If you have a Cricut, you probably know that the options on the Cricut machine are endless. Cricut Print Then Cut is one of my favorite features. It makes using a Cricut extremely versatile and allows you to cut custom images that you create outside of Design Space. This tutorial teaches you how to print then cut your own images on a Cricut.
Included is a step-by-step breakdown of how to use the Cricut Print Then Cut feature. As well as photos from Design Space, tips and tricks for troubleshooting, plus get a free template image to use for practice. You can learn all of this in the tutorial below plus get the free image to follow along from my FREE resource library at the end of this post.
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Supplies Used for Cricut Print Then Cut
- 8.5 x 11 Cardstock paper in white
- Cricut Explore Air 2 (see my product review here)
- Cricut standard grip cutting mat (if you are using a new mat, get it a little dirty first or be sure to use cardstock, not computer paper – if you use computer paper or something lighter than cardstock, be sure to use the light grip cutting mat)
- Christmas Tree Template file for practice (can be found in my FREE resource library – find out more at the end of this post)
TIPS Before Beginning
- Cricut only allows white or very light colored paper to use the Print Then Cut feature
- The area for Print Then Cut is only 9.25 x 6.75 inches, so your image must fit within these dimensions
- Be sure you have calibrated your printer to be sure that it cuts properly on the lines. See this help article from Cricut for extra troubleshooting
- This tutorial is done from the Desktop version of Cricut Design Space. The app version for tablets may be different.
What’s the Difference – Print Then Cut Your vs. Cut Your Own Image
A Print Then Cut image is where you want to print the exact design and have the Cricut help you cut it out (as you’ll see in this tutorial below).
A Cut Your Own Image/Shape is where you have a simple design that you want to cut that already contains color layers or you simply want the outline or shape cut out in one color (in another tutorial).
Step 1 – Import Your Image to Design Space
To import your custom image, first you need to create a new project in Design Space. Then, click on the UPLOAD button which is on the left hand side at the bottom of the Design Space screen.
Step 2 – Choose How to Cut Around Your Image
Now you will choose UPLOAD IMAGE to import your design into the program. Be sure your image is a .jpg, .png, .svg, or other acceptable file (Want to learn more about making your own .svg files? Jennifer Maker has an amazing course. You can sign up here to get on the waitlist if you want to learn more)
Next you will select the Image Type. I always choose COMPLEX for a Print Then Cut image so I can be sure to select only the areas that I want to be cut. Click CONTINUE after you have selected your Image Type.
Next, you will begin to remove any whitespace or other areas that you don’t want printed and to help you form your object shape. This step tells Cricut where to cut around the image.
Use the SELECT & ERASE tool that looks like a magic wand. Then click on the whitespace area that you want to “delete”. If you make a mistake use the undo button, as well as the zoom tools to fine tune any erasing. I don’t touch any of the Advanced Option settings in this area.
After using the “Select & Erase” magic wand, this is what the image looks like. The gray and white checkered background indicates that it is “transparent” and only the image left. That is what will be printed and cut.
As you are erasing any whitespace, you can also use the PREVIEW button to see what the outline of your shape will be. This is helpful to be sure it looks right before finishing.
Now that the whitespace has been removed click CONTINUE. A new screen will appear that asks how you want to save the uploaded image. Click on the first option that shows your image and says SAVE AS A PRINT THEN CUT IMAGE. You can also rename the image in the right side panel and add a description. Then click on SAVE. This step may take a minute to upload into the Cricut system.
Step 3 – Insert Uploaded Image Into Your Project
Now that your image has been imported and updated for Cricut, select it from the Uploads screen to add it to your project. Click on the uploaded image, then click INSERT IMAGES green button at the bottom right side of the screen.
Step 4 – Size Your Image for Your Project
Now that your image is included on your Project in Design Space, it’s time to prep for printing. Be sure to resize your image so that it’s the appropriate size for your project. For this project, resize the Christmas tree to 3.5 x 4.6 inches. This will fit perfectly on the front of an A2 size card. In Cricut Design Space, since the ratio button is locked, any changes to the width or height will stay in proportion to the original image.
TIP: The area for Print Then Cut is only 9.25 x 6.75 inches, so your image must fit within these margins of your paper to be printed. You can repeat your design as much as you want using the Duplicate button in the right side panel. Cricut will organize the images on the sheets to be printed. Don’t feel like Cricut is organizing your images as best as possible? I have figured out a hack to save more paper using the Print Then Cut feature. Check out the tutorial here.
Step 5 – Click Make It
Once you have the number of images you want to print for your project, it’s time to MAKE IT! The first screen will show you the number of mats you will be making.
Click CONTINUE and you will be prompted with several options. First you will want to select your Cricut device to be sure that it is connected. Then click on the SEND TO PRINTER button to print your design.
If you still don’t feel like it has organized your images as efficiently as possible, go back to the Design Space screen and follow this tutorial to learn how to save paper when using Print Then Cut.
TIP: Cricut only allows white or very light colored paper to use the Print Then Cut feature (bummer I know!) I used a 65lb. white cardstock sheet of paper to print my project.
A prompt will display for printing your project. Be sure to select your printer and number of copies you want to make. To allow for any minor issues with cutting, turn on the ADD BLEED option.
Leave all other Advanced Options on the Print Options screen as is. Click PRINT.
Next, attach your printed sheet of paper to your Cricut mat and continue adjust any final settings before loading your mat. I use the standard green Cricut mat for a 65 lb. cardstock, select the Light Cardstock option on my paper dial, and check that my blade is in the proper clamp as noted on the screen.
Once your mat prepped, load it into my Cricut and press the Cricut Go button on the Cricut machine.
Step 6 – Unload Your Mat and You’re Done!
Now, unload your mat and check the cut lines of your project. Peel the pieces off of your cutting mat carefully. Now they are ready to use on your card or other paper crafting project!
TIP: If you are having trouble with your cut lines, be sure to calibrate your printer to the Cricut machine. Also be sure that you have turned on the ADD BLEED option when you choose to SEND TO PRINTER in the Printer Options.
Cricut Print Then Cut feature
I really love the Cricut Print Then Cut feature. Even with it’s quirks and size restrictions it has changed the way I use my Cricut. It’s probably one of my most utilized features for not only paper crafting, but also making custom screen printed t-shirts and other fun projects!
Get the Christmas Tree template to practice the Print Then Cut feature on your Cricut!
If you want to make this card too, sign up to receive my weekly newsletter below and as a bonus you’ll gain access to my FREE resource library where this template is stored. I am constantly adding more free printables, digital files, and paper crafting goodies just for my subscribers.
Let me know how you’ve used the Cricut Print Then Cut feature. I always love seeing projects from other crafty friends. Tag me on Instagram or leave a comment below.