Cricut & Inkpad – Layered Pattern

by Lindsay in Cricut

Hey, it’s Lindsay. In my previous video I created this layered effect pattern. The technique used in that video is great for use as a graphic image. However, if like me, you want to create a layered design for use on a digital cutting machine, there are a few extra steps needed to prepare the design.

If you want to learn how to make this pattern, I’ll pop a link in the description. I’ll also link to a download for the pattern for anyone who has Inkpad and would like to follow along.

Before I get started, this video assumes you have an understanding of exporting vectors for use in Design Space. If that’s something you are not confident in, then you can check out my Export Inkpad SVG to Design Space video.

Right, on with the show.

The first thing I’m going to do is add an outer square to my design. There’s no reason for this other than I think it will look good. Because I’ve had the other paths in this layer selected, I know that the next path I create will have the same properties, which is very useful. I will check I have the top most layer of my design as my active layer. In the Layers menu, the current active layer will be highlighted, so I know this is the layer where my square will be drawn.

Creating a square is simple, with the Rectangle Tool selected and Snap to Grid active, I can drag out the shape. You can add a second finger to your screen once you’ve started dragging to help constrain your rectangle to a square. If you’ve gone a little astray, like I’ve gone and done, you can use the Selection Tool to drag the anchors to the correct grid points. I’m aligning my square to the grid where it will pass over the outer edges of my petal shapes so that when I cut it out everything will overlap neatly.

With that done I’m going to copy this square so that I can use it in my next layer. You can paste it in the layer below now, but I’m going to live dangerously and keep it in my clipboard until I’m done with this layer.

Now for the simple bit. All I need to do is select everything in this layer. I can do that with Select All in Layer from the Edit menu. As the name suggests this will select all paths in the currently active layer. I’ve already checked I’m working in the correct layer of my design, so these top most shapes will all be selected, even though all of my layers are unlocked.

With these paths all selected I can open the Path menu and tap Outline Stroke, and then Unite also from the Path menu. All my separate paths have now become one shape.

Now my top layer is all sorted, I can hide it for now, so it doesn’t get in the way when I work on the other layers.

Before I close the Layer menu, I’ll check my next layer down is highlighted as my current active layer and then paste in my square. This newly pasted square won’t match my layered effect, so I need to sort that out. With only my square selected I can use Outline Stroke from the Path menu. This has created a compound path – two or more paths that are linked. For my layered design I only want the inner of these two paths. Before I delete the outer path, and with the square still selected, I’m going to use my Dropper Tool. This will transfer the stroke properties of the layer to my square and remove the fill colour that was applied to the compound path. With that done I can select only the outer square and tap delete.

Selecting the remaining square I will copy it and keep it in my clipboard for use in the next layer. With all that done I can select everything in this layer, with Select All in Layer from the Edit menu. Then as with my previous layer I can use Outline Stroke, then Unite both from the Path menu.

Hiding this layer I’ll select my next layer down as my active layer and repeat the same process.

Once I have all my remaining layers done, there is one more step I need to do to ensure a clean alignment of the outer edge of my pattern layers. While creating my layered effect the outermost edge of each pattern layer has moved inwards. When I cut my design out I want it to have an aligned outer edge. This is simple to do.

Opening up the Layer menu, I’ll make all my layers visible again and tap my top most layer to make it active. This layer has been united into one compound path, so I can tap it to select the whole shape. It doesn’t matter that only one path appears to be selected, because when you copy a compound path the entire shape will be copied no matter which bit is selected. Of course you could use Select All in Layer from the Edit menu, if you prefer. With that copied, I’ll head to my Layers menu, hide this top layer and make the next layer down my active layer.

In my new layer I can paste my pattern copied from the above layer. I want to unite these two patterns together. However if I use Unite right now, you’ll see that I lose the colour I assigned to this layer and my newly united path has taken the colour from the above layer. This is because when you unite paths, no matter how many different colours are applied to each selected shape, the properties of the top most selected shape will be applied to the united shape. In this case the yellow from my pasted pattern rather than the one I assigned to this layer. I could use my swatches to fix this, but I’m going to undo my Unite. Then I can send this newly pasted layer to the back, select both patterns again and use Unite. Now my united pattern has kept the colour assigned to this layer.

Bringing the pattern down from the layer above ensures the outer, non-layered edge, of my shape has exactly the same edge as the above layer. This means when I cut my design the flat outer edge will appear nice and smooth. It won’t have much effect on this first layer, but as we move down our layers it will become more effective.

Now I can repeat this process moving down my layers. So, with this layer now united as one shape I can select my pattern and copy it. Heading down to the next layer in my Layers menu and hiding the layer above. This time when I paste the pattern and send it to the back you will see how much the outer edge is extended. Selecting both patterns I can unite them to make one pattern. I’ll quickly do that for the rest of my layers, always copying from the layer directly above to ensure there is plenty of overlap between the paths. Simply pasting the top layer into all other layers could create unwanted holes in the pattern and that will never do!

Having done all my layers I want a solid square for the base of my pattern. This is easy to create. In my Layers menu I can duplicate my bottom layer, and hide the newly created version. With the bottom layer as my active layer, I’ll select my entire shape with Select All in Layer from the Edit menu. I want to delete all the paths that make up my pattern and leave the outer square for my base layer. With my paths selected I’ll use Separate Paths from the Path menu. This will unlink all the paths that made up my pattern and fill them with colour. While I want my base layer to be a solid colour I don’t want all these extra paths. To remove them I can use Unite from the Path menu and I’m left with a nice background square that matches my other layers perfectly. Giving my square a new fill colour from my swatches menu, I can make my other layers visible, and there’s our layered pattern.

That’s me all finished in Inkpad, so I can export my design as an SVG and head over to Design Space to take a look.

With my pattern imported, I’ll check it is the right size and send it off to my Maker…

And ta-dah, here is my completed real-life pattern. You can see the even layered effect on the inside of each element, and on the outer edges I have a smooth edge. This is especially important if you cut thick card or Cricut Kraft board as the thickness highlights the flatness of the edge.

Thanks for sticking with me though this rather lengthy tutorial. I hope this inspires you to get layering with Inkpad and your Cricut. Let me know how you get on in the comments below or you can find us on Instagram.