Cricut Design Space Basics: Uploading JPEG Files

Cricut Design Space

One of the most popular and powerful features of Cricut Design Space is the ability to upload your own images to use in projects. Whether you make your own images, purchase images, or use your own photographs, importing images lets you add a very personal touch to whatever you’re crafting.

Cricut Design Space can understand image files that end in .jpg, .bmp, .png, .gif, .svg, and .dxf. This video has information about file types as they relate to Design Space. In this post, I’m going to focus on the best practices for how to upload a JPEG file.

What is a JPEG file?

A JPEG (or JPG) file is a “picture” file that is made up of a bunch of tiny colored dots. Similar to the way a television picture is created, lots of tiny dots are placed next to each other to make whatever picture you’re looking at. The advantage to a JPEG file is that at its original size, you get a very photo-realistic look. The disadvantage is that if you stretch the picture out, it gets “chunky” or pixelated, or it gets fuzzy, because there are a finite number of dots that make up the picture. This tutorial will help you get the best results from a JPEG file.

Getting started

After downloading and unzipping the file (if needed), I recommend saving the images to a folder on your computer. (Note: This file is from Miss Kate Cuttables and comes with a SVG file, but for the purpose of this tutorial, I am showing how to upload the JPEG.)

Next, click Upload in Design Space. Then click Upload Image.

Now click Browse and navigate to the folder on the computer to be uploaded. Open the folder.

At this point, either choose the image and click Open or just double click the image thumbnail.

Cleaning Up

The next step is “cleaning up” the image. You have three options for the image type – Simple, Moderately complex, or Complex. But I almost always choose Complex for the best result.

The file I chose is a high-resolution picture, and it will load into Design Space at full size, so when it opens, you will only see the top left-hand corner of the image. Click the magnifying glass with the “-” sign to zoom out and see the more of the image.

Click on the areas you want to remove from the picture. In this case, I want to remove the background so that when I cut around the image, the Cricut will cut exactly with the picture and not in a big rectangle around it. Make sure to get to all the smaller areas. Any area where the checkerboard is visible has had that unwanted area removed.

Saving the Cleaned up Image in Cricut Design Space

Click on the Preview button at the bottom of the screen to see what the cut image will look like. You will be able to see if you have missed any areas of the background. Hide Preview will return to the Select & Erase screen, and Continue will advance to the Select Upload Type screen.

After clicking Continue, the image can be renamed and tags can be added. Tags will help the image to come up in image searches. I usually add tags for the subject of the image and where I got it.

Tags can’t be added later, so it’s important that this is done before uploading.

Cut vs. Print then Cut

Now, select whether you want this image to be a “cut image” or a “print then cut image”. Note that in Design Space for Desktop v6.4 and following, there is no “default” selection. The “cut image” or the “print then cut image” has to be selected before the Upload button will be active. I have selected the “print then cut image” in this example. After making a selection, click Upload.

The image now appears in Recent Uploads. You can also find it in search results by filtering to Uploaded Images. Select the image and click the green Insert Images button at the bottom to add the image to the design canvas. Note that since the image was saved as a “print then cut image”, it doesn’t need to be flattened or changed to print then cut before clicking Make It. (If you get a yellow triangle in the layers panel, your image is probably too big. Adjust the image to fit within the 6.75″ x 9.25″ print then cut size limit.)

I demonstrate this process in this brief video:

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