Inside: How to print & cut using a Cricut Joy.
There are several Cricut machines available and some give you the option to print using the machine as well as the traditional cutting and drawing that you’d expect. The Cricut Joy is not one of those machines and so you may find yourself wondering whether you are ever able to print and then cut without having to upgrade.
The Cricut Joy is a compact machine that is perfect for beginners, allowing you to cut and draw to create cards, labels and more. It doesn’t allow for printing though but by linking up your own printer and creating a template on your base mat you can print & cut to make your own stickers!
I am going to show you how to use your own printer to print first and then how to create a template on your cutting mat to allow you to line up your design to be able to cut it out. Perfect for designing and making your own stickers to put in your journals and planners.
Creating a template for your cutting mat
At first you may think it is simple to print out a design and then use your mat to cut. But you soon realise that the Cricut machine has no idea where on the paper or indeed where on the mat your design is.
So, you must create a template that allows you to align your design perfectly so that the Joy can cut around the exact lines of your creation.
Note: Of course you could cut your stickers out by hand but you don’t get a clean cut. This is necessary especially if you plan on selling your own stickers.
Using Canva for the template
Canva is an amazing resource that you can use to create so many things. I have used it to make party invitations, graphics for my blog and social media and so much more!
The first thing you want to do is to click on ‘create a design’ and scroll right down to the bottom where it gives you the option to put in a custom size. Choose inches (in) and put in 4×6 as this will be the optimum size for your Joy cutting mat.
You will then be taken to the main Canva workspace where you can see the document. On the left hand side you want to click on ‘Elements’ and go to ‘Lines & shapes’. Choose the square by clicking on it.
Drag the edges of the square until you create a rectangle that sits within the document. This will be your template shape that you’ll use for your Cricut mat.
Download the template as a PNG file and head over to your Cricut Design Space program.
Click ‘Upload’ on the left hand side and drag your template file into the area to upload it.
You are then given the option of which upload you’d like. Choose ‘Complex’ for ease.
The Cricut software allows you to remove the background of your projects by clicking in the space. Click in the white area to leave behind the black outline of your template.
You then want to click ‘Print Then Cut Image’ for the next stage.
Your template will then appear in your dashboard. You now need to make sure you resize it to match the original 4×6 size that you created in Canva. Make sure your settings are set to imperial (Home> Settings).
Type in 4×6 into the sizes along the top of the dashboard.
The current selection for the project will be cut and draw. Head to the top bar and change it to Draw (pen).
Be sure to choose a pen type that is suitable for the Joy (black fine point works well).
It will now be shown as a drawn outline rather than a solid black line.
It is now time to press ‘Make it’ and select ‘On Mat’. Connect to your Joy and you are ready to draw.
Select ‘Insert card stock’.
Load in the cutting mat and the black pen and you are ready to press ‘Go’.
The Joy will now draw the template onto the cutting mat which will allow you to proceed synching up your printed stickers with your Cricut Joy.
Designing your stickers
If you are wanting to design your own stickers click here to read more about how to do that so they fit your cutting mat template. You can use Canva to create custom shapes for your planners or if you have Photoshop then you can also use that to create some funky stickers with a white outline (you’ll want to save them and transfer them into Canva to ensure they fit within the border).
Of course you don’t have to design your own, you could always buy some to print out – there are lots of sites selling planner stickers online.
Using your Cricut Joy to cut
Once you have your stickers downloaded, you need to upload them into the Cricut Design Space.
Choose ‘Complex’ so that it easily differentiates around the details.
Use the built in background remover tool to get rid of the grey background.
Check for any extra spaces that need removing and click where necessary.
Set it to ‘Print Then Cut Image’.
Remember to resize the rectangle so that the border is 4×6 once again. This is very important.
NOTE: To make better use of paper I recommend adding a second set next to the first so that you can fill an A4 sheet of sticker paper when you print.
You want to select both and click ‘attach’ down in the bottom right corner. This will make sure they both print on the one sheet.
You will notice that on the right hand side it will have a warning to say that Print then Cut is not supported by the Joy. Don’t panic – there is a workaround! Hurrah!
Head up to the top right where it has your Joy selected and change it to any of the other machines (all of the others have print and cut function). Press ‘Make it’.
Click to continue once you’ve checked they are on the one sheet.
At this stage, it will ask you to connect a Cricut machine OR send to printer. Hurrah for the workaround!
Click Print and choose your printer from the dropdown. Make sure your sticker paper is in the printer and print it out.
Once it is printed, you need to cut out each rectangle. You can use scissors for this part as you don’t need them to be intricate or anything.
You must cut INSIDE the black border.
Once you have your two rectangles (minus the black border), you will notice that they each fit neatly inside the template drawn on your cutting mat. This is the key point as it now means your Cricut Joy will always cut that size within that designated area.
If your mat is still sticky you can go ahead and place one of the rectangles within the template lines.
You can always use some masking tape or craft tape to stick down the edges to prevent the paper slipping on the mat.
Head back into Design Space and change over to Cricut Joy. Little red warning triangles will appear because the joy can’t print then cut. Don’t worry, we’ve done the printing part so we just need cut.
You must now click ‘detach’ so that you cut each set of stickers separately rather than together as we did when we printed them.
Head up to the top bar and change the operation to cut. It will grey everything out but that is fine as we are just looking to use the outline to cut anyway. And because you have placed the printed sheet inside the template box on your cutting mat it will all magically align. Hurrah!
Click ‘make it’ and choose ‘on mat’.
You’ll see that Design Space places your design exactly where your guide lines are on your mat. So go ahead and load in your mat and send it to cut.
Your stickers will print out and you can use them in your planners, diaries and wherever you wish!
Of course you don’t have to make stickers. You could use something like HTV Labs Heat Transfer Vinyl to create designs for fabric. I have used my Cricut machine to make several t-shirts for me and the kids. And if you are even more adventurous you could use HTV Labs Adhesive Vinyl to create stickers for your walls in your home. I quite fancy the idea of making leopard print stickers for my girls’ chest of drawers.
If you don’t have a Cricut machine at all yet, take a look at this article sharing the best Cricut machines on the market right now.