Choosing the Right Pen for your Cricut Project can make a big difference in how your project turns out. Every Cricut project you make can be customized in a number of ways using the Cricut pen. When drawing or writing with your Cricut the pen you use can change the look of the project.
There are a number of pen types to choose from – mix and match the pen colors and styles and make a wide variety of unique designs. Today we'll talk about how to pick the pens to use to get the look you want when creating your Cricut drawing projects.
Update: Since this article was written, Cricut has introduced new machines and new pens. All of the current Cricut machines can draw and write with the Cricut pens. You can also draw or write designs for more than just paper. Use Infusible Ink pens to create designs that can be transferred to a whole variety of materials including fabric and sublimation blanks!
Cricut Design Space – Choosing the Right Pen for the Project
This is lesson 11 in my drawing and writing with your Cricut series. We've covered a variety of topics using the pen to draw or writing with your Cricut. Today I'm sharing how to pick the best pen for the project. You can draw or write all kinds of fonts and designs… the pen you choose will impact how that art turns out.
The most important tip for today is play with the pens and see what you like best. How you like the way a pen draws is a personal preference. So try out the different pens, see which you like best and how you like the pens to write… experiment and see what you favorite looks are.
For this tutorial you need the following materials:
- Cricut cutting machine – any version will work
- Cricut Design Space
- Cricut pens – your choice
- Paper – use practice paper to test out the techniques
- Snowflake drawing project in Cricut Design Space
Today we will talk about:
- Setting up Pen choices in Cricut Design Space
- Pen tip size matters
- Pen color vs sparkle
- Using the Calligraphy tip pens
- Combining Pen Types
Setting up Pen choices in Cricut Design Space
Cricut Design Space makes it easy to designate which pen choice is set for which draw or write lines. Simple choose the layer you want to set to draw, select the pen color/style and you're set. The writing palette also keeps track of which colors you've already used so you can designate multiple lines with the same pen. This is especially important when using the black or gold pens so you don't end up changing out pens for every single draw line.
Cricut Design Space does not give you a preview of different line thicknesses (line weights) so make sure to familiarize yourself with the different pen widths before you start using all the different pens on all your designs.
Pen tip size matters
The standard Cricut pen is a .3 tip size and the standard black also comes in a .4 as well as medium round tip and medium calligraphy tip. Each pen tip will display a little differently. The size of the text or design you are creating can be greatly impacted by the size of the pen tip. Small, delicate designs should be drawn with a small tip while larger designs will look different depending on which tip size you use.
Alternatively, if you want to draw on the edge of a cut line, a small tip pen will not display much while a wider tip will have a greater chance of adding the accent you are looking for.
Experiment with your pen sizes to get a feel for how well they draw at different sizes and with different fonts and designs.
Pen color vs sparkle
Cricut offers fine tip pens in a wide variety of colors. These are great for adding colored accents, drawing in different colors and even layering colors of drawing art. There are also glitter and metallic pens. Each of these pen types have different tips and will work better with some designs than others. The paper you use with different pens will also impact how the drawing looks. I've noticed that the glitter pens work best on medium detail are and smooth paper while the fine point pens work great on all papers, except very textured paper. The metallics work well with larger designs, cut edges and any paper type.
Glitter and metallic inks show up better on a shinier surface where the ink can sit on top of the paper instead of soak in. Again, play with the different pens.. try them both by hand as well as in your machine to get a feel for which looks you like best.
Using the Calligraphy tip pens
The Cricut calligraphy pens have a unique angled/chiseled edge. When you draw with these pens, the line weight will vary as the machine draws each line. These pens are especially fun to use with fonts as the edge of the pen adds a nice hand-lettered touch. Turning the pens in the pen holder can also impact the look of the lines so test our which angles you like best.
Combining Pen Types
The most fun you can have with the Cricut pens is using different pen types to create unique combinations of drawing designs. Layer different inks on top of each other and pair different ink types to get fun hand-designed looks. You can create duplicate drawing layers in different colors or inks to create some nice drawing effects.
Practice Cricut Drawing Project
I've created this cute snowflake coloring card to show you how different pens look together. The two cards are the exact same design but use different pen types. One card is a standard fine point black and a thicker black pen. The other card is a standard fine point blue pen along with a thicker metallic pen. Take a look at this Cricut Design Space project for your own pen combination practice. Change the different snowflakes to different pen colors and sizes. Layer the drawing lines, use glitter, layer colors and see what you come up with.
If you've gone through the entire 12 lesson series to draw and write with your Cricut, you should now be well on your way to creating all kinds of fantastic Cricut projects using the pens. You can convert cut lines, layer art designs, write fonts and make your projects really pop with extra hand-drawn accents.
I can't wait to see what fun you have with your Cricut, please stop back by or check out the 100 Directions facebook page and share what you've created!