New to engraving with Cricut machines? This post is designed to get you engraving quickly and confidently. It has the 12 basic steps you’ll take to use the Cricut Maker to engrave metals, acrylics, leather, or other materials. My specialty is Engraving Metals with Your Cricut Maker, and last summer I literally wrote the book on this. This QuickStart Guide to Engraving is pulled from my E-book and simplifies the engraving process so you can get out of your comfort zone and try something new.
So if you’ve been feeling a little scared to try the Cricut Maker Engraving Tip, I gotcha! You can even download this guide and print it out for easy reference any time you want to engrave.
What You’ll Need to Start Engraving
Before you start, you’ll need to make sure you have everything you need to engrave.
- Cricut Maker or Cricut Maker 3
- Cricut Design Space (installed on desktop or iOS device)
- Cricut Engraving Tool (Tip with Housing) You can purchase them together or you can buy the Engraving Tip separately if you already have the QuickSwap Housing.
- Cricut Strong Grip Mat (Purple)
- Blue Painter’s Tape
- Engraving Blank (this is the metal object you plan to engrave)
- Engraving Design- Find lots of fun, original designs in my Free Library!
These are affiliate links which means if you click on them and make a purchase I may get a small commission (with no additional cost to you!)
Get Free Engraving Designs
What Makes an Engraving Design?
Yes, you can basically upload any SVG files or PNG images into Cricut Design Space and engrave it, but this will just trace the design. With a PNG you’ll essentially you’ll get an outline of your image. With an SVG you’ll engrave a single line.
Both of these are difficult to see.
The solution is to add a line fill inside the image. This fills in the space, letting your eye read the engraving line as a solid shape. You can see how it works in the example below,
There are different ways to add this yourself, that I link to in my post, How to Start Engraving with a Cricut Maker.
OR you can go the easier route and use a design that’s been created for engraving and already has the line fill added.
And in my Free Library, you’ll find dozens of these pre-filled and ready to engrave designs. These designs can be used for personal use, or limited commercial use. I have more on this on my Privacy and Policies page.
I’d love to have you try them!
12 Steps to Quick Start Engraving with Cricut Maker
Step One: Insert Your Engraving Tool
The Cricut Engraving Tool goes into Carriage b on either of the Cricut Maker machines (the second clamp). You’ll want to open it and then make sure the gears align at the top. It’s pretty easy, as it really just wants to drop into that space. Close the clamp.
Step Two: Upload Your Engraving Design
In Cricut Design Space, open up a new Cricut Design Space project. This opens up a new canvas. Click the upload icon on the far left of your canvas.
This will open up the Image Gallery, where you’ll want to choose to Upload New Image. Then hit Browse, and choose your file.
Choose Complex if you’re using a desktop. Make sure you don’t have a background to your design and Save as a Cut File.
Then, back in the Image Gallery, click on your design to Select. Then, click Insert Images in the bottom left corner to open it in your canvas.
Note: If you’d like to see pics of how this works or even a video, go to any of the project tutorials on this blog. I have lots under Engraving.
Step Three: Size Your Design to Fit Your Project Blanks
Check the size of your project blank. On the canvas, change the size of your design to fit your blank. You can do this by selecting the design and then clicking and dragging the left-right anchor.
Or you can adjust the size in the top toolbar where it says Size. To unlock the constraints of the design either click the little lock above Size in the top toolbar, or the lock at the bottom left of the selected image.
Step Four: Change the Operation to Engrave
With the design selected, go up to the top toolbar, and under Operations choose Engrave from the drop-down menu.
Note: Operations used to be called Linetype. So in older engraving tutorials, you’ll see it referred to as the Engrave LInetype.
Step Five: Duplicate, Align, and Attach
To get a deeper engraving, you’ll want your machine to do multiple passes. An easy way to choose the number of passes is to select and then duplicate your design several times.
Select ALL of these, and then Align> Center. Align options are in the top toolbar on desktop. For iOS, these actions are ALL on the bottom.
Next, Attach all of them together. This action is in the bottom right corner of your canvas on desktop.
Step Six: Save it and Make it
Save your design as a project. Then hit the Make It in the top right corner.
Step Seven: Tape Your Blank to a Strong Grip Mat on ALL Sides
Place your engraving blank on your purple mat and press down well. Use the blue painter’s tape on all sides with the blue painter’s tape, but allow room to engrave. This prevents shifting as you engrave.
It helps to place the blank in either the center of the mat or aligning it with two of the grid lines.
Step Eight: Move Your Design to Match the Placement of the Blank on the Mat
On the Project Preview page, you’ll see a representation of your mat.
Click on the design and drag it to align with the place on your actual mat your blank is. Click Continue in the bottom right of the screen.
Step NIne: Select Your Materials
On the next screen, you’ll choose your project materials and start engraving.
Note: For the most pressure and deepest engraving choose Stainless Steel as your material.
Step Ten: Move the Star Wheels on Your Machine, Load Your Mat, and Hit Go
On your machine, slide the white star wheels on the roller bar all the way to the right. Then, follow the instructions on the screen to load your mat, and press the Cricut “Go” button on your machine.
Step Eleven: Check the Engraving and then Unload
After your machine has finished engraving, check the design BEFORE you unload. If you’d like it deeper you can repeat the engraving process.
Just press the “Go” button a second time and it will repeat the last action. This only works if you have not unloaded your mat yet.
If it looks good, then press the Unload button to eject your mat.
Step Twelve: Clean Off Any Burrs and Dust
The easiest way to clean up your engraving blank is simply to remove the blue painter’s tape along the sides and use it to pat the engraving. The sticky part of this masking tape will pick up any small metal fragments that were removed during the engraving process. Then use a soft cloth to wipe the surface.
Optional Steps to Take Next:
Darken Your Design
There are different ways to darken your design, some of my favorites are listed (with product links) in my post on Best Tools and Materials for Engraving with a Cricut.
Smooth Your Design
This has to be done with caution, as you don’t want to remove the engraving, just knock down any rough edges. So unless your design feels sharp and your object will be handled, I wouldn’t do anything.
Download the Free Quick Start Guide
To make this process SUPER easy you can go ahead and keep this free Quick Start Guide to Engraving with your machine as a handy reminder of what steps to take when you engrave.
You can find it in my Free Library along with a ton of free engraving designs.
Need the password? Just sign up for my email list, and you’ll get the password emailed directly to you!
Buy the Book on Engraving with a Cricut
I also have a book on Engraving Metals with Your Cricut Maker that simplifies all of this and more. It walks you through engraving projects step-by-step, including how to engrave a grill spatula, how to engrave a honeycomb necklace, rings, signatures, thumbprints, and more.
I also deep dive into all the tools and materials, as well as teach you basic jewelry techniques so you can have the benefit of years worth of experience, right from the start.
Tip: You can get a special offer on this book when you become a WCS email subscriber!
For MORE Information
I also have TONS of Cricut engraving tutorials, and YouTube videos that I’ve made to simplify Cricut engraving. It’s so much fun, but when you begin that first project it can really be a struggle to get good results. So be sure to check out my 16 Best Tips for Engraving post.
Questions About Engraving?
Or check out my How to Start Engraving in 2022 post. I answer a bunch of common questions there.
What You can Make with the Engraving Tool
It’s also hard to know what you can engrave, besides dog tags and bracelets (the most popular projects). So I created tutorials on engraving servers, cookie spatulas, spreaders, and more.
For More Inspiration
Another striking effect is to engrave inspirational messages or personalized text through infusible ink on Cricut aluminum sheets (you can see this in the photo below). This is super popular in my Facebook group!
Or if you’re just curious about what kinds of different materials you can engrave with a Cricut, check out my post on 14 Surprising Metals You Can Engrave with a Cricut.
Love this Guide to Engraving with Cricut? Share it!
If you found this post helpful, I’d love to have you share it on social media or save any of the images to Pinterest. It really helps! You can also join the Engraving Metals with your Cricut Maker Facebook group. It’s a great community of creatives and we’d all really love to see what you make!
Thanks for Reading,