Export Inkpad SVG to Cricut Design Space

by Lindsay in Cricut

Hello, Lindsay here to talk about the process of preparing an Inkpad drawing for use with a digital cutting machine. We’ve all been there, or rather I have, back when I got my new Cricut and was so excited I exported my first design from Inkpad with no thought of what Design Space would make of it. Needless to say it was not a pretty sight.

Rather than dwell on that little misadventure lets get on with preparing this pattern for export as an SVG for use as a cut file with my Cricut.

At the moment my pattern is made up of lots of separate open and closed paths, with a stroke colour applied to them. While this looks all very nice to me, it would not be suitable for cutting. This is because digital cutting machines, like my Cricut Maker, use the path, this thin line, to cut along, rather than what we see as a block of colour. So there is actually only one line to be cut, and each segment is separate.

If I export this design as an SVG and import it into Design Space you’ll see what I mean. The first thing you’ll notice is that my stroke colour, which gave my pattern width has gone. This is because while Design Space recognises fill colour, as you can see here in these four circles, it does not see stoke properties, so my design has been reduced to its base paths. This would be fine if I wanted to draw the design, but I want to cut it. Fortunately this is super easy to sort out.

Back over in Inkpad I’m going to open up my Settings menu, and select the Drawing tab. From here I’ll turn on Outline Mode. This very helpful view will hide all Stroke, Fill and Shadows applied to my design, and show only the paths. This is very useful for understanding exactly what your cutting machine will see.

As we saw in Design Space, my current design only has single paths and they are all separate, but I’m about to change all that. Staying in Outline Mode I’m going to select my design using Select All from the Edit menu. With all my paths selected I can open the Path menu and use Outline Stroke.

You will see all my paths jump from being single line, open paths, to double line closed paths. This is because all my paths have now moved to the outside of the stroke applied to each of them. If I undo that and pop out of Outline Mode for moment, then redo Outline Stroke, you can see the paths jump to the edge of my stroke colour and my stroke colour has now become a fill colour. Pretty cool eh?

Okay, so back in Outline Mode, we can see the cut file taking shape, but there’d still be lots of little bits where the paths intersect each other. This is where Unite comes in. With all my paths still selected, using Unite from the Path menu will meld all my separate paths wherever they overlap, creating one, nice, tidy shape. I’ll turn off Outline Mode and you can see the final result.

That is much better. Just to be fancy I have a second layer to my design, hidden away in the Layers menu. Making it visible and selecting it as my active layer I can use Select All in Layer from the Edit menu. Then using Outline Stroke and Unite from the Path menu to tidy it up for cutting, I can export my file as an SVG, and head over to Design Space.

With my pattern all loaded in, all that’s left to do is select a size and head to Make It to cut it out.

Here by the magic of video is my finished pattern, just as I designed it in Inkpad.

Lindsay’s Handy Hints

Before you go rushing off, I’ve got a couple of tips to share to make the whole process go a lot smoother.

Duplicate your design

Trust me on this one. The simple act of using outline Stroke will make your design nigh-on impossible to edit. So it never hurts to Duplicate your layers, and hide them away. Hidden layers won’t be exported in your SVG export so they’ll stay nice and safe in Inkpad, but won’t be imported to Design Space.

Alternatively my favourite is to simply duplicate the whole drawing, you’ll notice a number appear on the end of the drawing name. Then I know I can’t accidentally delete something, hidden or not. You can always delete the copy later on, but until your design is finalised and cut out, it never hurts to keep the original, editable, paths safe.

Ungroup paths

If like me you Group paths in the creation of your designs, then this one is for you. Any paths that are in a Group will hinder your whole Outline Stroke process. If your whole design is grouped, like this, Outline Stroke won’t even be usable. But if just a couple of paths are grouped you might not notice until things start to go a bit askew.

So, my handy hint is when you have all your paths selected, stop off at the Arrange menu just to check Ungroup isn’t highlighted. If it is highlighted it means a group is present in you selection. Once Ungroup is greyed out you’ll know its safe to use Outline Stroke and everything will work perfectly.

Thank you for sticking with me. I hope this answers all your questions about exporting Inkpad drawings as SVG for use with digital cutting machines, if not please get in touch.