How to Use Cricut Maker Engraving Tool: Materials to Engrave, Tips & Tricks
You’ve been happily using your new Cricut Maker to create a multitude of different vinyl and HTV projects, but have you been feeling a little intimidated to try your hand at engraving?
Admittedly, when I first started my Cricut crafting journey, I was a bit apprehensive too. I was most concerned about using the tool incorrectly, and destroying my blank! The good news is that there really is nothing to fear. You can easily create some stunning engravings with just a little bit of know-how!
How to Use Cricut Engraving Tool
Tools Needed for Engraving with Cricut
Before jumping right into your first engraving project, there are a few must-have supplies that you will want to make sure you have in your toolbox first.
- Cricut Engraving Tip: This is imperative! You literally cannot engrave anything without it. The tip is specialized to engrave a variety of different materials. This engraving tip comes in the quick swap housing, making changing your tools effortless!
- Masking Tape: Masking tape is another must-have and is used to tape down the corners or edges of the blank to the mat. I know a few people who engrave without using tape, and almost every single time they have shifting occur during the process-essentially ruining their project. Most crafters already have this on hand, so I highly recommend you use it.
- Strong Grip Mat: You absolutely must use this super sticky mat for your blanks. Along with the masking tape, your blank has maximum “stay-put” power!
What Materials Can You Engrave with The Maker?
Engraving with the Maker does require some knowledge about the materials that you can and cannot engrave upon. It’s also important to remember that not all materials will produce the same results, nor will they all produce the same effect and finish.
- Metals: Engravings turn out beautifully when done on aluminum and anodized aluminum, especially if they are colored, they will reveal the shiny silver underneath. You can also engrave on copper, brass, stainless steel, bronze, and pewter.
- Acrylic: I adore engraving on acrylic blanks. The results are always crisp, clear, and beautiful. The maximum thickness for acrylic is 2mm, however, I found that using a 1-1.5mm thick blank provides the best results.
- Leather: You can engrave on genuine leather, faux leather, and tooling leather – just be sure to remove all rivets, buttons, or any other obstacles that could interfere with the engraving process.
- Plastics: Did you know that you can engrave on certain plastics? One of my very favorite materials is PET plastic sheets/panels. They are nice and thin but feel similar to strong plexiglass and the results are stunning. You can also use acetate, and transparency film. I haven’t tried it yet but apparently, you can also engrave on an old vinyl record! These materials are a very affordable way to practice your engraving skills on.
- Wood: While you technically can engrave on Cricut balsa wood sheets, I have yet to have a good result on this material. That said, you can engrave on artboards such as kraft and poster board.
How to Create Engravings in Design Space
Perhaps the trickiest part of the entire engraving process is the digital design and the machine settings. Through trial and error, I have learned the best ways to get the engraving alignment on the blank as close to my digital design as possible, as well as the best engraving finish. While this is subject to personal taste, it may take some practice to get the results that you personally prefer.
Creating Your Design
The most important aspect of creating an engraving design within Design Space is ensuring that your design is engravable-friendly by using the writing/pen settings. To create an alignment template, upload an image or insert a shape that is similar to your blank and adjust the size accordingly. Next, change the operation setting from Cut to Pen. This will allow you to place your blank on the mat in the exact same position as you see on your preview screen just before you engrave, just ignore the “insert pen” prompt when you make it.
In the example of a dog tag project, I uploaded the closest image to my aluminum blank tag, then changed the operation to Pen.
To create the engraving, insert a text field, and search for a writing compatible font.
Next, you will change the operation to engrave, keeping the style as writing. This ensures that you will not have an engraving that is an outline only. Unless of course, you want to achieve that look. There is a method that you can use to “fill” the engraving image or text called “hatch filling”, but this is for the more advanced engraver.
Center, then attach the blank and the engraving together, then “Make It”.
Aligning Your Blank on the Mat
I have found that the best way to align the engraving blank is by placing the template at an easy point on the digital mat, then mimicking the placement on the physical one. In my article “Engrave Your Own Pet Tags” I explain this procedure in greater detail.
Machine and Material Settings
The machine and material settings will definitely vary, depending on what you are engraving upon. In the case of the aluminum pet tags, I prefer to use the “Tooling Leather 2.4 mm” to get a nice, deep engraving. This may be where your trial and error comes into play to find the engraving depth that you prefer.
Do not insert the pen into the Cricut Maker, just allow the machine to act as though it is drawing by “outlining” the blank. It will then proceed to engrave!
Q & A
- Can I Engrave on Any Type of Jewelry?
- Can I Engrave on Glass?
- Can I Sell My Engraved Projects?
- What Projects Can I Make?
Can I Engrave on Any Type of Jewelry? No. You will not be able to engrave on any hard metals. The Cricut Maker is only suited for certain soft metals.
Can I Engrave on Glass? Absolutely not! This could result in the glass breaking and/or shattering making it extremely dangerous.
Can I Sell My Engraved Projects? Absolutely yes! After some practice (and confidence), feel free to sell your projects. Just make sure that any designs that you purchase come with a commercial license in order to respect the designer!
What Projects Can I Make? There are so many wonderful engraving projects that you can make with your new Cricut Maker. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Personalized Pet Tags: Using anodized aluminum blanks you can create some unique pet tag designs. I purchased my blanks from Amazon.
- Brass Plaques: Create a stunning design on a brass plaque or even a treasured memorial for a loved one.
- Mason Jar Lids: Add a unique touch to labeling your preserves.
- Leather Keychains: Personalize a leather keychain with your initials.
- Acrylic LED Lighted Display: Create a mandala design on an acrylic blank, then insert it on an LED stand to reveal a gorgeous light show!
To learn more about the engraving tool, visit Cricut.
Head on over to Creative Fabrica for some fabulous digital designs to start you on your Cricut engraving journey!
- All Crafts: A seemingly endless list of different crafts for a multitude of projects.
- Free Crafts: Tons of freebie craft designs all suited for your Cricut Maker or Silhouette!
- 3D SVG Cut Files: Try your hand at some 3D art projects!
- Designer Bundles: Get the biggest bang for your buck with massive design bundles!
- All Fonts: Make a cup of tea and settle in to check out this immense library of fonts!
- Free Fonts: Save some cash for your crafting projects with these freebie fonts!
- Script & Handwritten Fonts: Elevate your craft to the next level with a gorgeous script font.
Whatever engraving project you want to try first with your Cricut machine, you are sure to be impressed with this fantastic tool. Just remember to have fun and that practice makes perfect!
Keep on Crafting! 💖