Today we are going to chat about The Cricut Contour tool. The Contour Tool is a powerful feature of Cricut Design Space. This allows you to customise the appearance of your designs, by hiding or showing specific parts of an image or shape. It’s a cool feature I use every day when designing and creating my free SVG Files.
Plus you are able to use the Cricut Contour Tool on all Cricut Cutting Machines. The Cricut Joy, Cricut Maker and Cricut Explore models and versions.
What is Cricut Contour Tool?
The Cricut Contour tool is a feature within the Cricut Design Space software. This allows you to remove parts of an image or design by hiding or contouring specific cut lines. Thus meaning you can create incredible layered files easily like our layered floral wreath below. The great thing is it’s part of the free Cricut software, so there is no extra charge to use the contour tool.
How Do I Find The Contour Tool?
The contour tool can be found on desktop at the bottom of the layers panel. It’s a small perforated circle sign at the end of the bottom panel alongside the slice tool and weld tool. To use contour, click the circle and the hide contour window will pop up over you image.
How To Use The Cricut Contour Tool In Cricut Design Space
Today we are going to take you through a step by step tutorial on how to use the Contour tool in Cricut Design Space on the desktop. This will help you design, create and alter files to fit your own design brief and projects ideas.
Open Cricut Design Space and create a new project in the actions menu or open an existing projects and add the image, shape or outline that you want to contour to your canvas.
Select the image or shape by clicking on it, and then click on the Contour Icon in the bottom of the layers panel on the right panel of design space. Note you cannot contour layered images so ungroup any layers and work on them one single layer at a time.
The Contour panel will appear, and you’ll see a preview of your image or shape, you will now see the image cut lines of your file. The portion of the image layer that is lighter shade of grey is your cut image as it will cut with the individual cut lines. The darker grey areas are the contour areas you can click to create a hidden contour portion of an image layer and remove different parts of your image.
How To Hide Parts On An Image In Design Space
To hide parts of the image and remove any unwanted cut lines, click on the area you want to remove in the preview. You’ll see those areas turn light grey to indicate that they’re hidden. Repeated the process on as many areas as you want to hide. You can also click on the layers in the side bar, if you are removing smaller contours. Simply scroll right to the bottom as the contour tool orders contours by size. This is a great way to remove tiny contours on intricate designs.
To show hidden cut lines again, click on the Contour button and click on each area for it to appear. You are also able to remove all the contours in a file and create a solid image with no internal cut lines. This makes a great back file for scrapbooking or layered projects.
When you’re happy with your design, close the contour tool and continue creating.
Can You Use The Contour Tool On The Mobile App?
Yes the contour tool is easy to use on the app on iOS on your mobile device. Simply select your chosen image. Head to the top menu on the bottom of the app and scroll right to the end. Click colour and the contour panel with appear. You are now able to scroll in to see the layers and click on the contours.
How To Create Layered Files With The Contour Tool?
If you want to create files with multiple laters in a variety of colours? The contour tool is the perfect tool to do this. To create a contour on a layer, firstly duplicate the layer and click contour in the bottom right corner. You can now click on certain contours to remove off the second layer, whilst retaining the top layer. The second layer becomes your contoured layer.
Once you have removed any contours on layer 2 (do not contour layer 1), duplicate layer 2 layer, and remove any contours on the duplicated layer. You always remove contours on the duplicated layers so the contours progress, thus resulting in a gradual effect.
You can see in the image below how the contours built from top to bottom, this also ensures you can see all contours and create a multi layered, multi coloured contoured project.
Can You Use This Feature On Print Then Cut Images?
No you can’t use the Contour Tool on Print Then Cut Images. Although there is a workaround for this. If the print and cut image is a layered file that is flattened? Unflatten the image and change a single layer from print then cut to a cut image, remove the contours, then change the image back to print then cut.
The colour will change to black, simply re choose your colour and flatten the layers again. This sounds complicated but once you have done it once its easy.
Why Can’t I Contour An Image On Cricut?
Check the image isn’t a print and cut layer. If it is follow the steps above. Also check it isn’t a grouped set of images. If it is? Ungroup and work on the individual layers. Also check there are no breaks in the cut line, for example see the image below. You can’t remove the contour on an image if there is a break in the cut line.
Additional Tips For Using The Tool Effectively
- Use the zoom tool to get a closer look at your design and make sure you’re contouring the right parts.
- If you accidentally remove a part of your design that you didn’t mean to, you can undo your last action by clicking on the “Undo” button at the top left corner of the screen.
- If your design has multiple layers, you can use the Contour tool to hide or show specific layers by selecting them in the Layers panel and then using the Contour tool as described above.
- Be creative! The Contour tool can be used in a variety of ways to customize your designs and make them truly unique.