Making Color Cutout Art With Cricut

Making Color Cutout Art With Cricut main article image
Posted on February 21, 2021 by Tara Garmon

Cricut makes it remarkably simple to create beautiful artwork for your home, to give as gifts, or to put in an online shop. In this tutorial, you’re going to learn how to make a simple but impressive piece of art that you can frame or use for a number of craft projects in just a few minutes.

How to make a color cutout artwork

Here’s what you will need:

  • Cricut cutting machine
  • PC, MAC, or mobile device capable of running the Cricut Design Space
  • White cardstock, 1 sheet, 8.5”x11”
  • Colored cardstock, any color, 1 sheet, 8.5”x11”
  • Glue, such as a glue stick, craft glue, or school glue
  • Cricut light grip cutting mat

While you only need one sheet of white and one sheet of colored cardstock, it’s a good idea to have multiple just in case something goes wrong. Cutting machines do occasionally make mistakes, so having backup paper is never a bad idea. Plus, there’s always a chance that you may inadvertently damage the paper, so having backup is a great idea.

Find a cut file for your project

The first thing you need to do is either create or download a cut file. A cut file is a piece of artwork that will tell the Cricut which parts of the paper to cut. This file can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be, but keep in mind that the more intricate the cut file, the longer it will take to cut, and the more likely it is there will be errors. Also, more complex designs run the risk of tearing as you remove them from the cutting mat, so be sure your designs aren’t so intricate that they are likely to be difficult to remove from the mat properly.

Cut files can be in many formats, including JPG, PNG, or SVG. I prefer SVG, because it is scalable and lossless. This means you can scale it to any size you need without losing any quality. However, sometimes you may want to use another format, which is fine. You just may experience some quality issues, or you may have to go through extra work to remove the background. There may be times when SVG isn’t available, so try to choose a format with a transparent background like PNG, and try to choose an image that has a higher resolution.

You don’t need to worry about color in this file. You only need it to be black and white, or more technically, black and transparent. The areas where the black are will be where the colored cardstock shows through the white paper, so keep that in mind

For this project, I downloaded a PNG file of a silhouette woman. It was only available in PNG format, so that is the format I will be using for this project. 

Please note that the design used in the Cricut Design Space photos is a different design, see the final photo for the end result with the silhouette woman design.

Import the design to Cricut Design Space

First, you need to import the file into the Cricut Design Space. I am using an iPad, so the process might be slightly different if you are on a different device, but I logged into Design Space, then clicked Canvas at the top right of the page. Then I clicked Upload at the bottom left, which brought up the menu where I could find my file. I selected Browse Files, because my file was saved on my iPad. Then I located my file, and it imported it.

Once your file is uploaded, it will ask you to clean up the file. You shouldn’t need to do this for your file unless it’s not on a transparent background, so click Next at the top right. Next, it will ask you to refine the file. Again, just click Next. Finally, it will ask you if this is a Print Then Cut file, or a Cut Image file. Cut Image should be selected by default, so just enter a name for your file in the box at the bottom and click Save at the top right.

Next, Design Space will open a list of your uploaded files. Select your new image if it isn’t already selected when the box opens, and click the Insert bottom at the bottom right. This will place your imported image on the canvas.

Make the design with your Cricut

Once it is imported, click the Make It button at the bottom right of the screen. This will send the image to be cut. The next step is important if you want the image to cut properly. You need to change the material size to 8.5” x 11” Letter, and move your cut file until it is perfectly centered on the 8.5” x 11” area, as shown below.

Color cutout art in Cricut Design Space

Click continue at the bottom right. On the next page, you must choose your setting for the depth of the cut. This is also critical. If you choose to light a setting, it won’t cut all the way through your design. If you choose too deep, you can damage your cutting mat and even cut through to the plastic housing of your Cricut and damage your blade.

I am using a relatively lightweight cardstock at 65 pounds, so I chose the Light Cardstock + setting by turning my dial until this setting appeared on screen, as shown below.

Cardstock Cricut Design Space

Remove the clear film that covers your cutting mat, and attach a sheet of your white cardstock to the upper left corner. Then line the mat up with the rollers in your Cricut and press the double-sided arrow button on your Cricut to load the mat into the Cricut. When the Cricut logo button begins to flash, press it to begin the cut. When the cut completes, press the flashing double-sided arrow button again to eject the mat.

Remove cutout from paper

Once the mat is ejected, carefully pull the paper from the mat. This may leave the cutout behind on the mat, or it may pull everything off as one piece. If it comes off in one piece, you should very carefully and slowly remove the cutout from the paper. Then apply glue to the back side of the white cardstock and place it carefully on top of your colored cardstock. Press down to smooth the white cardstock over the colored cardstock.

Let the glue dry as long as the instructions for your glue say, and then you’re ready to frame your project or hang it up as-is! 

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Wendy Boulay

February 25, 2021

This is awesome! I am going to try this out for sure!

Nice tips! Might try this out as I've been looking for some nice artwork for my place

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