If you enjoy papercraft and cardmaking with your Cricut or Silhouette you’ve probably wanted to write a message on a card or make a label with a sketch pen. And if you have used the pens for writing, you’ve run into this annoying problem: How do you write text with a pen that appears as a solid line instead of an outline?
When you use Cricut Design Space or Silhouette Studio, the software reads text as an outline of a shape, not a solid character. It’s frustrating if you are trying to replicate cursive or handwriting, because most fonts appear hollow when they’re outlined with a pen or foil tool.
Cricut has a selection of fonts in Design Space that can be written as single line fonts. This means that instead of drawing the outlines of the letters, Cricut Design Space will draw each letter as a single line, the same as if written by hand.
The catch is that these fonts are only available to Cricut Access subscribers. If you don’t have the monthly subscription ($10), the fonts cost $5 to use a la carte.
Silhouette Studio does not directly have an option for paid single line fonts, although you can purchase fonts in the Silhouette Design Store and install them on your computer.
So what are the options for users? In this article, we’ll cover:
Writing Fonts available from Cricut
Cricut Design Space has a selection of over 250 fonts with a single line version specifically to be written with a pen or marker (instead of cut with a blade). You can see the full list by selecting the font option from left-hand menu, and then filter the font results to show just Cricut fonts in the top menu bar. (Tip: uncheck the “Only Kerned Fonts” box to see full selection).
Then, you can filter Cricut fonts to show just the writing fonts. The fonts will appear as a single line or outline on the Design Space Canvas, but there is a variety of typefaces to choose from, including handwriting fonts, novelty fonts and script fonts.
When you select a Cricut writing font, the default line type will be pen, although you can change it to foil without altering the appearance.
As noted above, these fonts are included in Cricut Access subscriptions. For subscribers, these fonts will make it easy to add hand-lettering style fonts for cards, journaling, labels and more.
What are all the Kerned Cricut Writing Fonts (slideshow)?
Here is the full roster of kerned Cricut writing fonts. These fonts are exclusive to Cricut, so searching for them online won’t produce the results you’re looking for. There are many informal script and handwriting fonts, and even a few outline fonts.
The fonts are categorized into “standard style,” “hand printed,” “fancy hand printed,” “handwritten/script,” and “open/novelty” according to general visual style. Click through the slideshow to view each category.
(I chose to list only the kerned fonts. I do not use unkerned fonts in my own designs, because I don’t like having to manually adjust spacing.)
Cricut Sans is a great basic font, and most of the other fonts are very lighthearted and great for casual projects. If you want to be able to just select from Design Space and Make your projects quickly, having Access makes it very easy to choose a writing font that work as you expect it to.
Free Alternatives to Cricut Writing Fonts
If you don’t have or want a Cricut Access subscription or you don’t see what you need from the portfolio above, there are other options to get great results with non-Cricut fonts.
Step 1: Select thin fonts from your own collection or search for them on your favorite font sites.
Step 2: Set the font size fairly small in your design. If it’s an inch tall or less, you should be able to minimize the hollow effect when Design Space outlines your letters.
Step 3: Select a thicker pen or marker to write your text. The wider the tip of your writing tool, the thicker the line, and when your Cricut traces each letter, the thickness of the line will fill in any hollow text.
Our Favorite free Writing Fonts
We’ve done a lot of research on fonts for out Cricut projects, and we’ve come up with a selection of our favorite fonts suitable for writing on a Cricut or Silhouette.
If you are just getting started, you can go to your favorite font site and search for “thin fonts” or “skinny fonts” and see what you get.
I went to Fontspace (my favorite site for free, personal use fonts) and filtered the category to “thin fonts” and there are a lot of really great handwriting, script and serif fonts that look really promising. There are even 200+ fonts available for commercial use!
After downloading the fonts that you want to try, open the zip folders and install the fonts on your computer before opening Cricut Design Space or Silhouette Studio.
Video: How to download and install fonts (Windows & Mac)
How do free “thin” fonts look on a Cricut?
Here is our list of fonts we’ve tested. Our methodology was pretty basic. We used a Cricut fine tip pen to draw each font first, and if it looked great after the first attempt, we considered that a first tier font. If the font showed bubbling, we tried it again with a thicker tip pen, in this case a Crayola fine tip marker. If we got great results after that, we put the font in the second tier.
For these tests, we limited the height of each text block to one inch tall. Where appropriate, we elected to “ungroup” text blocks and “Attach” the letters in order to get Cricut Design Space to read the letters correctly (more on this technique below).
First Tier Writing Fonts
UPDATE: New fonts added to our list – Dec. 2021!
Second Tier Writing Fonts
New fonts added to our list – Dec. 2021
There are a few different tricks you can try to overcome the hollow letter look. As we said above, we switched to a thicker tip pen and got better results. But we do have other methods to get any thin font look better when drawn.
- Try duplicating your text layer, and aligning it exactly over the original layer. Sometimes a second pass over the text will darken the lines enough to fill in the gaps. For really fancy projects, you should consider doing this step as default step. It will give your text weight and depth.
- If a second pass doesn’t work, you can use the offset function in Cricut Design Space to set an offset line inside the text! Highlight your text, click the Offset Icon in the top menu bar and set a negative value. I was working with fairly small type, so I set the value to –0.02″ or –0.015″. Design Space will see this as a separate shape to trace.
- We also had results where Design Space didn’t correctly read a letter and didn’t complete the outline of the text. We go this bit of advice from Leslie Peppers of Single Line Fonts: Ungroup the text, then attach the letters, and you should get a perfect result!
These results show that most regular fine line, thin, or skinny fonts can achieve the “written” look in Cricut using a few easy techniques. But if you are needing perfect results and you can’t fudge the process with one of these budget alternatives, I suggest going with a fool-proof premium font.
Premium single line fonts compatible with Cricut and Silhouette
If you need a perfect font for a special project, like a wedding invitation or an engraving, you can take the anxiety out of trying to make a regular font appear single line by simply purchasing a premium single line font.
The aptly named font studio Single Line Fonts specializes in elegant premium single line fonts for Cricut, Silhouette, Glowforge and other crafting software. They offer a collection of 30 single line fonts in a variety of styles in true type (TTF), open path (OPF) and FontLab Pad format.
The font designer responsible for Single Line Fonts had a word of warning about using these typefaces in Design Space since the last update:
Since the last Cricut update, the software is not playing nicely with single-line fonts. When you click “Make It”, you may see lines disappear. If that happens, right-click on the text, click “Ungroup” and then click “Attach.”Leslie Peppers, SingleLineFonts.com
With those words of warning I made two quick test projects to see how my new fonts performed. Spoiler: I was deeply impressed.
Test Project #1: Recipe card using Pinwheel font
We took a chance on Pinwheel because although I normally don’t go for such ornate or whimsical fonts, my wife loved the curlicues and flourishes on the serifs. I thought it would be really cool to see how this font performed with an extra fine Cricut pen (0.3mm) using a small font size. This is a font that a whimsical forest creature or gnome would love. Adorable.
Check out how well the Cricut is able to write those tiny fractions! An amazing range of characters is included with each SLF font, including Pinwheel.
Test Project #2: Classy Invitation with Art Deco font
I love everything Art Deco, and I knew I wanted to try an invitation with SLF Art Deco. I matched it with a very classy line drawing frame from Cricut Design Space and it turned out to be something I would love to foil.
As you can see from both of these test projects, the writing is absolutely flawless, no gaps, no hollow spaces, no bubbling. I probably won’t be using anything but Single Line Fonts for any special writing or foiling projects in the future.
When I made these projects, I did run into the issues described by Leslie Peppers: several lines and characters were missing from the text of my projects in the preview window. I simply ungrouped each word or line of text, selected each individual letter and then Attached them all.
Before you use one of these fonts, make sure you read the instructions for use, because different font formats provided work with different software platforms.
SLF also offers a collection of single line SVG graphics like monograms, borders, mandalas and flowers for purchase.
Personal license fonts start at just $7, and commercial licenses can be purchased for a very reasonable $20. If you follow Single Line Fonts on Facebook, keep an eye out for discounts and bundles.
Sketch Fonts in Silhouette Studio
If you are a Silhouette user, you are going to have the same font dilemma as a Cricut user. When you add text to your project to sketch, the software’s only operation is to draw an outline of the font.
Silhouette Studio’s fonts are organized differently than fonts in Cricut Design Space. Fonts cannot be filtered by operation (ie. writing/drawing/cutting) and you cant filter by Silhouette fonts vs. system fonts. There don’t seem to be any Silhouette-specific fonts that are single line writing fonts.
What you can do in Silhouette, however, is add an internal offset to your text, creating a second drawing line inside each letter that will instruct the machine to take a second pass inside the line to fill in any hollow spaces!
Simply write the text in the font you want, arrange the spacing and weld the font if it’s a script typeface. Next, choose the “Offset” panel from the right hand menu and select the Internal offset option. The value here will be very small – I set it between 0.015 inches and 0.02 for 72 point sample text. For smaller type (even 36 point), I set the internal offset at 0.005 inches to get the result I wanted.
We hope this article has given you lots of ideas and resources for creating beautiful text projects with your Cricut or Silhouette machine. The three methods we’ve outlined in the article: use special Cricut writing fonts, adding a selection of “thin fonts” to your system fonts or adding a premium single line font to your collection will be enough to give you the superb results you seek.
What are your favorite fonts for writing? Do you have a trick that you use to get better results? We’d love to hear about it.