- Cricut machines are great pieces of hardware that allow you to cut magnificent patterns into pretty much any material.
- However, designing the patterns will require you to use a good graphics design tool, and those aren't to easy to come by.
- One great example is Adobe Illustrator, along with other great software that we will be discussing in the guide below.
- For more great articles, check out our Graphic and Design page.
If you’re a craft enthusiast and you love your Cricut die-cutting system, that you must know by now that the primary complaint of such digital die-cutting units is that they are much too restrictive.
They only allow you to cut a limited number of fonts that you have to get separation and they don’t come cheap.
Fortunately, this issue also has a workaround that was created by a few do-it-yourselves who managed to open or hack Cricut to enable them to cut TrueType fonts, designs created by users , and more.
We gathered a few of the best third-party software to use with Cricut, so make sure to check out these tools’ sets of features.
By the way, if you haven’t bought your own Cricut machine, go to Amazon and check out the offer.
No type of graphics design can be discussed without talking about one of the best tools in the trade. Adobe Illustrator is a vector-based image editor that allows you to create anything that has shape or color.
In the case of Cricut designs, this means being able to create complex and beautiful patterns, and that is something that Adobe Illustrator can do without much effort.
The expanded toolset allows you to create models that are both precise and intricate, and the file formats are perfectly compatible with Cricut hardware.
More so, once you are done designing your Cricut patterns, you should know that the software tool can be used for pretty much anything else, as it is not a program with a singular purpose.
Here are some of the perks of using Adobe Illustrator:
- Great for creating intricate and precise patterns
- File formats supported by a wide range of hardware and software
- Its popularity makes it so that tutorials and guides are not hard to find
- The toolset can be further expanded using plug-ins
- Can be tested for free for 7 days
ProvoCraft’s Cricut DesignStudio allows users to connect their Cricut to a computer in order to be able to do much more with Cricut shapes and fonts as well.
If you didn’t know, Provo Craft is the same manufacturer of Cricut die cutting systems. This Cricut software allows you to adjust shapes and fonts with the help of various tools.
Take a look at the best features that are packed into this software below:
- You will get the chance to flip, rotate, slant and weld effortlessly.
- While using this software, you are still limited to the fonts and shapes from the cartridges that you own, but considering the great features that are packed in this program, this is not an issue.
- You will be able to preview and create designs with various images from the Cricut library.
- In order to do the cutting, you will have to purchase a cartridge.
- This design software features a high level of customization to the Cricut library, and the added features are really useful.
Cricut DesignStudio is a great solution to use with your Cricut, and you will be able to get the most out of its handy features. Check out more about this software and get it from the official website.
Make The Cut is another useful third-party Cricut design software that offers you several straightforward yet powerful design features.
For instance, Make The Cut is able to convert raster images to vectors for cutting, and it also packs quick lattice tools. This software has been on the market for quite a long time.
Check out the best features that are included in this tool:
- Make The Cut is able to work with many file formats, and it can also use TrueType fonts.
- This software packs advanced editing tools, and the user interface is effortless to learn and use even for not quite advanced users.
- Make The Cut also works with Craft ROBO, Gazelle, Roland, Silhouette, and Wishblade as well if you are interested.
- The program’s pixel trace tool allows you to take raster graphics and transform them into vector paths for cutting.
- Other features include the fact that you can import any GSD, WPC, AI9, PS, EPS, SVG, TTF, OTF, PDF or SCUT files and you can export shapes in PDF, SVG, EPS, AI, JPG and PNG formats.
Make The Cut is a flexible and user-friendly Cricut related software that will definitely add increased utility to the digital die cutting machine that is otherwise a bit limited.
You can check out more features packed in this software on the official website.
This third-party software with a funny name allows you to take complete control of your designs without the limitations of cartridges featured in Cricut DesignStudio.
You will have to install a firmware update to your Cricut die cutting machine, but the good part is that you can do this for free by downloading the trial version of DesignStudio.
This is not a hard thing to perform, and it’s great that it’s available on Windows.
Anyway, check out the main features that you will be able to enjoy while using Sure Cuts A Lot software:
- This third party software is specifically designed to open up the Cricut’s cutting features and potential.
- The program is great because it also works with Craft ROBO, Silhouette and Wishblade die cutting machines.
- This tool is the only Cricut design tool on the market that includes freestyle drawing tools.
- Sure Cuts A Lot allows users to use True Type and OpenType fonts.
- The software also lets users create their very own designs with really simple drawing and editing tools.
- You will be able to use advanced features such as grouping, layers, and the weld tool as well in order to be able to make the most out of your design.
- There is also an auto trace feature that can make vector images from raster graphics.
- You can import various file formats such as SVG, PDF, EPS, AI, WPC (PRO Version can also import PLT, DXF).
- You will also get the opportunity to edit the individual nodes that make up the path.
- You can select styles including Shadow & Blackout in order to change the looks of your letters and shapes effortlessly with only a few clicks of the mouse.
- The software comes with more than 200 built-in shapes and lots of more exciting features.
You can check the complete set of features of Sure Cuts A Lot on the official website where you can also download this handy software.
Remember that this software is not meant to give you fonts and it lets you use the fonts that you have on your computer.
You will definitely be able to add more fonts to your system because as you know, there are thousands of fonts out there. You won’t have to buy any special cartridges to get more fonts on your computer.
This is a professional open-source graphics editor for Windows and more operating systems. The best thing is that the software is entirely free of charge.
Of course, the program can be used with Cricut to create and edit vector graphics such as diagrams, illustrations, charts, logos, line arts, elaborate paintings and more.
Check out even more cool features that are included in this software below:
- Inkscape has the ability to render primitive vector shapes and text as well.
- The objects can be filled with patterns, solid colors, linear and radial color gradients and more; their borders can be stroked with adjustable transparency.
- The program is great because it also supports embedding and optional tracing of raster graphics.
- You will be able to create vector graphics from pictures and more raster sources.
- The shapes that you have created can be easily manipulated with various transformations that include rotating, moving, skewing, and scaling.
There are a lot more features that are packed in this useful software, and the best thing is to head over to Inkscape’s official website and check them out for yourself.
To make the most out of your Cricut die-cutting unit, we strongly recommend that you consider these fantastic design software apps that are compatible with Windows systems.
No matter which one you decide to use, you will be able to take control of your creativity, and you’ll finally manage to use the Cricut die-cutting system the way that you always wanted to.
If you have any other questions, drop them in the comments section below.
FAQ: Learn more about Cricut
- What does a Cricut machine do?
In simple terms, a Cricut machine is a cutting tool that allows you to create intricate and precise patterns in a wide variety of materials. If you encounter issues with it, check out this article on how to fix a Cricut machine that doesn’t cut.
- What is the best Cricut machine to buy?
The best Cricut machines to buy are the Cricut Maker, Cricut Explore Air 2, and the Cricut Explore Air One. For more offers, check out this list of Cricut bundles.
- Do you need a PC to use a Cricut?
Yes, besides the actual Cricut machine, you will also need to have a PC connected in order to set out the commands.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2019 and has been since revamped and updated in April 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.