Creating bridges in Design Space can be done two ways. The way I prefer to create them is by inserting squares or ovals and slicing away part of the letter, number, or image while in the workspace. Slicing away areas doesn’t sound like you are bridging anything, does it? Taking areas away with the slice tool will leave open areas in the letters, but will become bridged areas when you attach it to the stencil frame. You aren’t actually bridging until you put letters, words, and images in the stencil frame. Anywhere you want to bridge(attach), you have to slice away before adding to the stencil frame. You have to think backward while working on letters, words and images. It’s a little hard to put into words, but will make more sense once you create a few stencils with bridges.
You can also use the eraser tool to create a bridge if you are uploading an image. The eraser tool is not available in the workspace. It is mainly used for cleaning up the background and areas you don’t want in an uploaded image. You can see the eraser tool when you upload an image in the upper left side of the screen. Using the eraser tool to create bridges does not always leave clean lines and is not the way I prefer to create bridges.
Look at the alphabet in the pic above. Some letters in the alphabet have “counters” in the center of them that fall out when cut unless they are bridged. The “counters” are totally enclosed by the letter around them. Look at the letters with the green circles around them. See the white areas in the middle of the letters? They are surrounded by the border of the letter. These are the “counters”. These white areas inside the border of the letter, or “counters”, will fall out if you don’t bridge(attach) them to the border of the letter.
If you were to take a piece of paper and pair of scissors and cut out the letters, the “counters” would come out with the rest of the letter. It would leave the outline of the letter, the letter itself, and the ‘counters” as separate pieces. We only want the outline of the letter and the counters left in the stencil. You can see the outline of the letter would be the only thing left in the stencil, so we need to bridge(attach) those “counters” to keep them from falling out. I’m so glad we don’t have to cut with scissors! I love my cutting machines!
Lower Case Letters
So let’s make some bridges in lowercase letters! First, you will need to choose a font that you like. Type the entire upper and lowercase alphabet and numbers as I have shown in the photo above. You can just type the ones that need bridged, but don’t forget any. Some fonts may have counters in other letters than the font shown above, so look over all of the letters and numbers closely. Some fonts, especially cursive fonts, can have more counters in the top, middle, and bottom of the letters.
In the first pic in this blog post, I typed the whole alphabet, upper and lower case, and the numbers. I saved the file. I named it Alphabet, but I should have named it the font name, which is Cricut Sans. I chose a simple font to explain bridges to you. (In other posts, I will show examples from a cursive font.) I went back and renamed the file Cricut Sans after I took the pics and tagged it “alphabet” to make searching easier.
After you choose a font and type the alphabet and numbers, ungroup them. This will allow you to duplicate the letters that need bridges and move them over to the side in the workspace. After I duplicate the letters I want to bridge, I go back and group the entire alphabet that I ungrouped. I won’t need them for now, but I don’t want to delete them. I group them so they will all move together instead of trying to move them one at a time. I move them out of my way, leaving the letters I want to bridge in an area of my workspace that gives me plenty of room to work.
**You DO NOT have to do it this way. You can type the words and create bridges in letters for each stencil that you design. After you get the hang of creating bridges, it can be a big timesaver to create individual files with the fonts that you like to use most often. Type the entire lower and uppercase alphabet and numbers 0-9 and bridge them. Save the file with the name of the font and tag it “alphabet”. You can then open the font file you created with the already bridged letters, immediately go to “Save As” and name the file your stencil name. This is important, because if you make changes and choose “Save” it will override your original alphabet file. This method is great because the bridged letters and numbers you need are ready to be used. You just Insert your square for your stencil frame, ungroup the alphabet if needed, select and arrange the letters you want to create the words for your stencil, and delete the rest. It goes much faster!
Begin by inserting a square. Now you are ready to get to work! Resize the letter you want to work on and zoom in close. I like to size the letter to around 1/2 to 1 tall inch because that will be somewhat close to the size of the letter I will use in the stencil. It doesn’t have to be exactly the size you will use in the stencil. I resize before slicing because I have made a letter 4-5 inches tall instead of zooming in and when I resized the letter to 1 inch for the stencil, the bridge closed up too much. That is why I started resizing to approximate size for a stencil and zooming in close on the letters being sliced.
Turn the square into a rectangle and make it the size that you’d like your bridge to be. To do this, click the lock and resize by using the green circle with the arrows.
I like to change the color of my bridge shape so that I can see it clearly on top of my letters and numbers. To do that, make sure you are in the Layers tab. Click on the rectangle to select it, click on the scissors next to it and click on a color.
Select the colored rectangle and click>duplicate several times so that you don’t have to keep inserting and resizing them for each bridge.
Click on each rectangle and drag it over the areas that need bridged. I have left the “a” and “e” for bridging last. After we slice the yellow rectangles from these letters, you will see a blank space that will become the bridge in the stencil.
Now let’s slice to create the bridge(think opposite here because you are taking away part of the letter). You will select each individual letter and rectangle by clicking and dragging over them OR by holding down the shift key on your keyboard and clicking on them in the Layers panel. With both of them selected, click on “Slice”. **If it is grayed out make sure you have only the letter and the rectangle selected. **REMEMBER: You can only slice two objects–one away from the other.
Now click on the areas that were sliced and delete them. If you don’t like the way the letter looks, click>Undo a few times and move the rectangle or resize it and try again.
Here are the lower case letters bridged after slicing the rectangles. See the blank spaces? These will be the bridged(attached) areas when you attach them to the stencil frame and cut. I am bridging the “a” and “e” a little differently. Don’t worry about those yet.
Here are the uppercase letters that need bridged. Follow the same directions as listed above to create the bridges.
Size the letters to approximately 1 inch tall. Insert a square, resize it, change the color, duplicate it a few times, drag them to where you want the bridges, select each letter and the rectangle, and slice.
Notice the “A” and “Q” have more than one rectangle? You can slice each one individually by selecting one rectangle and the letter “Q” and slicing. You can also weld the three rectangles, making them one object, and select the welded rectangles and the “Q” and slice. The letter “A” can be done the same way.**This is where it is important to remember that you can only slice two objects.
Here are the bridged uppercase letters after slicing the rectangles.
Using Different Shapes to Create Bridges
I chose to use a rectangle to slice the lower part of the lowercase “a”. If you don’t have any rectangles left from before, insert another rectangle. Unlock the rectangle, resize, duplicate, and drag to where you want the bridge. Select the letter and the rectangle. Click>Slice.
Now do the same thing with a circle. You can insert a circle under the “Insert Shapes” tool on the left side of the screen. Turn the circle into an oval and make it the size that you’d like your bridge to be. To do this, click the lock to unlock and resize by using the green circle with the arrows. Duplicate the oval a few times. As shown previously with the rectangles, drag the oval over the letter where you’d like the bridge to be. Select both the oval and the letter. Click >Slice.
It should look like this once you slice the rectangle from the “a” and the oval from the “e”. I like to zoom in close to make sure the rectangle and oval shapes are lining up with the letter for a clean slice. If you slice and you don’t like the look of it, just click>Undo a few times and resize your shape, then try again.
When I moved the oval over to the “a”, it disappeared behind the “a”. So I selected the letter by clicking on it, went to the “Arrange” tab at the top and clicked>Move to Back. I want to be able to line the oval up to get a clean slice. I can’t do that if I can’t see it.
That’s better! Now to slice…
Select the letter “a” and the oval, click>Slice. You can delete those extra pieces.
I want these areas to look neater. I will use some of those extra rectangles that I duplicated at the beginning and slice those areas away to make them look better.
I duplicated and resized the rectangles, moved them over the areas that I wanted to clean up and sliced again.
That’s better! I zoomed in really close so that you could see the letters.
In the next post, I will show you how to turn your sliced letters into words and add them to a stencil frames. Then with what you have learned, you can make some cute stencils with words and a background for a set.