Today I am going over how to use the Weld & Group functions in Brother Canvas Workspace, the software used with Scan N Cut machines. They are functions you will want to use often but sometimes they can be confusing. What is the difference between them? When do you use one and not the other? Why do you want to use Weld instead of Group? You get the idea. While these functions may seem similar they are actually very different and I explain how and why you want to use them. You may also want to know how to un-weld, and ungroup when you use them incorrectly and I am going to cover that as well. The video tutorial is linked below or scroll down just a bit for written instructions with photos. Thanks!
Please check out the video tutorial below or scroll down for instructions with photos:
Use Group to Resize & Rearrange
In Fig. A below, I’ve got a multi-colored design with a large heart and a bunch of stars. If I want to turn this into an iron-on for a t-shirt, the first thing I need to do is resize it to fit on an adult tee. I can click and drag over the entire design to select all of the objects and then resize it with one of the corner handles OR go to the Edit panel on the right and type in a specific width as long as the Maintain Aspect Ratio box is checked (Fig. B). That absolutely works but it does mean that I need to be careful when I click and drag to make sure I have every object in the design selected. If I miss one or two items without realizing it and go to resize, there is almost no way I can get those two objects resized on their own to be perfectly proportional with the larger size of rest of the design.
You’re probably thinking, “Well, that’s not that big a deal. You can just undo and then reselect all of it and resize it.” That is true, but like most people, I have limited time to craft so I want to be as efficient as I can be. Even though redoing it isn’t that big a time waster I’d rather just do it right the first time and be done with it. The easiest way to make sure that happens is to use Group to temporarily stick all the design elements together in one “group” that I can resize very easily and while I do that, all of the individual elements will remain proportional to each other. So to Group the heart and stars, I need to again click and drag to select the whole design and then right-click and select Group (Fig. C). Another way to do this is to use the keyboard shortcut – so click and drag to select it all and then hold down the Ctrl key while hitting the G key. If you’re on a Mac you would hit Cmd + G. Now I can resize it just as easily and move it around on the mat without worrying at all that I may miss selecting one star and have to redo it. It is also super quick to do. That is the primary reason I use Group – to keep a bunch of smaller elements together so you can rearrange them, resize them or just move them around.
How to UnGroup
Group is only temporary. If, for example, I don’t like how one star is arranged, I can still Ungroup the heart and stars by right-clicking and selecting Ungroup (there is also a shortcut for Ungrouping and that is holding down Shift+Ctrl (or Cmd on a Mac) + G (Fig. D), rearrange that one star and then group them together again. It makes changing the arrangement or resizing designs a lot easier!
Group By Color
Another reason to use Group, especially with our t-shirt design used here, is to be able to separate and move different colored elements around, on or off of the mat while keeping them in their current layout. This is important so I can cut out my heat transfer vinyl for each color and then when I go to layer the different colored vinyl pieces together to iron on to the shirt, I don’t have to try and figure out where each individual star goes around the heart. To do this, I will Ungroup the hearts and stars and then hold down shift key and only click on the yellow stars and then right-click and Group them (Fig. E). I can do the same for the pink stars as well. I obviously don’t need to do this for the heart because it is only one element – lol.
As you probably know, I can only cut one color of vinyl per area on the mat and since in Brother Canvas, I am working on a representation of the actual mat and how elements are going to cut once I send the design to the machine, I need to rearrange my elements into areas where I can put down the correct color of vinyl. I need to pull the pink stars off the may and then move the heart down to the corner, so I can cut the yellow stars out of some yellow vinyl I put on the top portion of the mat and the heart out of red vinyl that I put near the bottom of the mat (I should flip them too so I can iron them on properly)(Fig. F). After the yellow stars and red heart have been cut, I can move those groups off the mat and put the pink stars on the mat to have them cut with pink vinyl (Fig. G), again flipping them. Finally, when I’ve cut and weeded all of my vinyl pieces, I can fairly easily put each layer back together by color to reproduce the original design and iron it on to the shirt (Fig. H). Pretty cool, right?
In the example shown below, I’ve got ‘love’ typed out in a cursive font but you can tell that each letter is going to cut individually. If you look closely, you can see where the cut lines of one letter overlaps the next letter (Fig. I) and I really want the letters to be joined together so I can cut this out as one single continuous word. To fix this problem, I will select the word and then go over to the Edit panel on the right and under the Process Overlap section, under the Shapes header, I will click on the Weld symbol which looks like a goldfish cracker – a circle combined with a triangle (Fig. J). When I do that, you can see that the word has now lost the overlapping cut lines on each letter and is now just one continuous word that will cut out as one whole piece instead of four individual letters (Fig. K). You need to do this for any cursive font you use where you want the word to cut as one piece and this is basically a permanent change. Once you weld it, you can’t go back in and change the spelling or edit the text at all.
You can also weld two shapes together (or a shape and some letters) as long as they overlap. If I move the two label shapes below to overlap them (Fig. L) and then weld them, they become one new shape (Fig. M). Again, basically a permanent change. In Brother Canvas, elements have to be overlapping in order to weld them. So, is there any way to Unweld something?
Technically you can Un-weld something by using the Undo arrow (Fig. N). You can Undo several times (there is a limit) in Canvas if you need to and as long as you haven’t saved the design in between when you welded and when you realize you need to unweld. But be aware that if you weld something and then work on a different part of the design only to realize you didn’t want to weld the first object, by clicking the Undo arrow you will have to undo everything you have done since then, one step at time until you get back to where you welded the first object. It’s not the ideal situation but at least you have a way to do it if you absolutely have to. If you are worried that you may need to Un-weld something later, I would either wait until just before sending the design to the machine to weld objects or Duplicate them (Fig. O) before you weld them and put the copy off to the side in case you need to replace a welded item with its un-welded copy later. Then just delete the copy you made when you’re sure you don’t need it.
The Difference Between Group and Weld
Hopefully you now understand the differences between the two tools but let me summarize here:
Group: Combines separate objects into a temporary group; works well for combining elements that you want to move around or resize all together. Also works well for separating objects by color if you are doing a multi-color vinyl project for example so the objects will remain in their original placement by color even if you have to move them on or off the mat when it is time to cut out their color of vinyl (or whatever material). Objects can be easily grouped and ungrouped.
Weld: Basically “welds” objects together into a single new object; best used for script letters that you want to connect together into words or with shapes you want to merge. Objects must overlap to be welded. Pretty difficult to undo (but use the Undo arrow if you absolutely have to).
I hope this helps you Group and Weld when appropriate and you are now confident on how, when and why to use these two tools. If you have any questions, please leave me a comment below and I will get back to you soon.
I would also appreciate any ideas you may have for topics to cover related to the software for Cricut (Design Space), Silhouette (Studio) or Brother (Canvas) and any suggestions you may have on projects to make with the Cricut Maker, Cricut Joy, Silhouette Cameo 4 or the Brother Scan N Cut DX. Please leave any requests you have in the comments. I appreciate you taking the time to visit and read my blog. Thanks!