In this tutorial, we’ll step through the process of creating a greeting card with cut out shapes. We’ll use Adobe Illustrator to create the card design and save it as an SVG file that can be imported into Cricut Design Space for cutting on a Cricut machine. The SVG file format is a great one to learn how to do. It’s easily imported into Design Space where it can be resized without any loss of detail.
- Folded size: 5 by 7 inches
- Unfolded size: 10 by 7 inches
- A piece of 8.5 by 11 inch card stock (or larger)
- A small piece of card stock, origami paper, or scrapbook paper in a contrasting color
- A cutting machine such as Cricut
1. To get started, launch Adobe illustrator and select File–>New from the top menu.
2. Set your file dimensions to 11 inches wide by 8.5 inches high and click Create.
Setting up the Interface
For this project, you’ll use the Layers, Align, and Pathfinder panels. Here’s how to access these if you don’t have them open already.
1. To access the Layers, Align, and Pathfinder panels click Top Menu –> Window. The drop-down provides a list of available panels listed alphabetically. Scroll down to find the ones you need.
Note: Panels that are open have a check mark by them.
2. In the Layers panel, rename the existing layer “Card.” Double-click on the layer to rename it.
3. Click the paper icon on the bottom of the panel to create a new layer. Name this layer “Tree and Star.”
4. Create a third layer. Name it “Decorations.”
5. Create a fourth layer. Name it “Score Line.”
Creating the Card
1. Click the “Card” layer to select it.
2. On the Tools panel, select the Rectangle tool.
3. Tap your cursor on the page to access the Rectangle panel.
4. Enter 10 inches for the Width and 7 inches for the Height. Then click OK.
5. This is the card outline. Choose the Selection tool (black arrow) from the tools panel and roughly position the card in the center of the Art Board (or, you can use the arrow keys on your keyboard to nudge it into place).
6. Select the Score Line layer. From the Tools panel, select the Line Segment tool.
7. Hold down your Shift key as you draw a vertical score line bisecting the card at the center. (Make sure the line extends slightly past the top and the bottom of the card.)
8. With the score line still selected, hold down the Shift key and select the card outline to select them both.
9. On the Align panel, click the Horizontal Align Center icon.
10. With the card and the line still selected, use the arrow keys on your keyboard to position the graphics in the center of the page.
Create the Tree, Star, and Trunk
1. Lock all of your layers except the “Tree and Star” layer. (Click the boxes to the right of the Eye icons. Lock icons denote locked layers.)
2. Click the “Tree and Star” layer to select it.
3. Next we’ll create a simple tree using a triangle. In the Tools panel, select the shape tool drop-down and choose Polygon Tool.
4. Tap the tool on the right area of your card (card front).
5. In the Polygon panel, type “3” in the Sides field then click OK.
Note: The radius doesn’t matter in this case.
6. With the triangle still selected, reshape the triangle until it looks more like a Christmas tree.
7. With the triangle still selected, hold down the Shift key as you resize it larger to better fit the card. Resize it from a corner node.
Now your card should now look something like this.
8. To make the star for the top of the tree, select the star tool from the Tools panel.
9. Tap above your triangular tree.
10. In the Star panel, set it to “5 points” then click OK.
11. Hold down the Shift key and pull from the corner of the star to resize it. Click the outline of the and position it above your tree.
12. To make the trunk of the tree, use the Rectangle Tool. Use the Selection tool to resize and position it under your tree.
The front of your card should now look like the image on the right.
Cut the Tree, Star, and Trunk Out of the Card
Next you’ll cut the tree shapes out of the card.
1. Before you cut the tree out, make sure the tree, star, and trunk are perfectly aligned. Click the Selection tool (black arrow), hold down the Shift key and select the tree, star and trunk.
2. In the Align panel, select the Horizontal Align Center option.
3. Unlock your Card layer by clicking on its Lock icon.
4. Use the Selection tool, hold down the shift key, and select the star, tree, trunk AND the card outline (on the bottom layer).
5. In the Pathfinder panel, click the Minus Front icon.
6. With the card still selected, use the squares at the bottom of the Tool pane to give it a color. Double-click the Fill square (the one without the line through it) and choose a color from the Color Picker panel.
CONGRATULATIONS! If your card looks something like the one on the right, you’ve created a die cut Christmas tree card. You can stop here or better yet, add the decorations to the tree.
Add Decorations to your Christmas Tree
What’s a Christmas Tree without decorations? Follow the instructions below to add simple decorations of your own to your tree.
1. In the Layers panel, lock all layers except the Decorations layer. Then, select the Decorations layer.
2. Select the Pencil tool.
3. To provide a color for your pencil, double-click the Stroke swatch at the bottom of the tools panel, and choose a color from the Color Picker.
Click the Fill swatch to bring it to the front and set it to no fill.
4. Access the Stroke panel (Top Menu –> Window –> Stroke). Set the Stroke options (Weight, Cap, and Corner) as shown on the right.
5. Use the pencil tool to draw horizontal designs on your tree making sure they go beyond the boundaries of the tree but stay within the card area.
After each line, use the Select tool to tap the canvas and deselect the pencil. Then click the pencil tool again to create another line. See the example at the right.
Note: if you don’t like one of your lines, select it, click the delete key on your keyboard and try again.
6. Click the Selection tool, hold down the Shift key, and select all of your decorations.
7. From the Top Menu, select Object–>Path–>Outline Stroke. This converts your lines to shapes.
8. With your decorations still selected, unlock the layer your card is on. Hold down the Shift key and click your card.
9. On the Pathfinder panel, click the Unite icon.
Your design is complete!
10. Lock and hide all of the layers except the Decorations layer which should now hold your card.
To save your card for cutting on your Cricut machine, select Top Menu–>File–>Export–>Export As. On the Save As panel, give your card a name. Use the Format field drop-down menu to choose .svg as the file format. Click Export to save.
Your card is ready to cut! Simply upload your SVG file to Cricut Design Space just as you would any image. Start a new project and insert the file.