As a universally loved medium, stickers are one of the most popular means to personalize any surface. Like a laptop or cup, you can slap them onto any surface, and voila, they’re instantly personalized. They come in a barrage of appearances, sizes, textures, and styles.
While collecting stickers can be an exhilarating pastime, there’s nothing more gratifying than seeing something you created come to life in sticker form. Without further ado, this comprehensive tutorial on Cricut stickers will teach you how to bring your designs to life. Read on!
The Tools of the Trade
While crafting Cricut stickers seems like an uphill battle that demands endless supplies, we’ve narrowed it down to four items.
- Digital drawing app: The drawing method you choose can be as digitized as sketching on an iPad via the Procreate app or as simple as using the conventional pen and paper. Keep in mind that the outcome must be digitized in design software.
- Sticker Paper: Keep your eyes peeled for a product that comes in one sheet as opposed to pre-cut shapes. Different categories of Cricut sticker paper gel with various applications. Weatherproof matte, gloss, matte, and semi-gloss are your best bet when it comes to Cricut stickers.
- Inkjet Printer: As you select your Cricut sticker paper, ensure it is optimized for the type of printer you’ll use, whether a laser or inkjet. While the inkjet counterparts are more suitable for crafting custom stickers, it all boils down to the material of the sticker paper.
- Cricut Machine: It’s an ideal method for cutting out the sticker paper after printing it. Cricut machines cut out detailed shapes in larger quantities, thus saving you the hassle of wrestling with a pair of scissors.
The Step-by-Step Process
By following the steps below to the letter, you can make Cricut stickers that’ll spark a smile.
Step 1: Draw Inspiration
Before you start sketching and drawing your ideas, it wouldn’t hurt to seek inspiration online. Doing so can go a long way in solidifying your illustrative style or composition. And, it helps you step out of your comfort zone and get your creative juices flowing. Some of the best online platforms to draw your inspiration are Behance, Pinterest, and Dribbble. Key in terms such as ‘illustrative designs’ or you can narrow down your search with certain themes like ‘plant illustrations.’
Step 2: Draw Out Your Illustrations
After getting all the inspiration you need, it’s time to put your ideas on paper or screen. And remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to this step. Therefore, you can opt for the generic pen and paper or go digital with apps like Photoshop, Procreate, Illustrator, or Fresco.
Draw out your designs while preserving the various elements as layers. Regardless of the method you opt for, ensure you organize your illustrations onscreen into layers. By layering your artwork, you can edit your composition or reorganize it as you deem fit.
Step 3: Include a White Border
Cricut stickers of all styles and types usually have a dark-colored or white border that surrounds the design. It frames the illustration while tying all the sticker elements. For designs that have several details and elements, a solid border unifies them.
To craft a solid border using digital drawing software apps like Adobe Fresco or Procreate, use a solid and rounded brush. Fresco’s Hard Round brush or the Monoline brush found in Procreate gets the job done to perfection. Simply set the hue to white then craft the border on a separate layer that sits right below your artwork.
While the border doesn’t have to be entirely accurate, ensure it remarkably frames your illustration. Fill all gaps to prepare the sticker for the Cricut machine later on. If you’re using Adobe Illustrator to come up with your sticker design, you can create a border in a jiffy using the Offset Path technique.
Use Command + G to group all the elements of your design then adjust the pixel count to suit your preferences via Object > Path > Offset Path.
Step 4: Export Your Design
To order for a Cricut machine that’ll perfectly cut your sticker designs, ensure you export the illustration in the PNG format. Doing so ushers in transparency as opposed to previewing a solid white backdrop.
To export your design in Procreate, head over to the wrench icon, then click on the ‘Share as PNG’ option. If you’re a Fresco user, head over to the arrowed box icon that sits in the top toolbar and click on Publish & Export > Export As > then choose PNG.
As a tip, users working with digital drawing software should ensure their background layer is turned off before exporting their designs in PNG.
Step 5: Upload Your Designs to Cricut and Refine Them
Launch the Cricut Design Space application on your PC or iPad, create a new project, then click on the ‘Upload’ icon on the main canvas and proceed to ‘Upload Image’ to import your sticker designs. Users of the PC version of Design Space can take their pick from Complex, Simple, or Moderately Complex. Then, clean up the illustration using the Cricut machine’s tools and click on ‘Continue.’
Those who are working exclusively on their iPads can use the ‘Remove,’ ‘Erase,’ or ‘Crop’ functions to clean up their illustrations and hit the ‘Next’ button when they’re done. To refine your Cricut stickers, you can use the Despeckle and Smooth features.
Step 6: Print and Cut
Once you’ve named your images, click on the ‘Print and Cut’ option. Upon saving the images, they’ll crop up within your recent downloads. Select the image thumbnails and insert them onto the canvas.
Resize your illustration by selecting and dragging the arrow situated on the bottom right corner of your screen. As you do so, ensure the sticker design is s snug fit within the borders of your material.
Click on the ‘Make It’ button when you’re done. Load your face-down sticker paper into the inkjet printer. Pair the Cricut Design Space software with your printer to print out the designs. And, you’ll notice a dark rectangular border surrounding your designs. It allows the Cricut machine to detect these lines and precisely cut outside the designs.
Step 7: Peel Your Cricut Stickers
The Cricut machine will immediately detect the rectangular border and cut the sticker shapes, after which it’ll compel you to unload the mat. Find a corner of the sticker paper and slowly and carefully peel it off, ensuring you don’t rip any of your stickers. Then, use a spatula to remove the rest of the stickers from the mat.
The long-awaited moment of sweet victory is here because your stickers are now ready to use. Peel off the paper backing, and you’re good to go!
And there you have it; making Cricut stickers isn’t rocket science. Simply follow the steps above, and you’re good to go. And, remember, like everything else in life, practice makes perfect!
How was your first attempt at making Cricut stickers? Do you have any questions? I’d love to hear from you in the comment section below!