Thursday, October 20, 2011

Welded titles and shadows

There are two ways to type text using CCR. You can drag each letter from the keypad to the mat, or the better way is to use a Text Box. And that's what I'll be showing you today. We'll be creating a welded title and a matching welded shadow.

I have opened CCR and created two mat layers. To do that you'll need to have Mat Layers enabled.
  • Click on the the Options menu then the CraftRoom tab and make sure Mat Layers Enabled is ticked. This will add a new menu called Mat Layers.

I also have Fill Mode Enabled selected to make the two layers easier to see. Fill Mode makes each layer of your project a different colour. Note - this is just a preview colour - it won't print.
  • To use Fill Mode, Click on the Project tab and select any Cricut except for the Imagine as your Default Machine. (The fill won't show up if you have the Imagine selected.)
I'm using the Cricut Expression 2 so I've selected that as my Default Machine.

Because we won't be needing the keypad we can close the Drawer giving us a full view of the mat.
  • Click the arrow to the left of the keypad

To create your second mat layer:
  • Click on the Mat Layers menu
  • Click "Add New Layer" from the bottom of that menu.

You'll now have two layers in your design. The active layer will be highlighted in grey.

To make it easier to know which layer you're working on you can rename them.
  • Click on the pencil icon beside New Layer.

  • Left click to the right of the current name then back space to delete it

  • Type in a new name and press Enter.
  • Repeat for the second layer.

  • To change the Fill colour of the layers click on the coloured circle next to the pencil.

  • Select a new colour then press the Apply button.

  • Repeat for the other layer.
Now we'll create our top layer.
  • From the Mat Layers menu click on the Top Layer to make that mat active.
  • Click the Fonts menu
  • Click the Add New Text Box button

  • Select your cart from the Font Cartridge drop down list. I'm using Mickey Font. (Make sure the font you select has a matching Shadow feature.)

  • Make sure you have the base version of the font selected in the Creative Feature drop down box. In this case it's called Standard. (In some cases the Creative Feature names differ from those on the cartridge.)

  • Select the size of your font by clicking on the green arrows or typing the new size in the box. (You can change the font size later if necessary). I selected a Font Size of 2.

  • Click inside the Text Field box and type your word

As you type the word it will appear on your mat.

You can move the position of the word on your mat by clicking on the grey section of the text box and dragging it to its new position. You can do this before, during or after you have typed your word.

  • Press the Done button to close the text box.

If you need to make changes to your text make sure the word is selected and press the Edit Text button.

Next we need to move the letters so they overlap.
  • Make sure your word is still selected then press the green Letter Spacing down arrow. (Make sure you have Character Space selected - not Block.

  • Continue clicking the down arrow until your letters have overlapped. (When your letters overlap you will notice that the black border around them disappears.)

Welding occurs as soon as your letters overlap. 

Next we need to create the welded shadow.
  • Select the Mat Layers menu and click on the Shadow layer. It will be highlighted grey. (Note that you'll still be able to see the text from the Top Layer)

  • Click on the Fonts menu then the Add New Text Box button
  • From the drop down Creative Feature box, select the Shadow option

  • Make sure the Font Size is the same as the size you used in the Top Layer

  • Click in the Text Field box and type your word again. As you're on the Shadow layer it should show up in a different colour.

  • Click the Done button or click on a blank area of the mat. 
  • Click somewhere on the orange Shadow and move the whole word so that the first letter sits neatly behind the first letter of the Top Layer

Now you're ready to weld the shadows letters together. However, in this case if you change the Letter Spacing setting, for some reason the top layer and shadow layer won't match up. Go ahead and try and you'll notice that the shadow doesn't quite fit the top layer. 

In this case the difference isn't huge, but with some fonts it's quite noticeable. You'll see how the shadow of the I and the G don't match up well and need to drop down slightly.

We need to create the welded shadow in a different way. 
  • If you made any changes to your shadow, click the Undo button until you have it back to its original version. (Or delete it and recreate it.)
  • While the shadow is selected (check Mat Layers to ensure you're on the correct layer) click the Ungroup button on the Toolbar.

Now each of the shadow letters is an individual object and can be moved anywhere.
  • Click anywhere on the mat to deselect the word.
  • Click on the orange P and using the horizontal move handle move the letter to the left until it fits neatly under the yellow P. If necessary use the vertical move handle to move it down. 

You'll notice that the Weld/Don't Weld box has appeared. That's because the S & the P are now individual objects. As soon as they overlap the Weld box will appear. You don't need to change this option so just leave it as it is.
  • Next click somewhere on the orange R and move it over to the left using the horizontal move handle.

  • Repeat for the remaining letters. 

When you get to the I and the G you'll probably find that you'll need to drop them down slightly to get the to align correctly.

Now that you have the shadows letters all aligned you can go back and group them.
  • Click on the yellow layer and move the word down to sit somewhere below the orange layer.

  • Make sure you still have the Shadow layer selected.

  • Drag a selection box around the orange layers so they're all selected.

  • Click the Group icon from the Toolbar.

Your shadow word is now one object again and you can click anywhere on it to move it around the mat.

If your orange word turns yellow after you group it, it means that you had the Top Layer selected instead of the Shadow Layer. Which isn't a problem if you want both titles on one layer ready for laying your paper and cutting. If you want to keep the titles on their own layer you can cut and paste the shadow back to its own layer.


You aren't limited to whole numbers in the Letter Spacing box. You can type any number (eg. 5.3) to get your spacing just right.

It's not necessary to use Fill Mode. I think it just makes it easier to see your outlines. 

It's also not necessary to use two layers (mats). You can leave Fill Mode off and create both your layers on one mat.

Have fun creating your welded shadowed titles!


Diane Hodrick

Thanks, Narelle. I have been playing more in CCR and want to get up to speed. Thanks for taking the time to do this!


Thank you so much...this was very informative! I am anxious to begin working on CCR, not certain when it will be available to use...but I am looking forward to it!

Luv 2 Create

Great tutorial on welding. Lot's of information that I can't wait to try.


Thanks for information and your very nice tutorial! I am so glad you are doing more, CCR is great and you make it more fun for all of us with these resources!

Tammy E.

I love shadows, so this really appeals to me. Thanks for taking the time to make this tutorial!


Thanks so much for this post! This is exactly what I was trying to do yesterday (unsuccessfully!). You answered every question I had. I do believe I'm going to love CCR! I'll look forward to learning more about it.


So, what am I doing wrong? I make the top layer first, the shadow on a second layer. But when I place them together, the second layer covers the first, so it doesn't work as a standard and shadow; seems to be the opposite. Anyone have any suggestions?


I think maybe you just need to swap your layers. Click the Mat Layers tab and you'll see your two layers. Drag the first layer name so it's under the 2nd layer name. That will swap the order of your layers. Let me know if that doesn't help or I'm not clear enough. :)


WOW - what a TON of info! I saw your name in a comment box thanking the blog writer for the "shout out" to this blog, so decided to come take a look. I'm glad I did. Haven't been to the Craft Room much, but will go there with more confidence now knowing that there is a great source of info here in your blog. Thanks.


Thank you for this information! I am just beginning to use this program and your blog will help me so much.


Perfect timing for finding this tutorial - thanks!! Works great!


Um, how do I get a bigger shadow around the letters? If I just grow the welded shadow layer, it no longer matches. There must be a way...


I'm afraid there's only one size shadow. Having the ability to resize the shadow and have multiple shadows is something I'd really love to see added to CCR.


That stinks. It's really not much of a shadow at all, huh?? Well, I will mess with it and just make it work! Thanks!


Thank you Narelle, have only had my cricut for a day and was looking at craft room and you have already answered two questions for me


I was wondering why my CCR doesn't have the options tab where I can click on the fill button. I also don't have a Cricut Room that I can click on after clicking on the option tab. Do I have the wrong version or something? By the love love your blog!

Thank you, Mel


The latest build (167) has a totally new look. That's probably the version you are running.

The fill option is now always on unless you have the Imagine set as your default machine. (Machine & Mat menu).

You now change the colour of the fill by clicking on the coloured dot on each of the tabs across the top of the CCR mat. (There will only be one tab if you haven't added any extra layers.)

I need to update quite a few of the posts on the blog now that there is a new look. Oh for 10 more hours in each day! :)

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