Before I even received a Cricut machine all I wanted to do was create pretty, unique stickers for my planner. People who say they are too old for stickers I will never quite understand. Anyway, everyone made it look so easy on their tutorials so I thought it would be just as smooth for me. I watched multiple tutorials and thought I was overly prepared to say the least. After spending weeks creating designs for my first stickers the machine showed me who was really in charge. So, you want to make stickers? I am showing you ALL of my failures and how to fix them, so that when you create your own it will actually run smooth.
#1: Always Peel the Mat NOT the Material: This protects your project from curling up and getting into a jumbled mess.
#2: Do NOT Leave the Mat Uncovered: As soon as the material leaves the mat the clear plastic sheet should immediately be placed back on top of it. This protects the mat from losing its stickiness from dust and various things.
#3: Printing Sticker Paper: Yes, the simplest things can go wrong so take the extra time to figure out which side of the sheet is sticky and which is not. Some brands clearly mark the wrong side and some do not. Does the printer flip the paper over while printing? If so it needs to be sticky side down. If you are not sure do a test run by creating a tiny mark on the wrong side of the paper and print out a letter in white. This will ensure that you do not waste any precious sticker paper.
#4: Measure Twice Cut Once: Even if the project is only stickers it still applies to the golden rule of measure twice, cut once. Sticker planners need to be certain dimensions in order to not look weird. Plus, who wants a sticker they cannot read because it is too small. Just take a moment to think how large each needs to be in order to be legible and functional.
#5: Trim Off the Excess: Projects are bound to be doomed to the trash bin at some point when testing new materials. Take the time to trim off access pieces from sticker paper that is still usable, even if you cannot print and cut them they are still functional for something. Even if everything goes according to plan there will be scraps. Place them in a scrap bin or organize them by time in folders/ drawers.
#6: Attach Vs. Flatten: The attach function in Design Space is just as it is shown on the button, a paperclip. It will move as one unit; however, all of the layers are still separated. Flatten on the other hand smashes all the layers into one, which is shown in the layers panel. For complex stickers made in Design Space with multiple layers Flatten is your best friend. I really wish that Cricut as a company would program Design Space to use blue lines to indicate exactly where the machine will cut, this would have saved so many of my projects.
#7: Bleed Option: When creating a print and cut there will be an option automatically turned on called bleed. Bleed does exactly what it sounds like, it bleeds the image over the indicated measurements. Test it out, from project to project it will vary on whether it is helpful or hurtful.
#8: Test Products: Even if the first or fourth sticker attempt totally sucks try them out, jot down issues with them. Take each test as an opportunity to learn what to fix in order to create better project results the next time. Try out the stickers on a planner to see if they are too large, too small, too thin or whatever it may be.
#9: Calibrating the Machine: Print and cut projects can be a headache as they may be off by a hair or by a lot. Proper alignment can make or break a project. If projects seem to be way off try recalibrating your Cricut.
#10: Material Settings: If you use Cricut materials it is pretty simple to select the proper material settings, however, if you purchase a third-party material it may be a little bit tricky. Anytime you try something new you need to test it out so try the Cricut sticker paper setting, for me it cut through both layers of the sticker paper, since it was too thin. My favorite sticker setting is called sticky note, it works well for third paper sticker papers. Don’t be afraid to test new settings and materials. Maybe one type of sticker paper really isn’t that great. Try another one before throwing in the towel and blaming yourself.