Cricut Explore™ Machine and its Print and Cut Feature
Now, Cut it Out!!

My own review & experience with the Print and Cut feature

My own screenshots showing How I used the Print then Cut feature

See Page 2 > more of my experience with the Print & Cut feature of the Cricut Explore
See Page 3 > more of my experience with the Print & Cut feature of the Cricut Explore

new page created March 2015, Making Cards using features of my offline
 software programs and cutting with my Cricut Explore

New page created 2016 >> How I Printed and Cut elements/images from a Digital Scrapbook Kit

New page created early April 2017 >> 
w I made Placecards
with a half cut slice to standup on the folded placecard
(this page made prior to the release of Design Space 3 in late April 2017)

*NOTE: many of the links here were gathered and posted on this page in Oct 2014
and other pages in 2015 and 2016.
There have been improvements and enhancements to Design Space since that time
and many new articles and youtube videos
can be found online showing the how-to's etc. for using teh current version of
Design Space
and opinions and comparisons for the Cricut Explore line
or the New Cricut Maker machine - released Summer 2017
so some links on the 2014, 2015, and 2016 pages I have posted,
 may no longer be valid
as Design Space was Updated to Design Space 3 in April 2017
and now is located at
And you should note the dates on Youtube videos you may be viewing
as things have changed to Design Space since the release of Design Space 3 in late April 2017
Note: Design Space 3 no longer relies on the Adobe Flash Plugin (that often caused problems in
earlier versions of Design Space)

To keep track of updates to Design Space see

Release notes page :

UPDATE January 2018:
Design Space 3 was released in late April 2017.
 and Updates were made to the Print then Cut feature
in July 2017
Now the Printable area allowance is 6.75 x 9.25 across All Browsers

and for iPad and iPhone app users of the Design Space App.

and instead of the 3 L brackets registration marks,
Design Space 3
now puts a Black Outline box around the images to be cut area to be
scanned as the Registration Mark that will be scanned before your images
will be cut by the Explore (or the new Maker machine)
Note too: New Cricut Maker owners are able to use color papers with
the Print then Cut feature.  Cricut Explore owners should still use
white Printable 8.5x11 materials for their Print then Cut projects.
For a good video on the Print then Cut process now using Design Space 3
see this July 2017 video by Lorrie Nunemaker

See this Flickr Photo Album I have online of some of the
 Print then Cut images and/or projects
(included are  some photos of "Cut" only projects)
I have done since I got my
Explore in Oct 2014

Also see this current listing (as of November 2017) of resources for new Cricut Explore
or the New Cricut Maker (released Summer 2017) machines available on my Blog

Manuals and Warranty Information for Cricut Machines

Which Cricut Machine is Best for You ?  Published Nov 22, 2017 by Debbie ONeal
Need help deciding which Cricut Machine to get ? Review features of each type of Cricut Explore and Cricut Maker machines.

System Requirements for Cricut Design Space 3 (it is always best to exceed the minimum requirements
in any area you can afford, especially in the area of RAM (Random Access Memory) 6gigs or More is better than the
recommended 4gigs.  The requirements can change at any time and when you least expect them to.
Also your Internet Connection needs to be fast and reliable with a fast upload/download broadband speed.

User Manuals @

Cricut Explore Air Manuals and Videos

My own review and personal experience with the New
Cricut Explore™ cutting machine  - note this was written in 2014

I bought the Cricut Explore in October of 2014 when it was the Special of the Day on I paid $249.00 (plus sales tax, shipping was free)
The machine came with some extras that made it a better value than if I had bought it at other online sources. 
Plus I liked that buying it via HSN, I had until Jan 31st 2015 to return it. So that would give me lots of time to test out its features.

I was mainly interested in cutting out my own vast stash of Clip-art via the print and cut feature that is offered on this machine. 
So this review and experience will focus on just that feature.

But first some background history for my fellow Hugsisters from PC Crafter.
Once upon a time, I belonged to a community message board on the former website. PC Crafter sold the most wonderful downloadable Clip Art sets, done by some of the most talented artists around.  Laurie Furnell, Carolee Jones, Tammy DeYoung, Debbie Mumm, Carolyn Shores Wright, Shelly Comiskey, Gina Jane (Johnson), Tricia Santry and many more, who created 30 piece sets, called "Creatables".  The motto for pccrafter was "We put the ART in Clip Art"  - and they did.

I bought hundreds of dollars worth of clip art sets over the years 2002 to 2010.  The website stopped producing new clipart sets at the end of 2010 and closed its doors to selling clip art and shut down its message board by 2012.

Around 2006 to 2008 there were discussions on the message board about new software programs made by Sure Cuts A Lot and Make the Cut, that when used with the Cricut Expression machine (which used Cartridges with images on them that you could cut using the Cricut machine) - you could bypass the use of the Cartridges and following some steps, open your "Clip Art" images within the software and then print out on your computer and then get the Cricut Expression to cut that image out.

Now anyone who had bought a Cricut Expression during that time was thrilled with this prospect.  And the makers of those software programs touted the fact that you didn't need to buy those "expensive" cartridges anymore, you could print and cut out your "very own" images.  And so the message boards and the message boards over at Cricut buzzed with excitment over this.  But of course Cricut (whose life blood was selling the Cartridges) wasn't happy about all this talking going on.  So eventually they began a lawsuit against Sure Cuts A Lot and Make the Cut. Both companies agreed to stop promoting their software, used on a Cricut Expression, and said they would remove that feature for the Cricut Expression from their software. 

Both Sure Cuts A Lot (SCAL) and Make the Cut (MTC) - still make their software, but they support other Cutting Machines on the Market , such as the Silhouette Cameo, and others.  But the software no longer works with new Cricut Expressions.  (You can design using MTC or SCAL, and save things in the SVG format and upload those svgs to Cricut Design Space and cut with your Explore.) 

In early 2014 - Cricut made the announcement of a new machine, The Cricut Explore. Now the machine previous to this one, was the Cricut Imagine. The Imagine was a machine that partnered Cricut with Hewlett Packard. You were supposed to be able to use all of your Cricut Cartridges and ones designed just for the Imagine, and be able to design and change colors, etc etc right on the machine. Then the Imagine would print and cut all in one step.  The Imagine had its issues and critics right from the beginning, and wasn't very successful in the marketplace.  So Cricut "FINALLY" went back to the drawing board, and FINALLY listened to all those voices - that said - We WANT TO CUT OUR OWN DESIGNS and CLIP ART just like other cutting machines can do - the Silhouette CD and Silhouette Cameo, KNK Zing, Boss Cut Gazelle, etc.
Over the years, Cricut has been bashed online for poor customer service, for machines that didn't work as advertised. and about its handling of the Make The Cut and Sure Cuts A Lot manufacturers. All crafters wanted was for Cricut to figure out what other cutting machines and software makers had already. The having to buy Cartridges, which were usually $20 and UP!!, was irritating to Cricut owners, making owning their machines expensive and totally "Cartridge" based. Many Cricut owners love their machines, and don't mind buying and using Cartridges. My daughter has a Cricut Expression and has enjoyed using and creating projects with it. She owns several cartridges.

Well, I watched the launch of the Cricut Explore back in March of 2014 on , and they briefly touched on the new feature of  Print and Cut - BUT, that feature was not available YET, maybe by Fall!!  So close and yet so far, LOL.  I waited until it was offered again in Oct 2014, and with the ability to return in Jan 2015, and 5 easy payments, I took the plunge to purchase this machine, and take it for a test "print and cut" run.  And I wanted to know how easy using the online Cricut Design Space   (now linked to current version of Design Space) was for doing all of this (you may have to register on the Cricut website to sample or use the Cricut Design Space).  Cricut Design Space is a Free online work canvas that you can assemble your projects on.

OK - so I get the machine, and found it easy to set up, I also watched this >  You Tube video, which shows basically what I did >
(the gal in video also bought her machine from HSN **note this is a video from spring 2014
See this Kens Kreations 2015 youtube showing Unboxing and Setting up a Cricut Explore Air

Unbox, Set up and First Cut

The only thing I didn't do, as the girl in the video did, I didn't make the Thank You Card that was meant to help you make your 1st cut and also help Calibrate the machine.
See this Kens Kreations 2015 youtube showing Unboxing and Setting up a Cricut Explore Air

What I did was first go for cutting an image from my Clip Art stash as my first project - I still had to follow all the steps for getting the machine set up, and calibrate it for cutting (Note: the Cricut Explore AIR model does not or shouldn't require Calibrating the Machine to use the Print then Cut feature). Those steps weren't that hard, I just followed the Prompts on my Computer Screen.  All in All the set up was fairly easy.  I did watch videos on You Tube to help me, but once I got into the actual steps > Open a New Project, Upload an Image from my computer, press GO, follow the prompts to Print the image using my own Printer, then insert the printout into my Cricut Explore, load, and Cut >> that was all it took.  I was a Happy Camper. I didn't really have to learn any software programs, the steps to follow were pretty straight forward.  All I wanted to accomplish was the cutting out of a clip art image.  **I currently own 2 HP printers and am very happy with the quality of my printed images, I own an older HP Photosmart 7510, and a newer HP Envy 7640 model - that I also have subscribed to the  instant ink program available for that model See information on the HP instant ink program and the models eligible at > or . All of my images are at least 300 dpi, and uploaded as PNG image format, to cut with the Explore.

My own experience of using the Print then Cut feature
Here are some screen shots with notes, and photos of my very first attempt(s)

1. I opened Cricut's Design Space webpage and logged in with my email and password
Then chose > Create New Project which takes me to a new Canvas.
**Note: For info on Design Spage see>
Cricut Design Space Reference Guide & Glossary

my first cut using cricut

On the workspace Canvas, there is an option to "Upload Image",
so I clicked on Upload Image and chose Basic Upload -
In this particular screen shot

I had already uploaded 3 images using Basic Upload, to the Design Space,
and all I have to do is Click on the image I want,

and insert it to my workspace canvas. 
see >Cricut Design Space Reference Guide & Glossary
for more information about the online application.

upload image to design space
2. Next I sized and arranged the image on the Canvas
when done, I clicked on GO icon in upper right, and followed the prompts to print
image using my printer, and then place that printed sheet (I used 8.5x11 White Card Stock)
onto the Cricut Explore sticky mat (the mat included with machine is 12x12)
and load it to the machine, and follow on screen prompts and cut the image.
place image on canvas
**image used is from the NitWit Collections - Great White North collection**
The image is in PNG format. It is Important to Note > there are SIZE limitations to how big you can make your image on the online canvas,
the software assumes you are printing from a printer that handles 8.5x11 material.
 And there has to be room to apply all the registration marks.
Here are the sizing measurements that show how large a printed image can be:
 Excerpt quoted from online
 Manual for the Cricut Explore >

Maximum image sizes for Print then Cut
Each web browser has different settings for printable area size,
which means that
Print then Cut images have different maximum sizes
depending on the browser you use.
If you save a project
in one browser and later open it another,
you may need to adjust the image’s size according
to the browser’s printable area settings.
Below is a guideline for maximum Print then Cut image
sizes in each browser.
Chrome: 5.5" x 8"
Firefox: 6" x 8.5"
Safari: 6" x 8.5"
Internet Explorer: 6" x 8.5" note in Dec 2016, Cricut no longer supports IE

Microsoft Edge available on Windows 10 computers: 6"x8.5
for those who use the Design Space App
on an iPad or iPhone: 6.5"x9

Here is photo of the printed image from my printer
(I used an HP Photosmart 7510 for this and other images on this webpage) -
the clip art printout ,has the registration marks

needed to aid the Cricut Explore in cutting the image. Note: you may on some images see
a blurry edge surrounding the printed image, that is the Bleed Line. The Bleed lines
are necessary for the Explore to follow and cut as close to the edge of the images to get a clean cut.
So don't be alarmed if your image's edges seem fuzzy or blurry when printed.
  The screen prompts me to

Load the printed image to the Cricut Explore (after putting it on the mat)
printout of image from

I loaded it to the machine and pressed the Cut button when it blinked
load to cricut explore

Taa-daa, I removed the cardstock from the mat and here it is all Cutout- YEA!!!
Successful beginning with my very First attempt at cutting a clip art image using my
Cricut Explore.

taa-daa it is cut

first image cut

I did another cut, to see if I was just "Lucky" on that first one,
This time I used a bit more complicated image with small inside areas that
the machine would hopefully cut out. I used an image by Laurie Furnell, from
her PCCrafter creatable "A Christmas Sampler"
(this particular clipart set and image of the Hobby Horse is no longer offered for sale). 
Note: I first created a PNG image

from the original jpg format image,
by using my Microsoft Digital Image software. I used my magic wand

tool to select and remove the white areas surrounding the original JPG image. I then
saved the image in PNG format to retain its transparency. I used the PNG image to
upload to Cricut Design Space.
 I usually will prepare all of my images using my own offline graphic/photo editing software programs,
before uploading to
Cricut Design Space,
and I prefer to upload clip art that are already or saved in PNG format
Note: Cricut Explore Design Space has a magic wand tool built in,
so that if you upload a JPG image,
you can remove the white areas before inserting it onto your Canvas
upload image from computer
Note: I purchased  each of the Images that I am using to cut out on my Cricut Explore machine.
Please respect all Artists Terms of Use and Copyrights
I have purchased images from the former website (pccrafter is no longer online)
Even though pcCrafter is no longer online,
all Terms of Use and Artist Copyrights remain in effect
 for all clip art collections you may have purchased and
downloaded and installed to your computers.
Online stores I have purchased clip art from include:
 Nitwit Collections,
DAISIE Company,
and DigiWeb Studio,
along with many others over the years.
Do NOT automatically assume that images you find online
 are free for you to use in any manner you choose.
There are many illegally shared clip art images online, please do not engage in illegal file sharing
 or disregard Terms of Use or the Artists Copyrights.
Do NOT upload any of your owned images to websites such as Picasa Albums, Pinterest Boards, etc.
Most FREE images found on Digital Scrapbooking or Digital Clipart sites are for Personal Use Only.
Read all Terms of Use before you purchase or download clip art from reputable web stores

I uploaded the image using Basic Upload and chose "Complex images"

use basic upload

I sized and arranged the image, and then pressed GO button and followed the prompts
as I did for the Penguin image
inserted to canvas

Printed it out via my HP Printer on white cardstock
printed image out on hp

placed image on the mat for the Cricut Explore, and loaded to the Machine, and pressed Cut
(the cut button looks like the Cricut logo)
load image to machine

When done I removed the paper from around the image, and then the small inner pieces, when
I lifted the Hobby Horse image from the mat completely
remove paper around image
lifted from mat, the main hobby horse image, leaving small pieces on mat
(for this photo, I had already removed the small parts, but put back on mat for you to
see each of the very small parts that the Cricut Explore cut out.
remove small pieces

Taa-Daa -Success Again!!
hobby horse cut out

I am a Happy Camper and I continued to cut out 4 more clip art images

Image Credits : Upper left to right
Bear with Hearts from pccrafter creatable: My Honey by Rebecca Carter (no longer available for sale)
Punkin Time from Nitwit Collections : Lil Bits Punkins
Camping word from Nitwit Collections : FQB Gone Camping
Girl with cut out hearts from pccrafter creatable Welcome Winter by Tricia Santry
(no longer available for sale)

Lower left to right
Penguin from Nitwit Collections: FQB Great White North
Hobby Horse with Bear from pccrafter creatable: A Christmas Sampler by Laurie Furnell
(no longer available for sale)

Note: Laurie does have a clip art set available in her Etsy store named "Christmas Sampler", but it contains images
that were in her former pccrafter creatable "A Christmas Sampler 3" .
Note: she names sets that may have previously sold at
 as "Classic" Clip art, new sets are labeled Laurie Furnell Designs
I found the set up of the Cricut Explore machine, hooking it up to my computer via a USB cord** and using Cricut's online Design Space to upload images from my own computer, and printing and cutting out these images to be fairly easy.

**Update: in Dec 2014, I did purchase the Cricut Bluetooth adapter so that I could pair it with my other laptops. As of Nov. 2016 I personally own and use 4 laptops. One with Widows 7, 1 with Windows 8.1, and 2 with Windows 10. I am able to use Design Space on each of them and able to use the Print then Cut feature on each. I still have my Win 7 laptop connected to the Explore via the USB cord.  For my Win 8.1 that computer did not come with Bluetooth, so I purchased an inexpensive USB Bluetooth Dongle, that I placed in a usb port on that machine and I was able to pair it with my Explore. The Windows 10 laptops do have Bluetooth, and I paired each with my Explore.  To pair the 2 devices use the code 0000  (4 zeros) Note too: the model I own is no longer sold or made by Cricut.  The models with AIR in the title have Bluetooth built in and only need to be paired with a Bluetooth enabled computer or iPhone or iPad. The Cricut Explore ONE model does require the purchase of the Cricut Bluetooth Adapter if you choose to pair it with any Bluetooth enabled computer or the iPad or iPhone.  For iPad or iPhone users you need to have the Cricut Design Space free app on your devices.  There is an App for Android device owners but as of Jan 2017, it is in Beta, and does NOT have all the features that iPad or iPhone users enjoy, and it may never have all of the same features. It is more difficult to develop apps for Android (or so says the folks at Cricut) All Cricut Explore machine models come with a USB cord if you choose to hook up your Explore to your computer that way.

See Page 2 > more of my experience with the Print & Cut feature of the Cricut Explore
See Page 3 > more of my experience with the Print & Cut feature of the Cricut Explore

Making Cards using features of my software programs and cutting with my Cricut Explore

How I Printed and Cut elements/images from a Digital Scrapbook Kit

I am not affiliated with Cricut, and all opinions and photos and screen shots on this page are mine.
Please DO NOT COPY content or photos to use them
 on any other website or blog
or Pin to a Pinterest Board.
Thank You.
 Please Honor all Terms of Use and Artist Copyrights
for any clip art images you use with your Cric
ut Explore

Remember just because you may use Google to find an image online,
the image may NOT be copyright free or be allowed to be used or
downloaded if the original designer or artist has not granted such rights.
Please be careful with images downloaded free before placing them on items you might
consider selling.  Make sure you have read all Terms of Use for images you are considering using.
Also be careful before displaying projects online that might be using Copyright
or Licensed images that you personally have not received explicit permission to use from the
artist, designer or website store, facebook group, or online blog or pinterest pins,
that you obtained the images from.
When posting photos of projects using images online,
you should post information giving credit to the Artist or Designers,
or locations of where you obtained the images from.
Do NOT share images that you purchased or even obtained for free from legitimate sources.
You can Share the
link to the images or website locations or stores etc. -
so that others can read and understand usage of such images.

I am not responsible for content on Linked websites or videos.
The external links are provided as Informational only links
 related to the Cricut Explore machine

this page created Oct. 2014 & updated June 2015, February 2016, Jan 2017, Jan 2018

*NOTE: many of these links were gathered and posted on this page in Oct 2014. There have been improvements and enhancements to Design Space since that time and many new articles and youtube videos can be found online showing the how-to's etc. for using Design Space
and opinions and comparisons for the Cricut Explore line of machines.

See this current as of Nov 2017 listing of resources for Cricut Explore and Cricut Maker owners on my Blog

 to top of page

Online Support for Cricut Explore Users

See Page 2 > more of my experience with the Print & Cut feature of the Cricut Explore
See Page 3 > more of my experience with the Print & Cut feature of the Cricut Explore
new page created March 2015, Making Cards using features of my software programs and cutting with my Cricut Explore

Note some links on the pages of page 2, 3 and March 2015 may be out of date or no longer valid
they were created in 2014, 2015 and 2016 before the many updates to
Cricut Design Space
Current listing of resources as of Nov 2017 for Cricut Explore or new Cricut Maker owners

 to top of page