Do you feel like you are wasting paper using your new Cricut cutting machine? Are you a new user to the Cricut Design Space and you aren’t sure where to start? I switched recently from the original Cricut cutting machine (gasp!) to the Cricut Explore Air 2 and have been learning how to use the new setup. One of those things is learning how to save paper in Cricut Design Studio when cutting multiple items.
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Cricut Mats Before the Save Paper Hack
On the original Cricut, there use to be a little button that said “Material Saver” and the machine would automatically align and adjust your items to use the paper as efficiently as possible. Using my new Cricut machine, I haven’t been able to find that action. So, I did some research and found a way to do a workaround that I want to share with you below. I also made a video tutorial that you get at the bottom of this post.
I had originally created tabbed dividers to organize my Project Life cards. For my project, I was cutting out the dividers from 12×12 white cardstock. When I first created my project I had nine cards that were 4×6 each and nine cards that were 3×4 each. As I was getting ready to cut the objects, I noticed that the Cricut Design Space was putting my project on 6 different mats to cut them out.
To correct this problem, you can follow the steps below to better conserve space and cut your objects more efficiently and use less paper.
Step 1: Create a background shape
To better organize your objects to conserve paper you will need to see what your sheet of paper looks like as a background. For this project, I was using a 12×12 cardstock, so I created 4 square shapes and resized them to 12 inches by 12 inches.
To do this you click on the SHAPES button on the left sidebar, then click SQUARE. It will add the square shape to the project.
Step 2: Arrange the background shape
After creating 4 background squares sized at 12 x 12 inches that represent my “paper”, I arranged each square to MOVE TO BACK. This will allow me to see the shapes on my background paper and organize them to save space on each mat.
Step 3: Organize your items on top of the background
Now you can sort and organize the objects on each background paper. There is an area of a trimming edge, so watch that you don’t go beyond the gutter of the paper. For example, on a 12×12 sheet of paper, the Cricut will only cut within an 11.5 x 11.5 space.
Also, it is helpful to turn your objects to fit better on the sheet. Use the ROTATE feature in the toolbar or use the blue circle arrow when clicked on an object. The blue circle arrow is always in the upper right hand corner when you select an object.
As I finished sorting the objects on each sheet, I noticed that I had more space. I decided to try to fit one more set of the 3×4 cards. So I reorganized the last two sheets and fit in three extra cards.
Step 4: Hide the background
The next step you want to do is hide the background square “paper” that you created. Since the background square is just a guide, you don’t want your Cricut to cut it as an object. To do this, you will select only the background square, then HIDE the shape from the toolbar on the right side of the screen. Look for the “EYEBALL” next to your highlighted object, then click it so that the shape is now hidden. The eyeball will now have a slash through it.
Step 5: Check the grouped size of your objects
After hiding the background paper, you will want to check the size of your grouped images. You want to be sure that they fit within the cutting area of your paper. This is the fine-tuning part that I mentioned in Step 3. For my sheets, I had to make a few adjustments so that my objects stayed within an 11.5 x 11.5 inch area. I talk more about this in the video I made for this tutorial, you can get the password to access it at the bottom of this post.
To check the size of all the items together, you will click and drag your mouse over the set of objects you want to cut on the same sheet of paper. You’ll notice that the objects will have a single object box around the items you just highlighted and it will show the measurements on each side. If they are outside of the gutter measurements, you can click on individual objects to move them around.
If it’s also helpful, unhide your background image to be sure you are still staying within the background paper area. After you are done fine tuning, then hide the background image, group your objects again and check the size.
Step 6: Attach group of images together
Once you have confirmed that your objects will fit properly on your paper, you have one last step to complete. Click and drag to highlight all of the objects that you will cut on one sheet of paper. You will then be able to click on ATTACH at the bottom of the right panel in Design Space. This will force the program to keep these objects grouped together and cut on the same sheet.
After you attach a set of objects together, you will also notice that they are collected under one tab in the right hand menu. You can attach and detach any objects from each other using the button at the bottom of the right-side panel.
Step 7: Make your design
Repeat steps 1 through 7 for all objects on your page to be sure they are attached to each other before cutting. As you can see, in my project I was able to actually add more objects as well as consolidate my mats and use only 4 sheets of paper instead of 6!
I am not quite sure why this feature isn’t automatic or that the design studio doesn’t seem to conserve paper efficiently. However, this workaround will help you save on paper for your projects when using a new Cricut.
If you are new to the Cricut Design Space, you can get the Quick Reference Sheet I made below in my FREE Resource Library. I also have created a step-by-step video tutorial for this post that’s included in my FREE resource library. You can get instant access to both by signing up for my crafting newsletter below.
I would love to hear about your Cricut Design Space projects and if you have found any tips and tricks. This machine and program are powerful tools that you can use to unleash a ton of creativity and I want to see your designs!
Until next time – lead your best creative life today!