Learn how to make customized stickers and decals using a variety of materials and a Cricut machine. This all-in-one guide covers everything from how to create stickers, design decals, calibrate devices, and more. Sponsored by Cricut
Whether you’re a Cricut newbie or a longtime crafter, making stickers and decals are probably high on your to-make list. One of the best parts of owning a Cricut machine is the ability to design and cut any kind of sticker you want in any shape, color, or size you can imagine.
But making stickers with Cricut has a few extra steps than what you’re used to if you’ve only ventured into vinyl and paper crafting. If you’re ready to move to the next level and start making your own stickers, here’s the all-in-one guide you need to create perfect page embellishments with your Cricut machine the very first time.
What Kinds Of Stickers Can A Cricut Machine Make?
There are three general types of stickers a Cricut machine can make:
1. Vinyl Decals
2. Print-Then-Cut Stickers
3. Written Labels
In this guide, I’ll cover how to make each one of them, along with some tips and tricks to speed up the process and have better quality results.
How To Make Vinyl Decal Stickers With Cricut
Vinyl decals are the classic Cricut sticker because they’re easy to make, use affordable materials, and don’t require any additional devices. When you first got your Cricut machine, the setup process walked you through a test cut. You may not have realized it at the time, but that test cut was actually a sticker decal. Easy, right? Let’s walk through the steps again in case it’s been a while.
What You Need To Make Sticker Decals With Cricut
Vinyl Decal Stickers With Cricut: Step By Step
Start by selecting an image or creating text inside a new Design Space canvas. (If you’re new, here’s a full tutorial for Design Space) Once you’ve chosen your image or created your text, adjust the sizing as needed. You can use the grid lines and image size box on the top toolbar to make your decal design the exact size you need.
When your design is ready, click the Make It button and follow the on-screen instructions for aligning your vinyl (either on a mat or right into the machine for Smart Vinyl). Let your machine do all the work while you grab snacks. I would say snacks aren’t required, but if your craft sessions are like mine, they absolutely are.
Once your design has been cut, you can take the vinyl off the mat (or unload Smart Vinyl) and use a weeding tool to remove the excess vinyl from the backing. You can also use the weeding tool to remove the unneeded vinyl pieces from inside letters and blank space in images.
Now that your design is weeded, you can use transfer tape to remove it from the backing and apply it onto your surface. A scraping tool helps the transfer tape “grab” the vinyl, or you can use a credit card to smooth it out.
How To Apply Vinyl Decal Stickers To Paper Without Tearing The Page
If you made the vinyl decal sticker to be applied on a piece of paper like I did above for my planner, here’s a little trick to prevent the transfer tape from tearing the paper. Before you use the transfer tape to grab the vinyl decal, stick it on your shirt or pants and peel it off a few times.
This coats the transfer tape slightly with the fuzz from your clothing and makes it a little less sticky. It will still grab the vinyl, but it won’t tear the paper. I love this hack for paper, cardboard, and painted surfaces.
How To Make Print Then Cut Stickers With Cricut
The next type of sticker you can make with your Cricut machine is called Print Then Cut. These are classic stickers like what you would buy in packs in the scrapbook aisle of the craft store. Print Then Cut stickers are really fun because you can have very detailed images with a lot of colors involved without having to layer different pieces of vinyl.
What You Need To Make Print Then Cut Stickers With Cricut
Cricut Explore Air 2, Explore 3, Maker, or Maker 3 machine (Joy cannot make Print Then Cut)
Printable Sticker Paper
Cricut LightGrip Mat
Inkjet Printer (Here’s my favorite inexpensive starter printer)
Cricut Print Then Cut First-Time Calibration Setup
The first thing you need to do if you have never made Print Then Cut stickers with your Cricut is calibrate the alignment. Don’t skip this step! If you do, your machine may not cut around your sticker properly. The newest Design Space update, version 7.16, has a guided Print Then Cut calibration that takes all the guesswork out of the process.
When you select Calibration from the main menu of Design Space, you’ll be given three options. Choose the Print Then Cut option and follow the on-screen tutorial for calibrating your inkjet printer and Cricut machine. You’ll need a sheet of paper and a LightGrip mat for this process, so make sure you have your printer loaded.
How To Make Cricut Print Then Cut Stickers: Step By Step
There are a few ways you can create sticker designs in Design Space. You can select pre-designed sticker projects uploaded by both the Cricut design team and other community members that require no customization from you at all. This is best for beginners, and it’s the method I used in the examples below.
You can alternatively choose images from the Design Space library or upload your own SVG files, then add the Offset feature to make cut lines around them. Once you add the offset size and shape you like, change the background color from black to white. Then in the Operation dropdown menu from the top toolbar, change it from basic to Print Then Cut. Make sure the image is flattened if it hasn’t already been.
Once all your stickers are ready, click Make It. Your sticker designs will be arranged on a print preview page, and there will be a black rectangle around them. This rectangle is crucial, because it’s what allows your Cricut machine to “read” where it should be cutting. When you’re ready, follow the on-screen instructions to print your designs onto Cricut Sticker Paper.
After your page has been printed, line it up in the top-left side of a LightGrip Mat. Follow the instructions in Design Space to load the mat. Your machine will first “read” where the black rectangle is, then it will start to cut around the stickers.
There’s no weeding or hand cutting involved at all during the Print Then Cut process. When your design is finished being cut, your stickers are immediately ready to be used.
Can I Use A Laser Printer For Cricut Print Then Cut Stickers?
A laser printer is not recommended for Cricut Print Then Cut projects. The heat from laser printers can damage Cricut Sticker Paper and cause problems when the machine cuts the stickers out. An inkjet printer is the only type of printer that is recommended for Cricut Print Then Cut projects involving adhesive-backed paper.
How To Make “Handwritten” Sticker Labels With Cricut
If you’re looking for stickers with words or images that look handwritten for a more casual feel, this option is for you. You can create perfectly drawn sticker labels using any Cricut machine on a couple of different types of materials. This method is really easy and fast, especially with Cricut Joy, so if you’re on a time crunch to make sticker labels for 100 bake sale items, you can pull it off in a flash.
What You Need To Make Pen Drawn Sticker Labels With Cricut
Cricut Explore Air 2 or Maker:
Cricut Smart Paper Sticker Cardstock (trimmed to fit the mat)
Cricut Explore 3 or Maker 3:
Cricut Smart Paper Sticker Cardstock
Cricut Joy Pen(s)
Cricut Joy Smart Paper Sticker Paper or Cricut Joy Smart Label Writable Paper
How To Make Sticker Labels Using Cricut Pens: Step By Step
For any Cricut Explore or Maker family machine, start by opening up a blank canvas in Design Space and design your sticker. If you are just adding text to be written, you’ll add a text box, select a font compatible with writing, and choose the Pen option in the Operation dropdown menu of the top toolbar.
Next, add a shape around the words using the Shapes tab on the left-hand toolbar. Adjust the sizing and use the Arrange button on the top toolbar to send it to the back, which brings your text to the front.
Using your mouse, click and drag a rectangle around the entire sticker design so the shape and text are all highlighted. Click “Attach” in the bottom righthand corner to keep this design together. (Don’t click “Flatten”, that makes it all one layer which won’t allow for both pen writing and cutting.)
Load the sticker paper onto a LightGrip Mat for Explore Air 2 or Maker, or directly into the machine if you’re using Smart Materials and an Explore 3 or Maker 3. Click Make It, and follow the on-screen instructions for loading your pen correctly and completing the cut.
How To Make Sticker Labels Using Cricut Joy: Step By Step
Making sticker labels with Cricut Joy is the easiest process of all, thanks to the Joy App. Cricut Joy has its own dedicated app with pre-formatted labels that can be cranked out in just a few minutes from start to finish.
Just open the app, select the Quick Label option, choose a label design in the Drawn category, and type your text into the box. The app will automatically generate labels for you with zero designing or adjusting on your part.
Load your Cricut Joy machine with Cricut Joy Smart Paper Sticker Cardstock or Smart Label Writeable Paper and insert the Cricut Joy pen of your choice. Cricut Joy always writes first, then cuts. Follow the on-screen instructions for when to swap the pen for the blade, and be sure not to unload the material from the machine between swaps.
As soon as the machine is finished, your written labels are ready to be used. Cricut Joy pens dry very quickly, so they won’t smear, and you can apply the labels immediately. They peel away from the backing just like a regular sticker, so you don’t need transfer tape for them.
Want A Live Walkthrough Of How Cricut Stickers Are Made?
Cricut recently launched a new series of online workshops called Cricut Learn. These LIVE classes are taught by Cricut experts and cover a variety of beginner and experienced level projects, including Print Then Cut Sticker Making. If you’re a visual learner and prefer to go through the process step by step with a teacher for a a specific project, sign up for a free Cricut Learn workshop here.