Monday, September 22, 2014

Using Your Digital Kits to Print Then Cut with the Cricut Explore and Design Space

Do you have lots of digital scrapbooking kits that you have collected over the years?  The new Print Then Cut feature for the Cricut Explore will open up a whole new way to use these kits for your projects.

These images are all from a kit that I purchased about a year ago.  They are from Echo Park's Apothecary Halloween collection and you can find the set I used for this tutorial HERE. (not an affiliate link - I buy lots of kits from SnapClickSupply!).

Most embellishments in digital scrapbooking kits are in PNG format.  This is one of the formats accepted for uploading images to Design Space.  Click on the "Upload Images" icon (second from the top at the left of the screen) and choose "Basic Upload."

Click on the button that says "Browse" and then locate the image in the folder on your computer where you saved it.  The image will appear just below the "Browse" box.  Then choose "Simple Image" because a PNG file will already be "cleaned up" with the background removed.  Then click "Continue to Step 2" at the lower right.

The image will appear in the next screen (the "Clean" step).  You will see the details of the image in the work area.  The Design Space program will add the cutting lines around the edges of the shape.

Click on the eyeball at the top right to hide the detailed image and show the cutting lines in red.  You do not need to "clean" the image since the PNG file already has the background removed.  CLcik "Continue to Step 3" at the lower right.

There is a box that must be checked to upload the detailed printed image instead of just the shape of the image.  If this box is not checked, only the shape will be uploaded.

When you check the box, you will see all of the details of the image to print.  This is the version you want to upload for Print Then Cut.  You should fill in the image name and tags so that you can locate the image again.  I would recommend adding the name of the designer and the digital kit along with any other descriptive words to help you find the file later.

Here are some of the items I printed and cut out with the Explore .  The cuts are very precise with lots of detail from the original PNG files in the digital scrapping kit.  These can be printed on cardstock, vinyl, vellum - whatever material you want to use for your project that will print nicely in your home printer.

Here is the clock showing the intricate details around the top.

I flipped it over so you can see the cuts more clearly.  You could also just cut this shape from solid cardstock (use the upload option that does not preserve the interior design within the shape).

The only place where I ran into a tiny problem was with one of the tendrils on the pumpkin.  When curves are this small it can be challenging to get them to cut.

I just snipped off the lower tendril with some scissors.  I think it is amazing that the top tendril (which is about the same thickness as the one I snipped off) cut neatly and cleanly as you can see here.

I experimented with turning off the "bleed" in the printing of this label image.  There was no bleed on the top image and I left the default bleed on for the bottom image.  They are nearly identical.  I would recommend leaving the bleed in the default "on" position unless there is a special reason to turn it off.

I was worried that there was something wrong when the Explore was cutting this tag because the machine was not just cutting a straight line around the simple tag shape.  It turned out that the tag was designed with a rough deckle edge and the Explore cut it exactly as it was designed.  You can see all of the tiny zigs and zags clearly when the tag is flipped over on a contrasting color.

There are so many possibilities when you expand your ideas about what you can print and cut - I'll show you how to combine more digital files with Cricut shapes in another post.  Can you tell I am having a lot of fun with this?!

DON'T FORGET:  The Cricut site and the Craft Room and Design Space will be undergoing updates and may be unavailable from 7:00 p.m. Monday, September 22nd through 7 a.m. Tuesday, September 23rd (Mountain Time).  Plan your crafting accordingly - get any cuts made before the servers go down and then you can assemble projects (or sleep!) while the updates are happening.  I promise you - it will be worth the wait once you see the new features!

Take a look at any digital kits you own - wouldn't you love to print and cut out some of the items in these kits?  If you don't have already have an Explore the new features coming with the update may convince you that you "need" to upgrade.  If you want to shop for a new machine you can find all of the bundles on the Cricut site HERE 

The red links in this post are affiliate links and I appreciate your support when you shop using these links.  Your price does not change and I may receive a commission payment that helps me to keep this blog going. 

Don't forget to use the code FREESHIP35 for free standard shipping within the continental US for orders over $35.

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  1. Hi Diane...I have been following your blog since 2008 and truly enjoy every post. I especially love and appreciate your tutorials. They are always thorough and so easy to follow. I have the Explore and can't wait until I can use it for Print Then Cut. Like you, I also have many cartridges and other Cricuts as well as the Silhouette Cameo; thus I am already comfortable using my printer with a die cutting machine. I am also excited that I will be able to use my Imagine cartridges again, as my machine no longer works properly. Again, thank you so much for your tutorials.

    1. Hi Karen, Thanks so much for the lovely compliment. You have been following me for about as long as I have been blogging. With so many tools and supplies that we have accumulated it is great to see the Explore bringing things together. It has become my "go to" machine. I am also so excited about the Imagine images - they cut properly with the Explore and that is wonderful to see. It won't be much longer until the release now...I hope we don't all crash the servers in our excitement!

  2. Hello Diane,

    I was following along with your tutorial and I don't have the check box for reserve original detail. I am uploading a PNG image. I did update the plugin and firmware. I was successfully able to print and cut an Imagine image.


    1. Hi Sandra, You may need to clear the cache for your internet browser to make the box show up. Which browser are you using? I use Firefox - to clear the cache click the three lines at the top right of the window and then choose "options." Then you will find "Cached Web Content" under the Network tab. Check the box on the right that says "Clear Now" and this should take care of the problem. Let me know if that doesn't work...

  3. Hello Diane,

    Never mind, I figured it out. I had to clear my cache. I love this machine!

    1. Great - I guess you figured it our before I answered above. It is a great machine and keeps getting better. Have fun with it!


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