Learn how to Create Hand Lettered Cricut Cut Files in Adobe Illustrator! This is a great Cricut project for beginner letterers and designers.
This post is sponsored by Cricut. All opinions are 100% mine.
This is a tutorial combining my two favorite things…Adobe Illustrator and the Cricut Explore Air! I love creating custom Hand Lettered Cricut Files and I’m pretty sure you will, too! If you’re new to the blog, make sure you read up on the 24 Week Cricut Series. I’ve gone over things like my Favorite Cricut Design Space Updates to Creating Cut Files in Adobe Photoshop…and now you’ll learn another useful skill with this tutorial.
Here’s everything you’ll need to create Hand Lettered Cricut Files:
- Cricut Explore Air -while I don’t use my Cricut in this tutorial, you will still need it when you cut out your project.
- Cricut Design Space
- Adobe Illustrator (get it individually here or in Creative Cloud – you can try them free for 30 days before you take a leap)
- Black Marker or Brush Pen (I like Tombow Dual Brush Pens)
- White Paper
- Phone, camera, or scanner
As you watch the video, keep the above Illustrator tools in mind. Each one is important to editing your hand-lettered project. If you want to learn more about the basic skills you need in Adobe Illustrator, check out my online course. It also includes a basic hand lettering course free!
For these Hand Lettered Cricut Files, I tried out hand lettering with the small end of the dual brush pen, and brush lettered another example. I ended up choosing the brush lettering because I figured it would be easier to cut out.
If you want to learn more about lettering, I recommend you take a look at my Casual Calligraphy Course <—plus you save $20 with that link!
How to create a Hand Lettered Cricut File in Adobe Illustrator:
- First, you’ll hand letter your phrase with a black marker on white paper.
- Take a picture with your phone and send it to yourself (use Dropbox or simply attach it in an email). You can also scan it or use a regular camera to take a picture. Tip:
- After you download the file to your computer, open up a new document in Illustrator.
- Go to Fill>>Place and select the lettered image you saved to your computer.
- Resize it to fit on your artboard. Tip: press SHIFT while you drag your mouse to keep proportions.
- Now, make sure that image is selected, then click on the TRACE IMAGE button, then click on the Image Trace panel (it’s the square button you can see me clicking in the video). Tip: You can add the Image Trace Panel to your side toolbar by going to Window>>Image Trace.
- Click on Advanced, then make sure the box IGNORE WHITE is checked.
- Adjust paths to be a little higher. This will keep the image more true to the original.
- Go up to the top of the menu bar, and click on EXPAND.
- Now, you can start perfecting your image. I like to start with the SMOOTH TOOL. Go around all the edges with this by dragging your mouse.
- To delete any unwanted points (in the video, I deleted a part of the a), you’ll use the PEN TOOL. Just hold it over the point you want to delete, a “-” symbol will show up and you’ll click on the mouse.
- You can also readjust the angle of the points by using the DIRECT SELECTION TOOL (not in the video because I didn’t need it with these). You’ll select a point and drag the lines where you need them to go.
- After you’re satisfied with your image, go to FILE>>SAVE AS and save it as an SVG file (make sure you have USE ARTBOARDS selected).
If you want to create a Print and Cut File, add in any color or patterns (you can learn how to create your own Illustrator Patterns in my Printable Design Course). Go to FILE>>EXPORT>>EXPORT AS. Save it as a PNG (make sure you have USE ARTBOARDS selected). A pop-up will appear and you need it to be at 300ppi resolution and the background needs to be TRANSPARENT. You’ll then upload it to Cricut Design Space!
The possibilities are endless with these Cricut Cut Files (seriously, just check out all the amazing materials you can cut with it!)
And in case you love this Crafty file, you can download it for FREE below:
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