How to Make Stickers with a Cricut Explore or Maker
Today we're talking about all things STICKERS 😍 One of my favorite things to do with my Cricut Explore or Maker is to make stickers! I didn't start making them until a few years into owning a Cricut because I thought it was going to be super complicated. So if you're like I was, I'm here to tell you that it's not as complicated as it might seem! I will walk you through the entire process in this blog post today. And I'm including all the free PNG files so you can make this exact project too, take a peek below at the four stickers we are going to make!
Compatible Machines: Explore or Maker
- Cricut Explore Air 2 or Cricut Maker
- Printable Vinyl
- StandardGrip Mat
- Laminating Sheets (optional, see below)
- Laminator (optional, see below)
- Inkjet Printer (I'm using a Canon but any Inkjet printer will do)
Step One: Download the PNG files and upload them to Design Space.
Click the links above to download the free PNG files. I saved them as individual files so you'll have to upload them separately. You'll want to save them somewhere on your computer where you can easily find them. Then we are going to open Cricut's Design Space and start a new project.
On the left-hand side of the canvas, click on "Upload", then "Upload Image". Then either click on "Browse" to find your file or drag and drop it on the screen. Locate where you downloaded the PNG file and click on open. Then when you get to the "Image type" screen, select "Complex". Then on the next screen, click "Continue" — we don't need to clean up the image at all since it's saved with a transparent background. Next, make sure you save the image as a "Print-then-Cut" image and click on "Save". Then click on your image and then click "Insert Images".
Complete this step for all four stickers until they're all on the canvas.
Step Two: Adjust Your Stickers Size
To do this, we are going to adjust the size of each individual sticker. You can make them whatever dimensions you want! There are two ways to adjust size in Design Space. First, you click on an individual sticker and then click and drag the right arrow in the bottom right-hand corner. You can also manually adjust the size — this is what I did. I want each sticker to be 3.5" at either the width or height, just depending on the sticker. While you have your sticker selected, if you look at the top row in Design Space, you'll see "Size". This is where you can manually type in the size you are looking for. Do you see the little lock between the width and height? We are going to leave this locked so that when we type in one dimension, the other is automatically sized proportionally. Like I mentioned above, I wanted my stickers to be 3.5" at whatever side was the longest. In this case, it was the height that is longer than the width, so I typed in 3.5" in the height section. Click enter and you'll see how it will automatically size the width for you. Repeat this step for your other three stickers.
Step Three: Prepare Your Stickers for Printing and Cutting
When you're JUST cutting with a Cricut, your cutting space is 12x12" (it's actually 11.5x11.5", if you didn't know!). However, with Print-then-Cut, our area to work with is a little smaller. The largest you can print and cut with your Cricut is 6.75x9.25". To ensure we use every last square inch available, we are going to temporarily add a rectangle in that exact dimension and then fill it up with stickers! This way, we will be able to fit as many stickers as we can.
To add the rectangle, click on "Shapes" in the left-hand column. Then click on "Square" and adjust the dimensions (just like we did in the last step) to 6.75" wide and 9.25" tall. You'll need to click the lock to unlock the dimensions so you can manually adjust both. Once you've got your rectangle to size, send your rectangle to the back. To do this, right click (and a little drop down menu will pop up) and select "Send to back".
Now place as many stickers as you can (or want) on top of the rectangle. To duplicate, you can copy and paste or use the "Duplicate" tool in the layers panel on the right-hand side of your screen. I was able to fit six stickers inside of the rectangle, as you can see below:
Now you can hide the rectangle! To do this, go over to the layers panel, find the rectangle (it will say square) and click on the eyeball on the right. It will then disappear from the canvas. Remember, we were just using this as a template. We aren't actually cutting or printing the rectangle!
Now we are going to highlight all of our sticker and click on attach in the bottom right-hand corner. This is going to lock all of our stickers together so that they print exactly as you see on the canvas.
Before you click "Make It", make sure you have the correct machine selected. I'm using a Cricut Maker today, but if you have the Explore make sure to switch it. Then click on "Make It"!
The next screen that pops up is our mat preview screen. Ensure everything looks good and then click on "Continue".
Step Four: Print Your Stickers
Your Cricut will now connect to your machine over Bluetooth or USB. While it's connecting, we are going to print our stickers as you can see from the prompts in Design Space. Click on "Send to Printer" and then a pop-up window will appear. I like to turn the bleed off and turn system dialog on. Using system dialog allows us to change our printing settings. Then click "Print".
Another window will pop up from your computer. Just as a heads up, it may appear behind Design Space. This is what it looks like on my Mac:
It will look slightly different depending on your printer. I like to increase my print quality to best and then print.
Then load your printable vinyl into your printer and get printing! Depending on your printer, you may have to load your vinyl in upside down or in a certain slot. Mine goes in upside down! Then step back and watch the printing magic.
Step Five (OPTIONAL): Laminate your printable vinyl
Let your printable vinyl completely dry. Just a few minutes should be enough! Then pull out your laminator and laminate it. The reason I like to do this is because it makes the stickers glossy and I think it makes the sticker more durable.
However, you do NOT need to do this step to make stickers! It's totally optional. And if you don't like a glossy finish, you won't want to do this step.
Step Six: Cut Your Vinyl
Now we cut the vinyl! Place it on a cutting mat — either a StandardGrip or LightGrip will do. I like to push down with my hand to make sure there are no air bubbles. You can use a scraper but just be extra careful if you do so you don't scratch your stickers.
Then place your vinyl into your machine to get ready to cut. If you're using regular printable vinyl, you'll choose that as your cutting setting. If you've laminated your stickers, I like to use the "Poster Board" setting and increase the pressure to more.
Note: if you laminated your vinyl and are cutting with an Air 2, you may need to place matte scotch tape over the black registration lines to trick your Air 2 into cutting the vinyl. For some reason, my Air 2 has a hard time with the glossy finish, but you can trick it into cutting by applying a matte tape! My Maker cut the glossy finish just fine.
Step Seven: Remove from Cutting Mat
When you're finished carefully remove your stickers from your cutting mat. I like to do this by flipping the mat over and bending the mat rather than the stickers.
Now we're all finished! When I look back over the written tutorial, it kind of seems like a lot — but I promise it's not too bad. In a nutshell, it's design, print, laminate (optional), and then cut!
As always, feel free to leave a question in the comments below if you need any help! I hope this was helpful for those of you who are looking to make stickers. I'll share a tutorial in the future about how to design stickers in Design Space if you're interested because if you're like me, once you start making stickers, you'll want a sticker for everything!