Cricut Design Space: Creating a Print then Cut Design

Print then Cut can be a great way to quickly create multiple tags or stickers. This tutorial will walk you through the steps of creating a Print then Cut design.

What is Print then Cut?

The term Print then Cut means that images are printed on a printer, then the printed page is placed on a cutting mat and loaded into the Cricut machine. The Cricut scans the registration box, and then cuts out the images.

Design Space will put a black box around your image. This is the registration mark that your machine will scan so that it knows where to cut. The Cricut will cut inside this box. The portion of your printable material with this box printed on it will be discarded after cutting.

There are some images in Design Space that are designed to be Print then Cut images only. These images don’t require any adjustment before printing and cutting. If you hover over the image, you’ll see the word “Printable” appear in the lower left corner. When you click the “i” in the lower right corner for more information about the image, the image will usually have “Print Fill” in the image name.

To find print fill images in Design Space, go to the Art Type menu under the images tab and filter to “Print Fill.”

Creating a Printable Image

A couple of years ago, I made some tags for some teacher gifts for my son to hand out. (Ordering cookies in bulk made this very budget-friendly.)

For this design, I have added two images and two lines of text to my design screen. If I flatten these multi-layer images without a background to create a single-layer printable image, each individual letter will cut out. Since this isn’t what I want, I need to flatten to a background image.

If you can see the gridlines behind your image, you need a background image. If you see gridlines, you are looking at cut lines. In the top image of the above example, the inside and outside of the red circle will be cut, as well as each individual letter. When the bottom image is cut, only the outside of the circle will cut.

I have inserted a circle from the shapes panel and turned it white. If you select a color for the background, the printer will print that color. Home printers can’t print white.

Move the shape over the text and images. (In this case, one of my images was in the front.) The circle needs to be moved to the back. Click “Arrange,” then “Send to Back.”

The background image is now behind the images and text. You can still adjust the size of the images and text at this point.

Select all the layers and flatten

To select all the layers, either

  • click the button labeled “Select All” in the top row Edit panel, or
  • drag a bounding box around your image, or
  • hold down the shift key while selecting the layers in the Layers panel
    then click the “Flatten” icon.

If you don’t flatten your image, you’ll get multiple pieces instead of the one piece that you want.

Flattening result:

Flattening will also change the images/text from “Cut” to “Cut | Print,” and so there’s no need to change the layers to print before flattening. Also, images don’t need to be attached, grouped, or welded before flattening.

Printing and Cutting

After clicking “Make It,” you’ll be on the Prepare screen:

Increase the number of copies with the up arrow until it reaches the number needed or enter the desired number. Click “Apply”.

Keep in mind that the maximum area for Print then Cut is 6.75″ x 9.25″, and the only material size is 8.5″x11″.

Place the printed material in the upper left corner of the mat. Load into the Cricut machine, pressing the mat firmly against the rollers while pressing the Load button.

Select the setting for your material either on the dial (Explore series) or the screen (Maker). Press the blinking “Go” button. The Cricut will scan the registration box and then cut the printed images.

For more on Print then Cut, go to the Cricut help page or watch my video about this feature:

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