I bet when you first got your Cricut Maker you saw all the cool things it could do and had plans to try them all. But it’s not easy to try something new. This tutorial will give you back that feeling that you can do anything with your Cricut. This beginner tutorial is great as a first engraving project if you haven’t tried engraving. It’s also inexpensive to try, and makes great gifts for weddings, your favorite bakers, and can be applied to items beyond just servers (like knives, cookie spatulas, grill spatulas, and more). You’ll see how to get a deep impression when you engrave harder metals like stainless steel, and you’ll see how to engrave objects with handles in your Cricut Maker.
This is the tutorial that started it all my husband and I came up with the idea one day while we were brainstorming ideas for what to make with the engraving tool. So you will get ALL the tips and tricks for how to do this correctly. Again, this is a GREAT first project to jump into engraving with. But, if you’d like to do a test run before you engrave on your object, I do recommend using aluminum flashing. You can easily find this at the hardware store and it’s extremely inexpensive. I use it all the time when I’m testing designs.
Where to Find Free Engraving Designs
This idea came about because I wanted you guys to be able to create things you could sell, or feel really good about giving to others. Part of the joy of using a Cricut is that people can’t believe YOU could make something so professional-looking. So all the free downloads in my Free Library come with a Limited Commercial License. Besides the design in this tutorial, I also have other free engraving designs that have pattern fill added so that you get the biggest visual impact when you engrave.
Note: You can also find designs to engrave in Cricut Access, however, you’ll probably want to add a pattern fill to them to get a bigger visual impact. This can be done with a line fill pattern or you can use Silhouette Studio Business Edition. I have more on this in my post, How to Start Engraving with Cricut.
What Do You Need to Engrave with a Cricut?
To engrave with a Cricut, you’ll need the Cricut Engraving Tip. This is part of their Adaptive Tool System and is a QuickSwap tool. This means it has a tip that can be removed from a housing and swapped out with other tips. If you already have the Quickswap housing then you only need to purchase the Cricut Engraving Tip. This tool and tutorial is ONLY for the Cricut Maker. If you would like to try engraving with a Cricut Explore then you would need to purchase a third-party tool.
You’ll also want to purchase the purple Strong Grip cutting mat from Cricut, and you’ll want blue painter’s tape to help you keep your engraving blank from shifting as you engrave. The last thing you’ll need is the engraving blanks. I have a list to all my favorites in my post, Best Tools and Materials for Engraving with a Cricut. I also have the servers in this tutorial linked below.
What Other Tools are there in the Adaptive Tool System?
This is a great question to ask because you may have already purchased the QuickSwap housing without realizing it. I did! There are other new Cricut Maker quickswap tools. If you’ve purchased the Scoring Wheel, or Double Scoring Wheel, the Perforation Tool, the Debossing Tool or the Wavy Blade tool then you may already have the Quickswap housing. All of these also come as just the tip, so if you have purchased one of these, investing in the others doesn’t cost as much. Personally, I’ve used my scoring wheel and my debossing tool the most.
Note: The rotary blade, knife blade, deep cut blade are NOT quickswap tools. The Cricut Maker is the ONLY machine that will work with any of these tools.
What Metals can be Engraved?
Stainless Steel is not an easy crafting metal. Unlike the silver plate from my last engraving tutorial, which you can metal stamp, stainless steel is too hard for most metal stamps. And until Cricut debuted the Engraving Tool, the idea of engraving metals at home wasn’t something you could DIY easily. Now, if you’re fortunate enough to own a Cricut Maker, you can easily personalize your engraving designs with your own custom designs!
Besides Stainless Steel and aluminum there is a wide variety of materials you can engrave. This is kind of a secret that Cricut doesn’t officially tell you, and they don’t have custom material settings for each of these other metals. That’s why I tested all of them and discovered what the best custom material setting is best for each. You can see that chart in my post on 14 Metals You Can Engrave with a Cricut.
Tips and Tricks for Engraving with Your Cricut Maker- Go Deeper!
Because the Cricut Maker does not allow for anything thicker than 2.4 mm, we have to be sure that our engraving surface is thin and flat enough to slide under the rollers and the tool without catching. You’ll see a lot of examples of engraved acrylics, dog tags, and flat aluminum blanks because of this limitation.
But through experimenting, I did find a workaround for the height issue that will allow us to fudge that rule just a smidge so that we can engrave an object with a handle.
In the video and the tutorial below, I demonstrate how to engrave pie and cake servers, as well as a way to get a deeper engraving no matter what font you use. AND I show how to use a template to position your design correctly every single time, so you don’t waste your product blanks.
Watch the YouTube Video for How to Engrave Stainless Steel Servers
How to Engrave Stainless Steel to Make Pie and Cake Servers with a Cricut Maker
Materials and Tools
- Pumpkin Engraving Design from my Free Creative Resource Library (I have LOTS of free engraving designs, so be sure to check them out- I’m adding more all the time) OR you can use a design from Cricut Access or create your own personalized design.
- Stainless Steel Cake or Pie Server
- Cricut Maker Cutting Machine
- Engraving Tool (with QuickSwap Housing or just the Engraving tip if you already have the QuickSwap housing)
- Purple Strong Grip Cutting Mat
- Masking or Blue Painters Tape
Note: the Cricut Engraving Tool will not work with the Cricut Joy or the Cricut Explore Air, it is one of the adaptive tools that was made specifically for the Cricut Maker.
This post does include affiliate links. When you click on these I may get a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your support!
Step One: Upload Your Free Design Download to Cricut Design Space
First thing, get the design! This Pumpkin Engraving Design is a FREE download from my Creative Resource Library for my subscribers. But you can use the text tool, shapes, or Cricut Access designs to create your own custom project. I also have dozens of free engraving designs in my Free Library.
Upload the PNG file (it will end with a .png) to Cricut Design Space by opening a new Canvas and then touching the Upload icon in the left-side toolbar. Click the Browse button, which will allow you to Select your image to Upload. Because it is a PNG file, you’ll have to process it as an image file. Just choose Simple then Continue. On the next screen, select Continue again, and on the following screen, choose Save as Cut Image. The image is now on your Uploaded Images page.
Note: If you would like a visual walkthrough of this upload process, I go step-by-step in my YouTube video below!
Step Two: Insert the Engraving Design into your Canvas
Choose the Pumpkin Engraving Design from your uploaded images and click on Insert Images to upload it to your canvas.
Step Three: Duplicate and then Align the Design
For a deeper engraving, size down the pumpkin so that it fits on your screen. Then with the design selected, click on the Duplicate button in the Layers Panel. Duplicate 2-3 times. Select all of the images, and under Align in the edit panel, choose Center from the drop-down menu. The images will now stack perfectly. With all still selected, click the Attach at the lower right side of your screen. Change the Operation to Engrave by selecting it in the drop-down menu.
Step Four: Add Text
Click on the Text option in the Design Panel on the left-hand side of the screen to get a text box to type your word. I typed the word “Thankful,” but you can do any word or phrase you like. Choose a font from the Font Panel at the top of the screen. You’ll have the option of using Cricut, System, or all fonts. System fonts are your fonts on your computer.
Note: I used the Reba font from my font library in my System list. Make sure that if you’re planning to sell what you make that you use a font that is not for personal use only. I get most of my fonts from The Hungry JPEG because they all come with a commercial license.
Step Five: Prepare the Text to Engrave
Again, to engrave the text a little deeper, Duplicate the text 2-3 times like you did with the pumpkin and then stack them on top of each other by selecting them all and using Align Center in Design Space. Then, Attach all and change the Operation to Engrave.
Step Six: Create a Triangle Template with Basic Shapes
The easiest way to make sure your design is sized correctly and fits on the cake server you have is to create a template.
To do this, click on the “Shapes” icon on the Design Panel on the left side of the Canvas. Choose a triangle shape and insert it on to the Canvas. The cake server I’m using has a triangle shape that is roughly 2″ wide at the base and is 4″ in height.
To change the proportion of the triangle, I click on the lock shape that appears when the shape is selected. Opening the lock frees the proportion constraints so that you can change them. Size the triangle to fit the dimensions of your cake server. Once you’ve sized it to match, go ahead and click on the lock shape again to lock in the new proportions.
Step Seven: Size and Rotate the Images
Now that you have a template that is sized to match your actual cake server, it’s time to position and size the text and pumpkin design. To do this, use the triangle template. Once you have them as you’d like them, select the image and text and choose the Align Center option. Then Attach those two together. Double-check that they fit perfectly inside the triangle. Now select all and rotate them all 180 degrees. Then, click on the Make it button which takes you to the Mat Preview Screen.
Step Eight: Get Both Images on the Same Mat
Change the Operation of the triangle template to Engrave. Though the video tutorial gives you another way to accomplish this, I’ve since realized that if you do it this way, Cricut will put everything all on the same mat. My previous method would have you move the triangle from mat 2 to mat 1.
Step Nine: Position Your Images on the Mat
The images need to be upside down. If they did not import from the Canvas to the mats on this screen upside down, then you need to rotate the designs manually so that they are upside down. To Rotate them, select the images and use the little rounded arrow in the upper right corner to turn your designs. Make sure they are horizontal to the mat lines and not at an angle. I explain why we rotate the images in the next step.
Step Ten: Tape the Server to the Bottom of the Strong Grip Mat
The main challenge in this design process is that the physical handle of the server often angles up too much and cannot be fed into the Cricut Maker without stalling out the machine or catching on the rollers.
To solve the problem, position the server upside down and at the very bottom edge of the mat (the side furthest from the machine and closest to you). This way, you are only feeding the part you intend to engrave on into the machine. The Cricut does not feed the entire mat through, it stops before the edge of the mat, so this allows us to hang parts that do not go through the machine off the edge.
NOTE: If you are using a Cricut Maker 3 you do need to make an adjustment to where you place your server to engrave. The Maker 3 feeds the mat all the way in, so you need to keep the bend .5″ from the 12″ mark on the mat.
The position of the server is the secret sauce to making sure that this tutorial is successful!
So, go ahead and position your server on the purple Strong Grip Mat so that it matches the placement on the Mat Preview Screen precisely. Use blue painter’s tape to tape down the server on all sides. Make sure you do not cover the area you intend to engrave. Press down on both the tape and the server as you place them, so your server has strong adhesion to the mat. Then, move your rollers to the right to get them out of the way.
Step Eleven: Double-Check your Placement, then Hide the Template
On the screen, double-check that your server’s position on the mat matches the location of the image on the screen. Make any necessary adjustments. Select the template only, and then click on the three dots in the upper left corner. This time, choose Hide Selected to make the template disappear from the mat. Finally, select the Continue button on the lower-left corner of the screen. Almost done now!!!
Step Twelve: Prepare to Engrave
Load your mat into your Maker. Follow the prompts on the screen, choosing Stainless Steel as your Material Setting. Make sure you’ve inserted your Cricut Engraving Tool in Carriage B on your machine. Slide the white star wheels on the roller bar all the way to the right.
Step Thirteen: Engrave your Cake or Pie Server
On the Cricut, press the flashing Go button. Now watch it engrave! Once it’s finished, you can unload your mat.
Pro tip: As I peel off the tape, I use the adhesive side of the tape to press on the engraving to remove the small metal fragments that were removed as you engraved. Don’t use your hand to wipe across the surface as you could end up with embedded bits of metal in your hand. Ouch!
It’s Really that Simple to Engrave on Stainless Steel with a Cricut!
Find MORE Engraving Designs in my Well Crafted Studio Shop!
Besides being perfect for entertaining, or a hostess gift, this project practically screams wedding. Add a wedding date or the couple’s name, or maybe engrave it for an anniversary gift. I personally love the Song of Solomon verse that I engraved as an example in the picture above. You can find it with other engraving designs in my Shop!
For More Inspiration…
If you love the Cricut Maker and want to see my other tutorials for the new tools, I’d love to have you check out my posts- How to Engrave Stainless Steel Spreaders and How to Make Leather Cuffs with the Cricut Debossing Tool. The debossing tool is one of the adaptive tools and you can use the same housing that you use with the engraving tools, just swap out the tips.
Wondering about Cricut Aluminum? I have a post, Engraving Infusible Ink on Cricut Aluminum Sheets that’s a great introduction to this product.
AND for support and community and like-minded engravers that will encourage you to move out of your comfort zone and try metal projects, check out my Facebook Group for Engraving Metals with Your Cricut Maker machine! We love cricut newbies too!
Get the Book on Engraving Metals with Your Cricut Maker
Solve the problems and expand the possibilities for engraving with your Cricut Maker! Sign up for my email list to get a special offer on Engraving Metals with Your Cricut Maker!
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If you found this tutorial helpful please LIKE, or COMMENT on the video above. It helps SO much! And if you don’t mind, share it either on social media or by pinning the image below to Pinterest. I really appreciate your help with this! Also, if you have any questions about this technique please ask by commenting on this post, through my contacts email. or by leaving a comment on my YouTube Channel. I’d love to help!
Thanks for Reading,