Which do I choose? Part 2: SCAL

Today I’m going to tell you about Sure Cuts A Lot or SCAL for short.

If you’ve played around with Design Studio (and I recommend that you do, see yesterday’s post), SCAL will be much easier to understand.

SCAL is a program similar to Design Studio but different in some ways. For one thing it’s not made by Provo Craft (at least that’s what they say), it’s made by a third party. This is important to know because at any time Cricut can do a firmware update that makes this program useless and any money and time spend rendered lost. Just because this hasn’t happened yet doesn’t mean it can’t, so proceed with caution!


If this is the case why not use Design Studio you ask? Well lots of reasons, the best one being, you don’t need cartridges to use it.  And although it can be intimidating at first, I think it’s much easier to use.

It’s mostly used for fonts and can cut all True Type fonts on your computer, plus there are thousands of free ones available. If you are only going to use it for fonts, you’ll find that it is pretty easy to use.


It does not cut the images from the Cricut cartridges, however with a free program called Inkscape you can import the images from Cricut Design Studio and cut them with SCAL, so essentially you never have to buy another cartridge (you do need at least one to put in your Cricut machine while it cuts, but it doesn’t matter which one) and there are plenty of people out there who use SCAL and never mess with cartridges.  And like Design Studio files there are lots of free files out there, as well as more detailed ones for a price. It’s not as easy as popping a cartridge in your Cricut and pressing cut, so if you take this route you are going to find yourself extremely frustrated if you are not a computer person.


  • You no longer need cartridges, so it definitely can save you money over time.
  • If you do a lot of fonts I’d say it’s more user friendly than Design Studio once you’ve mastered the interface and learn how it works.
  • There is a free trial version which you can cut anything on, however it will cut lines into your pieces until you pay for the software.
  • There is a Mac version.


  • This is third party software not made by Cricut or Provo Craft so there is essentially some risk that Cricut could come up with an update rendering this software useless with their machine or at the very least it could void your warranty. I think this is a small risk but each person should evaluate their own individual risk before using or purchasing this software. I’m not positive but I believe Cricut has tried to do this before and the developer just updated the software again. I don’t think it’s happened in a while, but it’s always a possibility.
  • Because it’s not made by Cricut, you won’t find it on the number one Cricut resource: the cricut.com message board. Sure you might find snippets here and there but unlike Design Studio there is not a SCAL section where users can automatically go to find information. There’s info out there, you just have to do a little more research if you have a problem or question.
  • While it has been updated, the developer has charged for updates in the past.

Bottom line? I personally love SCAL, and although I also use Design Studio pretty extensively I could definitely switch to using SCAL only if I had to. A lot of people have stayed away from it either because they don’t like the idea of having to rely on a computer exclusively or they simply don’t like they risks involved. If you do a lot of fonts for layouts and don’t want to spend a fortune on all the font carts, this is easy to use and is a nice balance between buying a few carts and still saving money. The choice is really up to you and whether the risks are worth the reward to you.

Tune in tomorrow for the newest software for your Cricut, Make the Cut.

Until then, if you can think it… you can Cri-cut!

6 Responses

  1. lil5firecracker5 Says:

    How do you load the images from DS into inkscape? This would be great if I could do it.

  2. Crazy about Cricut Says:

    Open DS and choose the image, make it as large as possible. You’ll need to save a screen shot (using the printscreen button) and I just save it to my desktop. You can crop all but the image. Then just go to inkscape and open up the file.

  3. cvansyckle Says:

    I totally think it’s worth it! I love being able to get free images. I still buy cartridges, but I love having more choices! And svgcuts.com has a ton of video tutorials that show how to use Sure Cuts A Lot and that helps a lot. Not affiliated, just like their site!

  4. lil5firecracker5 Says:

    How do you save a printscreen to the desktop? I have only ever been able to paste it into a word doc… Sorry if I am sounding blonde.

  5. Crazy about Cricut Says:

    Sorry, I guess I skipped a step. Printscreen is like copying your whole screenshot. Then you can paste it into a program like paint (which is standard on windows) and then you can save it.

  6. papanwa Says:

    So I have a silly question…I love using my cricut to cut words, so SCAL seems perfect. The problem is, I have many cartridges. So I was wondering if I used SCAL, if I could also use my cartridges normally (normal being that I put it in the cricut and press cut)? Help please? Thanks!

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