How To Attach In Cricut Design Space

Wondering how to use the attach feature in Cricut Design Space? Here is everything you need to know: how to keep text and images in place, attach writing and score lines onto a shape, and troubleshoot some of the most common problems with using Attach in Cricut Design Space.


The Cricut Attach tool is one of the five basic design tools that allows you to work with layers inside of Cricut Design Space (the others are Slice, Weld, Flatten, and Contour).

The Attach tool has two main functions. First, it “locks” shapes and text in place on the cutting mat so you can keep the exact spacing you want. Second, it allows you to “fasten” a writing or scoring layer onto a cutting layer so that the writing or scoring happens “on top of” the cut out shape.

This article will teach you how to attach in Cricut Design Space and how to keep text and images in place when cutting, as well as troubleshoot the most common problems when using Attach in Cricut Design Space.

How to use attach in cricut design space 1

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What is the Cricut Design Space Attach tool & why would I want to use it?

The Attach tool allows you to lock images and text in place so that the placement of the shapes on the cutting mat preserves the same spacing that you see in the Canvas screen of Cricut Design Space. Otherwise Design Space defaults to “paper save mode” and automatically adjusts the spacing. It also allows you to fasten a writing layer or scoring layer onto a cutting layer, meaning you can have your machine score or draw on a material AND cut out a shape all in one pass.

Unlike Weld and Slice, which modify actual shapes, Attach works by “grouping” layers together. It basically creates a “folder” of layers in the Layers panel on the right. The individual shapes, layers, text, images, etc. are all still the same as they were before. The only difference is that your machine sees the Attached layers as one item and does everything (cuts, draws, scores, etc.) on the same mat.

There are some pretty cool things you can do with the Cricut Design Space Attach tool, such as:

  • override “paper save mode” to lock image position on the cutting mat
  • get your machine to Draw on top of a shape and then Cut it out
  • add score lines to a project
  • cut one shape out of another shape
  • make a pattern that’s easy to transfer
  • Attach instead of Slicing multiple images
  • Attach instead of Weld if the images aren’t overlapping

I’ll go into more detail about those uses after the next section, which shows you exactly how to attach in Cricut Design Space (with screenshots!)

How to attach in Cricut Design Space

The Basics

Using Attach in Cricut Design Space is pretty simple, but there are a few rules you have to follow.

  • You must be working with at least two shapes/layers. You can’t attach a single layer; the Attach button will be greyed out if only one layer is selected.
  • Attaching always fastens shapes “down” to the bottom layer. Even though Attach doesn’t change the shapes within your individual layers, it will change the color. If your layers are different colors, the final Attach group will be the color of the bottom layer.
  • Attach works even if the images are grouped, welded, already attached, or multi-layered/hidden. Because Attach creates a “folder” of layers, it doesn’t matter if some of the layers are already Grouped or Attached, or if a layer is hidden or multi-layered.
  • Attach works on overlapping OR separate images. Attach just holds the position of the layer. If your shapes are overlapping, you are “forcing” the cut lines to intersect when your machine cuts. If your shapes are separate, you are “forcing” the machine to preserve the spacing of your images.
  • Attaching text is the same as Attaching images. The Attach tool only cares about the layers in the Layers panel, so it doesn’t even notice if the layer contains text, shapes, images, photos, or whatever else.
  • The Attach button becomes a Detach button if you select an already Attached object. When you select layers that aren’t attached, the Attach button is activated at the bottom of the Layers panel. But if you select something you’ve already attached, the Attach button becomes a Detach button so you can easily undo the action if you wish. (Even after saving your project!)

The Equipment

Technically all you need to use the the Attach tool is Cricut Design Space, but without a Cricut machine you won’t actually be able to cut out your attached design! I have shared the file I used for this tutorial below, feel free to use it for practicing.

The Instructions

Start by opening the practice file in Cricut Design Space.

How to use the attach function in cricut design space

This practice file has images and text to practice three different uses for the Attach function, but for this initial tutorial we are just going to use the “home is where the heart is” images, so you can hide the two star layers.

Learn how to lock the image position on the mat in cricut design space

I’ve already positioned the text and heart shape where I want them in my final project, but if you click the green “Make It” button right now, it shows up on the Prepare mats screen like the screenshot below, all bunched up in the top left corner.

Learn how to lock the image position on the mat in cricut design space so they arent bunched together

By default, Cricut Design Space uses “paper save mode” and positions your images and text on the cutting mat in the way that makes the most efficient use of your materials; basically it bunches them all up into the top left corner so it’s not wasting material.

You can override “paper save mode” by using the Attach function to “lock” your images and text in the exact arrangement you set on the Canvas screen.

To use the Attach function, first select all of the teal images: the word “home” and the heart. The letters “ome” are already welded together into a single image, but the “H” is still its own layer. You can click and drag a square around the entire word to select both layers, or you can select one image, then hold Shift on your keyboard while selecting the other two images to select them all at the same time. You can also select one layer in the Layers panel, then hold Shift on your keyboard while clicking the other layers.

Learn how to lock the image position on the mat in cricut design space select all layers

Once you have all three teal layers selected, the Attach tool at the bottom of the Layers panel should activate (it should be black and clickable instead of greyed out).

Click “Attach” to attach the selected layers.

Learn how to lock the image position on the mat in cricut design space select layers and click attach

When you click Attach, the layers will all “fasten” down to the bottom layer and all of the layers will be “grouped” together in an “Attach folder” in the Layers panel on the right.

In this example, the images themselves weren’t modified at all, but all three layers have been moved into an “Attach folder” in the Layers panel. If the original layers had been different colors, they would all become the color of the bottom layer when attached.

Now select the two yellow text layers and click Attach again.

How to lock the image position on the mat in cricut design space

Now you have a second “Attach folder” in the Layers panel, and you can move each folder around or work with them however you like, just like any other single shape layer.

And now if you click the green “Make It” button, you’ll see that the spacing you have set up on the Canvas screen is preserved on the Prepare screen.

Learn how to lock the image position on the mat in cricut design space so the spacing stays correct

The arrangement of the yellow text is the same as it was on the Canvas screen, and if you look at the teal thumbnail on the left, you’ll see that “Home” and the heart are also locked into position on the cutting mat.

What can I do with the Cricut Attach tool?

Override “paper save mode” to lock image position on the cutting mat

The Cricut Attach tool is perfect for holding your images and text in the same arrangement when cutting. By default, Cricut Design Space uses “paper save mode” when cutting, which means it rearranges all of your shapes to make the most efficient use of your material (basically by clustering them all up into the top left corner of your cutting mat). But if you want to “lock” images in place on the cutting mat, you can use the Attach tool to override “paper save mode”.

The “Home is where the heart is” project above is a great example of this use of the Attach tool. If you need to arrange your text and shapes in a certain way in Design Space, use the Attach tool to hold the images in place when cutting!

Get your machine to write on top of a shape and then cut it out

You can also use Attach to “fasten” a writing layer onto the cutting layer beneath it. This is great for having your Cricut write on top of a shape AND THEN cut it out.

This star and writing layer is also in the practice file I shared earlier.

Attach writing to images in cricut design space

The text layer is already in a writing font, meaning your Cricut will automatically Draw the letters with a pen rather than cut them out. But if you send this file to your machine as is, the Prepare screen will look like this:

Attach writing to images in cricut design space so it is not on separate mats

The text will be drawn on one mat, and the star will be cut out on a separate mat.

To prevent this, select both the text and star layers. You can click and drag a square around the entire star to select both layers, or you can select one image, then hold Shift on your keyboard while selecting the other image to select them both at the same time. You can also select one layer in the Layers panel, then hold Shift on your keyboard while clicking the other layer.

Attach writing to images in cricut design space select both layers

Once you have both layers selected, the Attach tool at the bottom of the Layers panel should activate (it should be black and clickable instead of greyed out).

Click “Attach” to attach the selected layers.

Attach writing to images in cricut design space select layers and click attach

When you click Attach, the top text layer will “fasten” down to the bottom star layer, and both layers will be moved into an “Attach folder” in the Layers panel on the right.

The text and star images themselves weren’t modified at all, but the text is now “attached” to the star below it in the Layers panel.

And now if you click the green “Make It” button, you’ll see that the text has been “attached” to the star so that both the “Draw” action and “Cut” action happen on the same mat on the Prepare screen instead of being on two separate mats.

Attach writing to images in cricut design space writing and images on one mat

Now if you click “Continue” the machine will ask you to load a pen as well as a blade and will write out the text on your material, and then cut out the shape, all in one pass.

Here’s another example of using Attach to fasten drawing lines onto a cute gift tag.

Add score lines to a project

Similar to attaching writing to a shape, you can also use Attach to “fasten” score lines onto the cutting layer beneath it. This is great for making cards with a score line down the middle, or making any sort of 3D shape or box.

These score lines and star are also in the practice file I shared earlier.

Attach score lines to shapes in cricut design space

I used this image to create these 3D paper stars, and the score lines are already positioned correctly on top of the star. But if you send this file to your machine as is, the Prepare screen will look like this:

Attach score lines to shapes in cricut design space so they arent on two separate mats

The score lines will be made on one mat, and the star will be cut out on a separate mat.

To prevent this, select all of the score lines and the star. You can click and drag a square around the entire star to select all of the layers, or you can select one score line, then hold Shift on your keyboard while selecting the other lines and the star to select them all at the same time. You can also select one layer in the Layers panel, then hold Shift on your keyboard while clicking the other layers.

Attach score lines to shapes in cricut design space select all layers

Once you have all of the layers selected, the Attach tool at the bottom of the Layers panel will activate (it should be black and clickable instead of greyed out).

Click “Attach” to attach the selected layers.

When you click Attach, the score lines will “fasten” down to the bottom star layer, and all layers will be moved into an “Attach folder” in the Layers panel on the right.

The score lines and star themselves weren’t modified at all, but the score lines are now “attached” to the star below them in the Layers panel.

And now if you click the green “Make It” button, you’ll see that the score lines have been “attached” to the star so that both the “Score” actions and “Cut” action happen on the same mat on the Prepare screen instead of being on two separate mats.

How to attach score lines to a shape in cricut design space

Now if you click “Continue” the machine will ask you to load a scoring stylus or scoring wheel to do the scoring part, then pause and have you switch to a blade to finish cutting out the shape, all in one pass.

Cut one shape out of another shape

Another cool way to use the Attach tool is to cut a shape out of another shape, or make specific “holes” inside of a larger shape. If you layer smaller shapes on top of a larger shape and then attach them all together, the Cricut will cut the smaller shapes and the larger shape out of the same material, making “smaller shaped holes” in the large shape.

This is really similar to Slicing an image to make new shapes, except that instead of generating new shape layers like Slice does, Attach just forces the two shapes to be cut out on top of one another.

If you layered a smaller circle on top of a larger circle and then Sliced them, you would end up with two smaller circles and one “donut” ring, all on separate layers. If you Attach them instead, you end up with one smaller circle inside of the “donut” ring, and they are stuck together in the same “Attach folder.” (Your machine will cut the circle and donut exactly as shown on the Canvas screen.)

Make a pattern that’s easy to transfer

The Attach function is perfect for making patterns or designs that are easy to transfer, especially if you’re using vinyl. After creating a pattern by duplicating and rearranging shapes and images, this blogger used Attach to lock them in place on the cutting mat. This way she didn’t have to transfer, rotate, and line up each shape individually into the final pattern on her dresser.

Attach instead of Slicing multiple images

You can also use Attach instead of Slice if you have multiple images that you want “sliced” out of another larger image.

A great example of this is using Attach to make scrapbook pages. Layer your shapes and text on top of a large square, select all of them, and click Attach. The Cricut will “slice” those images out of your square when it cuts, and then you can layer pretty paper or photos behind the square to make a fun scrapbook page.

Attach instead of Weld if the images aren’t overlapping

In the Weld tutorial I mentioned that you can Weld images that aren’t overlapped if you want them to all be attached into a single layer and held in position. But technically you should use Attach to do this instead of Weld.

If you remember from the Slice tutorial, you can only slice exactly two layers at a time. But what if you have something like the American flag where you’d like to “punch out” 50 stars from a single background shape? No one wants to have to Slice out 50 individual stars! This is the perfect time to Attach the 50 stars and background shape all together so that the stars are automatically cut out of the background shape.

How to keep text in place in cricut design space

Troubleshooting common problems with the Cricut Design Space Attach tool

The Attach button is greyed out

In order to “activate” the Cricut Attach tool (make it black and clickable instead of greyed out) you have to select at least two shapes or layers. If you only have one image selected the button will be greyed out.

Cricut Design Space keeps rearranging my text and images when it cuts them out

Ah, yep, that’s what Attach is for! Cricut Design Space sees each layer as its own individual shape, regardless of whether the layer is text, a shape, a photo, an image, or something else. Even if you arrange them in a certain way on the Canvas (like making a pattern of heart, then star, then heart, etc.), Design Space doesn’t automatically assume you want those shapes cut out in that exact order or with that exact spacing.

If you select all the layers you want held in place (text, images, shapes, whatever…) and click Attach, it will “tell” Design Space that you have arranged those objects in a certain way and want them to be cut out of a single material exactly how you have arranged them. That way when you go to cut, you will see a mat with all of your shapes laid out exactly the same way you laid them out on the Canvas screen.

I can’t get my Cricut to draw on top of the shape it cuts out

Ah, yep, that’s ALSO what Attach is for! Just like with trying to keep your image spacing the same when you cut, Cricut Design Space sees each layer and image as its own individual shape. Even though you might arrange them in a certain way on the Canvas (like putting a text layer on top of a shape), Design Space doesn’t automatically assume you want to draw on top of that shape.

If you select the draw layer and the cut layer and click Attach, it will “tell” Design Space that you want those two actions to happen on the same layer or material. That way when you go to cut, you will see a mat with both “Draw” and “Cut” on it and your text will be on top of your shape instead of separating them out into two different mats.

I can’t get my Cricut to make score lines on the shape it cuts out

Ah, yep, that’s ANOTHER THING that Attach is for! Just like with trying to get your machine to draw on top of a cut out shape, Cricut Design Space sees each score line and image as its own individual shape. Even though you might arrange them in a certain way on the Canvas (like putting a score line on top of a shape), Design Space doesn’t automatically assume you want to score that shape.

If you select the score lines and the cut layer and click Attach, it will “tell” Design Space that you want those two actions to happen on the same layer or material. That way when you go to cut, you will see a mat with both “Score” and “Cut” on it and your score lines will still be positioned on top of your shape instead of separating them out into two different mats.

I want to draw on a shape AND hold all my shapes in the same arrangement

No problem; Attach works on as many layers as you want, and it even works on things that are already grouped or attached!

If you have a bunch of individual shapes and layers, just position them where you want them, select ALL the layers, and click Attach. If there is a drawing layer on top of a shape layer, it will attach those two AS WELL AS attach any other separate shapes all together into a single “Attach folder”. Here is a great example of attaching text and separate images all in one go.

If you already have some attached or grouped layers and want to attach them even further, that’s no problem either. Every time you click Attach, it takes all of the selected layers and attaches them into an Attach folder. If you select something that’s already attached, it just nests that first Attach folder inside of the new Attach folder, and so on.

(I haven’t actually tested to see how many nested Attach folders you can get in one Design Space file, but I’ve had at least five with no problem!)

I want to “un-attach” my images so I can use them for something else

No problem! If you accidentally attached something you didn’t mean to, you can alway click Undo or press Command/Ctrl + Z on your keyboard to undo the action. Or, if you select an Attached image, the Attach button at the bottom of the Layers panel becomes a Detach button.

If you click Detach it will separate the layers back out into their own distinct layers.


Hope that helps you understand more about the Cricut Attach tool in Design Space. If you still have questions, ask them in the comments below and I will do my best to answer!

How to use cricut design space attach feature

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How to use cricut attach to keep the same arrangement when cutting

How To Attach In Cricut Design Space

5 from 1 vote
Wondering how to use the attach feature in Cricut Design Space? Here is everything you need to know: how to keep text and images in place, attach writing and score lines onto a shape, and troubleshoot some of the most common problems with using Attach in Cricut Design Space.
Active Time 5 mins

Equipment

Instructions
 

Using Attach to lock images in place on the cutting mat

  • Create or open a project in Cricut Design Space with multiple shapes or text that you want arranged in a certain way when the machine cuts them out.
    Learn how to lock the image position on the mat in cricut design space
  • Select all of the images, shapes, or text that you want cut out of a single color.
    Learn how to lock the image position on the mat in cricut design space select all layers
  • Click Attach to attach the layers into an "Attach folder" in the Layers panel on the right side.
    Learn how to lock the image position on the mat in cricut design space select layers and click attach
  • If there is a second color or material in your project, select all of the images, shapes, or text that you want cut out of that color, then click Attach; you will end up with another "Attach folder" in the Layers panel.
    How to lock the image position on the mat in cricut design space
  • When you go to cut out your project, all of your Attached layers will be locked into place on your cutting mat in the same position as you see them on the Canvas screen.
    Learn how to lock the image position on the mat in cricut design space so the spacing stays correct

How to attach writing to a shape in Cricut Design Space

  • Create or open a project in Cricut Design Space with a drawing layer and a cut layer/shape.
    Attach writing to images in cricut design space
  • Position the drawing layer on top of the shape layer, then select both layers.
    Attach writing to images in cricut design space select both layers
  • Click Attach to "fasten" the writing in the drawing layer onto the shape in the cut layer below.
    Attach writing to images in cricut design space select layers and click attach
  • When you go to cut out your project, you’ll see that the text has been “attached” to the shape below it so that both the “Draw” action and “Cut” action happen on the same mat instead of being on two separate mats.
    Attach writing to images in cricut design space writing and images on one mat

How to attach score lines to a shape in Cricut Design Space

  • Create or open a project in Cricut Design Space with score lines and a cut layer/shape. Position the score lines on top of the shape layer.
    Attach score lines to shapes in cricut design space
  • Select all of layers and click Attach to "fasten" the score lines onto the shape in the cut layer on the bottom.
    Attach score lines to shapes in cricut design space select all layers
  • When you go to cut out your project, you’ll see that the score lines have been “attached” to the shape below it so that both the “Score” actions and the “Cut” action happen on the same mat instead of being on two separate mats.
    How to attach score lines to a shape in cricut design space

Notes

Using Attach in Cricut Design Space is pretty simple, but there are a few rules you have to follow.
  • You must be working with at least two shapes/layers. You can’t attach a single layer; the Attach button will be greyed out if only one layer is selected.
  • Attaching always fastens shapes “down” to the bottom layer. Even though Attach doesn’t change the shapes within your individual layers, it will change the color. If your layers are different colors, the final Attach group will be the color of the bottom layer.
  • Attach works even if the images are grouped, welded, already attached, or multi-layered/hidden. Because Attach creates a “folder” of layers, it doesn’t matter if some of the layers are already Grouped or Attached, or if a layer is hidden or multi-layered.
  • Attach works on overlapping OR separate images. Attach just holds the position of the layer. If your shapes are overlapping, you are “forcing” the cut lines to intersect when your machine cuts. If your shapes are separate, you are “forcing” the machine to preserve the spacing of your images.
  • Attaching text is the same as Attaching images. The Attach tool only cares about the layers in the Layers panel, so it doesn’t even notice if the layer contains text, shapes, images, photos, or whatever else.
  • The Attach button becomes a Detach button if you select an already Attached object. When you select layers that aren’t attached, the Attach button is activated at the bottom of the Layers panel. But if you select something you’ve already attached, the Attach button becomes a Detach button so you can easily undo the action if you wish. (Even after saving your project!)

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Jessi Wohlwend

I believe that anyone can do crafts and DIY projects, regardless of skill or experience. I love sharing simple craft ideas, step by step DIY project tutorials, cleaning hacks, and other tips and tricks all with one goal in mind: giving you the tools you need to “do it yourself”, complete fun projects, and make awesome things!

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