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How to Upload Images to Cricut Design Space and Make Layers with Them!

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Learn how to upload images to Cricut Design Space from Google or other websites for printing and also how to make layers out of PNGs and JPGs.

It’s been a while since I’ve added a tutorial on just how to do something in Cricut Design Space. I’ve had a lot of questions on how to layer on Cricut Design Space and how to upload images to Cricut and I’ve finally gotten around to making the tutorial!

I knew it was going to be a long post so I kept putting it off… sorry!

And it definitely turned out to be a very long post since I’m showing you four different ways to use uploaded images and how to make layers out of PNGs and JPGs all within design space.

creating layers in cricut design space

If you missed any of my CDS 101 series, make sure to check them out if you need more guidance in any area.

Part 1: How to Get Started with CDS – creating a username and logging in

Part 2:  All Things Font in Cricut Design Space – watch this video to find out where to get free fonts, how to upload, how to attach cursive letters, and much more in this tutorial. (click on the purple title!)

Part 3:  Accessing Extra Characters and Fonts to use in Cricut Design Space – learn how to easily access those secret glyphs to make your font stand out in CDS.

Part 4: How to Make a Split Letter Monogram in Cricut Design Space – learn how to make a unique way to monogram anything

Part 5: How to use the Write & Cut Function

Part 6: How to Slice on Cricut

If you are still wondering whether you should get a Cricut or not, you can read through my post on which Cricut is right for you and also a huge list of Cricut ideas here.

How to Upload Images from Google to Cricut Design Space

I have a full YouTube video tutorial at the bottom of the post explaining and showing you how to import files to Cricut Design Space in case that is easier for you to learn by! And a super quick video at the top of just showing you how to upload images to Cricut.

By far the easiest way to have multiple colors in a Cricut cut is by using the print and cut feature. You can upload almost any image into Cricut Design Space and have the Cricut send the image to your printer and then cut the image out with the Cricut.

I explain all about how to actually do the printing and cutting in my print and cut sticker tutorial and offsetting tutorial, so for this post, we are sticking with the basics of uploading.

Again, be wary of copyright laws on images if you intend to use them for selling anything.

You can google “free clipart” and find a ton of images. I found this one on clipart-library.com. In my video, you’ll notice I use a Spiderman image for this part.

Once you find an image you want to upload, right-click on it and choose Save Image As and save it to your downloads or desktop. PNGs are a little easier to work with since their backgrounds are usually transparent, but JPG will also work. (More on uploading JPGs later).

upload jpg to cricut

Now let’s see how to import images into Cricut Design Space from your computer.

On a new canvas in Cricut Design Space, click on the Upload button on the left side. Then the following screen will pop up and then click on Upload Image.

how to upload images to cricut

Then the following screen will come up. You can either drag and drop the file here or click on Browse for a popup window to come up to find it.

how to upload images to cricut

On my pop up window, I go into Downloads and click on the hamburger image. Double click on it or click on Open to bring the PNG into CDS.

how to upload images to cricut

When an image is uploaded it brings up this screen first. If you will be printing the image on printable vinyl or sticker paper or cardstock, you’ll want the most details as possible.

Click on Complex and then on Continue.

how to upload images to cricut

Since we are uploading a PNG, you won’t need to do anything on the next screen. Just click on Continue.

how to upload images to cricut

Then on the next screen you have two options. Since in this example we are uploading this to print, click on the left image that says “Save as a Print Then Cut Image.” Then click on Save at bottom right.

how to upload images to cricut save

Now the uploaded image is saved in your uploads. Click on it and then on the green Insert Images button to bring it onto your canvas.

how to upload images to cricut click

You can change the size of the image by dragging the double arrows. Click Make It when ready to print.

how to upload images to cricut

One the Prepare screen you’ll notice a black rectangle around the image. That is a sensor line the Cricut machine needs to read so it knows exactly where to cut so make sure you don’t cut it off!

cricut print upload image

So that’s how to upload images from Google to Cricut Design Space. Now let’s work on creating layers.

How to Create Layers of a PNG in Cricut Design Space

There are a few different ways to make multi layer vinyl layers in Cricut Design Space. I will show you two different ways that I use.

I also have a tutorial on how to make layers in Inkscape if you have that program.

When you want to create layers from an uploaded image you’ll want to start with an image that has high contrast and not too many colors. I think under 5 colors is ideal.

Again you can google free clipart and find something you like, either a PNG or JPG. PNGs will always be easier but I will show you how to make layers with a JPG down further.

I found this cute owl on that same clipart library site. I right-clicked, Saved it to my computer, and then uploaded the image as I showed you above (using complex as image type to keep the edges crisp and clean).

how to make layers in cricut

But this time we are going to making changes in the Select and Erase screen.

This is where the Advanced Option button comes in handy. It reduces the amount of colors in the image so you don’t have to do as much erasing with the eraser.

You do have to play with a bit to see which is the right amount of colors to have that won’t get rid of some of the elements.

For the first layer, I planned on making the yellow layer of the owl. I clicked on Advance Options and changed the Reduce Colors to 3.

how to make layers in cricut advanced options

So with the wand tool selected at the top left, I’m going to use my cursor to delete out all the colors that are not yellow. I simply place my cursor on the brown wing and click on it with my mouse. I continue clicking on everything that is NOT YELLOW.

how to make layers in cricut

You can see different parts of the owl start disappearing.

how to make layers in cricut

Now I’m left with just the yellow layer. I always click on the Preview button at the bottom to make sure all the elements are erased that I want. Sometimes there are some small lines you can’t see.

how to make layers in cricut preview

With Preview selected, I can see that little dots around the eyes are left. Now I’m going to use the Eraser tool to erase them.

how to make layers in cricut erase

Click on the eraser in the top left. You can change the size of the eraser with the slider below the Erase tool.

eraser tool cricut

You will be using your mouse again. The eraser is a circle that is controlled by your mouse or finger. While you left click and hold your mouse button down, glide the circle all over the extra lines you see.

Again it acts as an eraser. Anything it goes over will disappear. Go slowly. If you accidentally go through part of the owl that is yellow, click on the UnDo arrow in the top right.

eraser cds

Now when I click on Preview those dots are gone! Time to click on Continue.

how to make layers in cricut

Then you’ll want to click on the right box that says “Save as a Cut Image”. You can rename the Image if you want. Sometimes I’ll write owl yellow layer so I know exactly which color it was supposed to be. Then click Save.

how to make layers in cricut save

Now we are going to repeat the same process to make the other layers. Again click on the Upload Image and then on Browse or drag the same owl file to Open it.

uploaded images cricut
uploading in cricut

Click on Complex and then on Continue.

how to make layers in cricut design space

Now I’m going to create the brown layer. For this one I changed the colors to 2 to give me even less things to delete! Then I clicked on the yellow body and eyes to get rid of them.

creating layers in cricut design space
how to create layers in cricut design space

Again on the preview screen there are some lines that remained around the eyes.

how to create layers in cricut design space

I clicked on the eraser and hovered over the lines while holding my mouse button down to erase them.

how to create layers in cricut design space

All gone on the Preview Screen.

how to create layers in cricut design space

Click on Continue and again same as a Cut Image and change the name if you want.

how to create layers in cricut design space

Repeat the process again! Upload the file and reduce the color to 3. Now I’m going to save the white layer (turns kind of off white when the colors were reduced) so I’m going to click on everything that is not white.

how to create layers in cricut design space
how to create layers in cricut design space

Keep clicking and check the Preview screen to see if there is anything that needs to be erased.

how to create layers in cricut design space

Erase it with the erase and Continue and Save as Cut Image.

how to make multi layer vinyl in cricut

The only elements we have left are the eyes and the nose. Again upload the image and this time I am going to use the Crop in the upper left.

When you click on crop you can drag a box around the part of the image you want to SAVE. I dragged the box around the eyes and let go.

crop cricut

You’ll be left with something like this. I reduced the color to 2 and with the wand clicked on the brown part so that just the eyes are left. I’m not going to worry about the pupils, I will add those on my canvas.

how to make multi layer vinyl in cricut

I clicked Continue when my eyes looked like this.

how to make multi layer vinyl in cricut
screenshot

Repeat the same process for the nose with the crop feature. You can watch this part in the YouTube video at the bottom.

Once I have all the layers, I’m going to click on all of them and Insert them onto my canvas.

all layers for cricut file
how to make multi layer vinyl in cricut

Now click on each individual layer and change the color by clicking on the color box next to the Linetype.

how to make multi layer vinyl in cricut
how to make multi layer vinyl in cricut

Change all of them and then align them. I like to group all of them so I can change the size once I have them layered on top of each other.

how to make multi layer vinyl in cricut

For the pupils, I clicked on Shapes on the right and added a circle. I sized it to fit inside the eyes and duplicated it for the other eye. Now all the layers are ready to cut out of adhesive vinyl or heat transfer vinyl!

make layers in cricut design

How to Change Color of PNG into Layers

Ok, a lot of information already, right??!! If you need to Save this and come back to it, click on any image and PIN it.

Now let’s move on to another way of making different parts of a PNG different colors with the contour tool.

Have you ever used the contour tool in Cricut Design Space?? If you haven’t, you will learn to love it after you are done with this tutorial!

This process works best for images that have spaces in the image like the spaces in between the petals of this lotus flower. I found this on pixabay.com and downloaded it as a PNG.

lotus png to cricut

Then I clicked on Upload and then Browse to find it on my computer to Open it into CDS.

browse png cds

I saved it as Complex and clicked on Continue.

uploading png to cricut

Now you could make layers with the method I showed you above, but for these type of images that have spaces I find it easier to make the layers with the contour tool.

Save it as a Cut Image (it will all be one color, that is fine!).

upload png as cut image

Bring it onto your workboard and duplicate the image 4 or 5 times. The duplicate button is in the top right.

duplicate in design space

Now with one of the images selected, click on Contour. You’ll get a popup box like this.

contour tool cds

The contour tool deletes different parts of images that you don’t want! So for this first layer, I want to keep the heart outline and two of the petals.

So click on all of the other petals so they turn light grey in the picture and so their corresponding layer darkens (on the side panel). You’ll notice in the screenshot below that the heart and two petals are a darker grey – those are the parts that will remain! Simply click on the X in the upper right hand corner of the pop up window.

using contour on png

And ta da, you are left with only those pieces! Now you can can change the color to anything you want.

first contour layer

We are going to repeat the process for the other layers. Select another one of the full images and click on Contour.

making layers in cricut

For this one, I’m going to actually click on the Hide All Contours at the bottom right. This hides everything (except the biggest piece, not sure why) and I simply click on the petals I want to keep.

hide all contours

So I clicked on the outer two petals so they turned dark grey. If any other parts are still dark grey that you don’t want, click on it so it turns light grey.

duplicate contour hide

X out of the window and change the color of the petals.

Repeat the process for the remaining petals using the Contour tool. Remember the DARK GREY pieces will be the ones that remain.

contour cricut design space png

Once you change all the colors you are left with something like this. Now you can cut all the different colors on different mats!

creating multi layers cricut

How to Make Layers with Contour Tool

Ok, last method I wanted to show you in making multi layers in Cricut Design Space uses both the wand and contour tool and is one of my favorite ways!

Again, caution about copyright when wanting to sell things if you are finding from a site that isn’t listed as free commercial use.

This option is perfect for JPEG or PNG files that have a thicker border around the edges or even like a coloring page. Right click on the Image and Save it. The image can be filled in with color like with this bulldog below.

how to upload images to cricut design space

Or just the outline like the image below. Although with this one, you won’t be able to make a layer out of the collar since it’s black and attached to the rest of the image.

how to upload images to cricut design space

Once it’s Saved, open it up in Cricut Design Space just like we did in all the examples above.

how to upload images to cricut

Save it as a Complex image so the lines are nice and crisp.

how to upload images to cricut

Since this is a JPG we do need to delete off the background. This is one of main differences when uploading a JPEG compared to a PNG.

Super easy. Make sure the wand is selected in the upper left and click on all the white of the background until it turns checkerboard.

upload image to cricut
how to upload images to cricut design space

Since we only want the outline or black pieces of this image, I am still going to use my wand and click on all the colored pieces of the image.

Just keep clicking away each tooth and section until everything but the black pieces are left. If you accidentally click on something that deletes the black, click on the UnDo arrow on the upper left and it will reappear.

how to upload images to cricut design space clean up
how to upload images to cricut design space

Again, I always click on Preview to make sure I got everything. Then Continue and Save as Cut Image.

cricut design space preview
save as cut image cricut

Then Insert it on your canvas and while it’s selected click on the Contour button in the lower left.

creating layers in cricut design space

I want to make the grey layer now so I’m going to click on Hide All Contours first. Then I’m going to click on the individual areas that should be grey.

This part can be fickle, because not all of the Contours are actually hidden. The biggest one always remains, so just click on it in the layers panel so it disappears.

using contour tool design space

X out of the screen and change the color of the layer.

using contour tool design space color

Repeat for the other two colors. Click on Contour of the outline layer and this time I’m going to Hide all Contours again and then click on each tooth, eye, and spike in the collar so they turn dark grey.

Again, I had to click on one of the teeth first and then click on the large background for that piece to disappear. Make sure to watch the video below if this isn’t making sense!

using contour tool design space cricut

Then change the color to white.

using contour tool design space

Last part is making the collar layer. Again select the main outline image and click on Contour.

Click until you have only the collar pieces a dark grey (dark grey means they will remain!).

using contour tool design space

Change the color of the collar to whatever you want. Move all the pieces so they overlap, select all of them and then click on Group. Now you can change the size and it will keep proportion.

contour cricut design space

Pretty cool, right??!! There are probably even more ways to make layers in Cricut, but these are the ways I have found to do it. You really just need to mess around with the different methods and see which one you like best.

One method might work better for different images depending on what you are wanting to make with it. If you are making a shirt, make sure to check out my detailed tutorial on how to make a shirt with a Cricut.

How to Layer on Cricut Video Tutorial

If you’d like to save this tutorial on how to upload images to Cricut for later or share you can PIN It now! If you are on a desktop hover over the top left of the image below and if you are on a phone simply tap on the image and a PIN It button will pop up to click on!

how to upload images to cricut

Thanks so much for stopping by and have a creative day!

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