In our humble opinion, Flatten is one of the most practical functions in Design Space. It permanently smushes together multi-layered projects so that they can be processed with Cricut’s “Print Then Cut” function.
In other words, it takes multiple layers and makes them into one dynamic single layer. This single-layer design can be printed by a traditional home printer and then cut by a Cricut machine.
In case you were wondering, you can find the Flatten feature in the “Layers” panel.
By the time you’re finished with this article, you will be a Flatten expert!
How to Flatten in Design Space
What You’ll Need:
- Cricut Explore or Maker machine (These are the only models that are compatible with Design Space’s “Print Then Cut” function!)
- A device that is compatible with Design Space (and a reliable internet connection)
- Traditional inkjet printer
- Printer Ink
- Printer paper (the type depends on what you’re making)
Step 1: Open Design Space
Use Design Space to develop a custom graphic. You can combine as many layers as you like. Just be sure to size and line them up before you flatten them, as this step is difficult to undo.
You can also select a printable image from the Design Space image catalog. It will enable you to print and cut without flattening. Cricut’s Printable images feature small green printer images in the lefthand corner of their image tiles. You can also search for printable designs by selecting “Printables” within the image search filter column.
If you’re a Design Access member, you’ll be able to obtain over 100,000 images. That’s not to say there aren’t plenty of complimentary images within Design Space’s standard image gallery. We love that you can alter the color and other elements of the designs.
Step 2: Flatten
Cricut’s Flatten tool can be found at the bottom of the “Layers” menu. If you’re flattening a design, you’ll need to perfect every detail ahead of time.
When you’re ready, select all the layers of your image. Click “Flatten” icon at bottom right of the Layers panel. After this, the layers should be consolidated into a single image. You will notice that there are now “Print” and “Cut” buttons below the image preview in the Layers panel. When you turn on the “Project Preview” screen, you should see a single black border around the edges of your design.
Step 3: Make It A “Print Then Cut”
Once you’ve designed and flattened your project, you must change the image operation to “Print Then Cut.”
Step 4: Select the Correct Machine
Select the printer of your choice from the drop-down menu. Then, press” Send to Printer.” A “Print Setup” pop-up should appear.
You can now toggle “Bleed” on or off. Bleed extends the borders of designs so that not even the slightest bit of white can be seen in the margins.
After this, you’ll want to input the number of copies that you would like to print. Make sure that your printer has been loaded with the appropriate type and level of paper and ink.
Design Space will automatically set your project to print on 8.5-by-11-inch paper (standard letter format). With that said, your design’s dimensions must be 9.25-by-6.75 inches or smaller.
Step 5: Attach The Printed Design To Your Cricut Mat
Once you’ve successfully printed your design, you can adhere it to your Cricut mat for cutting. Place the materials in the top left corner of your Cricut mat. Press the paper so that it is lying flat across your Cricut mat. There should not be any visible wrinkles or folds.
Cricut’s StandardGrip Machine Mat can be paired with cardstock, textured paper, embossed cardstock, iron-on, inyl, pattern paper, and Infusible Ink transfer sheets. As such, it is the most widely used Cricut mat. However, you can should check the Cricut blog to make sure you are using the correct type of mat.
Step 5: Cut
Once you’ve mounted and installed your mat, you must select the materials and tools you are using within the PTC (“Print Then Cut”) menu in Design Space.
Remember, if you are using an Explorer, you will use your machine’s onboard dial to select a material. When you’re ready, press the flashing Cricut button on your cutting machine.
The Cricut’s “Print Then Cut” sensors will read the details of the design before cutting it. When the machine is finished cutting, you can unload the design from the mat. Enjoy!
Here are a few similar functions available through Design Space.
The Group feature enables you to group layered designs so that you can rearrange them within your Design Space canvas. Unlike Flatten, Group does not fuse layers. As such, you will still be able to change the color, texture, and size of each individual layer.
The Attach feature creates small perforations between adjacent letters and elements of design. Check out the Ken’s Kreations YouTube channel for a tutorial on making custom greeting cards with the help of Cricut’s Design Space’s Attach feature.
The Attach feature is only semi-permanent. You can still edit individual layers after they are attached. Many crafters prefer to use the Attach feature during the editing stage.
The Weld feature enables you to seamlessly connect elements of design to create a single seamless design. We find ourselves using this function when we’re developing text elements or text and image elements that are intended to overlap. A welded design should peel off of a Cricut mat in a single piece. We find that it is much easier to align a sticker or iron-on when all individual elements are already connected.
Keep in mind that you cannot edit individual layers once they have been welded. The only way to remove a weld is to press undo. However, this only works in real-time.
Check out Scarlett’s Craft Tutorials to see how to weld letters in Cricut’s Design Space.
Experiment with your new skills
Create Amazing Stickers
The Flatten feature makes it possible for you to produce fabulous multi-colored stickers and wall clings using Cricut’s “Print Then Cut” function. We’ve had a blast layering images, text, and backgrounds.
We’ve also used the Flatten feature to create all sorts of labels, including return address labels and pantry container tags. Check out Leap of Faith Crafting’s video tutorial to see how it’s done.
Produce Mockups for Your Sales Pages
You can use the Flatten feature to create gorgeous, realistic mockups for sales pages, blogs, and more. Follow the original instructions to create and flatten a design within Cricut’s Design Space.
First, create and flatten a design that you would like to preview on a mockup. Then, upload that image onto a blank Design Space canvas.
Now, go to the upload tab on the upper left side of your Design Space canvas. Scroll through the files until you find your desired mockup template. This can be a blank t-shirt, tote, mug, etc. Select “Complex” from the image type menu on the right-hand side of the screen. Press continue. You will be prompted to name and tag the image. Be sure to save it as a “Print Then Cut” image.
Now, insert your mockup template into your design canvas. Go to the “Arrange” tab on the top left side of the canvas screen and select “Move to Back.” That will enable you to position your mockup template underneath your original design. You may have to resize your mockup template and project design to create a more realistic image.
Take a screenshot of the image. Here are tips on how to take a screenshot on just about any device.
Once you master the Flatten feature, you’ll be able to unlock all sorts of new possibilities within Cricut’s Design Space. We’e used ours to embellish party favors, home decor, storage containers, and so much more! Follow us to find more Cricut tips and tricks.