Learn all about Cricut engraving with the Cricut Maker engraving tool! What can you engrave and how to engrave… let’s find out!
I have been on a mission to try and craft with new and different materials than I am used to. My last posts were all about using the Cricut Maker to cut leather and today we will be diving into engraving with the Cricut.
I have had the engraving tip for a while and have loved the results on engraving on acrylic but since Cricut has aluminum sheets, I wanted to see how engraving on them would work out and dive a little deeper into Cricut engraving.
First, we will go over the Cricut engraving tool and how it works, and then I will give you a step by step engraving tutorial using a Cricut Maker.
So, first, let’s talk a little about the possibilities of Cricut engraving with the Cricut etching tool.
How Does Cricut Engraving Work?
Engraving is the process of making incisions into a material by cutting a lot of small grooves. Being that engraving has to do with cutting, a Cricut cutting machine is a great choice to use!
Can The Cricut Engrave?
Yes!! And Yay, right? Cricut released the Cricut Maker engraving tip in the summer of 2019. The engraving tips are part of the QuickSwap housing tools only available for the Cricut Maker. These tools require an advanced cutting technology that only the Maker has.
You only need one QuickSwap housing and then you can buy the tips and blades separately. The tips themselves aren’t too expensive, you should be able to get one under $15 when it’s on sale. You can read all about them at Cricut.com.
What Cricut Machine Can Engrave?
The only machine you can engrave with is the Cricut Maker line, so the original Cricut Maker or the Cricut Maker 3. The Cricut engraving tool or tip is part of the adaptative tool system that has a different force and cutting mechanism than the Cricut Explore Air 2 or Joy machines.
The Cricut engraving tip is #41.
You can read all about the differences between the Explore and Maker machines here if you want to learn more about them.
What Can the Engraving Tool Do?
The Cricut engraving tool can be used to engrave on a variety of engraving materials including:
- Foil Kraft Board Holographic
- Foil Poster Board
- Kraft Board
- Metallic Poster Board
- Glitter Cardstock
- Aluminum Sheets
- Anodized Aluminum
- Stainless Steel
- Faux Leather
- Genuine Leather
- Tooling Leather
- Calibration Paper
- Heavy Watercolor Paper
- Shimmer Paper
- Sparkle Paper
- Foil Acetate
- Metal – 40 gauge thin copper
- Vinyl Record
YOU CAN NOT ENGRAVE GLASS WITH IT!
When you are in Cricut Design Space and have your Cricut Maker specified, you will find the “engrave” setting under the Operation dropdown. I’ll show you all this below!
So let’s put the Cricket etching tool to the test and learn how to engrave metal with it. We will be going over two different Cricut engraving projects using aluminum to make a birth stat sign and then some smaller jewelry or wine charms.
Materials Needed for Engraved Aluminum Sheet
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- Cricut Maker from Cricut.com or Amazon here
- Cricut Engraving Tip
- Cricut Aluminum Sheet (I used 5×7)
- Strong Grip Mat and blue painter’s tape
How to Design Cricut Engraved Birth Stat Plaque
There are a few extra steps to take when designing an engraved aluminum sheet in Cricut Design Space, so I’ll make sure to bold those points below!
Here are the steps on how I designed the birth stat plaque I engraved. The first thing you’ll want to do is add a rectangle the size of your aluminum sheet.
Mine is 7 x 5, so I clicked on Shapes and then on square.
Then I unlocked the size lock at the top and typed in 7 for width and 5 for height. You can also change the color if it helps visualize it better.
Then I started inserting the text I wanted. I like to make separate text boxes for each line of text I put in so I can resize them independently of each other.
I clicked on Text and then typed in the name. Under the Font drop down, select the font you would like to use. I selected Elegant Cake for the name and then used the double-sided arrow to resize it to how I wanted it.
Then while you have the name selected you need to select Engrave under the Linetype Drop Down.
Update: Since this engraving how to tutorial, CDS has been updated, and now the Engrave option is under OPERATION but still in the same location on the top left.
And you’ll notice the letters turn to just an outline. That is where the Cricut will engrave.
Keep adding text boxes, typing the words you want and then change the Linetype to Engrave. I used Birthday Bash font for the birth stats.
For the inches and birth time, I put them both on the same line and inserted about 4-5 spaces to separate them.
Once I had the birth statistics in, I selected all of them by using my cursor and putting a box around them and aligned them to the center.
Now you have the option of inserting some cute images. I decided to add baby feet and some hearts.
Click on Images on the left side and then type in baby feet in the search bar. Click on the ones you want and then on insert.
Then I clicked on images again and typed in hearts. I liked these three hearts.
Click on the images once they are on the canvas and select Engrave on the drop-down. Size them and center them to how you want.
For the hearts, I sized them to how big I wanted them, then clicked on duplicate so I had two sets. Then I clicked on one and clicked on Flip Horizontal.
I placed them about how I wanted them and then selected all of them, centered them, and then distributed them horizontally. Then I grouped them all together.
Now that everything is on the rectangle, I selected everything and clicked Center.
Then with all of the wording and images attached (not the rectangle), I clicked on Attach.
Make sure to save the project and that Maker is selected and click Make It.
Cricut Engraving on Aluminum Sheets
So the next step that is a little different is that you’ll want to center the words to be engraved on the prepare screen.
Since the words are set to engrave and the 7×5 rectangle is set to cut, they will not appear on the same mat.
So on the next screen, click on the rectangle and then on the three little dots at the top. Click Move Object.
A pop up screen of all the mats will appear. Click on the mat that has the engraved words and click Confirm.
Now you will need to move the rectangle to where you will be taping the aluminum sheet on the mat. I like to put mine 1 inch down and 1 inch in so that is where I put the white rectangle.
Then I clicked on the text and moved it over the rectangle and centered it as best as I could.
Once it’s centered, I clicked on the rectangle again, on the three dots, and then selected Hide Image. Now you are left with the words to be engraved.
Click Continue and select Aluminum Sheet in the settings menu.
You will be prompted to insert the engraving tip #41. To insert the engraving tool and housing, open clamp B and remove the fine point blade housing.
Align the housing wheel with the wheels in clamp B and latch the clamp. The clear plastic around the gold wheel will lay flat against the machine.
Prepping the Aluminum Sheet
The Cricut aluminum sheets have a thin film on both sides. Make sure to remove them before you place it on your mat.
One side has a yellowish tint and is easy to find and remove. The other side is harder to find the film, but seems to have a nicer surface.
Place the aluminum sheet on a strong grip mat so that it corresponds to where you placed in on the prepare screen in CDS. Again, mine was 1 inch down and 1 inch in.
Tape all four sides with blue painter’s tape to secure it in place.
Move the white rollers to the side on your Maker and load the mat when prompted. Push the blinking light and let the Cricut engrave!
Once it’s done, unload and peel off the tape. Use a cotton or lint-free cloth to wipe off any debris from the engraving.
How to Make Cricut Engraving Stand Out
If you want the engraving to stand out a little bit more, you can use a pen to fill in the engraved etchings.
I just use a dry erase marker and color over the engraved metal making sure to get into the etched grooves. Color in a couple of different directions to make sure it is all filled. Then use a cotton cloth to wipe off the excess.
You can also use a jewelry acrylic ink like this enamel marker on Amazon.
That’s it! You can give the sign as is, place on a birth stat stuffed animal, or attach it to a frame as I did. I put a piece of cardstock where a picture would go then used some foam tape to attach the aluminum sheet to the front of the glass.
And can I tell you it’s really hard to take pictures of engravings without getting a ton of glare!
Cricut Maker Engraving on Stamping Blanks
Now let’s look at how the engraving tip works on small pieces of aluminum with small images.
If the stamping blanks have a ring on them, make sure to remove it. The ring won’t fit under the roller of the Cricut Maker.
In Cricut Design Space, I inserted the text and selected Writing font, and picked one I liked. For the vertical rectangles, I centered the text with the Alignment drop down.
With the text selected, change the Operation to Engrave.
I sized the words and images to fit on the blanks.
Make sure all the Layers say Engrave on your layer panels.
Now, comes the hardest part of this engraving project! You need to line up all the images to be engraved with the blanks on your mat.
Engraving Tip – you might need to try a few times to see how your Cricut centers things on your mat. If your Cricut seems to line up a little to the left then you can nudge the blank a little to the left. You can try the engraving tip out on a cheaper material like glitter cardstock first to see what happens!
I lined the aluminum blanks up the best I could down the line of my purple (strong grip) mat. Then I lined up each corresponding image to the same line on my Prepare screen.
Sometimes the Cricut doesn’t cut engrave exactly on the centerline of your mat – as you’ll notice on my Blessed necklace. This can be frustrating for a perfectionist, lol!
Then you’ll need to tape down the aluminum blanks with blue painter’s tape so they don’t move. I just put a strip on the top and bottom edges. You don’t want to cover where the engraving will go. Excuse my dirty mat!
Move the rollers to the inside, select Aluminum on your material setting, and insert the engraving tip with the housing in clamp B.
Load your mat and push the blinking light.
It really didn’t take very long for my Cricut Maker 3 to engrave things.
Unload the mat and take off the tape. Look how small the Cricut can engrave things! So fun! You’ll notice how the Blessed was pretty off-center. I taped it on the mat just a little bit off center and my Cricut does cut off to one side a smidge.
I love this little monogram monster! Perfect for a necklace or keychain or party favors!
I wanted to see if I could use a Sharpie to make the engraving stand out. It definitely held the color but the extra Sharpie was a bit hard to wipe off the edges so I wouldn’t recommend using a Sharpie!
Make sure to save this tutorial on how to engrave metal for later by Pinning it Now!
- Aluminum Stamping Blanks
- Strong Grip Mat
- Painter's Tape
- Cricut Maker
- Cricut Maker Engraving Tip and Housing
- Design the image or text to be engraved in Cricut Design Space. Size to fit on your aluminum sheet or stamping blank.
- With image/text selected, change Operation to Engrave.
- On the Prepare screen, move the images/text to line up with the blanks on the mat. It's easiest to line them on a corner or vertical line.
- Tape down the blanks to correspond with the images are in CDS.
- Insert engraving tip with housing in clamp B. Move white rollers to the side. Select Aluminum for material and load mat.
- Press the blinking light when ready and let the Cricut engrave.
- Unload mat when prompted and remove the engraved items!
See post for full engraving how to instructions with step by step pictures.
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Thanks so much for stopping by and have a festive season!