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Tutorial: Using Digital Papers in Design Space

Tutorial: Using Digital Papers in Design Space main article image
Posted on March 23, 2021 by Joon Parker

What are Digital  Papers?

Digital papers are JPEG patterned images that are designed to be printed on 12”x12” paper. Most of us do not have a printer that can print 12”x12” paper. Plus, Design Space has a maximum image size of 6.75”x9.25” for Print Then Cut. Using the following tutorial will allow you to take advantage of using digital papers in Design Space using your standard home printer. 

Reasons to Use Digital Papers:

Have you ever needed a certain theme or color combo of patterned papers, and not be able to find what you are looking for in your local craft stores? That’s where digital papers come in. Buying digital papers is cheaper than buying an actual pad of patterned paper. Print the digital papers as you need them. And best of all no storing actual 12”x12” paper pads! 

Uses for Digital Papers in Design Space:

Think of digital papers as being real patterned paper, the only difference is you will print the image(s) that you gave a pattern to and then your machine will cut the images out. You can use digital papers to create cards, gift tags, scrapbook elements, banner pennants, or most anything that does not exceed the maximum image size for Print Then Cut, which is 6.75” x 9.25”. 

I like to use digital papers for card making. Most digital papers come in “paper packs”, which are a number of digital papers that were designed to coordinate with each other. You can use a couple of them for image layers that you are going to cut from a patterned paper. Then use one pattern for the background pattern. 

How to Use Digital Papers in Design Space:

You can use the Pattern Fill feature that is in Design Space. BUT I like to upload digital patterned paper as an image and Slice an image layer from it to have that pattern. It’s about the same steps to Upload and Slice as it is to use Pattern Fill; but I don’t like how fiddly Pattern Fill can be. To me, Slicing the image layer from the digital patterned paper is quicker, easier and you have more control over where the pattern will be on the image layer. Say you only want a certain section of the digital paper’s pattern on the image layer then using the Slice method would perfect for that. 

Below is a tutorial on how I use digital papers in Design Space by using Slice to give an image layer pattern for Print Then Cut.

Here’s how to download and unzip files:

– Windows user:

– MAC user:

Graphic Sets & Font Used:

Digital Paper: Bee pattern background digital paper pack – contains 40 digital papers size 12”x 12” saved as high quality JPG 300 dpi

Image Set: DIY Gnome Clipart Layered – Create a gnome. Comes with SVG files. 

Font: Alyssum Blossom – which is a lovely font duo. Has a script font and a text font that were designed to go well together.

Let the Tutorial Begin!

Make sure you have extracted the digital papers from their zipped file. If you do not know how to extract the files, a link to instructions are above. Most times the zipped file when downloaded to your computer goes into the Downloads folder. Make sure you take note of what folder you’re extracting to if not using the default Downloads folder.

Step #1 – Now that you have the graphics all unzipped, you can start uploading the digital patterned papers to Design Space. Click on the Upload button in the left menu bar. Then click on Upload Image under the first option – Image.. Do NOT pick Pattern Fill *Note: you can only upload one at a time, unfortunately. 

Step #2 – Click on Browse.

Step #3 – In the window that pops up you’ll need to navigate to the unzipped file for the digital papers. They are usually found in the Downloads folder on your computer. If you selected a different folder destination for downloaded files, you’ll need to navigate to that folder. Once you find the unzipped folder for the digital papers you will then double click on it to open to the images inside. 

Step #4 – Select the first patterned digital paper you want to use by clicking on it to highlight it and then click on Open.

Step #5 – On the new screen under Select Image Type, click on Moderately Complex. Then click Continue. 

Step #6 – On the next screen, the Select & Erase screen DO NOTHING! Click Continue.

Step #7 – Now you’re on the last screen. Select the Print Then Cut version to the right. At this point you can rename the image and give it a keyword tag if you want. Then click on Upload. 

Step #8 – Repeat Steps #1-7 for each digital patterned paper you want to use on the project.

Step #9 – Insert the images you want to use the digital patterned papers on. Then click on the Upload button in the left menu bar and scroll to Recent Uploads. **In my example I used a DIY Create a Gnome graphics set that can be paper pieced or used for vinyl projects. 

*Note: The Recent Uploads section on the Upload screen only shows the first 12 images. If you happen to upload more than 12, you’ll need to find them by clicking on the Images button in the left menu bar and using Filters and selecting Ownership and then checkmark Uploaded. 

Step #10 – Select the first digital paper you want to use and click on Insert Image. You can select and insert all of the digital papers at once if you want to and just close the eyes on all but one. And then repeat after each slice.

Step #11 – The digital paper will insert onto the canvas HUGE! That is fine. 

Step #12 – Select the digital paper. In the top menu bar look for Size. Click on the first input field and enter 6. Now both input fields under Size should have a 6. If not, it means that the tiny lock between the input fields needs to be locked by clicking on it. Then click Undo and type 6 in the first input field.

Step #13 – Now that the digital paper is smaller you can move it around much easier. Click on the digital patterned paper, then in the top menu bar click on Arrange then select Send to Back. 

Step #14 – The image should now be on top of the digital patterned paper. 

Step #15 – Select the image. Click on Operation in the tip menu bar and select Pen. You are selecting Pen to turn the image transparent with a gray outline. This is so you can see where you are going to Slice the image from on the digital paper pattern. Doing it this way gives you more control. Say you wanted to use a certain area of a digital paper pattern, you can just move your image and Slice. No fiddling around with Pattern Fill controls. 

If you cannot see the outline of your transparent image you can change it to a pen color that will show up. For my example I changed my image to a red pen color. You can change the pen color by clicking on the tiny colored square to the right of the Operation drop down in the top menu bar. 

Step #16 – Place the image where you want to Slice it from on the digital patterned paper.

Step #17 – Now that you have placed the image where you want to Slice it from, select the image. Then click on Operation and change the image back to Cut > Basic. You should now have a solid image on top of the digital paper. 

*A note for using Slice: remember you can only Slice 2 images at a time. Example: digital patterned paper and 1 image layer piece, that equals 2 images. You can tell if you only have 2 image layers selected, by looking in your Layers panel to the right. You’ll notice the image layers you have selected will have a darker gray bar than the other image layers in the Layers panel. If you see you have more than 2 with a darker gray bar, you’ll need to unselect image layers until you have just the digital patterned paper and 1 image layer you want to use selected.

Step #18 – Now select both the image and the digital patterned paper and click on Slice.

Step #19 – You can delete the leftover digital patterned paper, if you are not going to use it for another image. You should now have an image with the pattern of the digital paper. Repeat Steps #10-19 for each image layer you want to have the pattern of a digital paper. 

In my examples I show how I would use the digital patterned papers to make a card that has some Print Then Cut elements like the gnome hats, clothes and the background pattern for my card. 

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113X Added to favorites

Terri Davey

January 14, 2024

How would you reduce or increase the size of the pattern? Not the overall size of the pattern paper but the size of the design itself?

Betty Shows

January 23, 2023

I there a way to print these instructions?

Irene Sherman

January 12, 2023

After downloading pattern. On Canvas select the layer you want to "paper". Select Print & Cut. Select Color: arrow down to patterns. Scroll down. If you need to adjust the size chose "edit pattern"

Shirley Lundstrom

January 3, 2022

Wow, I followed this link from Facebook. What a game changer. Thank you Jooniper!

Manda Williams

September 18, 2021

What if my background pattern isn't showing in design space?

Jooniper Parker's profile picture
Jooniper Parker

December 10, 2021


If it’s not showing, then you’ve uploaded it through the Pattern Fill. Which is different than my tutorial.

Deanne Bell

July 23, 2021

A very detailed and informative tutorial, Jooniper. Thank you for sharing this with us. I love using digital papers.

Misty Morgan

May 15, 2021

Thank you so much Jooniper for creating this tutorial for all the Cricuteers! I've posted in my group for everyone to enjoy. Thanks again

Kim Niehaus

April 1, 2021

Thank you very much! I was printing whole sheets and then cutting what I needed and wasting a lot of ink and paper.

Cissy Toups

March 25, 2021

What a great instructional article. You are so creative and talented! I have learned so much from your articles! Thank you so much!

Joan Loomis

March 24, 2021

This was great and thank you again for all you do. Would've been great to print out I'm thinking.

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