC item (green box) then the cut only item (red box). This is also the screen that if you are not happy with the way Design Space has laid out your project on the mat you can drag things and move them. Personally, I think the program does a great job of not wasting paper and don't feel the need to do this but to each his own.
Click on Print and Continue to bring up the print dialog.
8. Here is the print dialog box. If you are using IE you will be able to adjust your print quality from this screen. Since I'm using Chrome I have to adjust my print quality from Control Panel. You want your print quality set to Best for best results with PTC.
9. After sending your project to the printer you will place your project on the cutting mat and load into the machine.
10. This is the screen that comes up when you are loading and cutting your project. Ignore the big red warning at the top of the screen - I was not connected to my Explore when I took my screen shots. It's easier to do my screen shots on a different computer than my laptop that I use with my Explore.
When the"C" button flashes you are ready to cut. Design Space will sometimes pause here for a minute (or 10) if you have a really large PTC project. My suggestion is to hide all but what will fit on one page and process the project in stages - way fewer hangups that way. (This is an issue Cricut is working to fix btw)
The Explore will then read the registration marks and then cut the project.
And the screen after your printed item has cut, asking you to load the next mat.
10. And here is the finished project (and all his friends)!
I ended up having the Cricut write all the characters names on the back of their shadow. This was done with the metallic blue Cricut pen - I love how beautifully it wrote on the black cardstock!
Thanks for stopping by!