New Convert to Layers in Cricut Design Space Tutorial

Created on:

May 26, 2024

Updated on:

May 30, 2024

Written by Kelsey Sergi

Let's look at the new feature in Cricut Design Space: Convert to Layers.

Convert to Layers in Cricut Design Space

This feature has technically been available since February 4 for iPad users; however, it has been, and technically still is, in the beta stage of use. The purpose of this new feature is to take a flat PNG or JPEG image and turn it into a layered SVG file for crafting items with vinyl or paper. Let's go through how to use this new Convert to Layers feature in the Cricut desktop app.

Overview of the Convert to Layers Feature

This feature is a paid Cricut Access feature only, which I am currently on a trial of Cricut Access for the month and do not plan on keeping it when my month ends. I find that the paid features can often be found online for free. Of course, you're paying for ease of access, but to me, it's just not worth $120 a year. I'd rather spend that on craft supplies.

For my trial of the new Convert to Layer feature in Cricut Design Space, I decided to use a PNG image of Stitch that had a decent amount of colors, but also not too many. Right now, this feature has a max of nine layers, so if you are looking to do a detailed project, you may have to go a different route on how to convert it.

Again, they launched it in February on the iPad and then just released it live with the last update. I updated my Cricut Design Space on May 20, 2024, and actually had to walk away from using it because this new update caused a glitch that made uploading SVG files that you created impossible. Impossible is a strong word—you had to be in beta mode, and I don't like to be in beta mode. So I took the whole week off - I was going on vacation, and I just saw a sign. When I came back, they did another update, and I updated that on May 25, 2024, and they have since fixed the glitch as well as have the live version of the multi-layer image converter.

How to Use the Convert to Layers Feature

So this feature is actually pretty user-friendly and can take a single layer image and create separate layers for you solely based on color. Just like any other PNG or JPEG image, you're going to upload it in the corner using the upload button. Instead of your normal panel that says single layer and flat image, you're going to get a third option (layers) that is Cricut Access only. You'll notice the little green flag in the top corner.

Obviously, we are going to want to click on the new option that says Layers and then hit Continue. This will bring up the panel with all of your options.

Initial upload of convert to layers in Cricut Design Space.

The first thing that I suggest doing is looking at the different colors. Mine started with only two colors, and I jumped up to seven. Once I was looking at the seven layers in the top of the layers panel on the right side, I saw that there were layers that really didn't need to be there. With that, I looked at the blue layer portion where I had almost three identical layers. From there, I dumped down to four, and then I realized that I was missing white, and then I jumped back up to five layers. So this will take some trial and error when you are trying to figure out how many colors you truly need. You also need to keep in mind your materials and how many different colors you have and shades you have of whatever you are creating for your craft project.

I had my set. I decided to start looking through the layers in the top of that panel. Right now, I am still in the stacked option for the conversion, and if you look at the first and second layers, which are the white layer and a purple layer, they are pretty solid in the stacked version. I don't really love this version of the Convert to Layers option.

Stacked output style in Layers.

If you change it over to the Slice Results, it's a little bit better. Here, you're going to have less coverage, but you will see that the black layer is like an outline rather than a solid piece—this is easily fixed on the Cricut Design Space canvas using the Contour tool. I wish there was a way to change the layers around or fix them within the Layers panel, but this will do for now. It's only been live for about ten days (in beta for a few months).

Slice output style in layers.

There is a dropdown for some more advanced features, but honestly, if you watch my YouTube go-through, I don't care for these. If your image is super pixelated, it might come in handy, but I also wish it was a scale to slide rather than a low/high option on these three.

Once you are done setting up all of the layers, you can continue and add to canvas. Overall, this feature is quick to use and doesn't take too much time. However, I feel like it still has such a long way to go to hit what people need and are looking to get out of it.

Using the Contour Feature to Finish Your Multi-Layered Image

Once I added my sliced version of the SVG file to the canvas, I grabbed just the black layer and hit Contour. Depending on the image, you can hit "Contour All," but you may have to go through and adjust for most of them. For example, on my image, Contour All got rid of the little smoke puffs, and it also filled in the holes under his arms.

I feel like once I contoured, I had a decently looking multi-layered image. You can also go through and contour each layer of the image to remove any small unneeded pieces. If it doesn't add to the image—contour it out.

Tips and Tricks for the Convert to Layers Feature

While using the Convert to Layers feature, I discovered a few tips and tricks that might help others get the most out of this tool. First, start with a high-quality image. The better the resolution of your PNG or JPEG, the more accurate the layer conversion will be. Blurry or pixelated images can cause more issues and require additional editing to look right.

Second, play around with the number of layers before settling on your final design. Sometimes fewer layers can achieve the desired effect without overcomplicating the project. Remember, each additional layer means more work when it comes to cutting and assembling your design.

Third, take advantage of the Preview feature. This allows you to see how the layers will look once separated. It's a great way to catch any potential issues before finalizing your layers.

Advanced Features and Their Uses

Advanced Panel in Layers in Cricut Design Space

For those who like to delve deeper into their crafting projects, the advanced features in the Convert to Layers tool can be quite useful. These include options to adjust the sensitivity of color detection, which can help in differentiating subtle shades in your image. However, as mentioned earlier, these features are a bit basic and could benefit from more granular controls like sliders instead of just low/high options.

If your image has a lot of intricate details, you might find the Advanced Settings useful. These allow you to fine-tune how the layers are created, ensuring that small details are not lost in the conversion process. However, these settings can be a bit hit or miss, so some experimentation might be necessary.

Showing layers on the canvas in Cricut Design Space.

Real-Life Applications

The Convert to Layers feature opens up a lot of possibilities for crafters. You can create multi-layered vinyl decals for your car, detailed paper cuts for scrapbooking, or even intricate iron-on designs for custom t-shirts.

Common Issues and How to Solve Them

While the Convert to Layers feature is powerful, it's not without its quirks. One common issue users might encounter is the unexpected merging of similar colors into a single layer. If this happens, try adjusting the color sensitivity settings or manually tweaking the layers after conversion.

Using contour in Cricut Design Space.

Another issue is dealing with unwanted artifacts or extra pieces in your layers. The Contour tool is your best friend here. Use it to clean up your layers by removing any unnecessary parts. This step is crucial for ensuring a clean and professional final product.

Overall Review

I enjoyed using the feature, but I feel like it still has a long way to go. But if you were in a bind, it's definitely helpful and opens up a lot of doors for people that were unable to create their own images in something like Inkscape or Silhouette Studio.

If you were looking for a free version of this, then check out PNG to SVG, which will do the exact same thing for free, and you just download and upload it into Cricut Design Space.

If you were looking at how to create your own SVG files from a coloring page, check out these two tutorials for Inkscape and Silhouette Studio, which will walk you through step-by-step. This is definitely my go-to when I am creating an SVG file from an image I find online.

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Stay crafty!

Kelsey Sergi - the owner and crafter at Dinosaur Mama.

Hi crafters! I'm Kelsey and I am here to bring you new original craft projects and free SVG files for your cutting machines every week!

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