Print Then Cut Stickers with the Cricut Maker

Print Then Cut Stickers with the Cricut Maker

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People are often intimidated by the phrase “print then cut”. It sounds kind of tricky and difficult. But I am here today to take the fear out of the process and hopefully convince you to give it a try. In today’s project I will show you how to make print then cut stickers with the Cricut Maker including a step by step walk through of the process in Cricut Design Space. The tutorial includes tips on what to look for with images for stickers, how to fix issues before they arise and more!

You may also want to check out my tutorial on Making Stickers with the Cricut Joy

Please check out the video tutorial below or scroll down for instructions with photos:

What Images Can You Make into Stickers with the Cricut Maker?

The great thing about cutting machines with print then cut functions is that you can turn virtually any image file into a sticker. In addition to the standard shapes and words, you can use photos, drawings, clip art, svg files, etc. Anything you can scan, download or save as an image file (or an .SVG) will work; .PNG and .JPG files are the best image types because they are generally the highest resolution.

You will need to Upload any images you want to use from your computer into Cricut Design Space. That process is not covered in today’s tutorial but I will do a post on that soon.

NOTE: The Cricut Maker does not offer an Offset function (discussed below), so in today’s tutorial I will be printing and cutting sticker images without a border.

Print Then Cut Stickers with the Cricut Maker
Click to enlarge

Important Tips for Using Images

There are a couple of things you should know before using images from your computer to make stickers:

Low Resolution Sticker Example
Pixelating image example. Click to enlarge.

Sometimes the image is too small when uploaded into Cricut Design Space and when you resize it, it’s blurry/pixelated.
This happens because the image is not at a high enough resolution to print clearly in a larger size. This can happen if you download an image from the Internet and the image is too small, say under about 500 x 500 pixels (sometimes less, sometimes more). Web resolution is 72 dpi (dots per inch) which is very low resolution; print resolution is 300 dpi (sometimes 600 dpi) which is a lot higher. The way around this is to only download larger (aka higher resolution) images from the Internet. My advice is that they need to be at least 800 – 1000 pixels x the same amount or higher. The higher the better if you plan to print the image.

The image is licensed like a Disney character, a corporate logo (eg Starbucks), or a cute design from an Etsy store or someone’s website.
Cricut Access offers many licensed images fro use in your projects. But, under Cricut’s Angel Policy, you can only use these images to make stickers FOR PERSONAL USE. This is also true 99.9% of the time if you downloaded it from the Internet for free. This means you can make the stickers and put them on home decor, cards, tags, scrapbook pages, etc. that you are going to use yourself or give to others. But, you cannot print stickers using these kinds of images and then sell them. That is a violation of copyright law not to mention, a violation of an artist’s intellectual property rights. Please DO NOT do this. It is a large problem within the craft industry. If you don’t think it’s that big a deal, please check out this great post from an artist in the Netherlands whose craft designs were illegally used. I’ll get off my high horse now…

Matte or Glossy Sticker Paper?

A$ Matte vs Glossy Sticker Paper
Matte vs. Glossy Sticker Paper from Click to enlarge.

The basic essential for making stickers is sticker paper. You will cut your designs out of it but which kind should you use?

Matte Sticker Paper
This can be used for printing images on it like clip art, photos, patterns to be used for print then cut stickers. Or, you can use it to make your own background patterns with things like inks and markers and then use it to cut simple shapes and words into stickers (not print then cut).

The matte finish of the paper has a porous surface so inks and markers can soak into the paper and become permanent. If the paper is thick enough you could use watercolor on it too. But, it does have a flat, matte surface which can be unappealing for some.

Glossy Sticker Paper
This can also  be used for any printed image like clip art, photos, patterns. Similar to photo paper, the sticker paper is coated in a glossy finish that turns the paper into essentially a non-porous surface (not entirely but close).

This kind of sticker paper is difficult to ink or draw on because the glossy surface won’t allow the normal inks used for stamping or writing to soak into the paper and stay put; they will just rub off. You’ll need specialty inks to do this (like Staz On, Archival, Sharpies, etc.) of which some can be pricey and sometimes these inks eventually wear off the paper anyway.

Pick the type of sticker paper that works best for your needs. I am using matte sticker paper for this tutorial (linked below).

In addition to sticker paper, you can also use printable adhesive vinyl to make stickers – usually called decals. You can use permanent adhesive vinyl to stick things to mugs, bottles, plates, etc. or removeable vinyl to add decals to walls, phones, etc.

Open Cricut Design Space and Fix Potential Sticker Cutting Issues

Open a New Project in Cricut Design Space. Upload the images you want to use for the stickers. Add them to the canvas.

If the images are delicate or lacy this can cause a problem when you try to cut them as stickers.

I really wanted to use these gorgeous spring flowers (see below) for my stickers but there are several sections with very thin stems and lacy leaves that will not cut well as stickers without a bit of fixing.

Cricut Design Space: Cutting Problem
Click to enlarge

To correct this problem, I add a shape behind the openings in a contrasting color. For these stickers, I used black circles so I could see the shape behind the flowers. I unlocked the aspect ratio on the circle and resized and reshaped it so it filled in the holes in the leaf shown.

Cricut Design Space: Fill Problem Openings
Click to enlarge

Once I was happy with the placement of the circle behind the leaf, I made sure the circle was selected. I navigated to the Fill box in the Operation box on teh upper tool bar. Clicked on the drop down menu to see the color options and selected white.

Cricut Design Space: Change Fill
Click to enlarge

I then returned to the flower bunch and circle behind it. I clicked and dragged over both items to select them and then went to the bottom of the Layers panel and clicked Flatten.

Cricut Design Space: Flatten
Click to enlarge

Repeat as necessary for all openings and delicate areas on all images.

Flatten vs. Weld in Cricut Design Space

You may be wondering, why do you need to flatten the two items? Why not just Weld them together?

When you use Weld, Cricut Design Space will combine two items together into one item. But, when it does so it is “welding” the item on top into the item on the bottom and when it does so, it basically transfers the properties of the item on the bottom on to the upper item.

So, if I use Weld to combine the flowers and the circle, the two will combine but the flowers will turn plain white because that is the main property of the circle on the bottom.

Cricut Design Space: Using Weld
Click to enlarge

When you use Flatten in Cricut Design Space, you are once again combining two items into one item. But instead of the properties of the top item changing to match the item on the bottom when they become one layer, the two items maintain their separate appearances while combining into one layer.

Cricut Design Space: Flattened Flowers
Click to enlarge

That is why you want to use FLATTEN and NOT WELD in this scenario.

Add a “Border” to the Sentiment in Cricut Design Space

Offset Example
Example of an offset from another program; click to enlarge

My biggest complaint about Cricut Design Space is the lack of an offset function.

If you aren’t familiar with the term, offset is when a software program can take the outline of a shape and then add a slightly larger layer all the way around it to create the appearance of a border.

Because Cricut Design Space doesn’t have this function, there isn’t an easy way to add a border to your sticker images. There is technically a way to do it, but it’s a bit complicated and not for this tutorial.

I want to have a sort of border on my Happy Spring sentiment with something and the easiest solution is to put it on a rectangle that is just a bit larger than the sentiment.

To do this, go to the Shapes icon on the left toolbar and add a square to the canvas. Unlock the aspect ration and resize the square so it is slightly larger than the sentiment. In my case, the sentiment is 1.5″ W x 1.296″ H so I made the box 1.75″ W x 1.5″ H.

Cricut Design Space: Shapes to be Layered
Click to enlarge

Select the sentiment and place it on top of the new rectangle trying to get it in the center. You may need to move the rectangle to the back first but right clicking on it and choosing Send To Back.

Cricut Design Space: Center on Shape
Click to enlarge

Align the Sentiment on its “Border”

Click and drag to select both the sentiment adn the rectangle and navigate to the Align icon on the top tool bar. Click on it and then click on Center at the bottom of the drop down menu.

Cricut Design Space: Align Center
Click to enlarge

If that looks good to you, make sure both items are selected and click on Flatten.

NOTE: My rectangle started off pink so you could see it and I changed it to white before flattening it.

Duplicate Images in Cricut Design Space

Now that your sticker images are ready to go, you may want to make copies of them so you have several stickers of each image.

To do this, click to select the first image. Navigate to Duplicate on the top of the Layers panel on the right and click it as many times as you want copies of each image. Repeat for each sticker image.

Cricut Design Space: Duplicate
Click to enlarge

Once you have all of the copies, you can rearranged them on the canvas so you can see them all, but it’s not absolutely necessary.

Cricut Design Space: Duplicates for Stickers
Click to enlarge

Print Then Cut Limitation in Cricut Design Space & How to Ignore It

Cricut Design Space will not allow you to print then cut any images or groups of images that are larger than 6.75″ W x 9.25″ H.

If you try to Attach your duplicate images in a row for example that is larger than 6.75″ W and then click Make It, the program will give you an error message.

My way around this is to make the number of copies I want for each image (previous step) and then just leave them as is on the canvas and click Make It in the upper right.

Cricut Design Space has been programmed to use letter-sized paper (8.5″ x 11″) for Print Then Cut projects. When you click Make It, the program places all of the images on to a mat within the 8.5″ x 11″ constraint but it will often do so in a way that is outside the 6.75″ x 9.25″ limit.

Cricut Design Space: Print Then Cut mat
click to enlarge

Just remember that you obviously can’t use any images that are larger than 9.25″ because the software needs to be able to add a black box (aka the registration marks) around your images. You need the black box so the Maker will know where to cut the printed images.

Printer Settings for Great Print Then Cut Sticker Results

If everything looks good on the mat, click Continue in the lower right.

The. next screen will show the steps and tools needed for the project. The first step is to click on the green Send to Printer box.

This will open the Print Setup Box. Navigate to the Add Bleed line and switch it On (if it’s not already).

Print Then Cut Printer Settings: Add Bleed
Click to enlarge

Now navigate just below that to the Use System Dialogue line and switch that On too.

Print Then Cut Printer Settings: Use System Dialog
Click to enlarge

The system dialogue box for your printer will appear. You need to find the advanced settings and it’s different on every printer. I get to mine by clicking the Preferences box.

Print Then Cut Stickers with the Cricut Maker: Use System Dialog
Click to enlarge

On the Preferences tab, I change my Print Quality from Standard to High. If you are printing on glossy sticker paper, I suggest you also change your paper type to glossy photo paper. I am using matte sticker paper, so I leave my paper type as Plain Paper.

Print Then Cut Stickers with the Cricut Maker: High Print Quality
Click to enlarge

Once those settings are changed, click Apply or Okay (depends on printer) and then Print to print the stickers.

Set Base Material in Cricut Design Space

While the stickers print, go to Step 2 in Cricut Design Space. Click on the green Browse All Materials link to the right.

Cricut Design Space: Browse All Materials
Click to enlarge

A long list of materials will appear. For the matte sticker paper I am using, I scroll all the way down to the bottom and select Washi Sheet. You may need to make a different selection or create your own material by clicking Material Settings (green link at bottom of list). Scroll to the bottom of that list and click on Add New Material. See my Making Stickers with the Cricut Joy video for detailed instructions on adding your own material.

Print Then Cut Stickers with the Cricut Maker: Washi Sheet Setting
Click to enalrge

Load the Mat into the Cricut Maker

Once your images are printed, press them down in the upper left corner of a Standard Grip Mat. Check that the Fine Point Blade is loaded in the B holder of your Cricut Maker’s carriage (change to it, if not). Place the loaded mat into the feeder slots, press it up against the star wheel and press the load mat button (it will be flashing, looks like an arrow).

Print Then Cut Stickers with the Cricut Maker: Load Mat
Click to enlarge

Cut the Stickers with Your Cricut Maker

After a moment the Cricut logo button will begin to flash letting you know the machine is ready to cut. Press the button and the machine will first begin the cutting process by reading the registration marks on the print out.

Print Then Cut Stickers with the Cricut Maker: Reading Registration Box
Reading the registration lines; click to enlarge

A light will come on under the carriage as it scans across each of the sides of the printed black box so the optical lens can read the placement of the lines. Once done scanning, it will begin cutting the designs.

Print Then Cut Stickers with the Cricut Maker: Cutting
Cutting the stickers; click to enlarge

Unload & Weed the Print Then Cut Stickers

When the machine stops cutting it will push the mat forward to be unloaded. Click the same button to unload the mat as you did to load it in.

NOTE: If desired, check the cut BEFORE unloading the mat and if necessary click the Cricut logo button again to have the Maker cut the stickers again.

Flip the mat over and carefully remove the sticker paper from the mat by peeling the mat away from the paper while keeping the paper as flat as possible.

Print Then Cut Stickers with the Cricut Maker: Remove from Mat
Click to enlarge

Like weeding vinyl, remove the excess sticker paper from around the now-cut stickers by carefully peeling it away from the backing paper. The goal is to have your stickers remain on the backing paper while removing the excess sticker paper from around them.

Print Then Cut Stickers with the Cricut Maker: Weeding
Click to enlarge

Check Out Your New Print Then Cut Stickers

The flower images I used were a bit fussy to weed because of the many detailed leaves and flower edges. But, it was worth it!

Print Then Cut Stickers with the Cricut Maker
Click to enlarge

Ways to Use Your Print Then Cut Stickers

I used my new print then cut stickers to make a card. It was really fast and easy!

Print Then Cut Stickers with the Cricut Maker: Card
Click to enlarge

You could also use your new stickers on a scrapbook page, give to your kids for fun, add to a notebook or planner. There are many possibilities. Have fun and enjoy them!!

Questions or Comments?

If you have any questions, please leave me a comment below and I will get back to you soon. Want to just tell me how much you loved this tutorial? Please leave me a comment below – lol!


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 Workspace) and any suggestions you may have on projects to create 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!


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