I’m not gonna lie; the whole concept of printing and cutting with your Cricut machine can be super confusing initially. I had my Cricut for three years before I ever tried Print then Cut, but I really regret that I didn’t try it sooner. It’s now one of my absolute favorite things to do with my Cricut cutting machine, and so much easier than I knew. Making stickers with my Cricut is one of my all time favorite things to do. So I wrote this post to answer your questions about using Print then Cut and give you the confidence to hit print!
Table of Contents
About Print then Cut
Before we dive into the wonderful world of Print then Cut and all the cool new features you may be wondering just what Cricut Print then Cut is.
What is Print then Cut for Cricut?
Print then Cut is a feature of Cricut Design Space where you use your home printer in tandem with your Cricut machine to print an image and then cut it out. Print then Cut is Cricut’s proprietary name for print and cut.
Is Print then Cut Available for All Cricut Machines?
Print then Cut is available for the Cricut Explore Air, Explore 3, Cricut Maker 3, and the Cricut Maker.
The Cricut Joy is only Draw and Cut. You cannot use Print then Cut with the Joy.
And unfortunately, Print then Cut is not available for Android, but it is available for iOS mobile- but only if your printer has AirPrint capabilities.
How do I Print then Cut in Cricut Design Space?
It’s WAY more simple to print then cut than you may think! And to make it even simpler, I have a quick start guide below. But basically, you save an image as a prin then cut, then upload it into a canvas, size it, and then send it to your printer. Once printed, you can cut it with your Cricut cutting machine.
Why do I have to Use the Print then Cut Feature to Print and Cut with my Cricut?
The reason you have to do the print and the cut through Cricut Design Space is that when you do, Cricut adds the registration box that it uses to sense where to cut. If you try to print out your project without going through Cricut’s image process then your printer will not know where to cut.
There are hacks that bypass print and cut that combine an SVG image with your printed design, but these do not use the Cricut’s sensor for easy alignment. It works, but it’s not as easy and it is not your printer and Cricut working together.
What's New + Tips for Design Space
Linetype is Now Operations
If you are using the default canvas when you start a project, you will use the new canvas that Cricut introduced in early 2021. One of the significant changes to this change is that Linetype is now called Operation, and your options have changed. This is actually a little more streamlined than previously as it simplifies some of the linetypes and places them all within three categories- Cut/Draw/and Print then Cut.
Select to Save
With one of the latest Cricut updates, there is no longer a default to Save as a Cut Image. You do have to click on either Save as a Print then Cut or Save as a Cut in order to continue to the next page. AND if you’re in the habit of skipping the tags or you don’t title your image on this page make sure you do that because…
Uploaded Images are Now Searchable!
This is a really nice new feature that will save you time scrolling through pages and pages of uploaded images to get to LAST year’s Christmas designs. Just search by any keywords or title words that you may have used.
Always Check Your Mat Before You Unload
You CAN do multiple passes with a Cricut if you do not unload your mat. When a cut has finished, just check the cut to see that you’re happy with the cut. If you are not, you can go ahead and push the C (Go) button on your machine, and it will repeat the action (the cut).
Introducing Offset to Make Print then Cut Designs
Another new feature for 2021 that will rock your Print then Cut world is the Offset Tool.
This feature is still in Beta and is only available if you have “new canvas” turned on. It will not show up as an option if you have toggled on “classic canvas” under settings.
You’ll find Settings under your profile in Cricut Design Space.
The Offset feature will make adding outlines (borders) to your images for either layered designs or stickers easy. It still has some limitations as it is still in Beta, only available for Cricut Design Space for Desktop, and is only available on Windows 10 and higher and Mac OS 10.15 version and higher.
Choose from Internal or External Offset for Two Different Effects
Step-by-Step How to Use Offset in Cricut Design Space
Quick Start Guide for Print then Cut with a Cricut
This step-by-step quick start tutorial for beginners (below) makes it easy to know what to do!
- Many png designs already have their background removed.
Troubleshooting Print then Cut
Although print then cut is AMAZING, it can also be frustrating when it doesn’t work right. Here is some common Print then Cut problems and suggestions for solving them.
My Cut is Off or Wonky
Your machine may need calibrating, or the Cricut may not be able to read the Sensor Box.
Cricut Can't Read the Sensor Box
The Sensor box (registration box) is a black rectangle that’s automatically printed around your print then cut project when you send it to the printer. This black box is read by the sensor near carriage A on your Cricut so that Cricut will be able to tell where your designs are and cut them out. Your Cricut will often not be able to “read” that sensor box and will either not cut at all or cut incorrectly. You may also see an error banner pop up on your page. I have some hacks for how to fix this in the next section.
The Paper Project Sticks to the Mat and Tears when Removed
The best way to avoid this is to use a Light Grip Cutting Mat for your paper projects or a Standard Cutting Mat that’s lost some of its stickiness.
You could also try using a spatula to lift the paper off the cutting mat if it is tearing when you try to move it.
There is a Warning Sign Next to the Print then Cut Layer
This means that your image is too large for Cricut’s Print then Cut feature. The maximum size for Print then Cut is 6.75″ w. x 9.25″ h. and defaults to letter-size paper (8.5″ h. x 11″ w.).
Note: Cricut warns against using any color of paper but white with any machine in the Cricut Explore family. The Cricut Maker can handle a broader range of papers.
The Material Setting Doesn't Work
I recommend the Premium Vinyl setting as the best setting for most sticker papers when you want to make kiss-cut sticker sheets. But if you’re still having trouble with your Cricut cutting through your sticker paper (or NOT cutting enough), try changing your material setting to Sticky Note, or Washi Tape. For intricate cuts try the Washi Tape material setting.
Note: The Cricut Sticker Paper setting will NOT work well for most stickers because it is calibrated for the Cricut brand sticker paper which is cardstock weight.
One smart thing to do is to always check your cut BEFORE you unload. This way you can hit “go” again to repeat the cut and not waste your print.
There isn't a Good Material Setting for the Project
You can create your own Custom Material Setting for your paper! I show you how in my post, How to Make Glitter Stickers with the Cricut Mobile App. Just name it the type of paper you’re using and you’ll always know what setting to use.
The Paper Curls When Removed from Mat
There’s a GREAT trick to avoid this. Just flip your mat over after your cut and peel the mat back and away from your paper. So curl the mat- not the paper!
It Didn't Cut a White Border Around My Images
This may happen if you did not upload sticker designs with a white outline and a clear background, or if you are making your own stickers in Design Space and either didn’t put a cut shape behind your image, or didn’t use the offset to create a cut border. If you use either method, remember to Select both the outline shape and the image and Flatten them.
For more on using the Offset feature in Design Space check out my Beginner’s Guide to Print then Cut.
To remove the background from an image click on the background in the Image Upload Process. Then , use the other clean-up tools to remove the rest of the background. This is important if you uploaded a jpeg for a logo for instance. You will still have to use one of the methods above to add the white outline if you want that look.
This post contains affiliate links for Amazon and Cricut. I make a small commission when you purchase through these links- but it doesn’t cost you anything extra. Win!
Some Reasons Your Cricut Can't Sense the Registration Box...
There could be several reasons you get that dreaded Error Banner when you try to cut your print. Often the paper is too glossy, there is some glare, or your printer’s black ink is running low. Here are a couple of quick hacks that could get you back on track.
- Put Matte Transparent Tape Over the Registration Lines (or just a small piece over the sensor)
- Use a Black Sharpie and a Ruler to Go Over the Registration Lines
- Try Adding Light to the Sensor with Your Phone’s Flashlight
17 Print then Cut Project Ideas
If you’re wondering what you can make with the Print then Cut Feature, I have a list of 17 popular print then cut project ideas to get your mind started envisioning the possibilities.
Many projects in these categories are available in Cricut Access, and you can also find Print then Cut designs in my Free Resource Library.
Frequently Asked Questions About Print then Cut
What Files Types can I Upload into Cricut Design Space?
You can upload .dxf, .svg, .png, .gif, .bmp, and .jpeg images into Design Space. Any of these images can be print then cut images if you either flatten them (see below) or change the Operation. Common image file extensions are .png and .jpeg. If you are using a design that does not have its background already deleted you can remove it on the image processing clean-up page in Cricut Design Space with the magic wand tool. Just point and click on what you’d like to remove. You could also use an app like Magic Eraser, or websites like remove.bg.com or cutecutter.com.
What Should I Choose for the Image Type?
I almost always recommend you upload your photo or multi-colored images as Complex. If you are uploading a black and white image that is an EXTREMELY simple shape then you can choose Simple or Moderate. But there is no penalty if you choose Complex when you could have chosen Simple.
This whole part of the upload process is a little bit of a mystery on Cricut’s end and I would love to know what they’re doing to our image as they upload it!
Why Would Print then Cut Not Show Up Under Operation?
If you set your Machine Choice to Joy (at the top of your webpage), you will only find Draw and Cut designs when you click Images on the left-side toolbar on your canvas.
Where Can I Find Images to Upload Outside of Cricut Design Space?
Many bloggers (like me!) offer free design downloads so that you can follow along with their tutorials or as an incentive to sign up to their email lists. You can also search copyright-free sites like Pixabay.com for free .png or .jpeg photos for use!
If you don’t find what you like for free, try looking at Etsy, Creative Market, Design Bundles, or other design resource marketplaces.
Using Cricut Access for Print then Cut Designs
Many of the images in Design Space are free to Cricut Access members. This is a monthly subscription of $9.99 that gives you 1000’s of designs, projects, fonts, and images that you can use to create with your Cricut. For a FREE one-month trial to Cricut Access click here.
Where Do I Find Print then Cut IMAGES in Cricut Design Space?
If you check the Images icon on the left-side toolbar of your canvas you’ll be able to search by Operation type. Choose Print then Cut and you’ll see the filtered images that can be used with print then cut.
Where Do I Find Print then Cut PROJECTS in Cricut Design Space?
An easy way to locate Print then Cut projects is to go to the Projects icon on the left-side toolbar and in the search type in “Printables”. This will give you search results that are almost all Print then Cut Projects.
Why Did My Project Print with a Black Box Around it?
This is that Sensor (or registration box) that I mentioned above. It is what the Cricut’s sensor will use to determine where to cut on your printed design.
Can I Print in the Middle of the Paper Instead of the Upper Left Corner?
Yes! One neat trick for placement is that on the Mat Preview Page you can click and drag the black box to the center of the paper. This way if you want your image centered on your paper, or you want to avoid the registration marks in the corners of the Silhouette Paper you can.
Is It Possible to Do Full-Page Print then Cut with a Cricut?
Cricut’s limit is 6.75″ w. x 9.25″ h. for Print then Cut. However, there are a few workarounds. For instance, if you print your image as a PDF and create a cut design (or upload an SVG) that matches the placement on your PDF then you can do a print and cut. BUT this is NOT a traditional Print then Cut as you won’t be going through Cricut to do the print part. I demo this method in my post, How to Make DIY Advent Cards to Cut with a Cricut if you’d like a visual on how this PDF/SVG combination works.
Why Did My Stickers Print with Random Colors Around Them?
This is most commonly because you did not toggle off the bleed before you printed. Just toggle off the bleed and try again!
What is System Dialog?
This option allows you to use the native print options for your specific home printer. I will always toggle on System Dialog because I want the option to choose the rear-feed tray for my Cricut Projects. If you would like to change the quality of your print you can usually do that through your System Dialog as well. Be aware that when you use system dialog the box opens behind your browser so you will have to minimize your window in order to see the printer settings.
What is the Flatten Tool?
This allows you to take any image and make it a print then cut image. You can also take multiple images and layer them and flatten to create one image. I use flatten to add text to my photos in my post, How to Make Engraved Photo Cards with a Cricut.
What is Cricut Access?
Cricut Access is a subscription library of Cricut projects, images, and fonts that the company makes available in Cricut Design Space for a monthly subscription charge. Some images are free, and you can search by that. Some cost money even if you have subscribed to Cricut Access (anything Disney, Star Wars, or Marvel).
When you purchase your machine, you’ll get a free trial period to use Cricut Access. This is also probably the easiest way to get print and cut images and projects for crafting with a Cricut.
Is it Worth It To Get the Premium Membership?
There are incentives for purchasing upgraded plans, including discounts of 10-20 percent off Cricut shop orders and it is cheaper if you purchase a yearly plan vs. month by month. I just upgraded to a premium yearly membership after having had my Cricut for over 5 years so you don’t HAVE to get it to use your Cricut.
What Kind of Printer Do I Need for Print then Cut?
Cricut recommends an inkjet printer but honestly, I can’t imagine why they would say that other than their Cricut brand Printable Sticker Paper and Printable Vinyl are both for inkjet only. I don’t see how the Cricut would cut inkjet images and not laser printed images.
What If I'm Thinking About Buying a Printer?
I do recommend you get a printer with a rear-feed tray if you can. This makes using heavier papers like card stock and specialty papers a LOT easier because they are fed straight through and not flipped inside the printer. I legit love my Canon Crafter’s Printer both because of the rear-feed tray as well as the 12″ x 12″ borderless print. It’s SO much fun to make your own scrapbook paper!
What Kind of Sticker Paper Should I Get for Print then Cut Projects?
This isn’t totally a Print then Cut feature question but I get asked it a lot. So much in fact that I wrote an entire post on different types of sticker papers, what the differences are, what to use for kiss cut or die cut stickers, and what the difference is between printable vinyl and sticker paper. Just make sure whatever you choose for your sticker paper is compatible with your home printer.
What if I Have More Questions?
If you have questions that I didn’t answer in this article, please feel free to ask in the comments section of this post or email me. You can also visit Cricut’s help articles for Print then Cut.
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