Back in the "olden days," we used to have to use scissors to cut our images, stickers, and other creative designs. However, they're admittedly not the easiest nor the most accurate to use.
You can now choose to use the Cricut for perfect edges, no hand cramps, and unmatchable precision. If you're looking for a step-by-step guide to show you exactly how to use it for all your design needs, then you're in the right place!
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Cricut Print and Cut: What You Need to Know
First things first, what is a Cricut print and cut? This feature lets you print your designs and cut around them in the exact size you need them to be.
You'll start by printing your design on your home printer, just as you normally would. After this, though, you'll place the paper on the Cricut cutting mat and feed it into the machine. The Cricut will then scan it and cut perfectly around the image.
To edit, place, and resize your images, you'll need the machine's easy-to-use software, called 'Design Space.' Does Design Space always come with the Cricut machines? Yes! Is it for free? Also, yes! You can use it on your computer, tablet, or smartphone, so there's a lot of application versatility.
Let's take a look at both types of Cricut machines, so you have a better idea of which will work best for you.
Cricut Explore Family Machines
If you're just going to be printing on white paper, then you will probably be best-suited to the Cricut Explore Family Machine. This model doesn't work with colors other than white, as well as reflective material. This means your white paper should be matte.
This potent model comes with a stronger sensor, which means you can use all kinds of colored paper – even with a reflective finish! However, it doesn't perform as well with particularly dark colors or more paper with elaborate patterns.
Cricut Print and Cut Materials
Another reason why we love the Cricut is because it works with much more than just regular paper! Let's look at some other materials it works well with.
Papers and Cardstock
If you love making holiday or birthday cards, then your world of possibilities just grew exponentially! Cricuts can slice right through cardstock, leaving a clean slice that will give your crafts an even more professional look.
This fabric works essentially just like paper, except its fabric! Create pillowcases, patches, and much more! No more rough edges or incorrect prints.
Don't let anyone tell you differently; everyone loves magnets! Now, you can make your own with printable magnets. These work as excellent gifts or additions in a goodie bag.
Printable Stickers and Vinyls
Last but not least, you can even make your own stickers and vinyls! If you have your own business, this is absolutely invaluable to your promotion. Give some to your friends and neighbors – no one lets a good sticker go to waste.
Mix and match the mediums for unlimited possibilities! There are people out there making clothing, chore charts, jewelry, and much more with theirs!
Two Types of Printable Images
Now, let's not get ahead of ourselves. While the Cricut definitely opens up our options, it can't print and cut everything. In fact, it works with just 2 types of images.
These are made with solid colors. If yours has more than 1 layer, the various layers are each displayed individually in the "Layers" panel. Each one comes with its own scissor, pen, and scoring tool icons, so you can cut, write, or score each on its own.
These are a little bit different, as they're made with decorative patterns instead of solid colors. Once they appear on the design screen, they're already ready to "print and cut." They appear in the "Layers" panel as one single layer rather than various, coming with a printer icon. This means it will be printed on your regular home computer, then cut after on the Cricut.
How to Make Images Printable
Let's walk through how to actually get images ready for print, so you have the best results possible.
Using the Flatten Tool
Using the flatten tool will take a multi-layer project and "flatten" it down into just a single layer. Once you've done this, it's almost ready to be printed out on your home printer.
Every image is provided with a "bleed" automatically. What is a bleed? It's a tiny border around the image, which helps create more accurate cuts. We personally suggest always keeping the bleed on; you can always turn it off should you choose for any reason. The only reason you'd typically turn off the bleed is if having it on is making the image look fuzzy or inaccurate – just remember that the border is going to be cut off anyway.
Maximum Image Sizes for Print Then Cut
As you may imagine, there are limits in how big you can print your image. The max image size for Print Then Cut is 9.25" x 6.75", and your default material is 8.5" x 11".
Using White Materials for Print Then Cut
Your materials are just as important as the image itself when it comes to Print Then Cut. Remember, if your materials are reflective, very dark, or have a pattern, it could cause sensor scanning issues to properly cut your image.
Correct Placement of Materials on Cutting Mat
Make sure you're placing your printable material of choice in the upper left-hand corner of your cutting mat, right along the top left edge of the adhesive on said mat. It should be straight and free of bumps or wrinkles to make sure the sensor detects your image correctly.
How to Find Printable Images
First, select "Images" on the left-hand side of the design screen or hit the "Image" button on the lower left corner of your app. Here, you can browse and select images.
You also have the option of looking through Categories or Cartridges to find hundreds of images/image sets. For your own, you'll likely want to convert your JPEG images to Cricut's SVG.
Choose an upload option, hitting "Convert Image to the SVG Format" and click "Start Conversion." Now, your file is converted to SVG.
Print Then Cut: Step-by-Step Cricut Guide
- 1First, upload the Print and Cut file to Design Space. If they're PNG or JPGs then you're ok but if it's SVG make sure you flatten it first.
- 2Click "Upload" and select your file. Once uploaded, insert the image into the product. This will make a new project.
- 3Make sure to resize the image to the desired size. Remember that the max size is 9.25" x 6.75". Rotate them to your liking, as well. If you need it to be bigger than this, simply split the file and print them one at a time, resizing accordingly.
- 4Send to printer.
- 5Once printed, cut it by following your prompts. Place on the cutting mat and load into the machine, selecting the appropriate material. The machine will automatically scan it and cut along the lines indicated.
How to Print Then Cut on Printable Vinyl
- 1Once your design is finished, load up the printable vinyl into your home printer. Print on the matte, empty side.
- 2Follow the prompts in Design Space to send it to print. Make sure the ink is dry before cutting.
- 3Keep the top corner of your vinyl with the liner down to the upper left corner of the machine mat, loading it into the machine.
- 4Select "Browse All Materials," selecting Printable Vinyl. If you have a Cricut Explore, turn the dial to Custom, Browse Materials, then select Printable Vinyl.
- 5Press the flashing "Go" button.
- 6Peel vinyl from the liner, applying manually.
How to Print Then Cut Stickers on Cricut
First, you'll need printable clear sticker paper.
- 1Choose your background shape (basically any shape at all). Do this by going to "Shapes" and selecting the one you'd like.
- 2Change your color to "white."
- 3Size your sticker, entering in the size of your choice and hitting "enter."
- 4Select your image.
- 5Click the one you like and hit "Insert Images."
- 6Insert any text if you'd like.
- 7Select only the images and text. Do this by holding the shift key and selecting the layers in the "Layers" panel. After this, click "Group."
- 8Select all layers, clicking "Align" then "Center." Once this is done, click "Flatten."
- 9After flattened, click "Make It" as it's now ready to print.
- 10Print Then Cut.
People Also Ask (FAQs)
What is the difference between Print Then Cut and Cut Image Cricut?
Print Then Cut is where an image is printed on your home computer, then placed on the Cricut cutting mat and placed into the machine, where the machine will perfectly cut the image for you.
Cut Image lets you make objects with more intricacy as you'll layer them. Each shade of an image is cut on a separate layer, where you then stack them together to create the finished product. This allows for a bit more versatility in design, material combinations, etc.
What are some common issues when Cricut print then cut?
Failure to detect sensor marks is a big one. These marks are the black line around your image, and if the machine can't detect it, you'll get a "Failure to Detect" error message.
Here are some steps to fix that: 1. Make sure the mark is completely filled, or do so with a black marker if it's not. 2. Print the image on white/very light paper and make sure it's matte. 3. Try turning off lights in the room or use a flashlight over the scanning light. 4. Close the machine's lid.
Another common one is the Cricut cut line being offset from the image. To fix the issue, go into the Cricut Design Space, clicking on the 3 lines in the top left-hand corner of your canvas. Click "calibration" and follow the directions they provide.
If your designs look particularly thick/bold, then it may because your bleed was kept on while printing. While it oftentimes helps, there are some occasions where it could feather out color from your image.
What is the best printable material iron on vinyl?
The Permanent Adhesive Backed Vinyl Sheets by PrimeCuts is an excellent choice, along with the Fame Crafts Heat Transfer Vinyl.
What temperature should my Cricut Easy Press be set at?
It should be set at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Now that you know just about everything you should about the basics of the Cricut, are you ready to take on some new arts and crafts with more ease than ever before? We hope that our guide has been able to help you out. It's a machine that's revolutionary and will be sure to help you, whether you're doing it for creative or business purposes.
Holly Curell is a US-based freelance writer & editor extraordinaire. With over a decade of writing technical manuals, blog articles, & even company communications, Holly has a passion for providing value to readers on everything she knows about tech-related topics. When she’s not writing, Holly enjoys reading, hiking, wine, & wandering the aisles of Trader Joe’s. Holly is currently based out of North Carolina, where she lives with her husband Ken & their three children.