How to Make Kiss Cut Sticker Sheets with Cricut
There are two main types of sticker cuts—kiss cut and die cut. Die cut stickers are perfect when you just want to create several of the same sticker design, because it will cut each sticker out individually by cutting through both the sticker paper layer and the backing. But if you want to create sheets of multiple stickers, you want to kiss cut them. Kiss cut will cut through the sticker paper, but not the backing.
The trouble most people encounter when creating sticker sheets is the fact that if you set your Cricut to cut to a depth that will kiss cut your stickers, the sheet itself will not cut out and you will have to cut the sheet manually with scissors or a paper cutter. It’s an extra step that takes extra time and effort. Fortunately, there’s a way to get around this.
I’m going to show you how you can set your Cricut up to kiss cut your stickers and die cut your sticker sheets at the same time, which will make your life a lot easier if you’re cutting lots of sticker sheets.
Designing your stickers and sticker sheet backing
The first step, of course, is to design your stickers. I do this on my iPad in Procreate and Affinity Designer, but you can use any app you prefer, including programs like Photoshop on your PC or Mac. You will probably want to have a white outline around each sticker.
Once you’ve designed your stickers, you need to create a backing page for the stickers. This could be a standard rectangle or square, or a rectangle or square with rounded corners. You may want to include a strip of color that matches your stickers across the top and bottom for branding purposes.
I make my sticker sheet backing pages in Affinity Designer on my iPad, but I used to use Photoshop on my Mac. You can use any graphics program you feel comfortable with, but make sure you keep your stickers on a separate layer from the background, or as a separate file, because you will need to import them into separate layers in Cricut to complete this process.
Here is an example of what a simple sticker sheet backing might look like once it’s completed:
I keep my sticker sheets relatively small so I can fit two on a page. I use the Cricut Explore Air 2, so my maximum cutting size is 9.25″ x 6.75″. This means my sheets need to be around 4.5” x 6.5” to leave a space between them for cutting purposes.
Setting the sticker sheet up in Cricut Design Space
To begin, open the Cricut Design app. I use the iPad version, but you can use whichever version you prefer. Just note that the steps may be slightly different if you’re not using the iPad app.
The first thing I do is place a square on the page to use as my template, and I size it at exactly 9.25″ x 6.75″. This helps me place my sticker sheets properly, and ensure I don’t go over the 9.25″ x 6.75″ limit. If you want larger sheets, you can simply make yours right at, or slightly below this maximum size.
To do this, select Shapes from the menu at the bottom. This will bring up a secondary menu. From that menu, select Square. This will place a square on your workspace. Click that square to select it. Then click the lock button at the bottom left of the square. This will let you change the aspect ratio.
Next, click the Edit button at the bottom of the screen. This will allow you to size the square to a rectangle at the perfect 9.25” x 6.75”. Simply input the numbers into the boxes, as shown below.
Import the sticker sheet and backing
Now it’s time to import your sticker sheet and your backing. If you’re using rounded corners, it’s important that the background is transparent, so save the file as a PNG with a transparent background. If you’re using square corners, your image can be the full size you want, such as my 4.5” x 6.5”.
Click the Upload button at the bottom of the screen, on the left side. This will pop up a dialog box that will allow you to browse for your sticker sheet backing. You can browse the photos on your device, browse your files, or choose a file that is already uploaded.
Once you select your file, it will ask you to clean up the file. This isn’t necessary for this file, so just click next. The next page will ask you to refine the cut. Again, this isn’t necessary for this, so click next. Now comes the important part. On the third page, it will automatically select the cut file, which is just a black rectangle. You must select Print Then Cut, on the right side, to ensure your backing prints AND cuts.
The file will probably not import at the size you created it. I’m not sure why this happens, but if it does happen to you, you must select your backing and resize it just like you did your template background. Again, I use 4.5” x 6.5”.
Then you should duplicate it if you’re doing two smaller sheets per file. With your backing sheet selected, press the Actions button in the bottom center menu. Then press Duplicate. This will create your second sheet. Just move it over so that there is a small gap between both sheets, as shown below.
Including a white border around the edge of the stickers
Now it’s time to import your stickers. I always export mine as a PNG with a transparent background, with a white border around the edges. There’s two reasons for the white border. For one thing, most people think it looks nice to have the border. But for another thing, if you don’t include a border your cutting machine will almost invariably cut slightly off and you will end up with a thin white sliver around part of the sticker that will look terrible. By putting the white border, your machine won’t have to cut nearly as precisely to make an attractive sticker.
Import your stickers the same way you did the backing. Then duplicate the sticker sheet and line each one up on their respective backings. It should look something like this:
Kiss cutting the stickers with Cricut
Now it’s time to get to the part where you make it so it will kiss cut the stickers so that they remain on the sheets and people can peel them off, but die cut the sheets from the main page.
The trick is to duplicate the backing several times, so that the blade goes over the same line multiple times, cutting deeper each time. Depending on what type of sticker paper you use, and how thick it is, you may need to duplicate the backing three, four, or five times. Simply duplicate your backing page and drag it into position exactly over the original. Do this until you have about 4 backing pages on each side.
You’ll notice that you now cannot see your stickers. This is because it places duplicated layers at the top. To bring your stickers back to the front, click the Layers button at the bottom center. This will bring up your layers panel on the right side. Choose one of your sticker layers. Then click Arrange, and Send to Front. Do this for the other sticker sheet.
Next, you need to rotate everything ninety degrees to the left. Since your printer sends paper through in portrait orientation, you need to orient the sticker sheet to portrait. To do this, select everything by clicking and dragging on the canvas. Then click the rotate button and rotate it counterclockwise until your sticker sheets are oriented as below.
Once this is done, you can remove the rectangle that was used to place the sticker sheets so that Cricut doesn’t attempt to print and cut that part. Select the layer and click the Trash icon, as below.
Next, you must attach all of the layers together so they aren’t moved out of place once you attempt to complete the project. Cricut will automatically try to distribute all Print And Cut objects to fit them on the page, so we want to lock them in place to make sure that doesn’t happen. Once more, click and drag from top left to bottom right across the canvas to select all layers. Then click the Actions button at the bottom of the screen, and then select Attach. This will lock all of the layers together.
Test to Print and Cut
Now you’re ready to run a test Print And Cut.
Click the Make It button at the bottom right corner of the screen. This will bring up the dialog box for completing your project. Once this pops up, verify that all the settings are as they are in the image below and click the Print button. This will print your sticker sheets on the sticker paper you should have loaded into your printer.
If your stickers printed successfully, you should then attach your stickers to your cutting mat. Orient the stickers exactly as they appear on screen, with the top left corner aligned with the top left corner of the grid on your mat. It’s important to use the right cutting mat to ensure it adheres properly during cutting, but will come off easily once cut. I typically use the blue Light Grip mats, because sticker paper is usually thin and fairly delicate and stronger adhesives will cause the stickers to tear when removed. If your mat is losing its adhesive coating, you can also use tape to attach your sticker paper to the mat. Just be sure not to cover the black marks at the edges that help the machine orient itself for the cutting process.
Load your mat into the Cricut and click Continue.
Pick the right cut settings
The next page will ask you for your cut settings. This is the trickiest part, because sticker paper varies quite a lot in thickness and other properties between types and brands. I personally use the Sticky Note setting for most of my stickers, because I usually use a basic matte sticker paper. The Sticker Paper setting usually cuts too deeply for my purposes and will cut the stickers completely from their backing instead of leaving them on the sheets. You may have to play around with the settings to get just the right one for your paper. This is why testing is important.
Once you’ve chosen your settings, press the flashing “GO” button on the Cricut machine. This will start the cutting process. The Cricut will first look for the black registration marks, then it will begin cutting. You will notice that the machine only cuts around your stickers once, but it will cut around your sheets as many times as you have layers. Four sticker page layers will equal four passes around the sheets with the blade.
When it is finished, simply click the “Finish” button and unload the mat with the load/unload button.
How to remove the paper surrounding the sticker sheet
Once the mat is ejected, flip it upside down, grasp one corner of the sticker paper, and peel while rolling the mat. The paper will curl less this way than if you peel it off while the mat is flat.
This should remove the paper surrounding your two sticker sheets, leaving the sheets stuck to the mat. You can then carefully remove the sticker sheets using the same rolling technique you used to remove the surrounding sticker paper.
If your sheets did not fully detach from the sticker paper, you’ll need to duplicate your backing layers another time or two. If they cut correctly, you can use this project again anytime you need to create these same sticker sheets by selecting it, clicking the Make It button, and going through the Print And Cut process again.
Now you can make full sticker sheets without having to manually cut them apart after the stickers have been cut!