Do you want to explore your Cricut machine? Are you unsure about how to use some of the functions such as “Slice”?
A Cricut machine allows you to do numerous arts and crafts projects through its detailed and multiple cutting abilities. One of its more prominent features is the “Slice” feature – which actually offers you more than what the word implies. In Cricut-world, the “Slice” function can do so much more than literally cut a paper in half.
What Does “Slice” Mean in a Cricut?
Slice as a function in Cricut means cutting images, shapes, or letters out of an existing image. For example, you want to cut a heart shape inside a square. Or perhaps you want to cut the words “Love” from a heart shape. The Slice function is the one to use for this particular need.
Here’s What You Should Remember
The Slice tool is very particular, but it’s not that hard to master. Here’s what you must keep in mind before using this tool:
- This only functions with two layers so don’t try to add a third one because it will mess up the program.
- The Slice tool doesn’t work when the grouped function is activated. You have to ungroup it first for the function to work.
- If you use Slice when there’s a hidden layer, this layer will be removed.
Steps to Slice
The Design Space software is the accompanying program of the Cricut equipment. Here’s what you should do when using this for Slice.
Step 1: Placing Images
So let’s say that you want to cut a red heart out of a blue square. The heart would be the 2nd layer and the square would be the 1st layer. On the program, you should have two separate shapes – the blue square and the red heart. Using a drag and drop ability of the program, simply put the red heart on top of the square. Make sure that the 2nd layer is the one on top and not the other way around.
Step 2: Selecting the Images
Once you’ve done this, select both images and double check that they’ve been recognized as “selected” on the right-hand panel of the program. Now, selecting these two images can be done by clicking your Shift or Control key at the same time as your mouse. This would work if you’re using either Windows or Mac computers.
What if you’re using an Android or an iOS device? With any of these two, you should be able to simply tap and drag the images you want cut.
Step 3: Make Sure to Ungroup
Remember what we said about how Slice doesn’t work for grouped images? Well, typically, once you put the two images together in the first step, these two will automatically merge or become grouped. In order for Slice to function, you have to click these two images and ungroup them. If you have hidden images, make sure you’ve also unhidden them.
Step 4: Slice your Creation
After all of these, you can now hit the Slice Tool function which would give you the sliced version of the overlapping images. On the right side, you will be shown three images – the heart cutout, the square cutout with a white heart-shaped blank on the center, and the grey space with the square cutout. In some cases, the grey space won’t be shown since it’s not really important in the grand scheme of things.
You now have the option of deleting the images you don’t need. For example, if all you really need is the square with a heart-shape in the middle, then you can delete that heart and just leave the square with the heart-shaped hole in the center.
Step 6: Getting Ready to Cut
Once you’re happy with the design, it’s time to cut the shape off the material. To do this, just load your paper, fabric, or whatever material you intend to use on the mat. Make sure to double check the sizing of the image as you don’t want to waste perfectly good crafting material. Once done, just hit the Cut button and allow your Cricut to produce the exact design that you want.
Keep in mind that when exposing the shape you want, it’s best to first remove the excess material or the material around the shape. Once done, you can carefully remove the actual shape you wanted, in this case, that’s the square with an obvious heart-shaped hole in the center. Put in any colored material at the back and you have yourself a 2-layered craft design, ready for any purpose you might have for it.
Using Slice for Editing Purposes
Slice is often used to superimpose images on top of each other and create multi-layered cutouts for an added depth in your crafts. You’ll find however that Slice also works beautifully as a cropping tool – essentially allowing you to remove unwanted portions of an image.
Let’s say you have this 6 by 12 rectangle that you want to crop into a 6 by 10 one. Using the Shapes function, you can create a solid black shape that you can put on top of the rectangle, right where you want the cut to go. Now you basically have two seemingly superimposed images.
Next, select these two images and hit Ungroup. Hit slice and you’ll get two different images. There’s the solid black half and there’s the rectangle that’s been reduced to 6 by 10 or your preferred size. Just delete the solid black half and you’ve successfully cropped the picture.
This is the same principle you follow when you want to cut a solid image into different parts. For example, you have a huge map that you want to cut into three pieces. You can now create three different solid shapes and place them on the different areas of the map you want to cut.
Hit Slice and you’ll be given multiple cropped images – including the cropped image of the map. Delete the unnecessary portions and continue with whatever project you intend to do.
Another cool function of Slice is creating a brand-new image by slicing basic shapes. For example, you can try creating two overlapping circles and slice them apart. The area where the circles overlap would be Sliced into the perfect crescent moon shape, allowing you to have this image if none can be found in the program’s library.
Common Problems When Using Slice
Slice is very simple to use but there are times when it could malfunction or you’d simply have a hard time making it work. Following are some of the common problems with this function and how to work through them:
Greyed Slice Button
The Slice button could be deactivated if you failed to follow any of the rules given above. Check again and make sure you only have two layers and no more. Just one layer would also prevent you from using slice – which is why it doesn’t work if the image is Grouped. If the image is hidden, the Slice function also wouldn’t work so you have to Unhide that portion first.
I Can’t Edit the Text
After slicing, the text is completely un-editable because it’s now a solid image. Hence, it’s best to double check the letter before deciding to Slice because any mistake you make means you’ll have to start all over again.
Hidden Layers Disappearance
The Slice function only deals with what can be seen on the Design Space area. Anything hidden will be ignored and even deleted because the program simply assumed it’s not needed. To make sure this doesn’t happen, you have to Unhide these layers before hitting the Slice function.
Using Slice with Weld
Slice is often used together with the Weld function which basically allows you to bring several images together into one solid picture. Imagine this – you want to create a solid black rectangle with multiple star shapes cut onto the surface.
To do this, you create a dozen stars to be placed on top of the black rectangle. Unfortunately, there are now 13 images that need to be selected for Slice. As we previously talked about, this will not work because Slice only functions for two images.
So what do you do? You arrange the stars and Weld them together. The Welding essentially allows them to be one solid image so that when you emboss them on top of the black rectangle, there are only two images that need to be processed. Select them both and hit Slice and you’ll get the perfect results.
To wrap it up, Slice is one of the most useful tools in your Design Space arsenal. You’d think that it’s a simple cutting or cropping tool – but it actually offers a more precise cut that lets you get exactly what you’ve envisioned in your final product. Using it properly – and learning how to use it in tandem with other Cricut functions – can definitely improve your crafting game and allow you to create layers of designs for your projects.