How to Upload Handprints to Cricut Design Space

Learn how to upload your own handprints to Cricut Design Space to use in cut or Print Then Cut projects. This is a simple and mess-free way to make handprint crafts!

Ever since becoming a mom, handprint crafts are one of my favorite things to do to mark milestones and holidays. I love preserving those little baby and toddler hands, because they change way too quickly.

But, for some crafts, you may prefer a digital copy of the handprints that you can use over and over again. Or, you may wish to cut the handprint with your Cricut using iron-on vinyl or Infusible Ink. If so, this tutorial for uploading handprints to Cricut Design Space is for you!

how to upload handprints to Cricut Design Space

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Why would you want to create custom handprints for Design Space?

There are lots of craft projects where you might just want a generic handprint image. In that case, there are basic handprint images already in the Design Space library or you could upload your own SVG.

But, for crafts where you want to use a specific handprint (i.e. your child’s) for a keepsake craft, then digitizing your own handprint to create a custom image is what you want to do. When you’re making something like these Mother’s Day handprint tote bags, those personal handprint images are what make the project so special!

What you need to upload handprints to Cricut Design Space

  • white paper, paint (darker color is best for the best contrast), and a foam brush
  • something to take a picture of the handprints with: your phone, camera, or a scanner
  • Cricut Design Space app: you can use a phone, tablet, or desktop computer
  • a Cricut Access subscription: optional, but the Automatic Remove Background feature (which is a little more convenient) requires a subscription. See all the reasons why I LOVE my subscription here.
  • Cricut machine: Obviously, to be able to use your handprints after upload, you will need a Cricut machine. Any Cricut machine will work for cutting handprints, but choose a Joy Xtra, Explore, or Maker for Print Then Cut projects (the original Cricut Joy does not have a Print Then Cut sensor).

Save $10 on any Cricut machine or heat press with the coupon code AUBREE-10

How to upload handprints to Cricut Design Space

If you prefer a quick video tutorial of these written instructions, check out the first part of my video for How to Make Handprint Tote Bags.

Paint handprints

First, you need to actually get your child’s handprints. The easiest way is to paint them. And kids usually love this, though it may tickle a little (check out my video for the cute audio).

Grab some white paper, a darker color of paint (you want a strong contrast between the paper and paint), and a foam brush.

Apply paint to your child’s hands and press firmly on white paper. Do your best to avoid smudges, but it’s not really a big deal if you have some since we’ll be editing the image anyway in Design Space.

painted blue handprint with bottle of craft paint and foam brush

Take pictures of handprints

Once you’re done painting, take a picture of each of the handprints (I recommend separate images for each handprint you’re doing).

It’s probably easiest for most people to just use their phones, but you can also use a traditional camera or even scan the handprints with a scanner (for the last one, make sure the paint is completely dry).

For the best image, lay the paper on a flat surface in good lighting and keep your phone/camera level to the page.

Note: Before discarding the handprint page, be sure to measure the prints for accurate sizing in Design Space later. I measure from base of palm to middle fingertip and that will usually be the height.

Upload to Cricut Design Space

I prefer using Design Space on a desktop computer for the best control when uploading and editing images, but the process is very similar for a phone or tablet.

For desktop:

If you’re using a computer, send your pictures to it however works for you (AirDrop, or email them to yourself and download them).

Next, open the Design Space app and go to the Canvas. Click on Upload in the left toolbar.

how to upload handprint to Cricut Design Space

Click Upload Image. Then you can click Browse to find your pictures or drag or drop the file into Design Space. You’ll just do one image at a time.

how to upload handprint to Cricut Design Space

Select image type on the next screen. Choose Complex (one of the other options would probably work, but Complex preserves the most detail and makes it a little easier to see things when editing the image).

how to upload handprint to Cricut Design Space

On the next screen, you’ll be given several options to remove the background.

First, if you want to crop your image closer to the handprint outline, you can click on the Crop icon and highlight around your image. This just takes out a large chunk of the background, making the next part easier.

(Cricut is constantly making changes to Design Space, and sometime between making the video tutorial and taking screenshots, the crop button disappeared, at least for me on desktop. You may or may not have this option.)

Go back to the Background Remover. I like to start with the Automatic Remove Background (which is a feature for Access subscribers). Just click the button and let Design Space do it’s thing. Sometimes that’s all you need, depending on your image.

how to remove background of handprint image when uploading to Cricut Design Space

From the manual options, you can also choose Select and click on the background areas you want removed.

If needed, you can also fine-tune things by clicking Erase. You can adjust the size of the eraser and zoom in on your image.

If your handprint outline is super detailed, clean up the edges and remove any tiny details that you don’t need: Cricut machines do pretty well with detailed cuts, but not when it’s too tiny.

If you mess up anything while doing any of this, you can always click the undo button or redo button at the top.

When you feel like you’re all the way done, click Preview Cut Image at the top to make sure everything looks good. At this point, you may notice some small areas inside the handprint that you don’t want cut, so you can use the Restore button to add back to the image and fill those in.

how to upload handprint to Cricut Design Space

Erase any small dots in the background or around your handprint that you might have missed. Make sure everything’s good, then click Apply & Continue.

If you want to be able to use just the outline of your image (for cutting out of vinyl, Infusible Ink, etc.), then choose Cut Image. If you want to preserve all the colors and details of the image for Print Then Cut projects, choose Print Then Cut Image.

Name your image and give it a description (this is just for you so you can find the image easier later, but I recommend including the child’s name and a date or age in the name so you know who it’s for). Then click Upload.

how to upload handprint to Cricut Design Space

Now you can click on your image and add it to the Canvas. You can resize it so it’s the size of your child’s actual handprint. Again, take the measurement from the painted handprints from palm to middle fingertip, which is usually the height, and input that number in the top toolbar.

how to upload handprint to Cricut Design Space

And now you’re ready to use your custom handprint image in all your projects!

For phone or tablet:

I have an iPhone so these instructions/screenshots are specific to that, but the process is essentially the same across devices. Check out my post on how to upload images to Design Space if you still have questions or see Cricut’s help page.

Open the Design Space app and go to the Canvas. Click on the Upload icon at the bottom.

Choose one of the options shown to locate the image on your phone.

Edit the handprint similar to how I showed you on desktop: you can automatically remove the background, erase smudges, and restore pieces of the image you want to fill back in.

screenshots showing how to upload images to Cricut Design Space app on phone

Click the three dots at the top to toggle between the Original photo and a Single Layer image (what the handprint would look like as a cut image). From the Single Layer view, you have additional options to Despeckle or Smooth the image. I haven’t played too much with these yet, but Despeckle will quickly remove little dots in your image and Smooth will clean up jagged edges. (I’m not sure if these are options on Android.)

Once happy with your editing, click Apply.

screenshots showing how to edit images uploaded to Cricut Design Space app on phone

You will have the option to Convert Upload To: Multiple Layers, Single Layer, or Flat Graphic.

For handprints that you want to cut out of vinyl or other materials, choose Single Layer. If you want to use your handprint in Print Then Cut projects, choose Flat Graphic. (I don’t recommend the Multiple Layers option with handprints.)

Click Next and name your image (again, I recommend including your child’s name or who the handprint belongs to and a date for reference later). Click Upload and your image will be automatically added to the Canvas (on iOS) or click Upload again and choose Open Uploaded Images (on Android).

How to use handprints in Cricut Design Space

I love how easy it is to create your own handprint cut files with Cricut Design Space!

You can use these handprints over and over with no paint mess. Also, you never have to worry about ruining your actual project with imperfect handprints (or painting accidents) when you can use the perfect digital ones.

Just be sure to update your uploaded images with new handprints every few months or so, especially as your kids are growing–those little hands change drastically when they’re young!

Aubree Originals crafts

Don’t forget to pin and save for later!

how to use your own handprints in Cricut Design Space, pinterest pin image

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