Learn how to make easy DIY stickers with Cricut Print Then Cut and Cricut printable sticker paper. This tutorial will show you step by step how to make professional DIY packaging stickers—the perfect finishing touch for your small business packages!
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Cricut. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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If you’re a small business owner (and especially if you sell handmade items), you put your whole heart into every package you ship. After all that effort, you don’t want to sell yourself short and miss out on all the fun design opportunities you have with the packaging! The outside of the box or envelope is the first thing your customer sees when they get your product in hand, so make an impact with DIY packaging stickers!
There are so many things to love about these packaging stickers:
- They’re SO easy to make! Using your Cricut machine and Cricut’s Print Then Cut feature make these easy to mass-produce, and the printable sticker paper gives you a high quality finish.
- You can customize these stickers any way you want: give handling/opening instructions for fragile items, show off your logo, or simply share the excitement of your customer receiving happy mail!
- They’re a very cost-effective way to get custom packaging (as opposed to ordering printed envelopes or boxes for your brand). I think every sticker I made for this post cost me less than $0.05—and that’s with me not even maximizing the space as well as I could have! Stickers can also double as tape, helping you further cut costs.
Oh, and did I mention that these stickers are just super fun and satisfying to make?! I think you’re going to be addicted and sticker-ing everything in sight, just because you can. You’re welcome.
What You Need to Make Stickers With Cricut
- Cricut machine: either a Cricut Explore or Cricut Maker (I have the Cricut Maker and Maker 3, and both work great for this)
- an inkjet printer
- printable sticker paper (I like the white sticker paper for this, but depending on your packaging needs, you may also really like the clear sticker paper)*
- brayer tool: optional, but I always recommend using this when applying anything to your mat so you get the cleanest cut, especially if your mat isn’t quite as sticky anymore
- my sticker images: download them for free below OR
- Design Space images, in which case I highly recommend an Access subscription! (Check out my post all about Cricut Access to see if it’s worth it for you!)
- single-sided self-laminating sheets , extra-large scraper, and self-healing mat (optional: this is only if you want to waterproof your stickers, which I’ll talk about more at the end)
*The sticker paper pictured in this post is no longer available. I’ve updated the links for the new Cricut sticker paper that’s thinner and even better than the old one!
How to Make Print Then Cut Stickers
Download Your Sticker Images
For these packaging stickers, we’re going to use one of my favorite Cricut features: Print Then Cut!
There are TONS of Print Then Cut images in the Design Space library (a lot require an Access subscription, which I definitely recommend—I get so much use out of mine)! You can check out my previous post on how to make print-then-cut thank you cards for more specific instructions on how to use these Design Space images (hint: you can use regular cut images as Print Then Cut images, too!).
For these packaging stickers here, however, I chose to make the designs in Canva first and then uploaded them to Design Space. (To get the best quality image in Canva, I downloaded the designs as a PDF print then used a free PDF-to-jpg converter to get a jpg file to upload into Design Space.) If you’d like to use those images, you can download the jpg files for free here:
Upload Your Sticker Images to Design Space
In Design Space, go to Upload and click Upload Image. Find your file (or drag and drop it) and click Continue. I don’t think it matters which image type you select on the next screen since we’re just doing Print Then Cut, but I always choose Complex. Remove the background by clicking on any unwanted white space. Since we’ll be creating sticker backgrounds in a second, you don’t need to worry about removing the white space in between letters or anything small. You just want to remove the large background from the outside of the image, if that makes sense.
Select Print Then Cut Image on the next screen and add an image name and/or tags so you can easily find the image again in Design Space later.
Repeat the upload process for the rest of the images.
Once all your images are uploaded, add them to the canvas.
Resize them to the desired size (or at least make them smaller so you have room to work and then you can adjust the final size later).
Add Sticker Backgrounds As Needed
The “fun things inside” sticker already has a scalloped background, so we don’t need to change anything for that image (also why we didn’t remove the background inside the circle when we uploaded the image).
For the “thank you” rainbow sticker, I wanted it to be a circle sticker. To do this, make a circle from the shapes, change the color to white, and resize it to fit the image. Send the circle to the back so it’s behind the image. Select both the image and the circle and align—center. (I actually didn’t like how that centered the image vertically, so I manually moved it up on the circle just a bit.) Select both again and flatten (this ensures that only the outside circle will be cut out).
For the other 3 images, I wanted the sticker to just have a white outline. And this is SO easy to do thanks to the offset tool! Select one image and create an offset. Drag the slider until you’re happy with the amount of offset. Change the color of the offset to white, make sure it’s behind the image (it should be if you haven’t made any other changes), select both and flatten.
Repeat this offset process with the other images.
How to Smooth Out the Offset
When I created the offset for the “fragile” sticker, I was getting some funny jagged edges on the offset. So, to correct this, you have two options:
1st option: Resize the image so it’s extra small so you can get a much larger offset (the larger the offset, the less details in the outline, which hopefully gets rid of those jagged edges). Apply the offset and change the color to white. Resize both the image and the offset larger so you can see what you’re working with, then make just the image even larger (which essentially reduces the size of the offset). Select both, resize as needed, and align—center to re-center them on top of each other.
2nd option: Create the offset like you normally would, but then smooth out the edges by welding a circle or oval shapes to cover the jagged edges. Once you’ve welded them, you’ll need to send the offset layer to the back so your image is back on top.
No matter how you choose to do the offset, once you’ve applied the offset, be sure to select both that and the image and flatten them.
Handy tip: If at any point while making stickers you’re having a hard time seeing the white background/offset on the canvas, you can change the color of the canvas. Select the Blank Canvas icon at the bottom of the layers panel and you’ll be able to change the color at the top of the canvas. Select anywhere on the canvas to go back to editing your designs.
Arrange Your Stickers on a “Sticker Sheet”
Create a rectangle that is 6.75” x 9.25” (which is the maximum size for Print Then Cut). Change the color of the rectangle to something other than white (so you can see your sticker outlines) and send it to the back of the canvas. Resize your stickers and arrange them within the rectangle.
Once you’ve resized your stickers, you can duplicate them (I usually use copy and paste shortcuts on my keyboard, but you can also click Edit at the top of the canvas).
Now it’s just a matter of playing Tetris to get all of the stickers to fit within the rectangle: you can move and rotate the stickers however you want to get them to fit.
Handy tip: When rotating images, if you want to keep the angles of rotation “clean” (to rotate a perfect 90 degrees, for example), hold down the shift key while rotating.
If I were mass-producing these stickers, I would actually create an entire sheet of one image which would maximize the space so much better. And I would utilize the align tools to space them evenly and line up the rows and columns.
But…for the purposes of this tutorial, I just wanted to create a sample sheet with all of them to show you—I do realize I’m wasting some sticker paper here.
Once you’ve positioned your stickers, you can delete or hide the background rectangle (by toggling the eye in the layers panel). Next, select all the images and attach (this way, your Cricut knows to cut them all on a single sheet of sticker paper).
Calibrate Your Cricut Machine for Print Then Cut
If you’ve never calibrated your machine for accuracy when doing Print Then Cut, I highly recommend you do it now! Cricut has a detailed help guide for calibrating your machine, but it’s super easy to do: go to the menu in Design Space, select Calibration, then select Print Then Cut. And then just follow the instructions as Design Space prompts you to do. Here you can see the drastic difference between cuts before and after calibration:
Whew! I love that accuracy of the calibrated cut! After calibration, I still recommend you only print/cut one page at a time until you know that all your other settings are correct. Because wasting materials stinks.
Make Your Stickers
Ok, now we’re ready to make the stickers. Click Make It.
Adjust the mat and project copies if you need to, then click Continue. Send it to your printer.
Choose bleed—the only image here that will be affected is the “fun things inside” (because the other ones have white outlines). The bleed just puts a small border of color around your image (the same color as your image), preventing your image from having a tiny white border where it’s cut. (Basically, it results in a more accurate cut.)
Then choose Use System Dialog to be able to adjust your printer settings. I loaded the printable sticker paper from the rear tray of my printer and chose the matte photo printing option, but do whatever works best for your printer and gives you the best print quality. Print the stickers.
Once printed, load the sticker paper onto your mat. Set your material settings to Printable Sticker Paper**, load your mat into your machine, and press start.
**Update: Cricut came out with new sticker paper in September 2023 that’s quite a bit thinner than the original (hooray!). There are now separate material settings in Design Space for the old and new sticker paper, differentiated by what color print the liner/backing has. The old sticker paper (pictured in this post) has gray print on the liner. The new sticker paper has green print on the liner. Select your material setting accordingly.
I didn’t have to adjust any of the cut settings—the Printable Sticker Paper setting worked beautifully and cut just through the top of the sticker sheet but not all the way through the backing (as expected). Seriously, it cuts like a dream. And I love the thick, cardstock-like texture of the sticker paper. I’ll be making tons more packaging stickers like these!
How to Make Waterproof Stickers With Cricut
If you’re concerned about your packaging stickers not holding up to weather or moisture (especially since inkjet printer ink is water-soluble), you can do one additional step to make them waterproof (well…more like water-resistant). (I’m kind of torn whether I want to do this step or not: I obviously want my packaging to still look nice after shipping, but at the same time, the customer is still going to throw the packaging out, so is it worth it to spend the extra cost? I’ll let you make that decision for yourself…)
If you do want to make your stickers waterproof, you will need single-sided self-laminating sheets.
After you print your sticker sheet (but before cutting it), apply a laminating sheet to the top. To do this neatly, I recommend peeling just a little bit of the laminate backing off, stick it to your work surface (a self-healing mat is great for this), then center your sticker sheet face-up underneath the rest of the laminate (that still has the backing attached). Once centered, lift the laminate sheet and slowly peel the backing away while you smooth the laminate down over the sticker sheet with your extra-large scraper. Go slowly to avoid bubbles, scraping any bubbles towards the edges as you go.
Load your laminated sticker sheet onto a cutting mat and load the mat into your Cricut. You may have to experiment a little with the best cut settings, but I would suggest still using the Printable Sticker Paper setting for a “kiss-cut” (that doesn’t go through the backing sheet). You can easily adjust the pressure if needed from “default” to “more”, or open the materials settings for more options.
Depending on what type of laminating sheet you use, your Cricut may have a hard time reading the registration marks on the page. To work around this, you can try turning the lights off in the room you’re working in, taping over the registration marks with a matte tape (as long as you can still see the marks through it), or drawing over them carefully with a Sharpie. You can also cut your laminating sheet smaller before applying it to your sticker sheet so it doesn’t cover the registration marks at all.
How to Make Packaging Stickers With Cricut
I hope you found this tutorial helpful! There are so many ways to customize your business packaging with Cricut, and these Print Then Cut stickers are fun and easy. And…now I’m off to make more, because my son may or may not have just pulled a bunch of stickers off my boxes to put on his shirt instead…apparently they’re toddler-approved too!
Let me know if you have any questions! I can’t wait to see all the fun stickers you make!