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DIY Planner Tab Titles and Dashboards | Cricut Maker First use

Join me as I learn to use my brand new Cricut Maker machine to create DIY tabs and titles for my planner.   These are all projects you can make with your Cricut Maker right out of the box, all you will need is a little vinyl in the colors of your choice.

The last 18 months have been challenging (I think we can all agree) and have made me realize the absolute importance of self-care, something I've been pretty awful at in the past.  Well, being a bit of a planner girl and a little bit of an organization freak, I thought that a self-care planner to keep me on track would be the perfect thing to help.  It was as I was madly surfing the web trying to find the specific planner tabs I wanted online that I was contacted by Cricut about being a part of their Maker program - talk about kismet! 

So rather than needing to buy tabs titles or decorative stickers for my planner, instead I'm MAKING them.  So join me as I test out the basic functions of my new Cricut Maker Machine, look at the basic functions and create some cute DIY planner tab titles and stickers.  

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The Cricut Maker machine and materials have been generously gifted to me by Cricut (HUGE thanks for sending me this beauty to play with) but equally grateful that I'm able to create what I like with this AND provide my honest opinion, as that's always important to me!

I'm starting like all newbies out there probably will, I've unboxed my beautiful beasty (this one is the super gorgeous champagne/rose gold color) and now what?  For the first time in ages, I actually read the info pack and went to the suggested website http://learn.cricut.com to look at some instruction videos and the possibilities.  I wanted to read up about all the things this machine could do other than cutting - turns out it can draw, write, score and foil (but more on this in another post)! 

So what's in the box?

  • Cricut Maker Machine - mine is a pretty Champagne/Rose gold color
  • Premium Fine-Point Blade + Housing (this is what you use for vinyl, card, paper, etc)
  • Rotary Blade + Drive Housing (for fabric)
  • Fine Point Pen, Black
  • FabricGrip Mat, 12″ x 12″ (30.5 cm x 30.5 cm)
  • LightGrip Mat, 12″ x 12″ (30.5 cm x 30.5 cm)
  • Welcome pack with instructions (though most of the really good stuff is online!)
  • USB cable and Powerpack
  • Free trial membership to Cricut Access (30 days for new subscribers)
  • Two Pieces of card for a practice project


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Now you all know I usually just wing it and ignore the instructions, but I wanted to make sure I was really off and running before filming a video for you all.  So not only did I read the instructions, but I also tested that I can turn it on, pair it with my computers and iPad and then created the suggested test cut.  I know not like me at all :)

So let's get started on the 7 vinyl projects I've created to test out my Cricut Maker!

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I've filmed all the best bits for you, which does not include me fussing about learning how to use Design Space as I didn't want to bore you to death!  You can watch the planner pages come together in this video.

#1 Tiny Text for Tab Titles

I needed to see if the Maker could handle cutting really small fonts and produce clean-cut letters without issue - the Cricut Maker says YES! 

  • I chose the font DTC Honey Syrup from the Cricut font list, it looked super cute!
  • I typed the Planner Tab title words I wanted into the Design Space app and then measured my tab sizes to make sure the words would fit, after a tiny bit of fiddling to make sure each word had enough space (I made this work by using a few different text boxes so the words could be different sizes), I pressed Make It on my very first project.
  • I chose to use Glossy Permanent Black Vinyl for this and it turned out to be a perfect choice.

Alright, so I have to admit to being a tiny bit surprised by this even though I chose a chunky font to make my chance of success better!  The fine-cutting blade that comes with the Cricut Maker blitzed through this first test, cutting clean lines, fine details and nice crisp edges without breaking a sweat!  Even though my words were only 2cm long the Cricut Maker cut beautiful little Titles for my personal size planner tabs. 
You can also use the Planner Tab Labels I created.

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#2 Welding for Self Care Dashboard

Now that I'd proven that the Cricut Maker could handle tiny cuts I thought I'd try layering and welding images in the Cricut Design Space to create a custom image.  After watching a video from Liz Moore about how to use the Design Space app I felt confident enough to try using two image templates and combining these using the weld option in the app to create a simple new image for my Self Care Dashboard.

  • I picked 2 images that I thought would work well together: Positive Mind (#M18BD0689)  and Tree Yoga Pose Silhouette (#M8903497)
  • I decreased the size of the Positive mind text so that it will fit onto my Personal planner page (around 7cm) and then I placed the Yoga Pose image over where the letter 'I' was.
  • To make sure this cut as a single image I then selected both the text and the image and clicked Weld from the menu - this joins the images together.
  • Time to print, I chose to use Black permanent vinyl

I've called the design Positive Mind and you can use this yourself.

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#3 Offset for cool outlines

Time to get a little fancier!  Yes after just two projects I'm feeling more confident and can't wait to test out one of the newer features of the Design Space called 'Offset' which allows you to create outlines without fussing about with millions of multiple images - one click and you have an outline!  

  1. I've chosen to use the Piggie Bank (#M97F2CC5) image from the library.  After adding it to the Design Space I've reduced the size so it will fit onto my Personal planner page.
  2. Select the image and click Offset on the top menu, use the slider to choose how much of an outline you'd like.  If like me you are using an 'empty' image you will then need to select your Offset layer and click Contour  - here you can choose which bit of the offset layer to cut (more about this in the video).
  3. Time to print, this is the first time I'll be printing 2 separate layers in different colors, I'll be printing the outline in Gold Shimmer Vinyl and the Piggy in black.  This would have been much easier if I had reversed those colors as things don't stick easily to the surface of the shimmer vinyl!

I've called my design Piggy Bank and you can use this yourself.

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#4 Slicing

I simply couldn't wait to try this any longer (once I figured out what it was called) this cool effect is called Slicing and I'll be using it a whole lot!

  1. For my first Slicing project, I've used a simple Heart (#M369884), Heartbeat (#M9AD59AF ) and the font DTC Honey Syrup to create the word Health
  2. I've made sure both picture elements were the correct size for my planner page, then I've welded the images together.
  3. Add the word 'Health' over the top of the images and adjust the size as needed.
  4. Select both the word and the welded image and choose Slice from the menu - you can ONLY select 2 items at a time with the Slicing option.
  5. Move the heart, which will now have the word cut out of the middle and delete the remaining unnecessary layers (the cookie cut out of the word and any extra bits created by the process).  
  6. You are left with a heart with the word cut out - super cool.  

I've called the design Health Page Title.

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Now I know this first slice image I'm made is super simple - but just imagine the possibilities with this idea - in fact, I was so excited about this I made a second-page combining slicing and welding to create my very own fancy letters (just the first and last letters of a word) for a unique look without fussing about with extra apps or fonts.

  1. I started by using the Cricut Sans (font), and the DTC Honey Syrup (Font) to create my simple quote.  I made it look more interesting by varying the fonts and the sizes of each word used.
  2. Then to create the fancy front and end letters on the word Wander, I selected images from the Design Space library - a  simple Square (#M369896) and a Flourish (#M87819F9). 
  3. I used Slice to cut the flourish into pieces (more in the video) which I then resized and welded to the first and last letter of a word to make it look just a little bit fancy.  Super quick and really pretty!

I created my collage using ready-made images from the Cricut Design Space image store, I've called the design Quote - Not all those who wander are lost.

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#5 Multi-Colored Layers

Now multiple colors may seem like a basic thing but I was super excited by all the different ideas that just this one thing can bring to life and it turned out to be so simple.

  1. Choose one image that already has multiple colors from the Design Space Library, or make your own image collage by choosing multiple images.  I picked Mug (#M4236E) and Hearts (#M8499201) for this project.
  2. Add the images to your workspace and edit them as you wish, I removed the swirl from the cup image using slice and then I created multiple copies of the heart image using duplicate.
  3. Position the images and then edit the colors using Color Sync or use the Color Selection box from the menu to change the color of images.  Each separate color will create an individual color mat and will be cut separately.
  4. Now I still wasn't 100% done, so after cutting my images I used Masking fluid to create a barrier in a coffee steam shape above my cup and then I added alcohol inks to create a pretty swirly cloud.  Once dry I added my little cut-out vinyl hearts, in Holographic Vinyl.

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I created this collage using ready-made images from the Cricut Design Space image store, I've called the design Coffee Love and you can use this yourself.

#6 Multi-Image Slicing

This was my final and most intricate image, I wasn't sure it was going to work with such tiny cuts on such a small scale but the Cricut performed beautifully!

  1. I selected the images Bear (M7959298), Pine Tree (#M46ABA) and Moon (#ME707BB7) and added them all to my workspace.
  2. Next, it's time to duplicate the Pine tree a few times and resize all the elements.
  3. Now for the tricky part, Slice can only deal with 2 images at a time so you will need to create multiple slices to remove pine tree shapes pieces from the bear, repeat until you have as many trees cut from the bear as you need (make sure to delete all the little cut-outs to keep your design neat).
  4. Finally, position the moon and use Slice to make that last cut out.
  5. Now of course you can just use the design I created - Moon Forest Bear, and I hope you love this as much as I do.
  6. I chose to print this in Black permanent vinyl so that any paper behind wouldn't detract from the beautiful image.

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Now that I've seen what you can do with just the basic tools available with the Cricut Maker, I think my next project might need to make use of some of those fancier options, something with a custom image upload or custom font perhaps... the possibilities are mind-blowing! 

Oh and after using my Maker for this project, I've gone and bought myself a foiling kit for the little beasty - because you know I love sparkly things and this looks super cool!

I hope you've enjoyed having a quick look at my very first Cricut projects and that this may help a few other new Cricut users out there to just go for it!
If there is anything you would like to see in more detail please let me know.

While this may have been my first Cricut Maker project it certainly won't be my last.

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