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Cricut Print and Cut: All You NEED to KNOW

Using Cricut print and cut feature is an easy way to personalize anything. Let’s learn how to use it with a video tutorial and project ideas!

Have you wondered how to use the print then cut function on your Cricut machine or just want some ideas on what to use it for? Well, you are in the right place.

Today we are diving into Cricut Design Space and learning all about this easy feature. The great thing about it is that you can use it with both the Cricut Explore Air 2, Explore 3, Cricut Maker, and the Cricut Maker 3.

Unfortunately, the Cricut Joy does not have the print then cut capability at this time.

This is a long post with a ton of information and a link to the full video of every step at the bottom, so bear with me!

print and cut pinterest

What is Cricut Print and Cut?

Print and cut is a little different than your normal cutting of vinyl and iron-on vinyl. You actually need to use a printer along with your Cricut Explore Air or Cricut Maker.

The Cricut doesn’t actually print your image. (Your Cricut can draw/write with markers, but that is different.) Design Space sends it to a connected home printer to print your image and then you place the printed sheet of paper or cardstock on your Cricut mat and the Cricut will cut it out.

Think of it this way… no more trying to cut out those very intricate images on cut lines you print with scissors. Let your Cricut do the work for you so there are no more uneven edges or hurt hands!

print and cut cricut

What Materials Can You Print then Cut?

One of the main ways people use the Cricut print function is to make your own stickers. Whatever your printer can print, the Cricut will cut.

You can find printable sticker paper, clear printable sticker paper, waterslide paper, printable iron-on vinyl, printable vinyl, paper, and cardstock all in the required 8.5 x 11 inch size.

However, an inkjet printer is recommended for the majority of the materials because the thicker materials will get stuck in a laser printer. Make sure to always read the directions on your sticker sheets material.

As I mentioned, both the Cricut Explore family and Cricut Maker can print and cut but there are some differences between them. The Cricut Explore Air can only cut white material while the Maker can cut white to medium colored papers.

Cricut Print and Cut Size Limit

Update 2/2023: Cricut Design Space has a beta release of an increased maximum size of print then cut images! Woo Hoo!

To turn on the beta, click on the hamburger on the top left of CDS and click on settings. Then besides Application Experience, change to Beta. Then click Done.

turning on beta cricut design space

So now if you insert an image to print then cut and size it too big, you’ll see a little red circle with an “!” in it over on the layers panel. Click on the red info circle.

cricut design space increase print size

A new pop up window will appear with an explanation of why your image is too large based on the size of your paper. The first option you have is to Auto Resize Image. Click on that and CDS will automatically change the size of your printable image or images to fit the paper size.

cricut design space auto resize image

My image decreased and now no warning indicator is on!

larger print on cricut

The other option is to change your Paper Size. If you have a printer that is able to print larger pieces of paper, then you are in luck! Click on the warning sign, then click on Change Paper Size.

change paper size cricut for print then cut

Under Print then Cut Page Size you can now change your paper size to Legal (8.5 x 14 inch), Tabloid (11 x 17 inch), and A3 (11.7 x 16.5 inch). If you are using the larger paper size you will also need a 12×24 cutting mat to place it on to cut. Make your selection and click on Done.

print then cut mat size

Once the paper size is selected, you’ll need to go back to the warning sign with an exclamation point in it and click on Auto Resize Image.

then auto resize image cricut

Once you are ready to cut, click on Make It and you have the option to move the image around on your cutting mat. Just click and drag it and you’re ready to send it to the printer!

moving printable image on cricut

If you are not using Beta, another drawback is the size of the images you are able to print and cut. They used to be dependent on which browser you are using. Now the limit is 9.25 x 6.75 inches. If you try to print an image or file larger than that, you will get an error message telling you to reduce the size.

You can cut and print multiple of the same image or different images until you’ve reached the max size. Cricut will group all of the printable images together and cut them out at the same time.

print then cut cricut

You will notice there is a black box around your entire image/ images on your Make It screen and also printed on your paper.

This is the registration marks or sensor marking that the Cricut needs to scan so it knows where to cut. It’s amazing to watch the process of your Cricut reading the black lines!

print then cut thank you

These images were cut out on cardstock and added to my coffee cup gift card holder I made.

Cricut Print and Cut Stickers

So let’s use print then cut to make some custom stickers for a water bottle! Since these stickers are going to get wet I wanted to see which material was going to be the best to use. You can pretty much use any PNG file or SVG files to print and cut.

Cricut advises using an Inkjet printer with both of these papers. Laser printers heat the paper during the printing process which can melt the layers together.

From what I’ve read, most people don’t have issues, but if you have a laser printer and are experiencing difficulties printing on sticker paper or printable vinyl, that is probably why!

Printable Vinyl vs Sticker Paper

In general, sticker paper is much thicker and some people have problems getting it through their printer. It is permanent and very hard to remove. Printable vinyl is thinner and sticks very well but if you were wanting to get it off it you can and it doesn’t leave much of a residue if any.

printable vinyl print and cut
Notebook with Print and Cut Sticker cut out of Printable Vinyl
printable vinyl stickers
Comes up without any residue.

Putting Them to the Test!

I put Cricut printable vinyl and Cricut sticker paper to the test to see which one would hold up to washing.

I cut out three of the same print and cut images on printable vinyl and three on sticker paper. If you are not using print then cut images, use the flatten tool to smush all the layers together into one single layer of a printable image (more about this below!!)

I printed them with a basic inkjet color printer and then applied them to a Cricut mat to cut (we will be going over all of these steps in detail later!)

I let the ink dry for 24 hours. Then I applied a layer of Mod Podge over one of the sticker paper stickers and one of the printable vinyl images. I sprayed on an enamel coating on one of each too. The other two images I left as is.

diy cricut stickers
diy cricut stickers

I let the sealants dry for 24 hours. I wanted to see if they would even stand up to water before I added them to a water bottle, so I put the stickers under running water.

cricut print and cut waterproof
cricut print and cut printable vinyl test
cricut print and cut sticker paper

After getting wet once, all of them did pretty well besides the sticker paper without any sealant. I could barely get it off the sheet and it just fell apart.

cricut print and cut sticker paper

I let the rest dry fully and then I applied them to a stainless steel tumbler and let them sit for another 24 hours.

Then I hand washed the tumbler with mild soap and water three separate times and here is what happened!

The sticker paper started peeling up on the edges of both stickers that had sealants on them.

cricut print and cut tumbler

But the printable vinyl did amazing!

Actually, all three of the test stickers held up, even the one without a sealant! There was a little bit of chipped color on the one without anything, but I was still impressed.

cricut print and cut tumbler sticker
Just printed and dried. No sealant.
cricut print and cut tumbler
The top sticker had spray and bottom had Mod Podge. Both great!

Even though the printable vinyl is removable, it did not move at all during the hand washing process!

After the test, I decided I got the best results with images on printable vinyl with a layer of Mod Podge for a water bottle.

Update: I have a new tutorial on how to use self laminating sheets to make waterproof stickers and how to make holographic sticker sheets here!

Designing Images for Print then Cut

So let’s get started in Cricut Design Space on how to actually design some images to use for print and cut. There are several options and I wanted to touch on most of them.

This entire process is in the video at the end if watching me do this in CDS helps more!

Using Images from Cricut Access

If you have Cricut Access, then you have tons of images at your fingertips. There are even images called “printables” specific for print and cut and sticker design.

The first thing you’ll want to do to find these is click on Images on the left side, type in something you are searching for, and then click Filter on the top right and scroll down and check Printables.

cricut printables

These images are made for print and cut so you don’t have to do anything to them once you insert them onto your canvas. You can see that there is one line that says Cut/Print on the Layers panel (this is what you always want before you print! One line)

cricut printables

You can also use almost any cut designs in Cricut Access in just a few steps. This is where you will use the Flatten tool.

Click on any image to insert in on your canvas and then while it’s selected click the Flatten button on the lower right. All of the layers of the image will flatten together into one printable image.

For example, say you want to print Mickey Mouse. Find an image in Cricut Access and bring it onto your canvas. I like to have a little white edge around my stickers, so I make sure the shadow layer is visible – click on the eyeball in the layers panel so that the strike goes away (but this is optional!)

cricut print and cut stickers

You can tell it’s still a cut image by all the layers that say Cut in the layers panel.

cricut print and cut stickers

Once all the layers that you want are showing, use your cursor and mouse to drag a box around the entire image. Then click on Flatten. That’s it!

You’ll notice that the six separate cut pieces on the layers panel now go to one line that says Cut/Print. Size it and it’s ready to print!

cricut print and cut stickers

But what if you are printing out a saying or quote, how do you get it to cut around the edge and not around every single letter? I’m glad you asked!

The easiest way I found was to put a shape behind the cut file. Two of my favorite things are dogs and wine, so I found this super cute file in Access. (search “dog and wine”)

cricut print and cut stickers

Now if you bring this in, flatten it, and go to cut it, you might be upset to see that it cuts each letter out individually. Or depending on what you are doing, you might want that.

But if you don’t, insert a square by clicking on shapes on the left side. Change it to the color of the background you want (I usually choose white). And Arrange it to the back if needed (click on Arrange on the top toolbar and select Send Backward)

cricut print and cut stickers

I unlocked the white square since this image isn’t perfectly square and used dragged the green four arrow icon until it was the size I wanted. Then just for good measure, I used my cursor to select both of them and clicked on Align from the top toolbar, and selected Center.

cricut print and cut stickers

Now with the image and square selected, I click on the Flatten button. All of the layers go into one line on the layers panel so it’s good to go!

cricut print and cut stickers

Update: You can now use the offset feature in design space. The offset tool makes creating surrounds for stickers so much easier!

Using Photos as Stickers

Using your own photos or own images as stickers is super easy to do in the Cricut software. Click on the upload button and then browse. Find a picture you want to use on your computer drive and click Open.

cricut print then cut photos

The photo will upload and insert on the clean up screen. It might take a while depending on the size of your photo (you might want to reduce the size if it’s super big).

Click on Complex so that it prints all the details and then click Continue.

cricut print then cut photos

On the next screen click on the “Save Image as Print then Cut Image” then click continue. Now it’s in your upload section for you to insert onto your canvas.

cricut print then cut photos

If you want a border around it, repeat the steps we did above. Insert a square and change it to the color you want (I used white).

cricut print then cut photos

Size it so it fits behind the photo, select them both and use the Align drop-down menu to Center them to each other.

cricut print then cut photos

While they are both selected, hit the Flatten icon.

cricut print then cut flatten

Use the blue size arrow to make it bigger or smaller and it’s ready to print!

Uploading Images from Google to Print

One of my favorite aspects of Cricut Design Space is the ability to upload almost any image from the internet and use it as a print then cut image.

Before we go further, I need to remind you of the copyright laws. Just because you can upload any image, doesn’t mean you should or that you are allowed too. Especially if you want to sell anything, you need to make sure you have permission to use it for commercial use. is one of my favorite sites to find commercial use illustrations.

There are a lot of great sites that offer images free for personal use which is what I’ll be showing you. You’ll have the best of luck using a PNG which has transparent backgrounds. You can still use JPEG, you just might have to remove the background within CDS. The family photo I showed you above was a JPEG.

I start by typing what I’m searching into and then add PNG to the end of it. This will bring up more illustrations vs photos. For this example, I google watercolor sea turtles PNG. I found one that I liked and clicked on the image.

cricut print then cut png

This one brought me to which looks like a website with a bunch of different PNGs for personal use. This is also where I found the Fortnite images.

I followed the prompts to download the PNG.

cricut print then cut png
cricut print then cut fortnite

Once it’s download on my computer, I went back into Design Space and clicked Upload on the bottom left. Then click the Browse button and find the image on your computer. Click open or insert.

After the image uploads, click on Complex and then on Continue. If it is a PNG you won’t need to do any clean up of the image, so click Continue on the following screen.

cricut print then cut png
cricut print then cut png

Then click on “Save as a Print then Cut image”.

cricut print then cut png

Click on the image and then insert to bring it onto your canvas. You can stop here and just size it to your needs and be done, but I wanted to see if I could get a little border around it.

A lot of images that aren’t circles or shapes don’t do well when making shadow layers, but this one did fine. I clicked on the image and then hit duplicate on the top right. Update: You can now use the offset feature in CDS for this!

Then I made that image into a cut image by changing the Fill (left-hand corner of top toolbar) to No Fill. This will make it all one color and I then changed it to white.

cricut print then cut png

I sent it backward and then pulled the double arrows to make it slightly bigger.

cricut print and cut

Then I centered the sea turtle over it, used my cursor to select both images and hit Flatten.

cricut print and cut

All of the printable images are now one line in the layers panel that says Cut/Print. Now it’s time to print!

Using a Hand Drawn Image

Another fun thing to make stickers out of is hand-drawn images. I love making sentimental gifts using my kid’s handwriting and artwork. I’ve even made Father’s Day shirts with their handwriting and drawings by cutting it out of iron-on vinyl.

But for this project, I wanted to make some stickers for my water bottle with my daughter’s cute drawings. I first tried to use some of her drawings that were on a polka-dotted background and it was pretty time consuming to clean up. (I do talk more about this in the video).

Lots of tiny dots in the background doesn’t work well!

I had her draw on a white piece of paper. She likes using colored pencils, but I would recommend using markers. Cutting around the edges of something that was drawn with pencils took a long time!! And cut it up some!

eeyore sticker

After the Cricut took a really long time to cut the image above, I grabbed a Sharpie and just drew over the edges to outline it. It definitely took away from the lighter colors of the colored pencils but it cut much easier.

artwork into stickers

Take a picture of the drawing with a smartphone. My phone automatically uploads all my pictures into my Google drive so I can access them on my computer easily. If you don’t have this option, email it to yourself or use a USB cord to transfer to your computer.

print then cut on cricut

Download it on your computer and then use the same methods above to upload it into design space. These pictures do take a little extra work in the clean up screen, that’s why a picture with the sharp contrast works best.

print then cut on cricut

Once the image shows up, click on Complex and then on Continue.

print then cut on cricut
Select Complex

If there is an edge you want to remove, click on the crop icon on the top right. Hold down your cursor to highlight only the part you want in a box.

print then cut on cricut upload
print then cut on cricut crop

Then select the wand tool in the top right corner. Place your cursor anywhere on the background of the image that you want removed and click on it. The background should turn to a checkered pattern which means it’s now transparent.

print then cut on cricut wand
print then cut on cricut wand

Then I like to Preview my image by clicking on the Preview button located at the bottom center. This will show all of the parts of the image that will be cut.

print then cut on cricut preview

If there are some little black spots in places, I click on the erase tool and while holding down my cursor I run the circle over the extra spots I want to be removed. Make sure to watch the video below if this doesn’t make sense!

Once it’s how you want it, click continue, then on the next screen click on the left picture that says “Save as a Print and Cut Image”.

Now you know the main ways to get images to use for Cricut cut then print, let’s move on to the actual printing process.

Does Cricut Print?

No, a Cricut does not print images but the Cricut software will send the images to your home computer to print an 8.5×11 inch material. A print dialog box will pop up for you to select a printer and you can use the advanced options or use system dialog to select paper options and printer settings if you want.

You also don’t need to cut after you print! If you are wanting to do something else with your images or cut them out yourself, simply cancel the cut after the printing step.

Let’s move on to the actual project now! Woo Hoo!

Materials Needed for Water Bottle Stickers

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links from Shareasale, Cricut, Awin, CreativeFabrica, and I receive a small commission at no cost to you when you make a purchase using my links (purple text). As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

How to Print then Cut with a Cricut

cricut print and cut instructions

You will notice when you get to the printing screen, that a line inside the box will say Add Bleed and have a toggle switch.

A bleed is a small smudge that your printer will add to the edge of the image so that when the Cricut cuts it, it won’t cut into your image and also won’t leave some of the white paper on the edge.

cricut print and cut bleed

If you are not going to have your Cricut cut out the image, you might want to turn the bleed off so there’s not a smudgy line around your decal. But I almost always leave the Bleed ON if I’m printing and cutting with my Cricut.

The software will put as many images as possible in that maximum printing area. Then I add a sheet of printable vinyl to my printer and click on Print.

Once it prints out, place the material on a clean Cricut cut mat. Use the drop down setting menu to select Printable Vinyl or whatever material setting you are using.

cricut print and cut

Load the cutting mat into your Cricut and when the cut light starts flashing, push it!

Remember the light sensor will read the cut sensor marks first and then cut out your images. The time it takes will depend on the edges of your printed image and how intricate they are.

cricut print and cut
how to use print then cut cricut

When the light flashes again after it’s done push the unload button. If you are not wanting to put your new stickers on a water bottle, you can stop here and add the stickers to whatever you want. I like to put them on notebooks.

As I mentioned above, to preserve the sticker, I applied a layer of Mod Podge with a flat pain brush all over the stickers. Then I let them dry for quite a few hours to overnight.

cricut print and cut tutorial

I cleaned my mug with rubbing alcohol and then added my stickers on.

applying stickers to tumbler

I let it sit for a few days before I got it wet. You’ll notice the printable vinyl doesn’t move when I hand wash it.

water bottle stickers
waterproof stickers

I love my new water bottle! If you want to learn more ways to customize tumblers, make sure to check out my guide to personalized stainless steel bottles.

print and cut cricut
One of my daughter’s drawings.
print and cut cricut

More Cricut Print and Cut Projects

There are really so many ways to use the print then cut feature so to get more inspiration check out the following posts:

Holographic Stickers

cricut holographic stickers using print then cut

Stained Glass Card with Cricut

cricut cards stained glass look using cricut print and cut

Make your own gift tags

print and cut cricut
diy stickers cricut

I also added some of the stickers to a notebook. I didn’t add any Mod Podge on these. I just printed and cut then peeled them off the sheet and added them to the notebook.

print and cut cricut
how to make stickers pin

Cricut Print Then Cut Video Tutorial

Below you can watch the full 45-minute video tutorial on using the print then cut feature. I apologize, my software was giving me some crazy problems, so there are a few weird red lines during it. Please let me know if you have any questions by commenting below!

And here are simple printable directions.

print and cut cricut

How to Print and Cut with Cricut

Yield: 1-10 stickers
Active Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Difficulty: Medium

Use the Cricut print then cut function to make adorable stickers to add to notebooks, tumblers, decor, favor bags, and more! Learn if printable vinyl or sticker paper is better to use on water bottles by watching the video.


  • Printable Vinyl or Sticker Paper


  • Cricut Explore or Maker


  1. Upload a picture or choose an image from Cricut Design Space you want to use as a sticker.
  2. If the image has words, place a square or circle behind it a little bit bigger than the image to give it a border. Make sure to choose the color you want the border. I usually pick white.
  3. Center the image and shape and with both items selected, click Flatten on the lower right side. Size it no bigger than 6.75 x 9.25 inches.
  4. Click Continue. Design Space will send it to your printer. Leave the Bleed set to on.
  5. A black rectangle will print out around the image, this is a sensor guide for the Cricut.
  6. Place the entire sheet aligned with the top left corner of a Cricut Mat. Set your material to printable vinyl, load your mat, and click the flashing button.
  7. If you are wanting to apply the stickers to a water bottle, apply a layer of Mod Podge over the sticker. Let it dry for several hours and then add it to a tumbler.
  8. Let the stickers sit for a few days before you get them wet. Enjoy your new personalized stickers!


Make sure to read the full post for detailed step by step instructions and to see the entire full length video tutorial.

Recommended Products

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Did you make this project?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Thanks for stopping by and have a creative day!

cricut print and cut pinterest


Monday 10th of January 2022

GREAT explanation! I have an original Cricut Explore and have never used a print and cut feature. This was so helpful. Thank you!

Leap of Faith Crafting

Saturday 15th of January 2022

You are so welcome!

Lisa Guerrero

Monday 4th of January 2021

This has been the most beneficial information I have found on Cricut. I was beginning to regret ever getting one for Christmas until you broke everything down and explained things that I was struggling to grasp. Thank you so very much!

Leap of Faith Crafting

Friday 15th of January 2021

Yay, thank you for the sweet feedback, I'm so glad it was helpful! is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

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