Today I am going over how to use the Weld, Group & Attach functions in Cricut Design Space. 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 may also want to know how to un-weld, ungroup and detach (aka un-attach) 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:
Group vs. Weld
In Fig. A below, I’ve got love typed out in a scripty font but each letter is separated from the next and I really want the letters to be joined together so I can cut it out as one single continuous word. You can also tell the letters are individual objects because over on the Layers panel (Fig. B), each letter has its own layer that will Cut as you can see next to the letter on the layer line. So, if I rearrange the letters to bring them together, that looks good but if I try to move the word by clicking on it randomly, it doesn’t stay together as one word but pulls apart into individual letters. So, what happens if we Group them together?
You can Group items by either clicking and dragging to select all of them and then right-clicking and hitting Group (Fig. C). Or, you can Group by again selecting all of the items and then navigating to the right and to the top of the Layers panel and clicking on the Group icon there (Fig. D). Now, I can move the entire word around as one unit and resize it all at one time if I need to. Pretty cool, right? But, If you look over at the layers panel, each letter is still on its own layer. And even though they are grouped (Fig. D), each object that is a part of the group is still seen as an individual object by the Design Space program.
A really good way to see this is if I change the line type to Draw and you can see the word turn to an outline since that is how your Cricut machine would draw it. Now you can see there are these overlapping lines where each of the letters intersect because they are still separate from each other (Fig. E). To fix that I’m going to Weld them together. With the word selected, I navigate down to the bottom of the Layers panel on the right side of the screen to the Weld icon and click on it. Instantly, the word is welded together. The overlapping lines disappear and the word is all connected as one object (Fig. F). You can also see that over on the Layers panel that the separate layers for each letter are gone and now there is just one layer for the word Love. That is how you know you have successfully welded an object together. And, normally this is how you use Weld – to connect individual elements that look connected and you want connected (like script letters) but on examination of the layers panel and the letters themselves, you see that they are not.
Group will allow you to combine objects together like you would people in a group posing for a photo. They have come together as a group, but you can still move individuals around to get a better arrangement for the shot. That is the same with objects, letters, etc. in Design Space. The program sees Grouped objects as being placed together so you can move them around as a group or resize them as a group, but ultimately they are still individual objects and will be cut, drawn, scored, foiled, or whatever you plan to do with them as separate and individual objects. Weld on the other hand will permanently combine objects together, much like a welder welds metal pieces together. After welding, the objects are no longer separate elements but have been combined into one object, like the letters became a single word.
You can easily Ungroup objects by either right-clicking the Group and choosing Ungroup or by going to Ungroup at the top of the Layers panel (Fig. G) but the only way to Unweld is to use the Undo arrow in the upper left corner (Fig. H). You click the Undo arrow many, many times if you need to, 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, hey, at least you have a way to do it if you absolutely have to. My advice is if you are worried that you may need to Unweld something later, would be to Duplicate the objects you want to weld before you weld them. Duplicate is also on at the top of the Layers panel (next to UnGroup) or you can right-click on an object to Duplicate it too. That way you have an un-welded backup if you need it. You can always delete the copy you made later when you’re sure you don’t need it.
How and When to use Attach
There are a couple of ways you can use Attach. For the first example, I’ve got a circle with a smaller heart positioned on top of it (Fig. I). As you can see on the Layers panel, the circle is set to Cut and the Heart is set to foil; each on its own layer (Fig. J). Just by looking at it, it seems pretty obvious that I want the heart to be foiled on top of the circle but right now, the software doesn’t know that. Over on the Layers panel, the circle and the heart are separate layers, just like the letters in Love were before we welded them. So when I go to Make It (button in the upper right), Design Space is going to have the heart being drawn on its own mat and the circle being cut on a different one because it thinks these are two different and completely separate objects to be made. It doesn’t care at all how they are laid out on the Canvas until you attach them together.
To Attach them, I click and drag to select both the heart and the circle and then navigate down to the bottom of the Layers panel, next to Weld is the icon for Attach – it looks like a paperclip (Fig. K). I click on that and you can now see on the layers panel that the heart and circle are subdivided together under an Attach layer, kind of like a Group (Fig. L). But instead of being individual objects that you can move around or resize like a Group that nonetheless remain separate objects, Design Space now understands that the heart and the circle are attached to each other and are essentially now one object with two layers that needs to be made in two steps – foiling and then cutting. It’s kind of like gluing things together to create a new something. The two objects are still kind of separate (you can see the different layers; they haven’t been totally morphed together like objects are when you Weld them) but the glue (the attachment device) is used to keep them together.
So you may be thinking, why not use Weld to put them together? It worked for the letters in love, why not do the same thing with the heart and the circle? Well, if you use Weld instead what will happen is the heart will completely disappear because essentially, the heart has been absorbed into the circle to make them one object – they are welded together. Instead of being attached or in a way, glued together, by welding they have now become one object so the heart has been morphed or welded into the circle. Instead of becoming one object with two layers, welding makes one object that has completely combined the two original objects into one and since the heart is smaller than the circle, it is simply dissolved into the circle. Confused yet?
Another way to use Attach is when you want a group of objects, like the letters in January (Fig. M) or a bunch of leaves, to be cut, drawn, foiled, etc. in the same arrangement that you have them in on the Canvas. Let’s say I want January to be cut exactly as it is laid out in the photo because I am going to use is as a vinyl stencil on a wood sign to paint over. Using Group isn’t going to do that because when you Group objects, Design Space (as I mentioned earlier) still thinks they are separate individual objects. When I click on Make It and go to the Mat screen, the various elements from the Canvas have been split into different colored mats based on their colors, and if I zoom in on the mat for January, the letters are all pulled apart and laid out going from largest to smallest because the software is attempting to be economical with material in its mat layouts and arranging individual objects in a way that accommodates that; in this case rearranging the letters in January from largest to smallest (Fig. N). To prevent this, the answer is to Attach the letters in January to each other. If I do that and then go back to the mats screen (first screen after clicking Make It), you can now see that January is laid out on its mat exactly as it was on the canvas (Fig. O)
The Difference Between Group, Weld and Attach
I’ve already tried to point out the differences between the three tools as I’ve gone along 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; when you go to Make It the objects remain separate and Design Space will cut, draw, foil, etc. them as individual objects. 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. Pretty difficult to undo (but use the Undo arrow if you absolutely have to).
Attach: Adheres two or more objects together to make a new multi-step object; when making it, attached objects will be cut, drawn, foiled, etc. exactly as shown on the Canvas. Should be used with objects that require different types of tasks to be performed when it is “made” like drawing an object on paper and then cutting that paper into a shape with the drawing on it; or it can be used to cut, draw, foil, etc. letters in a word or objects in a grouping exactly as you have them on the Canvas when you “make it”.
I hope this helps you Group, Weld and Attach better and you are now confident on how, when and why to use each. 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!