If you've got an iPad and a Cricut machine, you can probably start your own sticker business right in the comfort of your own home. It is so easy nowadays to create die cut stickers with Cricut Design Space and Procreate - or any other art app. Let's look into it!
All you need to make stickers with Cricut and Procreate is an iPad, a Cricut cutting machine, a printer, and some special paper. You can create die cut stickers or kiss cut stickers in under an hour! These are a great way to start an online business with your Cricut machine.
Die Cut Stickers Vs. Kiss Cut Stickers
Before we get started, I wanted to explain quickly what the different between die cut stickers and kiss cut stickers is. If you're just getting started in sticker design, you might not know the difference. It's important to know, however - and could really influence how you design.
A die cut sticker is a sticker with just one cut, all the way through the border of the sticker. I consider these the "standard" sticker that you can buy at a store. There may be a slice in the back of the paper to help you peel, but there's nothing on the front.
In contrast, a kiss cut sticker is a sticker with an "easy peel" border of the paper backing on the front. The sticker paper is sliced off the edge, but the backing paper is left as a small border. This makes peeling kiss cut stickers really easy.
You most often see kiss cut stickers on sticker sheets, but sometimes people will sell them as standalone items as well. Developing a kiss cut sticker can be more complicated than developing a die cut sticker, but there can be a benefit to offering a kiss cut sticker to your customers instead.
Luckily, Cricut can handle both kiss cut stickers and die cut stickers. It's a little complicated to set up kiss cut stickers in Cricut, but we walk you through it down below.
Designing Your Stickers In Procreate
There are plenty of great art tutorials out there, on YouTube or even in paid courses. This article can't teach you how to use Procreate, but you can pick up Procreate in just a few minutes and be able to produce something pretty quickly.
The most important thing about making stickers in Procreate is making sure that they have a transparent background when you go to export them. The best file type to import into Cricut Design Space is a transparent backed PNG file. Because of the limitations of the Cricut machine cutter, you should also consider including a white border around your design.
You can add the white border manually in Procreate, or you can use Cricut Design Space's new offset feature to create the white outline. I haven't had too much success with the Cricut offset feature (it's experimental) - but some people swear by it.
If you don't like either of those methods, you can add your border in either Photopea (FREE!) or Affinity Designer (one time cost). I use Affinity Designer for a lot of my post-design editing, but I mostly use it on desktop. I'm sure the features are similar on an iPad. Affinity will export to PNG as well, which is easy to upload in Cricut.
Cutting Your Stickers With Cricut Design Space
After you've exported your file, you'll need to import it into Cricut Design Space to make your own stickers. If you forgot to remove the background before importing, you can always remove it during the import. If you don't remove the background, your Cricut Maker (or Explore Air) will cut around the border of the background, not the border of your design.
Remember to import as a "print then cut" file, not just a cut file. It's different than working with vinyl. A print then cut file allows your Cricut Design Space to send the information to your printer first. A print then cut file will have a thick black border when it's printed - that's so that your machine can find the borders and cut accurately.
Resizing your stickers with Cricut Design Space
When you've imported your sticker design into Cricut Design Space, you'll want to be sure that you resize the custom sticker design to the dimensions you want. Most laptop stickers are 3 inches, where most planner or bullet journal stickers are much smaller, at the 0.5-2 inches range.
Cricut Design Space will automatically format your sticker paper to maximize space, and it does a pretty good job. So, unless you're making kiss cut stickers or sticker sheets, don't worry about trying to attach and do multiple cuts or anything like that.
If you're just making die cut stickers, you're ready to print then cut! After you've printed your sticker paper on your home printer, attach your printed sheet to the upper left corner of your cutting mat and insert it into your machine. If you're offset from the top left corner, the Cricut machine may not be able to find where your designs start.
Start the project in Cricut Design Space, sit back, and enjoy watching the process! Print then cut projects like these are surprisingly easy, especially just to cut stickers.
Making A Sticker Sheet Instead
If you're interested in making a sticker sheet instead, there are quite a few extra steps that you'll need to take before you can print. The sticker material / sticker paper is the same, but your Cricut Design Space set up will be a lot different.
To get a kiss cut or sticker sheet effect, you need to tell your machine to cut some lines ONCE and some lines more than once. The cut line that is cut once will be your sticker borders; the lines that are cut more than once will go all the way through the printed sticker paper.
To do this, import any files you'll need into Design Space and then arrange them how you see fit. So the backing sheet should be on the bottom layer, your designs on top of it. Then, you'll want to duplicate the backing sheet twice and align all of them on top of each other. Put them all behind your sticker designs.
Cutting your kiss cut sticker sheets
When it looks good - and you have 3x copies of any "full cut" lines - you'll need to select everything and hit "attach". This will lock your designs together. Now, when Cricut goes to do your Print Then Cut project, it'll know exactly where to print then cut your sticker paper. It feels a little like magic, but it does work.
When you're ready, use the system dialog to print, then get your printed sticker paper out of your printer and attach it to your cutting mat. Load it into your Cricut machine and press the go button.
Making a kiss cut sticker sheet takes a lot of tweaking to find the correct settings. I tend to have success using the Vinyl+ setting for cutting, but it'll really just depend on what type of sticker paper you've purchased. They have different thickness, and so, it's hard to tell you exactly what settings to cut your kiss cut sticker sheets with.
Benefits of kiss cut stickers
Kiss cut stickers are really a trial and error type process, but kiss cut stickers with Cricut can be a really amazing addition to your shop. A sticker sheet looks great and gives you the chance to show off your design skills by branding the sticker sheet as you design. Kiss cut stickers are a great way to sell planner and bullet journal stickers as well - which have a higher price tag than a single small sticker.
Drawbacks of kiss cut stickers
The primary drawback of kiss cut stickers is wasted time (and money). It takes 3x as long to cut a sticker sheet over a single die cut sticker. You'll waste a lot of sticker paper if you're using a Cricut cutting machine to cut a sticker sheet, because the maximum cut space is just 6.75" x 9.25" inches, much smaller than the printer paper.
However, if you make kiss cut stickers for a premium price, then there's no issue here. Despite being made at home, DIY stickers can be sold worldwide on platforms like Etsy and Amazon. Printable stickers can be just as profitable, or even more so, than stickers that you order from a sticker manufacturer.
What sticker paper should I use?
Since I get so many questions about materials, I just wanted to take a moment and let you know what sticker paper I use to produce a sticker sheet or die cut sticker. I have a strong preference for Online Labels branded paper. It's affordable, they have great customer service, and they offer paper for both inkjet and laser printers. I've never had a problem with their sticker paper holding up to everyday use. Bonus: the back of the sticker sheet is blank, so you could even print your own watermark if you wanted.
Making stickers is an easy weekend project, or, if you're really into it, a full time business. If you need troubleshooting tips, feel free to reach out - leave a comment below, or even shoot us an email. We are here to help.