9.07.2016

3 Free Programs to use with your Cricut Explore

If there is one thing I love in the world it is fighting for the under dog.  When it comes to the planner community, the Cricut Explore is definitely the under dog for sticker making.  I've got a ton of tutorials on my YouTube channel going over quite a few of the ways you can use your Cricut Explore to make planner accessories but I wanted to do a little round up post of 3 free programs that can supplement Cricut Design space since it can be a little finicky at times.
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Inkscape
Inkscape is a free illustration software that you can download from Inkscape.org.  I love this program because you can create SVG files to use with in Cricut Design space.  I created the SVG files for the Happy Planner Bookmark DIY here on the blog.  The program seems complicated, and if you aren't familiar with an illustration program you might be overwhelmed.  However, there are a ton of tutorials on YouTube - and if you find something that is done in Adobe Illustrator you can totally find a tutorial for it in Inkscape.

I love this program not only for the SVG creation but the fact that you can export a PNG file to be used in Cricut Design space.  For the Sushi Magnetic Bookmark DIY & all the free Cricut Ready Stickers on the blog I used that feature of Inkscape.  You also may have seen my talk about a site called FreePik where you can download free clip art (be sure to read and understand the terms of use first!).  Most of the files on FreePik are vector or Adobe Illustrator files.  Inkscape can open most of these files allowing you access to a world of free, fun clip art.  This is the number one program I recommend to use with your Cricut Explore because it is so versatile!

Pixlr Editor
You may be familiar with the pixlr or pixlr-o-matic app (I've talked about it ages ago here, here, here, & here) but this is a mini photo editing boss - the Pixlr Editor - that runs from your browser.  It reminds me of Photoshop Elements, only this is a very light version.  Anyway...if you watched this video on cutting free PDF printables using the Cricut Explore you'll have seen this before.  You can use any black out files that come with you PDF printables to easily isolate the elements on the page for upload to Cricut Design Space.

You can also use this editor to open PNG or JPG files - so if you have an image you'd like to work with before uploading it to Cricut Design Space, this is a good program to use.  It does a little bit more than your basic guy (like PicMonkey).  Not to mention it supports a transparent background so you can create something that your Cricut Explore can cut!

PicMonkey
Speaking of PicMonkey - PicMonkey is also a really fun tool to use with your Cricut explore.  This online program also supports a transparent background so you can create some fun stickers from their overlays.  Additionally, if you don't want to download fonts to your computer you can play around with some fun ones they have and upload the PNG to Design Space to cut.  One of my favorite things to do is to make a faux pattern using some overlays (or even fonts) to get really cool backgrounds.  You can learn how to do that in this post.  It is also really simple to create glitter text with PicMonkey which you could use to create a dashboard for you planner!

The best part is that all of these programs are free!  You don't have to spend a crazy amount of money on anything to create wonderful stuff.  There are plenty of free programs to use to bring your ideas to life - buying the most expensive softwares don't make your creative.  Your creativity makes you creative and you can express that creativity with the resources afforded to you for free!

I hope this post was helpful.  I love rooting for the under dog and sharing frugal ways to be creative!  If you'd like to find more Cricut DIY posts or other general Cricut posts, please click here.  If you'd like to find all my PicMonkey DIY posts, please click here

What are your favorite programs to use with your crafting?  Any other suggestions?

xoxo, Moe

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